PART B: Shaping Culture
PART A: Diagnosing Culture
IMAGINE LEARNING COMMUNITY MODULES
PART C: Thinking About One Degree Shifts
Culture is like the air we breathe, we don’t notice it most of the time. It is based on a set of assumptions that go unquestioned and therefore unchallenged which makes them deeply imbedded and very difficult to change. In this module, we want to look at the ‘message behind the message’. Imagine Church pages 70-79 has a great examples of church culture.
In order to think about what influences culture, let’s look at some specific ways culture Is impacted. Five primary reinforcements of culture are the same dynamics that also bring culture change.
We all may see the same situation from different perspectives. This is why sharing insights with one another is so important. In the example above, this is what we saw…
Stories: Both churches communicated what goes on in the church building, mentions those who are ill. Church B brings the frontline into focus with prayer for new jobs and retirement—showing that all stages of life are important and can be used by God for his glory.
Systems & Structures: Prayer gatherings are a key part of many churches. Why we have them and what we do with them plays a large part in culture formation. Both churches have prayer meetings focused on missions. One for the mission’s event that has the potential to communicate that missions is something “others do.” The other one also incorporates prayer for the ongoing missions of the church could be linked to each member of the congregation’s individual frontline.
Sunday services are a prime opportunity to mold culture. Think about the elements that go into a Sunday service. Below are examples from two different church services, one with an intentional focus on the 110 hours when we are not gathered together, and one without. Think about the underlying assumptions in each church’s elements. What is the message behind the message?
Greeting: If you have a foyer in your church, this prime location provides the first opportunity to impact culture and shape what your congregation believes is important. What is the message, intentional or unintentional, communicated?
Happenings at Church B
Happenings at Church A
When people enter, they are welcomed warmly. They pass a board with the posters noting various church events in the area, along with a large map indicating where people in the congregation spend most of their time during the week. This is next to pictures of overseas missionaries. The heading across the board is: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” There is not a sign above the door as people enter for the service. There is a sign above the door as the congregation leaves the service that reads: “Enter here to worship.”
When people enter, they are greeted warmly as they pass the board with posters listing various church events in the area, along with missions highlighting people and agencies working abroad. The heading on the board is: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” As people enter for the service, there is a sign above the door that reads: “Enter here to worship.”
Which of the 5 cultural dynamics is being used by each church?
What is the message behind the message in Church A and Church B?
How is culture being shaped at each church?
Is there a one-degree shift could each church make to reinforce a culture of whole-life discipleship?
Think about the culture being shaped in your church.
Modules are designed to be utilized by Imagine Learning Community Churches between sessions as a way to further develop ideas around creating a whole-life discipleship making church. They are not required, but meant to be an additional tool.
Each module is comprise of multiple parts. You can complete the entire module in one sitting, or divide it into sections for deeper contemplation. Overall, each part should take around 15 -20 minutes to complete.
Modules can be completed individually or in groups, whatever works best in your context. If done individually, we recommend discussing your take-always and one degree shifts with other members from your church in the learning community.
Denotes discussion opportunities for your church