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Mission: Mission, vision, values and distinctives are established and agreed upon

How to Shape Church Culture Like Jesus Did

Jesus Mosaic from the film The God Who Wasn't There

Jesus Mosaic of more than 1,000 different images of Jesus from the film The God Who Wasn’t There

Shaping church culture is one of the most demanding, illusive and yet vital responsibilities of church leaders.

A healthy church culture is essential to being the missional, multiplying, discipling, reaching and transforming force that God intended.

Having an intentional process for elevating core organizational and biblical values is one proven approach to building a healthy church culture.

What Are Church Values?

  • Synonyms include convictions, ideals, beliefs, standards, and codes of behavior.

  • They are constant, shared, biblical, core, congruent and both real and aspirational.

  • They drive the organization and define its culture and so are priorities for leaders.

  • They build trust and community, provide a common language and support the achievement of the church’s mission, vision, objectives and goals.

What Values Did Jesus Emphasize?

Jesus profoundly influenced and shaped his culture through the masterful application of seven core values.

  1. Teaching: Sermon on the Mount; Beatitudes; Fruits of the Spirit, etc.

  1. Modeling: Godly behaviors like forgiveness, love and compassion

  1. Celebrating: People who exhibited Godly behaviors – Prophets, Mary, the Disciples, etc.

  1. Confronting: People who did not exhibit Godly behaviors – Pharisees, Peter, Rich Young Ruler, etc.

  1. Selecting: Leaders who are God called and spirit filled

  1. Praying: John 17 – For disciples and all believers

  1. Overpowering: Miracles, Signs and Wonders

Application: Influence Culture Like Jesus

Church leaders can implement these same seven core values to build any aspect of church culture or biblical behavior that needs elevating.

Here’s a practical example of how church leaders can take Jesus’ approach and put it into to practice:

  1. Teaching: Using Biblical characters, Scripture, stories, parables and metaphors

  1. Modeling: Worship, prayer, service, a missional life, a Christ centered life, servant leadership, stewardship, gifting, unity, authenticity, personal growth, transformation, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, humility, compassion for the “least of these”, putting others first, not seeking position, turning the other cheek, community, submissiveness, etc.

  1. Celebrating: Publically and privately recognizing, rewarding and encouraging Christ centered attributes and practices, transformed lives and missonal behaviors

  1. Confronting: Biblically; in love; in private; in public when saying nothing condones behavior

  1. Selecting: Enlisting and hiring only leaders who embrace and live out Biblical behaviors, values and standards

  1. Praying: Consistently, Constantly, Personally and Corporately

  1. Overpowering: Giving God all the glory when He shows up and does only things that He can do

Action: Use the comments box below to share other values and ways you have found effective in shaping church culture.


Posted on May 20, 2014
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Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5