“Managing the culture in our ministry is the most important thing we do. If I don’t lead and manage the culture, our focus and values will slowly disappear.” – (GIDC)

Culture may be more important than we realize. We often think of culture on purely negative terms since most of the time we are speaking about the culture of our world. But every place has some kind of culture. Our homes, our churches, our schools, our clubs, our sports teams – everything that has more than one person has a culture.  So the first question we ask is: what makes up a culture and why is that so important? In this situation, if you think about your own home, you will understand these thoughts as related to the culture of your own home:

1) Cultures have a shared language: When growing up in your home, your family develops a certain way of communicating with one another. This communication is indispensable to culture. In fact, it is hard to suggest a culture exists if there is not some way to communicate with others. In a simple way, communication is the foundation of a culture.  English people speak English; people from Quebec (Canada) speak French.

2) Cultures have shared values: Values describe what is important to us.  So the way we dress, what we eat, and how we handle or spend money will all indicated what we value. In Christian terms we might say, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also” – translated this means – what you value (a lot) is what your heart will pursue.  We usually have little to no trouble making the time, effort, and resources to things that we really value, the things that are really important to us.

3) A Culture has a shared way of doing things: People in a common culture tend to do things in a certain way. In the simplest way this is reflected in procedures and practices. In the home it can include traditions, proverbial sayings from parents, even avoiding and expressing frustration develops the culture of that family. If you grow up and there is a lot of hugging, touching and affection then that is how love and affection is developed in that home; it is their culture that indicates the way that family cares about each other. If the family valued sitting down to meals together, that is a way of doing meals that might be very different from another family who might not sit down together to eat meals.

4) Cultures have a shared story or vision: Americans are taught the American story on how we came to exist. In addition there is the “American Dream” which means anyone can have the opportunity to achieve financial independence and success. Our social structures reinforce and teach our shared story.

Engaging in culture has value, especially if we are seeking to communicate the gospel (as Christians) because if we don’t find ourselves on some common ground with others, or at least understand the culture, we will have great difficulty in connecting and communicating with them.

Make no mistake, as much as we would love to “change the culture,” we often find ourselves being changed by our culture. Of course the danger is: if the culture is not interested in honoring God then the more we adopt the ways of the culture the more we risk becoming just like the culture. The more we can speak into that culture or even change portion of it we have a better chance of transforming people with the gospel. The culture can take on a new language, values, ways of doing things, and finally, a new story and vision. Our new paradigm is about bringing Christ into our culture and helping people set some of the worldly culture aside so we can prepare to speak His grace and truth into their lives.

Taken from – GiDC (Growing an Intentional Disciplemaking Culture)

Pastor Brad