Outwardly Focused Ministry
Earlier this year our director-level staff read Lasting Impact. This book traces conversations or questions congregations must address if they are to have an impact on their community. We discussed the chapters to focus our work leading Centenary into a new era of vitality and to live fully into our core mission.
One of our conversations centered around ministry focus. Essentially, are Centenary’s attitudes and ministries inwardly or outwardly focused? Inwardly focused being described as club-like, focused on ourselves, our traditions and only serving our members. Outwardly focused being described as a white-hot passion for the mission (growing disciples and transforming the world).
An outwardly focused congregation is one which seeks out people to join in and to walk alongside as they grow together. It is one which extends invitations to the community and humbly partners with other agencies to make real, positive (Kingdom-like) change within the community. An outwardly focused congregation is comprised of members who share the gospel with everyone by their actions, words, deeds, and invitations, daily.
Centenary has a beautiful place in our community and the world. We have a vital mission. For us to achieve that mission we must be outwardly focused. We cannot be inwardly focused. Each of us must seek out opportunities to engage the world with lives shaped by God’s love.
This time of year I find my thoughts dwelling on two passages of scripture: To whom much is given, much is expected. (Luke 12:48) Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:16)
These passages remind me of the need for outwardly focused ministry. The months of November and December are marked by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The crisp winter air is charged with the electricity of gratitude and giving. As we take stock of the bounty we have received in life, we are both consciously and unconsciously compelled to share that bounty with friends, relatives, and strangers. This is outward focused living.
As you turn the pages in this edition of our magazine, and as you read the weekly Happenings emails, you will find other opportunities to live an outwardly focused life. It is my fervent prayer you will seek out and seize those opportunities. We are the people the world needs, and we need the world. Every Day for Everyone. These are the ministries of Centenary United Methodist Church.
To read the full November/December issue of "Centenary Every Day" magazine, copy this link into your browser: