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15 Keys to Church Health: Intentional Culture

15 Keys to Church Health: Intentional Culture October 9, 2022Leave a comment
What is church culture

Church culture change is challenging. A healthy church has an intentional culture, which helps the church develop the beliefs and behaviours needed for success.

This post is part of a series looking at the five essential components of organisationally healthy churches. The posts are:

  1. Apostolic Mission
  2. Prophetic Vision
  3. Intentional Culture
  4. Organic Structure
  5. Dynamic Strategy

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. Church culture change depends on determining our values and reinforcing them to shape what people consider to be important.

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 vision has to be clear in order to determine what church culture change – and therefore, what values – is 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. It increases the momentum of the mission.
  2. Your culture makes or breaks the success of the vision.
  3. The culture you have influences overall beliefs, and therefore behaviour, in the church
  4. It prompts healthy church culture change in how the church structure works top to bottom.
  5. A clear and intentional culture brings internal focus and depth to the church’s strategic plan.
  6. Church culture needs to be created intentionally because it provides parameters of assessment during ministry review and evaluation.

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 Church Culture Change?

Key Questions

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 on what actions to live out, but also on why those actions are fundamental to success?

What Next?

  1. Discover how the health of your current culture impacts other areas of your church in my FREE Church Health Check.
  2. Learn how I help churches like yours clarify, articulate and focus their unique Intentional Culture by going here.
  3. Consider my book ‘Keys to Church Health’ which looks at this area, and other related topics in greater detail by clicking here.
  4. Review the other Keys to Church Health by going here.

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