Necessary Endings – Part 5
Cracking The Church Culture Code
Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people that define everything they do from the way they talk, what they believe, what they eat, their language, social habits, music, arts and so on. Every church has a culture code that defines who they are. Some churches have a frigid culture because the culture demands it. The members are non responsive, non cooperative and non productive. There are other churches that are fashionable in culture. They embrace whatever new ideology that emerges. Then there are other churches that are fruitful in culture. The fruitful cultured church is open for change; not change that deviates from the will of God but change to expand the Kingdom of God.
We frequently ignore culture in church that allows non-productive cycles to continue until it becomes so bad that it must be addressed. Aldous Huxley, the author of the dystopian novel, Brave New World says, “Facts don’t cease to exist just because you ignore them”.
Some church culture codes must be cracked if they are to thrive and regenerate. The failure to break negative cultural pratices within a church will lead to a culture of mediocrity, a culture of routiness, and a culture of victimization with devastating effects in the life of the church of missed opportunities.
Cultures of Mediocrity: As tragic as it may be, many accept mediocrity in church; no challenge, no commitment and no change. A look back over a life of mediocrity in the lives of individual church members will later in life foster some regrets. A life of regrets becomes a nagging opponent of “What should have been done when there was a chance to do it.”
Cultures of Routiness: Just because a church has done something for a long time does not mean that it is relevant or right. To get where you never been you have to do something you have never done.
Cultures of Victimization: When everyone shifts blame to others of why nothing progresses it creates a culture of victims. There has to be a paradigm shift from victim to victor. The question today is “How do we crack the churches culture code?”
In Deuteronomy chapter 2 we see the congregation of the Lord on the verge of cracking cultural codes that will ultimately lead them to the Promised Land. The Children of Israel turned a 250-mile journey or perhaps a month trek towards the Promise Land into a 40-year circling saga in the wilderness. They developed and nurtured a culture of grumbling, complaining and defying leadership that lead to nowhere. God became so angered by their rebelliousness that He delayed their destiny and deferred their dreams of entering the Promised Land. For forty years the culture of negativity caused them to wander in the wilderness until all of the chief complainers died. To those that remained it was the words in Deuteronomy 2 that would define their future. Just before entering the Promised Land, God brought them to a place called Gilgal. It was there that God would take away the reproach of Egypt from them.
This is Moses’ narrative of the account: “Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed Mount Seir many days. And the LORD spake unto me, saying, ‘Ye have compassed this mountain long enough.’
Moses did not make it to the Promised Land. Joshua would lead the congregation into Canaan. Before entering the Promised Land it was necessary for some practices within the culture to cease. Change agents such as Joshua and Caleb had to defy the majority perceptions of the masses and set the pace for change.
What is the lesson?
- Culture can be restrictive to growth.
- There are some events in our lives that are time sensitive.
- Old behaviors cannot possess new boundaries.
How do we crack the church culture code?
- People: Dr. Samuel Chan made a monumental statement in his book, “Cracking Your Churches Culture Code”: Culture eats strategy for lunch. Change agents are mandatory. They are people that are willing to be used by God to affect a change such as Joshua and Caleb.
- Perception: To crack the code a congregation must see beyond the present.
- Preparation: To crack the code a congregation must began to behave as people that are moving into the promises of God.
- Power: The Power of the Holy Spirit sets confusion into order and creates the atmosphere for change.
Because of Him!
Dr. Oscar T. Moses