For the Outward-focused Church

Mat 28:18-20 (NRSV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing- them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything- that 1 have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”



Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery


The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.


The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

Faith-sharing Evangelism Library


How to Win Friends and Influence People for Jesus
: Six Messages teach others how to witness. Based on Faith-sharing, by Eddie Fox and George Morris

Messages in this series:
1: The Incredible Seeking God
2: Gambler for Love
3: Share; Do; Name!
4: Getting on the Same Frequency
5: Up On the Handlebar!
6: $50K in 90 Days or Less!

Beyond Faith-sharing:
Digests of lectures and texts that demonstrate
quick ways to improve and increase your ministry's outreach.

Lessons in this Series:
1:   The Outward-focused Church
2:   Discerning the Needs of People
3:   The Incarnational Ministry
4:   Engaging Secular People
5:   Living Debt-free Biblically
6:   Youth Ministry Leadership
7:   Growing a New Church 1:
      The Price Tag, the Target
8:   Growing a New Church 2:
      The Pastor, People, Program
9:   Spiritual and Motivational Gifts
10: Envisioning, Friendliness and Authority
11: Making the Case
12: How Do We Get Them to Come?



evangelism evangelistic mission witnessing church growth method methods program programs ideas growing enlarging outreach getting them to church assembly religious services ministry envisioning outward-focus inward-focus stewardship volunteering volunteerism volunteer outreach

The Inward-focused Church

    There are basically two opposite styles of doing (or not doing) the business of the church (and degrees in between): the inward-focused (or maintenance-minded) and the outward-focused (or mission-minded).  Each church style has five characteristics.

   The inward-focused church

1) ministers to the existing congregation

2) exclusively for the congregation.

Maintaining-facilities is often more important than people.  The inward-focused church

3) makes little concerted effort to reach out to the community or the world.  There are no active evangelism committees or missions giving.  If any apportionments are paid at all, they are only the "must-askings." 

This church

4) makes it difficult for visitors to cross barriers because the church neither knows how to receive visitors nor how to get them to return. 

It is also

5) preoccupied with long-established programs or “meetings” rather than ministry.

The Outward-focused Church

   On the contrary, the outward-focused church

1) obeys the Great Commission, "Go therefore and teach all nations...," and makes it the first priority. 

2) The pastor and staff are expected to do only limited outreach ministry: their job is to train the laity how to do it. 

The outward-focused church

3) makes ministry to the existing congregation "a means to an end" - training and encouraging the congregation to go out and invite, invite, invite.  (82 - 85 of visitors come because somebody invites them.) 

4) Mission-mindedness is reflected in the church budget - the budget is created with the Great Commission in mind. 

5) Evangelism (invitation to church) and education (Sunday school and other programs) are two sides of the same coin.  Education is another means of promoting faith-sharing.


Visions and Programs

   All new church programs should stem from the visions of individuals.  If a member of the congregation has a vision for outreach, the means will follow (including money).  Such are matters of faith.  All church programs, services, missions, and activities are to be evaluated by a simple, 3-point criterion:

1) will it win people to Jesus (Matthew 28:19)?,

2) will it "disciple" (Matthew 28:20)? and

3) will it glorify Yahweh (1 Corinthians 10:31)? 

A simple yet effective church “mission statement” might beWe win, we disciple, we glorify.  (“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”)   The focus is always to be on ministry (diakonia - righteous service), not on committee meetings; on envisioning, not on rules of order; on faith, not on sight; on expectations, not on the status quo.


1 Corinthians 12:14-18 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.  {15} If the foot would say, "Because 1 am not a hand, 1 do not belong- to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. {16} And if the ear would say, "Because 1 am not an eye, 1 do not belong- to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. {17} If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing- be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? {18} But as it is. Yahweh arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

  Committee members and ministry teams have always been recruited.  Possible committee members are identified by the nominating committee, notified on the phone that they are the unlucky ones, the either told they have a duty to serve, or are begged to serve.  Soliciting volunteers is a better method.  With volunteers,

1) their service should be determined by spiritual and motivational gifts assessment, obvious talents and personal interests rather than pre-determined by the church board, Conference guidelines or according to need.  Gifts and talents are channeled through the congregation; gifted leaders chosen through prayer, testing and assessment provide training and promote networking in the congregation.  If there are no volunteers for a program, then there is no program.

2) Volunteers are motivated because they are doing what they perceive the Father (or human need or creation or their own sense of expertise) is/are calling them to do.

Recruits are seldom motivated, but often serve as an obligation to the church or whoever recruited them.

3) Volunteers have a better attitude because they feel joy in doing what they often consider to be fun.  

Recruitment sets up guilt -committee work becomes drudgery.  Burnout or "going underground" may result.

4) Relying on volunteers, even though they may not be church members, helps to break down barriers, and brings people together.

Recruiting committees brings the “same old bunch” together time after time.

   A wonderful resource for managing volunteers is the little book How to Mobilize Church Volunteers by Marlene Wilson.  Wilson suggests having a volunteer director for the church volunteer programs.  Here book succinctly trains the volunteer manager and provides at 1 necessary forms.  We could use a volunteer manager!

Through carefully managing volunteerism, some churches, even large ones, are able to dispense with committees, planning retreats, and budget retreats!


Recruitment vs Volunteerism


Trust Relationships

   By converting from maintenance-mindedness to mission-mindedness, by implementing volunteerism instead of recruitment, by encouraging envisioning instead of (or in addition to) planning, and by delegating all tasks, the church comes to experience a fellowship, trust, and spiritual unity uncommon in today's churches.  Staff and board relate better and more frequently to the general congregation, and the congregation gets its needs met and its visions implemented.  The entire "chain of command" is turned on its ear!


Stewardship and Attitude

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. {23} For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; {24} for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. {25} But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

   Paragraph 211.4 of The Discipline informs us that members are tobe loyal to the United Methodist Church and uphold it with their prayers, their presence, their gifts, and their service.” Each congregant pledges to this four-fold plan of stewardship upon acceptance of membership, and reaffirms in adult baptism and baptismal covenant services. It is necessary to have a good balance, because when people pray, serve, attend, and underwrite in near equal proportions, they get excited about the work of God through the church, and they begin to invite others.  Involvement leads to Excitement leads to Invitation leads to Growth.

Balanced Stewardship Model   The church is not an agency to be served, but a workforce to be deployed.  Volunteers should not be encouraged to serve the church but to serve the world.  If the various members of the congregation are somehow cut loose, new and exciting mtries are bound to develop.  If the volunteer has the vision, and the vision fits the three-fold criteria above, then the staff and church board need to provide training and resources.  This seems to be a radical concept of stewardship for some, but it will eventually work, if we become converted.

   If a new member (or a frequent visitor) is not involved in the first 90 days of membership or attendance, he/she becomes a

1) pew-sitter, an

2) inactive or “drop out,” or a

3) “grumbler.” 

A grumbler is a killer of good ideas, or as VISION 2000 puts it, a "vision resister" (Harding and Mohney, VISION 2000, p. 14) 

4) Others may find another church in which to get involved. 

5) Still others will fight their way into a leadership position or an outreach ministry.  These are rare, but do happen.

Before a person becomes a member of the church,

1) that one should be informed of the vow of stewardship, and that the church expects that all members will be involved in winning, discipline, and glorifying. 

2) Reinforcement for this concept must come frequently and forcefully from the pulpit (“turn around and tell somebody where you are involved!”). 

3) Volunteers should be praised often, and services dedicated to recognizing them, especially low-profile yet essential volunteers (the kitchen staff, the janitor). 

4) Children and youth should be included, and encouraged to make a commitment of time, talent, gifts, and prayers. 

The attitude to be fostered is: “If I'm attending XYZ Church, I'm expected to volunteer.”

5) Finally, if someone does volunteer, they must certainly be put into service!


Visitors to Members

   The evangelism work area is in charge of making visitors into members (our some other envisioning or enacting group).  There is no prospective member orientation, except to define the responsibilities and benefits of membership.  On Membership Sunday, the new members profess their faith in Christ, and are given a "new member packet" of information, and each family member (including children) are bid to complete a commitment card.  They are also urged to attend one short new member class, usually held one evening of the next week.  There should be a church fellowship supper in the new members' honor.  After induction and in the next week, the church board makes contact with each family, preferably by visitation, and the appropriate task force gets the family plugged in.  There is to be continued weekly contact for three months, with follow up.


Implementation of Volunteering

It is recommended that a commitment card, detailing the various ministry opportunities, be implemented.  The card must be specific; here’s the barest of samples:

I will volunteer my service to:

[  ]  Joyful Worshippers (a task force, with description)

[  ]  Tape ministry (description)

[  ]  Feeding program

[  ]  Other (my vision) ___________....


By the grace of God, I intend to

Give $______ in the next year.

Spend ______ hours in volunteer service.

Pray  ______ hours per month.

Offer my talents, which are


For the "offer my talents" part, I have devised a networking survey based on Wilson's work to inventory the congregation’s abilities, and you may too.

   A Sunday then may be planned as "Commitment Sunday" - perhaps the second Sunday of November.  The cards have been passed out previously, and commitments are made and tallied on this Sunday.  The third Sunday of November might be "Victory Sunday," where the tabulation of the cards will be announced celebrated.  Later, data is compiled and entered, and working "task forces" (not “committees”) assigned.

Leaders of task forces are chosen based on their

1)  commitment to the mission of Jesus,

2)  heart and head for ministry, and

3)  leadership skills. 

   The professional minister will say that these traits are correctly prioritized.  Of course, the professional administrator will prioritize from 3 .. 1!  Mailings and follow-up mailings are done.  It is the duty of the task force leader to see that the volunteer actually gets involved and evaluated.  The theme is "Every Member Involvement!"  Training programs are created; but the best training (and most often used) is the "on the job" variety...just get in there and do it!


Other Considerations

1)  Get total support from board and staff.  After all, THIS IS YOUR VISION!  Board and staff MUST support the visions of the congregation (See Figure 1).

2)  Identify procedures and inform others of their respective duties in beginning.

3)  Develop a personalized commitment card, making sure that "other visions" is listed, with plenty of space to write.  (See Figure 3.)

4)  Run an annual membership drive, including "Commitment Sunday," and follow-up.

5)  Make sure volunteers are asked to serve promptly.

6)  Do start new ministries based on "other."  Cancel old ministries that have no volunteers.

7)  Assure than new members are involved early in membership.


Budget and "Every Member Commitment"

   There are few institutions dedicated to teaching people how to give.  This is another duty of the church’s teaching ministry that has been neglected.  People understand that what they have is theirs.  Nobody wants to turn loose of what is his or hers.  Yet Scripture teaches that “we give thee but thine own, what e'er the gift may be.”  There are two oft used two of giving in scripture:

1)  The Old Testament Model - the "tithe" 1/10 of what we have goes back to God.  This is a good working model for many, but inferior to the next model.

2)  The New Testament Model - "give all you have to the poor, and you shall receive treasures in heaven."  This means total surrender of all material blessings to God's Kingdom.

   The Old Testament Model is for those who are more "works" oriented; the New Testament Model is for those who are more "faith" oriented. “You show me your faith and I'll show you my works” -- both models are important for the church. Sew a new patch on the old wineskin, and both will be preserved. The first model helps us feel like we’ve done our part; the second helps us feel that we are a part.

   Some guidelines for the budget process:

1)  Giving should be a matter of feeling, not budget. It should be based on the Bible and the leading of the Spirit.  The gift is not worth much unless it is from a cheerful donor.

2)  The budget should be created by both the finance committee and the specific work areas. The board should only have to take 60 seconds to approve it, once everyone has already been involved.

3)  There may be an annual financial campaign, based on perhaps 1 Peter 2:21, in which we are to follow "in his steps."

4)  Campaign members should be selected from all church groups who are themselves good givers and credible, trusted church leaders.

5) Lay people who give should be utilized to help teach the congregation about the joys of giving. People learn by example. The whole family should be involved in giving.  “Train a child up...” -- you know the rest.

    Commitment Sunday should combine service, prayer, talents and giving. Stewardship is a four-fold package. As many as possible should pledge and serve on the committee, especially the Administrative Board.

Community Ministries

   35,000,000 Americans are living: in poverty! 

70% single parents
60% employed
47% suburban
45% children
39% rural
35% elderly
30% black
25% Hispanic
14% urban
10% white                              
7%   mentally ill          

   It is suggested that ministries to the poor are designed to help the working poor or invalid poor.  R.C. Sproul cites four basic causes of poverty:

1)  laziness,

2)  personal sacrifice (vow of poverty),

3)  calamity, and

4)  exploitation.

   The Bible denotes three economic strata with the Greek words:

plousios  -  the rich, who need not work to survive;

penes     -  the poor, who work to survive;

ptochos  -  the destitute, unable to work.

The mandate of the Bible is to specifically care for the last group, the orphans, widows, and aliens (many Scripture verses deal with this ever-timely subject).  Churches who are actually involved in helping the poor often find themselves on one end of the following spectrum or the other:

Liberal - Social Action                     Conservative - Soul Winning

emphasis on physical need               emphasis on meeting spiritual

time factor: short term aid               time factor: long term (eternity)

outcome: equal regardless of faith     outcome determined by input

salvation based on works                 salvation based on faith or belief.

The best place to be is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, where physical needs are met and spiritual needs are still important.  Evangelism thus becomes "the offering of the whole Christ by the whole Church to the whole man in the whole world" (Billy Graham).

   Charity (agape) requires a

1) spiritual gift motivating a

2) passion which is activated through a

3) personal method.

Some examples of charitable ministries to the poor that may be easily implemented include: Financial Counseling, Food Pantry, Homeless / Shoebox, Tutoring, Limited Financial Assistance.  


Church Growth Seminar, Frazer Memorial Church, Montgomery AL: “community Ministries,” Every Member Commitment,” Volunteerism - notes on various speakers.

Vision 2000: Planning for Ministry Into the Next Century, Joe Harding & Ralph Mohney, Discipleship Resources, 1993.

Faith-sharing: Dynamic Christian Witness by Invitation, Eddie Fox & George Morris, Discipleship Resources, 1986.

How to Mobilize Volunteers, Marlene Wilson, Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1983.







©2007 Jackson H. Snyder II.  (jackson @ jacksonsnyder.com)  This information may be reprinted in whole or part if author and copyright information is left intact.

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