Culture Shift is a Challenge

We lay a good foundation for changing people’s attitudes, thinking, and actions toward serving by helping them understand why it’s so important. We help them understand that ultimately they’re accountable to the Lord in following His design, not us. We would hope that would be sufficient to motivate people to do their part. Yet, in many cases making it part of your church’s culture still alludes you.

Why it’s such a Challenge to Shift the Way People Feel About Serving

  • We’re dealing with people’s previous perceptions. We must model a new way of being the church for them.
  • We’re dealing with people’s priorities. We must bear with them as they rearrange what they’ve viewed as more important to align with God’s.
  • We’re dealing with people’s hearts. We must be patient as God does a work in them to move them from self-centeredness to selflessness.

Accept the Challenge that Comes with making a Culture Shift

Culture Shift to Follow God's Design is a Challenge

We need to accept the challenge to equip or disciple people, to function purposefully, even when it seems inconvenience or uncomfortable. — So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up … (Eph. 4:11-14) To “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24) requires knowing and following the right course of action to get people there … the topic of the next post.

We need to accept the challenge to keep the focus on Christ, who is the Head, not on ourselves. It’s about submitting to Him and His ways, not our own agendas. It’s about depending on Him to sustain us, not our own strength. — Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:15-16)

We need to accept the challenge to persevere, however long it takes. We live in a world of instant gratification. Culture shifts, however, take time. — Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Gal. 6:9)

Culture Shift Based on God’s Commands

For our churches to get to the point where everybody does their parts will take a culture shift — an ongoing change in the way we think and feel about serving along with actions toward it. Part of the shift involves understanding why it is so important.

Important Because Serving One Another is Based on God

  • based on God’s knowledge of how we can best function as a church, to be healthy and to grow (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12; Rom. 12)
  • based on God’s heart for us to demonstrate love for Him and others through serving them (Matt. 22:37-40; Gal. 5:13)
  • based on God’s will for us to administer His love and grace to one another (1 Pet. 4:8-11)

Culture Shift Based on God’s Commands About Serving

Culture Shift to Follow God's Design Needs to be Based on God's CommandsAccording to God, doing our part isn’t optional. Here are just a couple commands God gives in His Word about serving:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Gal. 5:13)

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Pet. 4:10)

We must take people beyond a request from ministry leaders to do their part. While the vision for this culture shift from church leaders may initially seem to get people moving, it’s insufficient to keep them going. They need to realize that this expectation comes from a higher authority to whom we’re all accountable — the Lord of lords and King of kings, the Almighty Sovereign God.

Perhaps the starting point may be to help people gain a better grasp of who God is so they understand not only His sovereignty to command us to function a certain way but also His grace and love upon which He exercises His rights. Because God knows best and has our good in His heart, it only makes sense that we follow His commands.

It Takes a Culture Shift

Takes a Culture Shift to Follow God's DesignGod’s blueprint design for church health and growth is that everybody does their part.

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16)

Yet, many churches fall short of this reality. We struggle with recruiting people to do the work of God in the church. Some may even question if it’s a valid goal. God would answer “yes” or He wouldn’t have commanded it.

What’s it going to take to line up with His design? — a culture shift. When something becomes part of our culture, it becomes engrained in the way we operate. People recognize it as an expectation when joining with us and anticipate such engagement as the norm.

We must realize, however, that something doesn’t become part of our church’s culture just because we will it to be so. It takes a shift in our attitudes and the way we think as well as our actions. Affecting the culture takes time and patience. The steps to begin may seem simple but they must be consistently applied.

Steps Toward a Culture Shift in Functioning According to God’s Design for Everybody to Do Their Part

1) Understand God’s commands.

2) Accept the challenge.

3) Develop a course of action.

The above steps could apply to any situation in which the church needs a culture shift but in upcoming posts we’ll be looking at each of the steps in light of the need for everybody to do their part. — Subscribe to receive e-mail notices of new posts.

Seek God’s Help Each Step of the Way in Promoting a Culture Shift in Your Church

Of utmost importance is that we recognize that God must enable us as we do each step.

1) God, through His Spirit, is the One who makes it possible for us to understand His Word.

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:14)

2) God is the One who prepares our hearts to accept the challenge.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Phil. 2:13)

3) God is the One who will get us on the right course.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Sharing God’s Message of Salvation?

Gospel - Sharing God's Message of Salvation
(Click image to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)

 

When we comprehend how central the Gospel is to God’s eternal plan, we will understand the importance of evangelizing the world around us. We will want to share God’s message of salvation with others.

Sharing God’s Message of Salvation Because of:

God’s Eternal Purpose

God’s purpose from the beginning of time was to send Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself to bring people into a relationship with Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 3:11)

  • How can we not join Him in such an important mission as His ambassadors? (2 Cor. 5:19-20)

God’s High Motivation

God’s motivation in sending Jesus was unconditional love exhibited by His grace and mercy. (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8)

  • How can we not be compelled by such love to share Jesus with others so they too can know Him? (2 Cor. 5:14)

God’s Longing Heart

God’s heart is one that desires for all men to be saved and rejoices when even one person is found in Him. (Lk. 15:1-32; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9)

  • How can we not want to be a part of His mission by reflecting His heart to the world around us? (Jn. 17:25-26)

God’s Authoritative Commission

God’s commission is for His people to be witnesses, making disciples of all nations. (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20)

  • How can we not obey His command to evangelize the world around us if we love Him, the One who has done so much for us? (1 Jn. 5:3-4)

God’s Unlimited Power

God’s power to save is exhibited in the Gospel. Through Jesus sinful people are made right with a holy God. (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18) We cannot do enough good to secure our salvation but with God, all things are possible. (Matt. 19:17-26)

  • How can we not let go of our inhibitions and boldly proclaim Jesus as God’s solution to the sin problem if our confidence is in His power to save rather than our abilities? (Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16)

The Evangelizing the World Around Me Discussion Guides will help your group grab hold of this important mission of sharing the Gospel, God’s message of salvation, with those around you.

Truths About Worship

Truths about Worship - It's about God, not us.

We all have preferences on how to worship, often based on our personalities and backgrounds. Through the years this has produced tension, even controversy, in coming together as the Church to worship. We can have people on opposite sides of a spectrum, making it difficult to please everyone.

Tensions in Corporate Worship

Many of the tension points in corporate worship revolve around the following spectrums:

  • Traditional versus Contemporary
  • Volume & Beat versus Reverence & Awe
  • Spirit-led versus Planned

When our personalities or backgrounds take our preferences in worship to a different end of the spectrum than what’s happening in the worship service, we can learn to be content, still able to truly worship God, when we separate out form from substance or principles from precepts. We need to get to the real essence of worship.

Biblical Truths to Remember About Worship

Since we worship God, we should seek to please Him. Biblical truths, therefore, not our preferences based on our personalities or backgrounds, should form our priorities in worship.

1) Worship is about the Lord, not about us and not about the form or medium used to worship.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of things that were to come; the reality (substance), however, is found in Christ. (Col. 2:16-17)

2) What’s in the heart matters more to God than outward appearance or style.

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy with and to walk humbly with your God. (Mic. 6:6-8)

3) God seeks those who worship in spirit AND truth, not either/or.

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. (Jn. 4:23)

4) Worship is more than a Sunday affair, more than something we do at church or in our quiet times. It involves the whole of our lives, every day.

Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –this is your spiritual act of worship. (Rom. 12:1)

Click on the links below to learn about resources on worship produced by Ministry Tools Resource Center:

Studying the Character of God Helps Us in Ministry

Studying the Character of God Our Mighty Fortress

The Ministry Worker’s Devotional: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God likens the individual attributes of God to rocks upon which we can stand. Put all those rocks together and we have a mighty fortress in our God! With all we have coming against us in ministry, it only makes sense, then, that we study the character of God.

How Studying the Character of God Benefits Us in Ministry

Knowing God in the fullness of who He is, His character and ways, leads to a healthy, reverential fear of God that will provide you with the following:

A base from which to make wise decisions. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in. What should be priority? From all the good choices, which is best?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (See Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33)

A standard to keep you on course. In ministry it is so easy to hop on the bandwagon of current ministry trends or fads. The broad way is not always the right way for you (Matt. 7:13-14; Prov. 14:12).

To the one who fears the Lord, “He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.” (See Ps. 25:12; 33:8-11)

A compass for morality. Just because you are in Christian ministry doesn’t mean you will avoid temptations. The lure to follow the ways of the world is great. The pull of the flesh can be strong. The tendencies to boast won’t let go.

“Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” (See Prov. 8:13-14; 16:6; 23:17)

A means to a life worth living. Sometimes ministry brings little earthly reward or applause. When you fear the Lord, you can rise above and find meaning, contentment, and satisfaction nonetheless.

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.” (See Prov. 10:27; 14:27; 19:23; 22:4)

A bolster to confident living. Security breeds confidence. If you rest in the power and protection of the Lord, you can firmly stand and move out with competence knowing He will be there for you. He is your sufficiency.

“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress.” (See Prov. 14:26)

A source of comfort and hope in times of trouble. Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you will make mistakes. Sometimes you will meet with opposition. You have an enemy who wants to thwart God’s plan in your life and ministry. But, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, … to deliver them …” (See Ps. 22:23-24; 33:18-22; 34:7)

A path to intimacy with God. Do you want to know God’s ways? Do you want to know His will? Get to know His heart. Get to know His character. Get to know who He is.

“The Lord confides in those who fear him.” (See Ps. 25:14)

Check out the Ministry Workers Devotional for how specific character traits of God relate to serving.