One of the aspects of my job is to help guests get plugged into my church. This has led me to look at a variety of things that impact how this takes place.
Follow-up programs, guest gifts, data tracking all are used to assist people in navigating our current church model. However, I am not sure these are the answer entirely.
I am not saying these are not necessary and that they cannot be of measurable benefit. What I am saying is that I believe there is something very strong and formable present within any organization that needs addressing – culture.
Every organization has established ways of doing things whether spoken, written, or unspoken. And by challenging these ways, they often pose great difficulties.
I looked up the culture on Wikipedia and this is what it listed…
“…the word ‘culture’ is most commonly used in three basic senses:
- Excellence of taste in the fine arts, and humanities, also known as high culture
- An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
- The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group”
Culture determines, more than anything else, what happens within the context of your church, organization, business, family, etc. It is a powerful force that speaks loudly to all who attempt to join your (fill in the blank).
Without first addressing this often underappreciated and unnoticed power, efforts to move forward will often end up in frustration and disappointment.
In order to move forward, an organization must first address internal issues that will free up its capacity to accept this motion. If this capacity is not released, the current culture will act as an anchor preventing any forward progress.
I totally agree, Jay. This is a huge issue when you change departments at work, get married and thus join a new family, or even pick a new favorite restaraunt to frequent after church. Culture is unseen but never unfelt, especially when its being challenged.
That’s why I think it is so important to develop a culture that says, “We don’t belong here. This world is not our home. We belong to another country, and we’re not just going to say it, but are going to prayerfully let our beliefs shape our actions and attitudes.”