It is easy for a church to forget its purpose and begin to believe that everything is about them. An inwardly focused church is a place that is comfortable for its members. Every decision that is made focuses on ways to make the church better suited for those who have already been reached. It is concerned about what happens on the inside of its walls and not concerned about what is going on outside the walls. Becoming inwardly focused is a trap laid out by Satan and swallowed by many churches. The goals of a church that falls in this trap have to do with budget, facilities and programs. Anything that happens that takes away from the comfort of the membership is pushed aside and rejected. More money is spent on flowers and fellowship than on taking the gospel to the lost world. More time is invested in internal programs that knocking on the doors of the community.
Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, says that an inwardly obsessed church no longer is a Great Commission Congregation. He began a few years ago keeping a list of what he found in churches that are inwardly focused. He compiled a list of the top ten warning signs that a congregation is falling into this dangerous trap. He claims that if two or more of these are found in the church it is in danger. May we continually be on guard not to focus more on our self than on the task of taking the Gospel to the ends of the world (Matthew 28:18-20).
Top 10 Warning Signs of an Inwardly Obsessed Church
1. Worship wars
2. Prolonged minutia meetings
3. Facility focus
4. Program driven
5. Inwardly focused budget
6. Inordinate demands for pastoral care
7. Attitudes of entitlement
8. Greater concern about change than the gospel
9. Anger and hostility
10. Evangelistic apathy