This week on the 200churches Podcast we talk with our friend Jim Powell, the Lead Pastor of Richwoods Christian Church in Peoria, Il. There’s an old saying in politics – “How will it play in Peoria?” Well, Jim Powell has learned how to play and pastor in Peoria! We are talking to him about the importance of our church culture, that we understand it, know how it affects the fruitfulness of our church, and learn how to shape it intentionally.
Jonny and Jeff talk to Jim about his book, Dirt Matters – The Foundation for a Healthy, Vibrant, and Effective Congregation. Here is a quote from one of the first chapters…
The issue is that every church has a unique culture that serves as the soil where its ministry occurs. A church’s culture is the somewhat nebulous and complex blend of norms, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and practices that define the congregation. The culture establishes the environment that often predetermines the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of God’s Word within that body of believers. It influences a congregation’s potential impact more than techniques, programs, or pragmatic changes.
This conversation with Jim, and his book, go beyond painting the lobby, changing the church name, or introducing a new music style. His book cuts to the heart of the church, what makes it tick, what is the passion of the people, what are the values that live within the congregation, and how do those values express themselves in the life of the congregation?
Think about your 200church. What are the top three values of your church? But before you answer too quickly, remember, each value you list has to have corresponding anecdotal evidence that it is truly owned and lived out in the life of the congregation.
If you say, we care about people, can you give concrete illustrations where caring for people has occurred?
If you say, God’s Word is our authority, can you give an example of when your people changed something in their lives or church because they learned something in God’s Word?
If you say, outreach is our mission, who can you list as people you have reached out to in recent weeks or months? (they don’t even have to go to your church, just who have you actually reached out to, and how?)
Jim compares dirt, or real soil, to the culture that a church grows in. He says that if our culture is right, things will grow. He has an interesting way to explain how each church should go about learning and shaping its culture.
Between now and Wednesday, work on discovering the top three values your church really holds. It's harder that you first think. We are excited to share this podcast episode with you!
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