How I Learned to Look Outward
It's fall 2009. I'm in Loveland, Colorado, at a church volunteerism conference, with eager anticipation for many of the speakers and sessions. But there must have been a 'dead' hour, because I know I didn't expect much from one particular session. Three years later, that hour is what I remember most.
The session's title: The Externally-Focused Church. I knew it was on churches volunteering in the community. I was in favor of that, and hoped to pick up some useful tips, but I had heard the social ministry/social justice emphasis before, usually from churches more liberal than mine. I knew it all already.
The speaker began by drawing three large circles, one above the other two, overlapping. He said one circle represented the needs and dreams of the city; another, the mandates and desires of God; and the third, the callings and capacities of the church. He described in detail the three places where two circles met and overlapped. Then he pointed to the center, the place where all three circles overlapped. Service, he said, is the sweet spot, the meeting place of what God wants the church to do, what everyone at church can do and is called to do, and what the community around the church would welcome. Wow. This is not what I was expecting. I was hooked.
Eric Swanson on 'The Externally Focused Church'
Eric Swanson speaks on
The Externally Focused Church
Fri. Feb. 8, 2013, 12:30 pm to 4 pm
Sat. Feb. 9, 2013, 8:30 am to noon
Same presentation each day
St. Peter Lutheran Church
111 W. Olive Street
Arlington Heights, IL
Learn how a focus on your community
equips people to serve!
More information and registration at
or call 847-259-4114
The most viewed articles and resources on www.TheEquipper.org in 2012 as measured by pageviews:
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Beginnings at St. Peter, Arlington Hts, IL
Assessment: Is Your Church a Good Steward?
This blog post, Measuring How We Measure Up by Beth Steinhorn, links in the 2nd paragraph to "State of Evaluation 2012," a clear and compelling report on evaluation practice and capacity in the nonprofit sector. Items of interest: 90% of nonprofits conduct evaluations; 100% of organizations that conduct evaluations use their findings; volunteers are great resources for conducting evaluations
More good stuff:
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