As we often say around here, community impact isn’t rocket science. It’s just hard work. Most churches talk about increasing their impact outside their walls, but there are numerous internal obstacles and external pressures preventing this. As I speak in churches around the country, I often preach some variation of the sermon that is reproduced in this episode of the podcast.
My goal with this sermon is simple: help church leaders build or maintain outward focus and help them start specific new outreach efforts. A church can have great, bold leaders; but, it will never maximize its community impact unless the members of the congregation are on board with the leader’s bold agenda. So, this sermon is designed to encourage church members to buy into and participate in the agenda of being disciples that make a difference.
Step #1 Overcome Your Obstacles
- Internal Obstacles – Internal Focus, Conflict, Fear and Apathy
- External Obstacles – Legal Regulations, Personal Autonomy, Privatization of Faith and Materialism
Step #2 Unchain Your Calling
- We sometime confuse Christ’s call to follow Him with culture’s call to follow ourselves.
- We often forget that God is the hero of our story, not us. This is important because we are tempted to attempt God’s plan for us in our own power or according to our own timetable.
- The “Big C” Church and your church moves forward when you are doing your unique part to fulfill the Great Commission. This provides each of us with significance and purpose.
- So, Christ is counting on everyday Christians and not just celebrity Christians to change the world in our times.
Step #3 Maximize Your Impact
- In addition to the big three/four responsibilities that many churches teach (worship attendance, small group/Sunday School, giving and service in the Church), churches should communicate an expectation around service in the community.
- Individual Christians should participate in a community outreach organized by their church but should also build presence, credibility and influence in their individual sphere of influence.
- “The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.” ― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
- The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson. Quote: “The collaboration that created the digital age was not just among peers but also between generations.” The story of our phone is a lot like the story of our faith–created by collaboration among peers and across generations.
- “One of the challenges that I talk to people about within the church is not that the church is not able to live the faith, it’s that individuals within the church are not truly living their faith outside of the church.” –Senator James Lankford (Oklahoma)
- “The Gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it’s cage.” -Charles Spurgeon