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September 14th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

14 comments (+ Add)

Values and Culture

When leading any ministry, values should remain fixed, but the culture must evolve.

From the beginning of Life Church, we’ve had consistent values. Among other things, we value evangelism, stewardship, generosity, passion, integrity, excellence, and relationships.

These values are constants. But if we don’t allow God to mold our culture, we’ll get stuck in time and our effectiveness will be limited.

I see three main ways our culture has evolved in recent history:

  1. In the past, we were so focused on what we were doing, we largely ignored God’s broader work in the world. We have intentionally reshaped our culture to be decidedly more kingdom minded.
  2. Our culture has also evolved into showing more honor to other Christian leaders. In the past, we typically didn’t excel at hospitality. Our culture has evolved into a much more hospitable place.
  3. For years, we worked hard at what God was doing inside the church but not outside. As a church, we decided to shift the culture to be much more missional. Our church responded well and now our campuses are very involved serving our communities.

While we stay true to our values, we should respond to what God is showing us and let our culture grow and evolve into a more mature expression of God’s church.

How is your culture evolving?

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  1. Sep 14, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Our church culture has always been very missions-oriented, as in missions overseas or somewhere else. we are trying to make some changes. While not forgetting that outreach we are also trying to make our community a point of outreach as well. Last year after the flood we tried a week of service. next month to help celebrate our 5th anniversary we are taking a Sunday to do a Day of Service to our community. I am excited about the possibilities it will/may bring.

  2. Sep 14, 2009 at 7:57 am

    It is interesting being at a church for a short time (I have only been here a couple of months) and seeing the culture that is here. I would say that currently we are begining the evolving process, right now it is an inward focus for the most part. The great news is that for about the year before I came as Pastor they began to slowly shift toward missional work, with doing some work here in the community and now we have someone doing some international work. It is fun being at the beginning process and seeing people get excited about what God will do in the community and around the world.

  3. 4Ginger B
    Sep 14, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I like the term “more mature expression of God’s church.” I can easily gravitate to that.

  4. Sep 14, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Oh man…where to begin? God is Rocking my little world BIG TIME. Everyone that is really involved with LC (Hendersonville) is catching “THE IT BUG”. Something amazing is stirring and you can just feel The Holy Spirit is about to BUST Loose here. There are so many of us on the same page at the exact same time and it truly is SO exciting.

    The messages that we have received over the past few months from LC are igniting embers and the fire is becoming unstoppable. Thank you so much to the leadership of LC for listening to the heart of God and for allowing GOD to speak into our lives in a variety of ways.

  5. Sep 14, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Sounds like good changes being made. I hope more churches will follow your lead.

  6. Sep 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Distill it even further. I see what your saying even simpler, that is that there is only one way your culture has changed, and it’s a biggie.

    Instead of looking in, you’re looking out.

    We are changing in the same way, and it’s sometimes painful.

  7. Sep 14, 2009 at 11:48 am

    We are a two and a half year old church and I am amazed how much our culture has changed in this short time. I am so glad our church has been willing to hold firm to our values, but hold loosely to our culture. When we can make changes on the fly so to speak, we are able to keep momentum building and make bigger kingdom impact. We are able to seize opportunities without compromising values. We are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a rapidly changing culture.

    Some specific culture changes over the last year or so. Transition to video teaching (joined the LC Network). More missional focus (serving our community). Considering other venues to take our Sunday morning environment to… coffee shop, home gatherings, local college, bar. Keeping culture fluid allows for endless ministry potential.

  8. Sep 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

    The culture of our church has shifted because the people that makeup our church have changed. Our church has been in existence for about 18 years and we have seen a shift in our leadership from being younger to older and that is reflected in our programming and the issues we face.

    We have seen in our church community the normal ebb and flow that happens. We were once the big youth church in town and now the big youth is at another church.

    This happens in many areas in our church culture. The challenge for us is to respond as a church to these changes by flowing with the changes and not get stuck in the rut of what we have always done. Our core beliefs do not change, but our focus and programming must respond to the changes taking place around us.

  9. 10Al
    Sep 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    You are always so transparent and it is very refreshing. Our church has been alive for 25 years and I have been the pastor for only 2 years. Over that time, 22 churches were planted in various parts of Latin America & the US, I have changed the focus a bit in a sense where we want to strengthen our local church to raise up better leaders, develop stronger finances for church planting & build a stronger base. My slogan is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Truthfully, our past church plants were great and also gave birth, but the quality was not really the best. I feel the Lord leading us to raise the quality locally to model for more quality church planting. It’s a tough change but I feel it is necessary.

  10. Sep 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    These are three areas that I think my church (I’m a leader, not the pastor) could grow as well. I would be interested in hearing more about how you led the transitions in these three areas. About what you did to lead change.

  11. Sep 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    It is one thing for a Church to say that it has “values”. and many Churches say this. However, if those values are not being lived out and visibly present in the corporate life of the Church (that is the members of the Church), then these things are not Church “values”, they are more “goals”. If we truly value something, we will give time and effort to achieve that thing. If the membership of a Church does not display those values, that is an indication that the leadership is not conveying the values to the Church, meaning that they are not really values at all, but goals that would be nice to have! Just by saying something is a value, doesn’t make it a value.

    It is true that the Church’s culture must change to be relatable to the contemporary world, but the danger is allowing the world’s culture to influence the Church. Things like standards or morality, worship music chosen for the musical quality rather than the content of the song, not preaching sin or the wrath of God as these things might upset people and the like. It reminds me of giving gifts at Christmas. We wrap the gift to make it attractive to the recipient (that is the culture), but the gift inside is what it is all about (the gospel message). If all we received at Christmas was nice wrapping, and no gift inside, what would be the point. Unfortunately that is how some Churches are going, all culture, and no Gospel message inside.

  12. Sep 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    We had a few girls from the Palm Beach Atlantic College Basketball team come to the LC Campus last week. They pulled me aside and expressed how the clear, bold declaration of the Gospel is what they were looking for and can’t wait to get their friends to come to church with them. I am glad this value has never moved at LifeChurch.

  13. Sep 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm

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