Most of us can answer pretty quickly about whether we have an innie or an outie, if we’re talking about belly buttons. Whether you end up with an innie or an outie is usually a matter of chance. Most people end up with innies, but some people have outies. Outies usually occur when more of the umbilical cord is left when it’s cut, leading to more skin left over once it dries out.
While it may not be as simple as lifting your shirt and looking down, can you identify whether you are part of an innie church or an outie church?
What’s the difference? Outie churches are strong and healthy within, but focused on reaching those outside the church. Innie churches are most concerned about keeping those already in the church engaged.
Outie churches are deliberate about engaging their community with good deeds and the good news of Christ. Innie churches integrate activities and programs in the church, but fail to engage the community.
Outie churches emphasize their influence and impact on the community everyday of the week while innie churches emphasize how many attend on a given Sunday.
Outie churches will be greatly missed by the community if they cease to exist while most innie churches aren’t even noticed by the community.
Take a look at your church’s calendar or budget and it too, will help to determine whether you’re part of an outie or an innie. Is the biggest portion of your budget spent on missions, engaging the community and reaching the lost? Or is it allocated for maintaining buildings, church programming and keeping the already baptized believers content? The activities and ministries on your churches calendar are just as telling. Do they indicate that your church is an innie or an outie?
A study by Lifeway Research showed that 78% of those surveyed believed the church was more concerned about organized religion that it was engaging and caring for their local community. Whether it’s true or not, that was their perception. What is your church doing to disprove that belief? Outie churches discover the needs in communities and develop ministries to address those needs and share Christ.
You can’t control whether you have an innie or an outie belly button, but you can control whether your church is an innie or outie. Take steps to move your church from being an innie to becoming an outie. Assess the needs of your community, move your congregation from the seats to the streets in meaningful ministry, equip members to share Christ in the course of their daily activity, develop new ministries to reach those still unreached, and partner with ministries already plugged into your local community.
The way to inwardly build a strong and healthy church is through external service and ministry. Will you accept the challenge to become an outie? The Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention has assessment tools, resources, training, networking and grants to assist your church in becoming more externally focused. Call or email for assistance.