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)

Maximum Participation in Ministry Training

Training Category: Staffing Ministry

We’ve already established that a comprehensive ministry training plan that includes a variety of elements beyond skill development leads to greater effectiveness in serving. But, getting people to participate in training opportunities can seem quite difficult. There are steps you can take that should help.

Gaining Maximum Participation in Ministry Training Opportunities

Staffing Ministry Manual for Training Help

The AAA’s that follow are included in the Staffing Ministry Manual along with some additional thoughts on these steps.

Advance notice

Don’t spring opportunities on people at the last minute and expect them to fit it onto their busy schedules.


Remember that many of your workers will have child care needs, perhaps transportation needs, or scheduling conflicts. Accommodate when you can.

Alternative approaches

The question is not if workers need to be trained but how. In today’s world, giving workers choices in how to get trained will increase the likelihood of it happening. The Staffing Ministry Manual includes a template you can use to develop a list of possible alternative training resources for different ministries.

Ministry Training Beyond Skill Development

Training Category: Staffing Ministry

So often we think of ministry training as skill development relevant to the different types of ministries. But, ministry training can be so much more. The following acrostic gives ideas of what can be provided as part of your in-service training that includes task development but goes beyond to minister to the whole person and to provide assistance in a timely manner in a variety of ways with the focus always on God.

Acrostic with Elements to Include in In-Service Ministry Training

Staffing Ministry Manual for Training HelpThe following acrostic is included in the Staffing Ministry Manual with a brief explanation of each element.

Task Development

Resource Recommendations

Assessment of Progress

Input from Supervisor

Nurture of Walk with God

Inspiration to Do One’s Best

Need-Based Help


Ministry Training Needed

Ministry Manuals for Training
Click image to learn more about Ministry Manuals useful for training.

Training Category: Staffing Ministry

Once we’ve assessed ministry needs, we’re ready to start recruiting people to accomplish these goals. But, staffing ministry doesn’t end there. People need to be trained. Effective training of volunteer church and ministry workers needs to be on-going. A more comprehensive approach to training begins before they’re placed into ministry and ends when they’re ready to leave that position. By so doing you will help them more effectively serve now and in the future.

Types of Ministry Training Needed to be Most Effective:

The Staffing Ministry Manual lists the following types of training, along with other help on training, in addition to more topics related to staffing:

(1) Pre-Service Training:

After you recruit people and before you actually place them into the ministry position, you should provide them with at least training of the basic skills required for the task and orientation to prepare them for what they will be doing. This training could include observation, classroom instruction, or an internship/apprenticeship. The combination of the three would be ideal.

(2) In-Service Training:

Training should be an on-going process. Everyone has room to learn and grow. The next post will provide elements of effective in-service training. (You can subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts.)

(3) Post-Service Debriefing:

People may leave a ministry position for a variety of reasons. To help them for future ministry, take time to sit down with them to discuss what they liked about the ministry they were doing, what they didn’t like, and how they can take what they learned into future ministry.