15 Keys to Church Health: Intentional Culture

15 Keys to Church Health: Intentional CultureNovember 8, 2018
Church Culture

This post is part of the series on 15 Keys to Church Health. This key is one of the Five Aspects of Organisationally Healthy Churches.

A healthy church has intentional culture, which helps the church develop the beliefs and behaviours needed for success.

What is Intentional Culture?

The church culture answers the key question ‘what is the church growing?’ Values are the seeds of culture and reveal what we believe to be right, good and best. They give us a framework for making decisions and choosing what is important. We can have any number of values related to any subject, but values are only true values if they manifest through action – otherwise, they are simply opinions or convictions. The sum total of all our values amalgamated together creates culture.

Think of it this way: an individual plant – a tree, flower, or vegetable – is a value. But a collection of plants together – a garden – is a culture. The garden, or culture, has a specific purpose. Perhaps it’s a flower garden, or a vegetable patch, or an orchard. But there is hopefully a purpose for the garden’s existence, whether that is for viewing pleasure for people or to provide food. How is a garden’s purpose determined? By the vision of the gardener. Therefore, a church’s prophetic vision has to be clear in order to determine what church culture – and therefore, what values – are necessary to see the vision fulfilled.

A church with an intentional culture determines to proactively develop and cultivate these values in the lives of the people, knowing that they will manifest in actions that become the church ‘normal’. This standard will determine whether the vision can happen, or if it is just a pipe-dream.

Why is Intentional Culture important?

It leads to people thinking and acting naturally and collectively in a way that contributes towards the vision.

What does healthy Intentional Culture bring to a church?

  1. Intentional Culture increases the momentum of the mission.
  2. Intentional Culture undergirds the success of the vision.
  3. Intentional Culture prompts healthy changes in how the church works top to bottom.
  4. Intentional Culture brings internal focus and depth to the church’s strategic plan.

What happens if Intentional Culture is lacking?

An unhealthy culture means dominant values, beliefs, preferences, attitudes, practices and behaviours characterise the church that may be counter-productive to the vision, or even actively work against it.

What helps develop Intentional Culture?

  • Essential values/culture identified using the vision as the yardstick. 
  • A clear values statement, separate from a doctrine statement or statement of faith. 
  • Plans of action in place for each value to reinforce or grow positive cultures and uproot negative cultures. 
  • Plans of action for turning each value from belief to behaviour across every area of the church.

How healthy is the Intentional Culture of your church? Is it intentional, as in, a deliberate and methodical process to take the mission and vision and make them practical both individually and corporately? Is it cultural, as in, proactively training people not just what actions to live out, but also why those actions are fundamental to success? To discover the health of your Intentional Culture, as well as the other keys to church health, contact me today.

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