So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping,
eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing
what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your
culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed
from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike
the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out
of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I remember a coaching client many years ago who was frustrated with her teenage children. One of their chores was laundry. The mother’s expectation was that every piece of laundry would be turned inside out before being placed in the washing machine. The children didn’t like to take the time to do this. The mother having been raised with this expectation and value of clothing preservation herself, did not understand why her children did not share that same value. She saw their resistance as disrespectful and not valuing the investment made in the clothing. The teenagers viewed it as a complete waste of time and their mother being over the top in the excessive time wasted for the seemingly low extended life of the clothing. It was an ongoing battle.
What needed to happen is some everting in the mother’s thinking. Was her ongoing frustration and stress over the laundry really worth the ongoing battle? What was she gaining? Did every piece of clothing need to be turned inside out or were there really just a few key pieces? What was her sanity and her relationship with her children worth versus prolonging the life of the clothing? The end result of the coaching session is that instead of the laundry being turned inside out, it was her thinking that needed to be turned inside out.
Often, churches find themselves in the same patterns of being unrecognizably stuck. They get stuck in the same ministry ruts, in the methods that worked at some point in their history, in the same events on the same day every January, and in the same expectations that their neighbors should just show up on Sunday and like what the “church people” like. Many churches are stuck! Churches, too, need to evert their thinking and their doing. They need to turn themselves inside out.
What does it mean to evert? Evert is defined as to turn outward, to turn inside out, to turn upside down, to reverse, to turn out, to reverse, to rotate, to turn around, to revolve, to move outwards, to move out of the way, or to disrupt. For me, the most accurate meaning for how the church needs to evert is inside out. It is a spot-on descriptor for the church on so many levels.
- The congregation needs to move from inside the church walls to out in the community.
- The activities of the church need to move from inside the facility to out amongst the members of the community.
- The focus and priority of the church needs to move from inside the congregation to out in their mission field.
- The budget of the church needs to be less weighted for the benefit of those on the inside and more on those out in the neighborhood.
- The discipleship of the individual congregants needs to move to more inside transformation that results in transformation out in the community.
Later this month, the new book I co-authored with Michael Scott, Inside Out: Everting Your Ministry Model for the Postmodern Culture, will be published. In this resource we turn traditional ministry models inside out and upside down to help us all discover what it means to be relevant and compelling to connect with new, younger, and more diverse people in this postmodern, post-Christian culture. Pre-Order your copies today, so you can utilize this challenging and eye-opening resource as a leadership development and small group resource this fall.