Culture is Everything

April 2, 2017

by Brian Zehr

Culture is Everything

Mark and his team planted a church not too long ago. But even before they officially launched the church, a culture was beginning to form.
Culture is everything.

As Mark’s launch team grew, he cast vision, he formed relationships, and he developed priorities and timelines for everything from finances to community involvement. For both Mark and his team, it was all a rush of adrenaline, prayer and risk. If spiritual entrepreneurship is anything, it is a constant striving for that fine line between wisdom and faith. Some liken it to “storming hell with squirt guns.” It’s fun, but you better have a plan.

Fast forward two years, and you find a gathering of 250 people or so celebrating what God has done. A start-up just became an official self-sustaining church!

Now what?

How do they continue to reach people, impact the community, grow disciples and live in the intersection of wisdom and faith?

Here’s the problem: Often the energy that it takes to engage the apostolic endeavor of a new church creates a culture that is not set up properly to multiply. The launching of faith communities stops at one.

Mark is not alone.

I’ve seen pastors, church planters and denominational leaders wrestle with the alarming statistics revealing that most churches seem to grow to a point where they are unsure of what to do to multiply the mission and ministry God has given them.

That’s a problem. The solution is found in culture. Culture is everything. But what is culture?

Creating a Multiplying Culture

Culture, in its simplest form, adds together a church’s highest priorities (its values) with a distinct dialogue (an intentional narrative), supported by a clear, consistent set of actions. Not just a once-in-a-lifetime set of actions, but behavioral patterns that are regular and rhythmic.

When these values, narratives and behaviors align with a vision for multiplication, the church has the potential for amazing and sustainable multiplication.

So if culture is everything, what can a church or church plant do to create a multiplying culture?

Well, it starts with asking the right questions.

That is what Mark and his 2-year-old church did. As we worked with them to shift their culture–to create the goal of multiplying leaders and eventually multiplying their church–we began by asking the following questions:
What needs to be most important NOW? In other words, what is God saying to us in this season of the church? What priorities must we have in order to multiply leaders and our congregation?
How will we talk about what is most important? How do we engage our people in these values? What is the verbiage that leads our people to the intersection of faith and wisdom?
What will we do to live out our most important values? What are the actions our leaders must consistently take? What programs or processes will equip our people to live out the values of multiplication? Yes, culture is everything. The good news is that once we align our values, narrative and behaviors with God’s call to multiply, the culture of our church shifts, resulting in amazing multiplication. By the way, Mark’s church just planted a new church from their 4-year-old congregation and are looking for more leaders to multiply.

Click here to see this article on Brian Zehr's website Intentional Impact.
Leadership Development