Sunday, May 29, 2011


To my faithful and patient subscribers:

Solomon once wisely wrote, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."

I certainly relate to that observation.  You have no doubt notice (if you're still visiting this blog) that I have had only 3 posts in two months.  This has been the season for practicing being an outward-focused church not writing about it. It's also been a season of focus, consolidation, maintaining, re-visiting and just plain doing ministry (what Dr. James Glasse called "paying the rent.")  If you want to see what that looks like, you can go to my in-house blog for the Church of God of Landiisville Being the Best Church for the Community.

As we enter the rhythm of summer, my focus is shifting back to this blog.  Planned upcoming posts will include these topics:

"Rethink-Questions to Embed a Culture Shift"
"Evangelism and the Outward-Focused Church"
"Disciples or Members"
"Building Bridges to Our Unchurched Neighbors"

I also am open to suggestions of blogs or web sites with which you are familiar that might be worth linking to and/or reposting on this blog. Or maybe you want to offer a guest post from your experience.  Feel free to send them to me at

Looking forward to renewing our conversation.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I was talking with a youth pastor who has an effective outreach to the unchurched children of his community.  Like all effective youth pastors, his first concern is to make disciples of children.  He wants them to have a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ while they are still young.

But as he spoke, I heard another motivation for a children’s ministry that is clearly outward-focused in its vision and strategy. It had to be do with the health and faithfulness of the church.  This is what he said, “THE CURSE of the internally focused church is that it develops internally focused children and internally focused teens. Without intervention the curse will be handed down from generation to generation.”

A typical youth group becomes a closed group, where the focus is on meeting the needs (and desires) of kids.  It is what Ed Stetzer has called “a holding tank with pizza.”  Given the tendency of kids to form and fossilize into cliques, outward focused youth leaders must instead teach kids to look beyond themselves.  To see themselves as disciples on mission with Jesus.  They need to learn what it is to be authentic disciples and they need to be given ministries that help out that discipleship into action.

They need to see that their friends need Jesus and be challenged and equipped to help them make disciples of their friends.  Not simply decisions, but functioning disciples.  But again, they need not to be kids who are just getting together to have fun or to be protected from the world’s idea of “fun.”  They need to learn to pray, read and understand God’s Word, discover their gifts and use them.  They need to love Jesus and all the people Jesus loves.

© 2011 by Stephen L Dunn