Our Culture 06: Developing a Progressive Culture

One of the most important roles of a pastor is to set the temperature for the culture of the church. Many pastors are like thermometers – they allow the church to set the temperature, in fact they let the loudest and most carnal people in the church to set the temperature. But what we need to be as leaders is thermostats – we set the temperature, and we need to set it to hot.

We need to develop a progressive culture in the church. A culture that is progressive means that the church is moving forward, growing, developing, maturing. A regressive culture is moving backwards, stuck in the mud, staying where it is, and stopping the church from crossing over to great overflow and increase.

There is a lot to say about this but here are three things that will always help you build a progressive culture in your church or organization:

  1. Stop oiling the squeaky wheel. Part of what we think good Christian ministry is can be so far removed from good Christianity.  We think that the people who demand the most attention, the most immature, the most hurting, the most needy are the people we need to gather with, to meet with week after week and to spend time with. It sounds reasonable, but to be honest it isn’t. What happens is that these people never grow and by attending to them you are teaching the rest of your church that as a leader your attention is on those who are pulling the church back. If people want your attention, they will start to develop problems. The whole church doesn’t grow and it moves backwards!
    1. You need to celebrate the superstars in your church. Those who turn up on time, who serve without thought of reward, who love and go above and beyond the sense of duty. Then the whole church is pulled forward.
    2. You cannot emphasise this point enough.
  2. Don’t worry about offending people. There are always people with thin skin. Either they grow up or they go somewhere else, either way, you win. Some people do not want to change, and it is going to cost you your peace to try and change them. Tell people the truth, let them decide how to respond and let them respond however they want. You can stretch to accommodate other people, but don’t stretch yourself out of shape or let other people dictate how your church should move. You are the thermostat.
  3. Realize that whenever someone is trying to make you feel guilty or scared, they are using illegitimate authority. You are the one in charge, be full of love and grace, but don’t let yourself ever be led by someone who is making you feel guilty or scared.
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