I was thinking really hard recently about when we first started New Season Church. I don’t mean started as in the first Sunday we were “open” to the public…I am speaking of the three months that a group of 40 of us met while preparing to open.
I was giving this so much thought because a young preacher/pastor that I know named Kenny Green has just started this same process that I experienced 31/2 years ago. Kenny is meeting with a group of people who have known church a certain way their entire lives. Good or bad, these people have a certain mindset and certain expectations of how they think “church” should be. We all do. We want our church to be a mixture of how we grew up, what we like and don’t like. We have become experts in knowing and voicing our opinions. We have a certain culture.
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 your change the lens, you change the church’s outlook, change the culture and everything changes including the future of the church. I told this young pastor what I just told a pastor in his fifties last week. You must kill the old culture. You must bury it and not let it resurrect.
Culture is a hard thing to change. People get in a certain routine. They get stuck in a certain mindset and it is tough to change. Many people will fight the culture shift. They will defend the old way of thinking and doing things even though the church has dwindled down to 20 of them and they cannot even pay the electric bill. They will buck against culture shift and they will defend their way of thinking even bringing God into it. You will be called a dictator, liberal or accused of going against God.
I did say earlier that it is hard to change culture. Culture is everything…remember the definition. 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’s what we live out; it’s what you really are. Most churches need a culture shift.
Tomorrow I will show you how to change the culture in your organization, church or family.
We need a culture shift!