Culture Is How We Do Things

We pastors work with many people who spend most of their time in a variety of other cultures:  Never Lose the Why

  • Corporate people
  • Secular non-profit people
  • Government people
  • Blue Collar people
  • Academic people

All of us have experienced being in a church leadership discussion and someone has said,

  • “In the corporate world, we do it this way . . .”
  • “That’s how we do it at the Red Cross/PTA/ESL Office/Shelter . . .”
  • “If we were a doctor’s office, we’d . . .”
  • I know that my gym/salon/school/shop always . . .”

We in the church are informed by everybody’s culture, and the dominant culture depends upon the context and DNA of the congregation.  Sanctuaries surrounded by the 1% take on a corporate culture.  Sanctuaries surrounded by corn fields taken on a farm culture (which means – in 2014 – people are in survival mode . . . unless the farming in their community has become corporate.)

Sometimes secular culture helps spark necessary shifts in Church World. Sometimes it makes us coarse and modeling little resemblance to Christ.

What if we tried to shift the culture of our congregations, regardless of what that culture might be?

Helpful Elder:  “In terms of letting the church secretary go, I know that in the corporate world, we hand her a pick slip and tell her to pack their things and be out of the office in an hour.”

Pastor:  “But do we want our church to model a corporate culture or something that looks more like the kingdom of God?”  


Church Personnel Chair:  “It’s not our problem if the pastor’s child is sick.  He needs to be in the office for regular office hours.  This would never fly at the bank where I work.”

Personnel Committee Member:  “But we are not a bank.  We are a church.  How can we help our pastor in this difficult time?”

See what I mean?  I’m not saying that we in the church need to become ooey gooey Nice Machines without expecting professionalism and accountability. But people expect more from the church.  There is a hope-against-hope that people who self-identify as followers of Jesus would display characteristics that are more Christlike and less Trump-like.

What is the dominant culture in your spiritual community?  Corporate? Academic?  Individualistic?  Family-centered? Political? Macho? Kingdom of God?  And how would you like your church’s culture to change?  (Not rhetorical questions.  I’d really like to know.)

Image source.

One response to “Culture Is How We Do Things

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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