CREATING A LIFE GIVING CULTURE
By: Bryan Cutshall
We have all experienced people, cultures and environments that have been like a breath of fresh air. Paul talked about an instance in his life like this…
“The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me…” 2 Timothy 1:16
The Greek word Paul used to describe this friend literally means ‘To put breath back in, to recover breath.’
When a church has this life-giving factor, you sense it within the first visit. “ But why do some churches have this quality and others don’t?
“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
Notice that Jesus said that the plant is growing even if the man doesn’t know how. The farmer plants the seed in the soil but it is the soil that produces the grain and harvest. It’s the soil that makes the difference. Every farmer would support this theory.
For plants the soil culture has qualities that make it healthy: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, potassium. When it comes to growing things the water, plant type, area… none of it matters if there is not a healthy soil culture.
Our lives and churches must also have qualities that contribute to a healthy culture.
Healthy Lives = Healthy Churches
Culture is a combination of attitudes, values, and practices that characterize a person, group, organization or institution.
NCD (Natural Church Development) is a study of healthy churches around the world and what made them healthy:
- Passionate Spirituality
- Gift Based Ministry
- Empowering Leadership
- Effective Structure
- Inspiring Worship Services
- Loving Relationships
- Need Oriented Evangelism
These SAME qualities also produce health in our lives:
1. In My Life: Enjoying God
The primary way to enjoy your relationship with God is by experiencing his presence in your life right here, right now.
In My Church: Passionate Spirituality
Research shows that the secret to growing a church is definitely not found in a particular style of spirituality, but in the level of passion at which faith is lived out among members.
2. In My Life: Embracing your design
You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139)
If you don’t grasp how special and significant you are, then you’ll never understand how much your unique combination matters.
In My Church: Gift Based Ministry
If a church doesn’t help its members discover and use their spiritual gifts then every other area of ministry will suffer.
3. In My Life: Feeling Empowered
Environments where those over you don’t see your potential become life-draining situations very quickly.
In My Church: Empowering Leaders
A non-serving Christian is a contradiction of terms (1 Peter 2:9 chosen people, royal priests, called out to show others the goodness of God). The responsibility of staff and leaders isn’t to do ministry but to equip for ministry.
4. In My Life: Keeping Focused
When you discover your identity and unique gifts and then become empowered to exercise them, you need to prioritize and focus on what matters most, those things your called to do that no one else can do. Many people are going through life “out of breath” because they are involved in so many activities-many of which do not contribute to their life’s purpose.
In My Church: Effective Structures
Wal-Mart model vs. Chick Fil A. It is important for a church to have a “not to do” list.
5. In My Life: Living inspired and full of joy
It looks like living in an attitude of HOPE, ANTICIPATION, ENTHUSIASM, FAITH AND EXPECTATION.
In My Church: Inspiring Worship Services
Every aspect of a worship service should refuel every attendee.
6. In My Life: Cultivating Relationships
Being relational is the only path to full spiritual maturity. Because every trait God wants us to attain is learned through interaction with others.
In My Church: Loving Relationships
Nothing changes behavior quicker than peer relationships.
7. In My Life: Focusing on Others
When you serve others, you will gain a new and broader perspective on your own needs and troubles. Praying for other people, providing for their needs, giving to missions, and celebrating changed lives create a culture that makes others the reason you exist.
In My Church: Need oriented Evangelism
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.