How to Shape a Culture


The big question today is what effect do we as leaders in the church have on numerical growth? Especially because 1 Corinthians 3 says, “Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”  Does this mean that God is the only one who determines growth?

It is absolutely true that God causes growth. Just like it is true that God causes my garden to grow. The miracle of growth is His, but when my neighbour’s garden grows so much better than mine does that mean God favours them more than me? No, it simply means they are a better gardener than me. They worked the soil better. They watered it better. They used the right mix of fertilizers, etc.

The church is exactly the same. God is absolutely the one that causes increase and changes hearts and lives. Our job is to create the atmosphere, work the soil, water and fertilize it, using our knowledge and skill to ensure that people will connect with God and grow.

My mentor and friend, the late Jack Whitesell once told me, “If a man enters a harvest field and when he leaves his bags are full. Another man enters the same harvest field and leaves with his bags empty. The differences between the two are skills, systems and methods.”

One of the most underrated, yet impactful effect on church growth is culture.

What is Culture?

Culture is more important than ______________.

Culture is more important than ______________ ______________.

Culture is more important than ______________.

Culture is the______________ of the organization. It tells us what is most ______________ in this organization.

Culture is shaped over time through tangible and intangible behaviours.

the tangibles:

  1. ______________ .
  2. ______________.
  3. The look of the______________.
  4. The ______________.
  5. ______________ .

the intangibles:

  1. Our______________ (stated and unstated)
  2. Our ______________ and______________. “You absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts.”~Jim CollinsQuestions I frequently ask to evaluate where we are a. What are we doing right? Let’s optimize. b. What’s wrong? Let’s change. c. What’s confusing? Let’s clarify. d. What’s missing? Let’s add. e. What are the threats? Let’s avoid. f. What are the opportunities? Let’s exploit. g. What could we eliminate that no one would miss? Let’s cut.
  3. How success is______________ .
  4. How ______________ are addressed.
  5. The manifestation of ______________ and______________ at all levels of the organization. “When there is an absence of trust, it stems from the leader’s unwillingness to be vulnerable with the group. Leaders who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.” ~Patrick Lencioni in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Episode Resources