Building an intentional “culture” at your church is something a lot of people are talking these days but few people are actually doing. Truth is every church already has a culture, but most of them are built on accident.
Culture is that squishy stuff in an organization that’s hard to get your hands around and define. It’s reflected in the language of the organization, the way people who are a part of the organization dress, the filter they use to make decisions and so on. Culture has been defined as the sum total of the attitude, values and behaviors of an organization. And of course Peter Drucker, who is commonly referred to as the “father of modern management,” was famously quoted as saying the following about culture:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
If that’s true, and if culture really is so important then how do you purposefully build culture in your church? Say you want to build a culture of volunteerism, generosity, outreach, or discipleship; what steps would you take? Building a purposeful culture in a church doesn’t have to remain a mystery you can do it by following the following steps. All four steps are equally important, but most pastors usually only think about the first two.
1. Preach = Inspiration & Motivation
This answers the question, “Why should I do it?”
Words build worlds. In other words language matters, it matters a lot. We do this with our kids at home you probably do too. Like most kids my kids fight from time to time and sometimes it gets a little carried away. When this happens I’ll ask my son, “Are you strong?” and he’ll respond by saying, “Yea Daddy, I’m strong!” I’ll then ask him, “Who made you strong?” and he’ll reply, “Jesus made me strong.” Next I ask, “Why did Jesus make you strong?” to which he says, “To take care of people.” Next comes the question of clarity, I’ll ask him if he used his strength to take care of his brother or his sisters (whoever the fight was with). This has become normal language in our home and as a result the culture of our home is teaching him that his gifts are from Jesus and they have been given to him for the purpose of helping others, not simply to be spent on himself.
Example: Do a teaching series on biblical community and groups. Demonstrate and inspire from the Bible why it’s unacceptable to do life alone.
2. Teach = Instruction & Application
This answers the question, “How should I do it?”
Teaching is all about offering and training very specific steps that you want people to take that will move them towards the activities you want them to be involved in and the attitudes and behaviors you want them to demonstrate.
Example: Create a clear step that people can take to get into a Small Group.
3. Model = Illustration & Examples
This answers the question, “Are you buying what you’re selling?”
In other words are you authentic? Do you use your own product? This is a simple issue of leading with moral authority.
Example: All of our Staff are in groups and we’re leading the way, join us and get in a group too.
4. Celebrate = Celebration & Reinforcement
This answers the question, “What do you value?”
What gets celebrated gets repeated. What you cheer on and value in your church builds culture in your church. This may sound elementary, but if you’re a parent you’ll get what I’m about to say. There’s a reason you reward a kid when you’re potty training them with an M&M and cheer them on when they use the toilet. At no other time in your life will people cheer you on when you use the toilet. But when you’re training someone to do something for the first time, what you celebrate gets repeated.
Example: Publicly make “heroes” of and celebrate stories of people who got involved in a group and how their life was impacted and changed through biblical community.
Posted in Leadership