March 17, 2021 Paul Alexander

4 Reasons Why Churches Become Insider-Focused

It’s rare that I ever come across a church that started off as an insider-focused church. Most churches start with a desire to reach new people with the Gospel. In those early stages of a church plant they have to reach new people or they die due to a lack of viability.

So how does a church that’s eager to help people outside of the faith follow Jesus drift towards becoming insider focused and spending all of it’s energy taking care of people who are already convinced?

Here are the four most common reasons why churches become insider-focused:

1. Stop Taking Risks

By its very nature everything about a church plant is risky. It’s a brand new start up. Everything is new and everywhere you turn there is a new risk to take. Somewhere along the way, when some measure of viability is reached, churches begin to mitigate risk by taking care of key stakeholders (insiders).

It’s a lot easier (and less risky) to keep church people happy than it is to continue to reach out to people who are outside of the church. When is the last time your church risked something big for God?

If you have outgrown your original risk taking ethos then your church is probably moving towards becoming insider focused.

2. Stay Married to Old Methods

Over the last year, churches were forced to change a lot of things. And while many churches have embraced digital ministry and reaching new people in new ways, some churches have resisted the need for change. If you don’t have a church culture that embraces new ideas then you’re probably spending a lot of energy propping up old methods and programs. Those old methods and programs bring a certain comfort with them, because they keep people who are already in the church happy.

Every idea has a shelf life. If your church isn’t evaluating your ministry methods and strategically stopping old things and starting new ones, then you’re probably moving towards becoming insider-focused.

3. Planning Overtakes Chaos

One of the most common misunderstandings of strategic planning is that the goal is order. The goal is actually to accomplish the vision.

It is possible to manage and plan your way into losing momentum. When planning and order become higher priorities than movement, your church is teetering on becoming insider-focused.

4. Lack of Vision

Clear vision is the greatest catalyst for movement and action in the church. When vision is fuzzy, things slow down and naturally drift towards becoming insider-focused.

We all wake up every day thinking about ourselves; it’s what comes naturally to us. That’s why both Jesus and the Apostle Paul paint a clear vision of spiritual maturity as living an others-focused life.

If your church is not sure where it’s going, chances are you’re moving towards becoming insider-focused.

Interested in reading up some more on Insider-Focused Churches? Check out the posts below:

  If your church isn’t consistently stopping old things & starting new, you’re probably moving towards an insider-focus. Click To TweetIn a growing church, you want planning & management to lag slightly behind the chaos of change & movement. Click To Tweet

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Paul Alexander

Paul is a Ministry Consultant with The Unstuck Group. Paul has more than 20 years experience serving in the local church, the last 15 of which have been on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.
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