I am a firm believer that the mission of the church is both inward and outward. The thing many churches face is that the inward focus has so far outweighed the outward focus that we find ourselves in need of balance and so we have a tendency to over correct. In a new article at Lifeway it is pointed out that the number one factor of declining churches is inward focus. This has been my experience as well so I am not at all surprised to see that backed up.
What do we do about that? We don’t over correct. We correct to the degree needed and I don’t think that the correction is to become 99% outward focused. Here is why. In Galatians 6:1-10 Paul writes about the need for us to do good to other people. He makes it clear in 6:10 that our priority is the saved, not the lost but not the exclusion of the lost,
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal 6:10)
In other words, we must support other Christians first and foremost but not to the neglect of reaching out to non-Christians. This is where many churches have fallen short and this is one reason younger people get so upset with church is because we are really good on the “especially” part but not as much on the “all people” part.
From what I have observed it seems to me that many churches are focused about 80-90% on themselves. Going back to Paul’s point that we do good to all but first and foremost the household of faith we aren’t talking about a 80% shift in our focus. We are talking about a 20-30% shift in our focus…from 80% to 60% or 90% to 60% maintaining the “especially” part without neglecting the “all people” part. In other words, we need to keep the majority (over 50%) of our good works focused on other Christians but once we near 100% inward focus we neglect the first half of Galatians 6:10.