Every organization has culture. In many cases the culture is multi-faceted. In the who is jesus christ we see culture layer upon layer. Sometimes we have conflicting cultures. In far too many cases, those conflicting cultures lead to church splits.
Once the foundation of a church is in place, I believe three necessary cultures that are critical to the success of any great church must be in place. These three cultures do not develop on short notice and they do not do so by osmosis. It is critical that the senior pastor take the lead in the development of these cultures, teaching and coaching on all aspects of each.
If the church is an established church, 25 years or older, the development of these cultures will take time, a lot of it. Further, the three cultures are not a magic wand to grow the church you serve numerically and/or spiritually. They are, however, essential to have in place if you as the senior leader desire to see the church grow.
1. A Culture of Prayer – All churches would like to think of themselves as houses of prayer. “Oh yes, we are a praying church,” would be the mantra of most pastors. But when push comes to shove, what we often find is that churches have “Prayer Ministries.” They do the same with all sorts of the things God tells us all to do. In other words, churches have the prayer folks, the evangelism folks, the discipleship folks, etc. when in reality we are all charged with the responsibility to do those things.
It is critical that the church develops a culture of prayer. Even for yourself, as gifted as you are, do you want to go about the leadership of the church on your own talent? I can assure you that the level you can take the church on your own pales in comparison to where the church can go when it is engulfed in a culture of prayer.
It is your job to develop that culture. Do not succumb to the statement, “Our people won’t pray.” If your people won’t pray it is in large part because you have not taught them to pray. You must lead by example. You must tout the values of prayer and the instruction of our Lord to pray. In short, you need to start yesterday teaching, cultivating, encouraging, and leading the charge to possess a culture of prayer.
2. A Culture of Change – If there is one thing you can count on it is this. If the church you serve is going to grow it will change. How can you possibly stay the same and grow? Impossible. For many churches this becomes the break point.
In the church world, we often confuse change in facility, program, ministries, approach, etc. with change in our doctrine. Let’s be clear on this one. Nothing of what I write suggests any change in your doctrinal beliefs. You have a set of beliefs grounded in scripture that do not change. The Bible never changes. The communication of the Bible changes all the time. Helping the Body understand that is part of your job as the senior pastor.