Just like different parts of the world or country or state, every church has a unique culture. Culture is made up of norms, shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization and for us, the local church.
The set of values and subsequent practices flow out of what really matters to the church. Values in most cultures are influenced by what gets rewarded and recognized as important. In other words, practices and people who are held in high honor help to set the values for a particular people, country, club or business.
All churches have values. In spite of aspired values involving evangelism, too often churches do not place a high actual value on the needs and efforts involved in reaching lost people. It is not enough for a church to say it desires to reach lost people, because people are more influenced by the actual values, than the statements of values that are not being followed.
Developing an evangelistic climate is an important part of laying a foundation for a successful strategy. Often in churches we value attendance, giving and cooperation among other things. For evangelism to become a norm or a high value in the church, those who are engaged in evangelism will have to be appropriately held in high honor and regard.
Values are carried by those who have status. People tend to follow and do the things that get recognized and rewarded and are told in the stories of the church both formally and informally. Acknowledge positively those who are engaging lost people and supporting the evangelistic efforts.
The climate demonstrates itself in attitude and actions. It involves acting in deference toward lost people on non-essential matters when they are our guests, which will be discussed more in the Expression “Friendly Up the Church.” It involves thinking about reaching lost people in the budget meetings, when the calendar is being set, when human resources are being committed, and when priorities are being set.
Evangelistic practices and methods flow out of the values of the churches. Evangelistic churches highly value lost people and those followers of Christ who are intentionally engaging them toward Christ. Churches that get the value of lost people and pleasing Christ by reaching them will more easily figure out how to reach them. However, churches that seek to reach them in a manner that seems disconnected with what really matters will continue to struggle in their efforts. The old saying is correct, “where there is a will, there is a way.” We also have the Holy Spirit to add to the will.
1 Highlight and honor those who are sharing Christ.
2 Find ways to provide public appreciation for those in support roles in the overall evangelism strategy.
3 Highlight and honor those who are trusting Christ.
4 Highly value opportunities that help people hear and consider the claims of Christ.
5 Think about and then plan for lost people and, as necessary, who difference in cultural and stylistic matters.
1 Thessalonians 3:12
• Climate will grow with each action related to the six expressions.
• Read stories, share testimonies and use video clips.
• Give baptism a higher profile in the life of the church.
• Talk about the value of lost people and those who are living to reach them in normal activities of the church (deacons meeting, church council meetings, building and grounds, nominating committee meetings, budget meetings, etc.)
• What can I do to elevate the value of lost people and Christians who are engaging them in the process of evangelism?