4 Unhealthy Cultures (and One Healthy One) In Churches

Every church has a culture. Church Culture happens by design or by default. I sat down and thought about the most common unhealthy church cultures I see in my work, and then ended with a healthy culture I also get to see!   

Bureaucratic & Backbiting Culture

This church can look healthy on the surface and programs and productions go on as scheduled. However, up under the hood, there are silos, politics, and turf wars happening among the staff, and it doesn’t stop there. People have chosen sides (or ministries or pastors or committees), and there are tons of water cooler conversations going on about what’s wrong in the church. Each ministry blames another ministry as the culprit for the lack of growth. This church tends to focus on the former days rather than the coming days. In the meantime, nothing gets done and nothing gets better. This church is not unified around the vision, and a house divided against itself cannot stand and will not grow.

Angry & Against Culture

This church is usually defined more by what it’s against than what it’s for. This church tends to define the unchurched as “the world out there” that is warring against the church. This church tends to be far more political in nature and tends to value law over love.  However, anger is not attractive and this church doesn’t typically reach anyone who doesn’t already think or act like them.

Manic and Manipulative Culture

This church actually looks healthy on the surface, but under the surface, all is not well.This church has a lot going on. This church is moving at a manic pace. This church is growing. This church is using people to get ministry done. The pastors have a hard time taking a day off, so everyone else does, as well. This church tends to value the Great Commission at the expense of the Great Commission. They are moving so quickly, that they are tempted to forsake their first love. This is the church and the pastor who eventually makes the front page of the news...and not for a good reason.

Country Club Culture

We are all familiar with this one. This church is very busy with ministry programs but it has forgotten its mission. This church simply forgets why it exists. This church has community, but it comes at the expense of the mission. This church begins to cater to the desires and preferences of the already convinced. Ministries, programs, and productions are designed with churched people only in mind. A Christian subculture begins to exist in this church, complete with “deep” Christian-ese messages and a language that unchurched people largely do not understand. When it comes to conversion growth, this church is stagnant and satisfied. 

Mission Focused & Missional Culture

This church knows its mission. This church is unified around it.

This church is on a mission. This church exists for the benefit of its non-members, but it has not forgotten that the church is first a  people! This church uses ministry to get people done, not the other way around. This church is s sticky church. This church is a life-giving church.

This church places Christ and HIS GLORY as the chief aim and goal. The pastor of this church deflects the credit for its growth and takes the blame for its mistakes. This church has a pastor that believes what he says he believes, and he models the way for his congregation.

This church is not simply GATHERING in the community on a WEEKLY basis. This church is LIVING IN the community and CARING FOR the community on a DAILY Basis. This church is building up the church...accomplishing its mission...and the gates of Hell won’t prevail against it!

Which kind of culture does your church have? 

Which culture do you want to build?