Every pastor determines their church’s culture, whether they mean to or not. We do this by what we say “yes” to and what we say “no” to. There is just no other way around it! For the last five years, we have defined what we wanted our church to feel like and then we have evaluated everything that comes our way by it’s long term reprocusions to our culture. Here’s some examples of how North Creek has defined our culture:
1. You can belong before you believe. If you want to attend our church, be in a small group, and be on the greeting team, but you just aren’t sure about Jesus yet, that’s fine. We want you to come, learn about Him, meet people who are also learning about Him, and make a decision to serve Him (or not) when you know that you want to. We decided a long time ago to be teachers without a timeline. It’s not our job to win your heart…trust me, Jesus doesn’t need our help on that one! It’s our job to teach you His Word and give you all of the background of our beliefs as Christians.
2. We speak life and celebrate wins. We look people in the eye and tell them how much we like them. Sarcasm is a deflector for emotion and intimacy. We go with the emotion and let people know they are welcome, loved, and valuable as much as we can. We send out emails all of the time with “Stories of Changed Lives”, so that people hear about good things happening. Our staff meeting starts with what went well that week in people’s lives because that’s WHY we get up in the morning and do ministry.
3. We fight “culture killers”. If there is a person in the church with a gossip problem, we go there. If someone wants to put up a flier that doesn’t align with our values, we go there. If someone undermines one of our team members, we go there. Sometimes it’s obvious why it’s so important and sometimes it seems silly, but it’s not! What you allow and don’t allow defines your church.
4. We do everything on a Sunday morning through the lens of a new guest. How will they feel? Who will they meet first? Do they feel like their kids are safe? What impression does our signs, bulletins, building give them? Did they hear the message of Jesus in a way that they understand and is impactful to their lives? Did they walk away feeling valued?
That’s four of the key ones, but there’s a long list of other ways we create our culture. I hope that you see a method to our madness in the midst of it all. We have painstakingly thought about our vision and what it will take to protect it and see it out to completion! Sometimes it may seem like we are doing things that seem very opposite of the church you might have grown up in, but I guarantee you that there is a reason and purpose behind everything! More to come…