Books are wonderful to stimulate our thinking, and challenge us in life. I have been encouraged by a book titled “The Externally Focused Church,” by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson. This book is about challenging churches to go beyond their four walls, and seek to confront and cooperate with their communities. It is about partnering with other organizations that are doing a good work, so that they can do an even better work. It is about taking our faith, and making it practical.
On page 216 of the book, the authors say this: “In this book we’ve described some of the ways God is moving the church beyond the four walls of the building and into the community. And we’ve described some of the results: people coming to faith, lives are being changed, and Christians are growing. But we really believe that the best years for the church are still ahead, and the best ideas have yet to be invented. The challenges and opportunities are too massive to rely on old, tired methodologies.”
Churches are just getting to the place where they realize they don't have to do everything by themselves; there are some things that will happen better if we work together and work as a team for the kingdom of God. This is especially true for smaller churches who don't have a great amount of money or resources. But it will also be very beneficial if big churches choose to partner with smaller churches. This becomes a mission for the bigger church, and allows smaller churches to be connected with ministry they couldn't do on their own.
As Rusaw and Swanson say: "To create a different future is going to take leaders with the vision to see, the passion to feel, and the courage to do. These leaders must keep pressing forward despite inevitable squalls, adjusting the rudder and the sail as they go." This journey is not meant to be one we walk alone. God calls us to be partners in the ministry to people around us. This should happen with churches partnering with other churches, and churches partnering with other organizations. If we do this, God will do great things! Tell me what you think.