The result: 98% of Christians are not equipped for 95% of their lives.

Module #1
Everyday DNA
Module #2
Growing Together
Module #3
Our Time Together
Module #4
Sustaining Change
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PART A: What's Your DNA?

IMAGINE LEARNING COMMUNITY MODULES

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 take the first step and start to evaluate your church's culture.

The Great Divide, by Mark Greene, walks through the biggest challenge facing the church today: the Sacred Secular Divide (SSD).  It is the belief that some things, but not all things, really matter to God.  Mark makes the case that we are all susceptible to SSD.  It impacts pastors and laity, adults and children, how we read Scripture and how we pray, how we spend our free time and how we work.  SSD has limited the scope, content and fruitfulness of the church’s mission.

Instructions

 

Purpose

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.

 

Time

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.

 

Method

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.

 
 

Many things we do reinforce the positives of your church culture.  This is an opportunity to step back and reevaluate your culture, see what is reinforcing the positive aspects that empower your congregation to live everyday for Christ and see if there are any practices that may need to be tweaked.

 

 

 

 

 

Given that this exercise is in the context of a faith based organization, try to separate out ‘theology’ from culture.  This exercise is not meant to question basic Christian theology, but rather to investigate how our underlying assumptions in our words and actions impact our church culture.  

One way to evaluate church culture is to think about what each of these three factors mean in your church context.

         How would you describe your church DNA based on these factors?

         The Whole Life Discipleship Survey (here) is a great way to diagnose culture.

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.

Corporate Prayer/Worship:  What fills our worship, our singing and our prayers as a congregation gives voice to what we value.  How is each church culture shaped in their specific context?  What is the message behind the message?

Happenings at Church B
Happenings at Church A

The congregation is called to worship, encouraging you to ‘recognize Jesus is Lord of all that we’ve been involved with this week’.  Everyone stands to sing.  The screen in front includes local pictures of the town or city of the congregation.  The service moves to prayer.  Someone offers thanks that God has been with you all week in every situation, and has been working in you and through you.  They pray that you will hear from God both today and throughout your week, understanding who he is, so you can live more fully for him.

The congregation is called to worship, encouraging everyone with the words, “Let’s leave everything we’ve been involved with the week behind.  We are in a safe place now.  Let’s just concentrate on Jesus.”  Everyone stands to sing.  Beautiful landscape scenes fill the front screen as the service moves to prayer. Someone prays that God will come and meet you in this place, that you will hear from God this morning and you will understand who God is.

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.

Coffee Hour:  It isn’t just about coffee but about connecting people.  It is a way to help prepare people for their frontlines.  Volunteers for refreshment responsibilities have the opportunity to use and develop ‘people skills’ by connecting folks together in meaningful dialog.  Participants in the coffee hour are often able to share how God is using them on their frontlines and develop ways of communicating that become a natural part of conversation.

Happenings at Church B
Happenings at Church A

After the service, folks get some coffee, which is hosted by a team of people who will engage them in conversation and make sure that everyone has someone to talk to.  Folks possibly will find themselves talking about times they’ve been tempted to blend into the background at work, as was discussed in the sermon.  And, after all, may end up talking about football.

After the service, folks will often get some coffee, which is from self-serve carafes.  Everyone grabs some bakery treats, finds someone to chat with, and probably men end up talking about football.

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.

Between Session 1 & Session 2

 

Three primary factors that impact culture are:

1) The beliefs we share

2) The things we do

3) The way we say things

PART B: Our Biggest Cultural Challenge

At it’s core, SSD creates a hierarchy of holiness:

‘If only I were elsewhere, then God could use me.’

‘If only I were holier, then God would call me to paid pastoral ministry or overseas missions.’

‘If only I were a better person, I’d be employed in a caring profession rather than in commerce.’

“The grass is not greener elsewhere, the grass is greener where it is watered – with biblical vision, faith filled expectation and God’s blessing.” – Mark Greene, Executive Director, LICC

Frontlines: The places we are in, with people who do not know Christ and where we accept the responsibility to live as mission agents of the kingdom of God.. The typical Christian has 110 hours per week where they are awake and not in church related activities (Sunday gatherings, small group, outreach, etc). As church leaders, how can we change our perspective of ministry?  How do we change our practices to see ministry as something done by the body in their 100 hours, rather than by church paid workers? 

168   Total Hours in a week

-48    Hours spent sleeping

-10    Hours in church-related activities

110    Waking hours remaining

 

What if the 98% of Christians not in church-paid work were engaged in missions work not just in their free time, but in all their waking hours?  If we truly believed that when we get together on Sunday, that we were gathering as the mission agents of the Kingdom:

How would that impact your Sunday gatherings?

How would it impact your prayer time?

Would it change how your leadership team?

What would it mean for the DNA of your church?

PART C: Theology of the Everyday

Denotes discussion opportunities for your church