Posts Tagged values

Building Second Mile’s Culture

One thing that I get asked a lot from people who are wanting to be part of Second Mile is, “What can I do to help?”

Here’s my typical answer: “Well, there are a lot of things that can be done in terms of tasks — there are many opportunities to volunteer on our various ministry teams — and these tasks are really important. But what I really want you to do is help us build a culture that will be something we’re happy about 10 years from now.”

This is so important because every group of people has a culture (some have called it a “code” or “DNA”) that reveals who they really are and what they really care about. This culture is often unspoken and subtle–it’s more felt and experienced than articulated. And, regardless of what a group’s stated values are, their culture is what their actual, lived-out values are. One definition for culture is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a” group of people (Merriam-Webster).

I think it’s likely that the culture that is created at Second Mile in the first six months will be the culture that exists six years from now, even though the programs, structures, and people of the church will be very different. That’s why I’m exhorting people not just to do some tasks, but to build a culture of love, grace, servanthood, hospitality, warmth, authenticity, community, compassion for the hurting, and life-transforming passion for God.

How could you help build a great culture? Here are a few ideas:

  • Get white-hot for God. Do whatever it takes to stoke your passion for Jesus. Repent of sin. Pray. Dig into Scripture. Serve those around you. Tell somebody about what Jesus has done for you. Do whatever it takes.
  • Depend on God’s Spirit every moment. Scripture tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” That would be a pretty good culture, eh?
  • Cultivate a servant’s heart. Do anything you can to help anyone at anytime. Serving people is one of those things that makes us more and more like Jesus.
  • Be generous with your time, your resources, and your money. Look for opportunities to bless people with the resources God has given you. You’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
  • Have somebody over for dinner. Find a person you don’t know very well yet and open your home to them with love and hospitality.
  • Smile and laugh. Enjoy your life. Create opportunities for fun. Laugh at yourself.
  • Extend care to someone in pain. Hurt and brokenness are all around us. Find somebody experiencing pain and walk alongside them with care and compassion.

Building a culture is both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. I think we’re on a good track and our leaders and team have been incredible. Let’s keep it up and build a community that loves and honors God with everything that we are.

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Joy-killer #1: Sin

The responses to the initial “Joy-Killers” post have been good. Click here to submit your answer to the question, “What do you think are things that kill people’s joy?”

Today I’m going to present the first of a number of joy-killers worth discussing: SIN.

Sin is simply disobedience and disregard of God. Often times we pursue sin in pursuit of pleasure, which makes its joy-killing nature quite ironic. Though many kinds of sin are enjoyable, the results of sin are devastating. Most of the problems we know of today are the direct result of sin: abuse, hatred, greed, betrayal, murder, genocide, and divorce — just to name a few.

Perhaps a good summary of this is Romans 1:28-32

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Why do we sin? Well, there are at least two main answers. First, we are born with a predisposition to sin (a sin nature or what the Bible calls “flesh”). Second, we sin because we want to. Every time I disobey God it is because at that moment I want something more than I want God. I am never forced to sin, nor do I sin against my will. So, at the heart of sin is selfishness — doing what I want regardless of who it affects. When we live this way it not only robs us of joy, but it obviously robs others of joy. Selfish people are never joyful people. 

Next we’ll look at a joy-killer that takes this “sin” thing to an even deeper level. Stay tuned…

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GCA Seminar Day 2

This is the second post recapping our lessons from the GCA Church Planting Seminar. Click here to read part 1. Don’t forget to comment!

Session 4: Philosophy
The key takeaway from this session was that in order to reach the community that God has put you in, you have to have a ministry philosophy that appropriately speaks not just to the behaviors of the culture, but to the beliefs, values, and worldviews that are truly the roots of the behaviors. We need to give gospel-based answers about the origin of the world, meaning of life, problems of evil and pain, hope of forgiveness, and promise for the future.

Session 5: Discipleship
To be honest, this session was the downer of the day as it lacked much practical help. I suppose the main take-away is that a church needs an intentional process that patiently helps people become more like Jesus.

Session 6: Values
This session asked the question, “What are your core motivations for ministry? What will you die for?” These are questions I’ve thought about quite a bit, and this session helped me understand how these values should begin to be integrated into the life of our church. A key lesson was that it’s important that the stated values of the church become the actual values of people in life. Lyle Schaller had a helpful quote here:

“The most important single element in any corporate, congregation, or denominational culture is…the value system. The values of any organization control priorities, provide the foundation for formulating goals, and set the tone and direction of the organization.”

Then the GCA handbook said:

“Church values normally take a long time to be truly owned and an even longer time to change later.”

I’ll post more in the future regarding our values. In the meantime, pray that the people in this new church will embrace the value system, join their hearts to mine, and live them out together in the power of the Holy Spirit.

More to come tomorrow!

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