The Externally Focused Quest : Becoming the Best Church for the Community
April 2010, Jossey-Bass
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THE EXTERNALLY FOCUSED QUEST: Becoming the Best Church for the Community
How does a church become the kind of church that the community would not just miss, were it to leave, but would fight to have it stay? How does a church become both internally strong and externally focused? How does a church become the best church for the community?
“The answers to these questions are found not in programs but in paradigms,” say authors Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw. Their new Leadership Network title, THE EXTERNALLY FOCUSED QUEST: Becoming the Best Church for the Community (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; April 2010; $24.95; Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-470-50078-1), guides leaders in the nine paradigm shifts they need to make in order to be both an instrument for good in their communities and a conduit of growth in their church homes.
Missional has become a key word for innovative leaders who forego the emphasis on internal programming for their church members and increase outreach to the unchurched in their local communities. But for more traditional leaders who wish to find a healthy balance between the two, the authors use the phrase externally focused to describe their outlook.
Using their years of experience as writers and teachers on the externally focused movement, Swanson and Rusaw help leaders make community-based ministry a part of their DNA. “Externally focused churches create systems that continually reinforce their values,” they write. “You must create structures that operationalize your values; otherwise, they are not really values — they are merely sentiments. For many Christ followers, service and ministry are sentiments but not values.”
Far from being about 40 days of purpose, THE EXTERNALLY FOCUSED QUEST will likely require 40 years of re-purposing from leaders willing to implement the nine transformational concepts and “hitch a ride on the wave where God is moving.”