Churches, and may I say most church consultants, are hung up on strategy. Strategy isn’t the enemy but culture is the issue.

However culture is not about cool. We have spent our wad on cool. You know: the music, the videos, the dress, the vocabulary etc. All good. Should be perpetually adjusted as society evolves. But culture runs deeper. And yes, we must address strategy, structure and other issues in due course.

Without cool and without strategy church leaders can make a huge difference by attacking and reforming culture. If the people aren’t willing to learn new cultural norms then most other focal points will fail to change things.

People are astute. They read the culture. Some will silently comply; others will quietly slip away. Here are some foundations to a good church culture in no particular order.

Truth

Tell the truth even when it hurts. People want to know. They want to know the demands of the Gospel even if they aren’t ready to trust them.

Transparency

Be transparent about truth people would like to know even when it might be to your disadvantage to disclose a particular fact.

Example

Show the truth. If church leaders mumble “Do as I say not as I do” you will be dead in the water. If 3-5 church leaders actually live it out, it will spread.

Sacrifice

People rise to a sacrificial cause. The church is the ultimate place for resilient, compelling, engaging, joyful sacrifice. No suicide bombs strapped to the chest but a readiness to die to self and live it out.

Friendliness

It takes simple straightforward friendliness unlike entering a car dealership with the salesmen all eyeing the prey.

Equality

Your church is the place. Upscale or downscale, intelligent or challenged each human is of equal value and you show it without effort.

Love

Love is something you do so figure it out. This isn’t about warm hugs and smiles – not to suggest those aren’t a part of it. Just chase the Bible truths on this and live them.

Acceptance

While we need excellence we need to accept that people seldom deliver. Therefore our expectations …

Pursuit

A church must pursue the lost not the other way around. Almost everyone gets to church for the first time because someone invites them personally. The first order of business is followers who fish.

These are just some of the attributes of a church culture that will overrule almost every strategy deficiency you can think of. In fact, when you get the culture right it is much easier to identify more effective strategies.

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