Can a spiritual culture be created and established by a new church planter? Yes it can be and it should be. The spirit of the church should be distinctively different from the world. The community in which we live exhibits a culture or way of life that has become increasingly immoral and secular. Pandering and accepting the world’s culture is contrary to the very existence of the church. It is not surprising that unsaved people do not live holy lives. However the church should be different by exhibiting a culture that reflects godliness. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4
What is culture? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines culture as “features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time.” Some churches have sadly taken an approach to adapt to the world’s culture but fortunately others are endeavoring to establish a culture separate from the world. The culture of a new church will evolve over the course of many years and that way of life should be directed by the leadership of the pastor.
Periodic reviews of the spirit of the church should be considered. Ask some questions about your church. Do people leave immediately after the service ends or do they stay and fellowship following the service? Do members greet guests and do visitors feel welcome? Are visiting preachers and speakers commenting about the friendliness of your church? Do members reflect a warm and loving spirit to other members? Are people hesitant to invite friends to your church for fear they will be offended? Do the young people dress and act worldly? What does your community think about your church?
The pastor can teach and guide the church family by creating a spirit and culture in the church that is different from the world. Some suggestions to develop the spirit of the church are:
1. Appoint greeters that are friendly and have good people skills.
2. Teach the whole congregation to recognize new people that may sit in their area of the church auditorium.
3. Practice welcoming people to church. Take time out of a service to explain what you want everyone to do and let them practice it.
4. Talk about the culture of the church periodically and give illustrations about its importance during sermons.
5. Develop a handbook for teachers and leaders that will set an example of modest dress and godly deportment.
6. Warn people of worldliness and commend people for establishing a godly example.
Being the pastor means that you are in charge and you must set the tone for the church. Your church should be known to be friendly, holy, honest and caring. A loving and holy church is the kind of place new converts can grow, be happy and holy. You have a choice to let the world set the culture for your church or you can develop a Christian culture contrary to the world. What is the culture you are creating?