The dictionary would describe culture as “the sum of attitudes, customs and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another.” Its root meaning is shared with the word, “agriculture” referring to “soil that has been tilled and by extension, a set of traits that have been plowed into a group’s way of life.”
A church’s culture is the lens through which they view how things ought to go. If you change the lens, you change the church’s outlook, change the culture and everything changes including the future of the church.
#1 – You must identify your church’s unique culture based on kingdom values that are centered in the Bible.
Every church should have the same kingdom values but a pastor’s unique personality, gifts and life experiences will come out in shaping the values. Example: My passion is seeing people far from God experience life in Christ and becoming fully engaged followers. Our church is very evangelistic and kingdom minded – lost people matter to God!
#2 – The leadership must live out the kingdom values or it will not transfer.
Transformation can never be brought in from the outside; transformation is inside work. You don’t get what you want, you get what you are. You teach what you know and you reproduce who you are. The pastor, the staff, and the leadership must live out the values or there will be no culture shift.
#3 – Hold everyone accountable to the mission, vision and kingdom values.
It’s easy to drift. It’s easy to get off track. We all need accountability in maintaining our culture.
#4 – Communicate the vision and values in all public messages and meetings.
In order to maintain the right culture, you must talk about the values in every setting. How you do this creatively and consistently will be the key in your church, organization or family’s culture.
#5 – Put your mission, values and vision in print so everyone can see them each time that you meet.
Seeing is being reminded of the vision and it puts it in front of new people so they are exposed to the culture from their first visit.
Culture announces identity. It’s who you are. It’s your spiritual D.N.A. It’s your kingdom values. The culture of the church shapes attitude and behavior. Church culture does not reside in buildings or programs; it’s not what we say or what we believe. It is who you are.