Grace Turned Outward

I like that phrase from John Fischer and his newsletter “The Catch.” I’m thinking a lot about turning outward lately.

If you are in a church, where are you turned?

Are you turned inward–focused on fellowship with the people you already know and the building you already have? Are you turned outward–focused on others, serving others, telling others about your relationship, showing grace?

A friend was discussing these things the other day. She has noticed a general turning away from others outside the local church and an inward focus. They spend money on internal things. Spending to support ministries outside the walls is dwindling toward zero.

My own church has decided to spend somewhere around $350,000 on its current building. That’s above budget spending. Meanwhile, spending outside the walls is only around $60,000. (We send money to the denomination, too, but that’s a requirement, not an act of generosity or grace.)

What of yours?

It’s more than money. Go back and read Acts 2 through 4. The early followers of Jesus lived such a different and fulfilling life from their neighbors that as the customer in the restaurant in the scene from “When Harry Met Sally” said, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Back to John Fischer. He moderates a weekly podcast, “The Catch,” where he interviews interesting friends. He takes big chances, at times. But we learn much.

Last week he interviewed Wayne Bridegroom. He’s a conservative Baptist minister with a church on the poor side of Modesto, Calif. Migration from Southeast Asia began in the 80s, and he began meeting Christians from a variety of ethnic groups.

He opened the doors for a variety of groups to worship and encouraged their growth. At times there were Lao, Hmong, Spanish, Cambodian, and others worshiping. Sometimes they’d all gather together.

I thought, there’s one way that a church can reach out and serve the community. There was much more. I encourage you to listen to the discussion.

What ideas might you devise to turn outward?

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