A value that I’ve seen being adopted by vitalized churches is to be “Relentlessly Outward Bound.” This becomes a core statement in the life of the church that helps congregants identify exactly what the church is here to do.
Here are some characteristics of churches that are relentlessly outward bound:
They make decisions for those who are not yet here. It’s easy to become personal preference driven. After all, the congregation are the ones giving their time, talent and treasures right? This becomes dangerous. Vitalized churches make their decisions based on what will reach the lost in their community, not on what will make churchgoers happy.
They align every ministry and program to the mission of making disciples. A ministry audit of every activity in the church is done with this one question, “how does ___(insert ministry here)___ help us make disciples of Jesus? Everything becomes about the Great Commission. If that ministry or program is not on mission, then it must change so that it becomes on mission or it will be discontinued.
They create environments where the unchurched feel like they can belong before they become. In Canadian culture, the journey is a huge part of coming to Christ. Vitalized churches create environments where the unchurched can discover, ask questions, connect, and belong before they believe and become a Christ follower. These churches thrive because church members feel comfortable to invite their unbelieving friends into these environments knowing that they will be given an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.
What does it look like for your church or ministry to be relentlessly outward bound? How much of your church activities and programs are focused on the people who are already in the church? I would encourage you to adopt this value and begin the process of becoming a church for those who are not yet here.