Rev Lim Soon Hock, former senior pastor of Georgetown Baptist Church (GBC) and Petaling Jaya Evangelical Free Church (PJEFC), preached about establishing church culture to over 300 pastors and full-time ministers in the 5th annual Pastors’ Appreciation & Anointing Gathering (PAAG) at Emmanuel Christian Assembly, Taiping, held on 25th till 27th of August.
Organized by Rev Dr Bernard Teh (DD), Senior Pastor of FGA Taiping, PAAG was birthed in year 2012 to appreciate, anoint and refresh pastors and full-time ministers. Since its inception, which drew over 160 pastors and full-time ministers, God has been faithfully providing for this expanding ministry ever since. All glory to God!
According to Rev Lim, having a church culture is more important than having a vision. Likened to the soil of a plant, culture is the environment of a church. A healthy environment produces a healthy church. A toxic environment produces an unhealthy church.
Scripture tells us how our environment affects us. For example, Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” Spending a lot of time in an environment of the wicked, sinners and mockers, will eventually influence us to become like them as well. That is why we are called to ‘walk with the wise and become wise’ (Proverbs 13:20). The ability for a church to thrive depends on the persistent culture in the church.
So, how do we develop culture in our church? Firstly, whether we intentionally build a culture or not, culture will organically exist in our church, created by the amalgamation of various church members. Hence, it is wise for church leaders to intentionally and carefully determine and lead their church culture. Note that a church culture may take years to develop but it must start from somewhere. Also, be prepared to embrace the culture of change in establishing a successful culture in the church. Finding the sweet spot of the right culture requires church leaders to be willing to experiment, innovate and modify, based on new discoveries.
There are three elements that make a culture: Beliefs, values and behaviours. Culture begins with beliefs. For example, what do we believe is the purpose of the church? Our beliefs determine our values; what we hold as non-negotiables. For example, is qualitative growth more important that quantitative growth or are they just as important? Finally, what we really value will be seen in our behaviours. For example, if we really belief in the Great Commission and value making disciples as the primary task of the church, it will be clearly seen and felt in the church. If not, it is neither a real belief nor an actual value. At best, it is an aspirational value or worse, simply wishful thinking.
Therefore, to start developing a church culture, pastors need to ask themselves three questions: Firstly, what is the real and existing culture in the church and is this culture good or bad? Secondly, what kind of culture do you want to develop based on the Word of God? Thirdly, what is the most important aspect of culture that you want to work on, with your leadership team in the next six months?
An established church culture is vital in developing people with the same spirit, mind and heart, so that they can move as one towards fulfilling the purpose of the church. More than having a vision, a strong church culture is the one that will provide sustainability and movement to a church.
For more information on Pastors’ Appreciation & Anointing Gathering (PAAG) in Taiping, please email Pastor Bernard Teh at email@example.com.
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