When we spoke to Equippers Church Auckland’s pastor, Sam Monk on our Church Growth podcast, he said: “I don’t want to build an Auckland church in Auckland – because if you’re like the city, you’ll never reach the city”.
Too many churches try to morph into the culture of their cities but we need to be counter-culture. We need to CREATE the culture and focus on reaching the hearts of people in our cities.
Here are 4 tips Sam gave us on creating a healthy church culture:
1. DON’T DIE WONDERING
Sam has a “give it a go” approach to church planting, growth and culture. In 1 Samuel verse 14, Jonathan and his armor bearer go out against the Philistine army on the revelation that “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf”. “Perhaps”, “I hope”. They believed that God would give them victory whether they had many or just a few. Sam adopted this attitude of faith and has created a culture within Equippers Church that says: “hey, we are going to launch out”. This has led them to launch churches in many places around the world in the past year.
2. LEARN TO DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT
“When you’ve got vision, there is always a gap between your expectation and your experience”, says Sam. That gap is called disappointment. One of the biggest things a leader has to deal with is managing disappointment, while not scaling back their vision to avoid it.
We all hate the feeling of disappointment but the truth is, every leader faces it – no matter what size their church is. So often, we scale back what we are doing and believing for so that we don’t have to come to grips with this dreaded feeling but you’ve got to find God in the middle of it. Things happen in life and if you can learn to handle disappointment and find God in the middle of it, he will position you in the right place. Sam encourages leaders to know that they aren’t alone, to partner together with as many people as they can who agree with the vision in your heart, and just keep on reaching and believing God for the best.
3. CHURCH SHOULD BE FRIENDS WORKING THINGS OUT TOGETHER
Church relationships shouldn’t feel like a contractual agreement or employment – it should just be a whole lot of friends looking to change the world and challenging one another to go higher in God. We need to recognize that the value of a person is not whether they are in a lead pastor role in a business role.
5. YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHAT THE CHURCH SHOULD LOOK LIKE
What gave Jesus the authority to go into the temple and turn over all of the tables? Some people say it is because he is the son of God but he did it in his humanity. From this story in the scriptures, you can clearly see that he understood what the house of God should look like. He said, “my house shall be called a ‘house of prayer’, but you make it a den of robbers”. It was out of the revelation of what the Father’s house should look like that Jesus bought adjustment and correction.