From Upper Room Joy to Frontline Sacrifice: 3 Essentials of Healthy Church Culture
One of the most important, but elusive, tasks of church leadership is creating and maintaining a healthy church culture. What I call church culture, some people call environment, atmosphere, or vibe. No matter what you call it, it is vital that church leaders create good environments.
No matter if you are leading a new church plant or an old established church, a mega church or mini church, a western church or third world church, an urban church or a rural church, an attractional church or a missional church... no matter what kind of church you are leading, if you want a healthy church culture you will need to constantly over-emphasize the following:
1. VIBRANT SPIRITUALITY. Seems silly to even list this one, but countless times throughout history organizations and churches that start out deeply spiritual end up spiritually dead. When I say spirituality I do not mean spooky, cooky, scary, or weird. Vibrant spirituality is Christ-centered and Spirit-empowered, not experience-seeking and out-of-control. Many churches have traded spiritual transcendence for cultural relevance or unbiblical mysticism. Both are bad trades.
2. GLOBAL MISSION. Yes, the presence of the Holy Spirit makes our meetings exciting, but that's not the point. The purpose of Holy Spirit power is to prepare us for mission. (see Acts 1:8) If we want healthy churches, we will have to lead people from upper room joy to front line sacrifice, from personal devotion to global mission. A healthy local church, requires a global mission. Jesus told his original followers to makes disciples, not just in their local communities, but in all nations. Jesus called them to a global mission, and he calls us to no less.
3. COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY. I have observed some deeply spiritual people pursue a global mission, and leave piles of body bags in their wakes. This happens when we are more concerned about mission than people. Remember, Jesus died for lost people not for religious experiences and mission statements. The people are the mission.