“Culture” by Chris Hodges #GrowLeader22

In Birmingham, Alabama, The Church of the Highlands hosted their 13th GrowLeader Conference.

Culture is the hardest thing to teach or describe. It’s intangible.

Culture is the unwritten rules on how people act, reach communicate, solve problems, and treat each other. It’s the organization’s personality.

Culture trumps everything.

It’s better to have a healthy culture and the wrong systems than the right systems with an unhealthy culture.

“Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” – Psalm 92:13

Death Valley wasn’t dead but dormant. The potential was there if the conditions were right. See Superbloom.

If the conditions are right, growth will happen.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”” – Mark 4:26-29

The soil is what determines the growth!

The Natural Church Development Qualities of a Growing Church

German scientist named Christian Schwarz sought to determine what makes a church grow and what keeps it from growing. 4,200,000 completed the survey.
The study revealed 8 qualities that all growing churches possess. The Natural Church Development determined that if the score on all 8 of the areas was 65 or more, in 99.97% of the cases, the church was a numerically, healthy, growing church. But no quality can be missing.
Focus on that one issue that is lowest of the 8 to improve on it.

1. Passionate spirituality.

Faith lived out with commitment, fire, and enthusiasm.
“We are passionately in love with Jesus.”

How to grow in this?

  • The leaders need to set the example. See 1 Timothy 4:12
    Are you throwing logs in the fireplace to keep the fire going? Are you still growing in your love for Jesus?
  • We need to develop self-feeders.
  • Celebrate changed lives.

2. Gift-oriented ministry.

God has already determined which Christian should best assume which ministries in the church.
For example, this means people don’t need to be recruited to kids ministry but discovered.

How to grow in this?

  • We create ministry around people’s gifts.
  • Do away with the “volunteerism” mentality.
  • Have a process where people can discover their gifts.
  • Make equipping people the main function of the staff.
    “If I see you doing ministry, I will fire you!” 🙂

3. Empowering leadership.

Leaders aren’t building up their own power but one of their most important tasks is empowering people.

How to grow in this?

  • We empower people.
  • Encourage people to dream. Encourage creative thinking.
  • Allow people to challenge the process (not the vision). “Here’s what I want to do. How do you think we should do it?”
  • Create an atmosphere of encouragement.

4. Functional structures.

Don’t do stuff for the sake of doing it.
Structures are a mean to an end.
Healthy churches change (or lay to rest) whatever does not meet up to this requirement.

How to grow in this?

  • We focus on what works.
  • Learn from proven models.
  • Measure your effectiveness.
  • Don’t worry about making it bigger. Just make it better.

5. Inspiring worship.

Research indicates it isn’t about the style. People who attend inspiring worship services unanimously declare the church service is fun.

How to grow in this?

  • We have fun.
  • Laugh more.
    Church shouldn’t be endured but enjoyed.
  • Be generous.
    Don’t sell stuff but give it away. They will give more than you could have got them to pay for it.
    We don’t ever want money to keep someone from going to something.
  • Pursue excellence. People are more comfortable in an environment of excellence.

6. Holistic small groups.

The true life of the church!
Life change happens in the context of relationships.

7. Loving relationships.

A higher “love quotient” creates a great magnetic power than all the marketing efforts of this world.

People may come for the teaching and worship and kids, but they stay when they are needed and known.
We love people.
Too many pastors like crowds but not individuals.

How to grow in this?

  • Create a high touch environment. See 30 Ways to Create a High Touch Environment
  • Be involved in the life of the church.
    “I am one of them.” – the pastor
  • The 30:30 Rule – 30 minutes before the service and 30 minutes after connect in the hallways and lobby.
    Write notes. Call people. Go out to lunch.
    CCBCO – A Chief Come Back to Church Officer
  • Guard your heart.
    Everyone is mean right now. Forgive them! Every day!
    Our battle is not against flesh and blood!
    Love people, and hate the devil.

8. Need-oriented evangelism.

Share the gospel in a way that meets the questions and needs of the non-Christians.

We are more concerned with reaching people than keeping people.

How to grow in this?

  • Constantly remind the congregation of our purpose.
    We all gravitate towards selfishness so keep this in front of people.
  • Adopt “Points of Passion.”
  • Train every member in personal evangelism.
  • You cannot build culture. You can only be culture
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