I remember watching Top of the Pops. It was once the only pop music programme on television – imagine that. I remember some iconic moments – Jeffrey Daniel from the group Shalamar doing robotic dancing, a guitarist falling over the drum kit and the lead singer of the band Culture Club Boy George’s first appearance. We had never seen anyone on national television look like that, sing like that and challenge us like that. It got everyone talking at school the next day and was the start of a change of culture in this country that society is still working through today.
Culture is such a huge thing. You can look at all sorts of definitions for it like:
“The characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time.”
(Marriam – Webster online Dictionary)
and all sorts of quotes about it like:
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”
There are all sorts of theories about it like:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
(Peter Drucker – Business Guru)
So why don’t we talk much about it in churches – if at all? I have had many meetings with church leaders and we have talked about how the church culture needs to change to be more about people not in the church than about people only in the church. It takes time, perseverance, top downwards strategies, bottom upwards strategies, alternative strategies and focus. It is not a quick, easy option to take.
Look at Paul’s advice to Timothy in the book of 2 Timothy chapter 2 in the bible. There is an alternative culture of internal arguments, quarrels and a moving away from the truth happening in the church. Paul’s advice is to be strong in God’s grace, pass on Paul’s teaching to reliable people to pass on, endure hardship, focus on serving God, be hardworking, keep remembering and reminding others that it is about Jesus. It is not a quick, easy option to take.
So what is your church’s culture?
Is it all about us or all about them?
Is it all about us or all about Him?
What needs to change for it to be more like God’s desired culture?