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The Externally Focused Quest : Becoming the Best Church for the Community

ISBN: 978-0-470-50078-1
272 pages
April 2010, Jossey-Bass
The Externally Focused Quest : Becoming the Best Church for the Community  (0470500786) cover image


A practical approach for leaders to guide their congregations to become more externally focused

The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community is designed for church leaders who want to transform their churches to become less internally focused and more oriented to the world around them. The book includes the clear guidelines on the ten changes congregations must adopt to become truly outwardly focused. This book is not about getting all churches to have an annual day of community service as a tactic but changing the core of who they are and how they see themselves as a part of their community.

  • Outlines the ten changes needed for church leaders to transform their churches
  • Presents a highly practical approach that shows leaders how to become more externally focused without having to give up programs that serve members
  • A new volume in the popular Leadership Network Series

This book reveals what it takes to make the major shift from an internal to external focus and how that affects church leadership.

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Table of Contents

About Leadership Network.


Foreword (Alan Hirsch).


Chapter 1: What Kind of Day Is Today?

Chapter 2: Focus: They Choose the Window Seat, Not the Aisle Seat.

Chapter 3: Purpose: They Practice Weight Training, Not Bodybuilding.

Chapter 4: Story: They Live in the Kingdom Story, Not a Church Story.

Chapter 5: Missions: The Few Send the Many, Not the Many Send the Few.

Chapter 6: Partnering: They Build Wells, Not Walls.

Chapter 7: Systems: They Create Paradigms, Not Programs.

Chapter 8: Evangelism: They Deploy Kingdom Laborers, Not Social Workers.

Chapter 9: Creativity: They Innovate, Not Replicate.

Chapter 10: Outcomes: It's About the Game, Not the Pregame Talk.


The Authors.

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Author Information

ERIC SWANSON is a missional leadership specialist with Leadership Network, leading initiatives with externally focused churches that are missionally engaging their communities, cities, and the world. With Rick Rusaw he is the cofounder of the Externally Focused Network.

RICK RUSAW is the senior pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church and an innovative leader, speaker, author, and trainer. With Eric he is the cofounder of the Externally Focused Network.

Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw are coauthors of The Externally Focused Church and The Externally Focused Life. They frequently speak and train at seminars and conferences on missional/externally focused churches.


The mission of Leadership Network identifies and connects innovative church leaders, providing them with resources in the form of new ideas, people, and tools. Contact Leadership Network at www. leadnet.org.

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Press Release

April 14, 2010
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.”

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The Externally Focused Quest : Becoming the Best Church for the Community (US $26.95)

-and- The Twelve Keys Leaders' Guide: An Approach for Grassroots, Key Leaders, and Pastors Together, 2nd Edition (US $22.95)

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