Creating an equipping culture doesn’t just happen. The process must be intentional and ongoing. There are four basic steps to create a church culture that encourages people to serve.
A church mission or purpose statement helps set the culture by providing overall direction and focus. It can be used to assess the current culture and steps needed to make change. Other places to assess church culture would be the budget, program and staff emphasis, and the calendar—what consumes your time. So ask: What do we say? What do we do? Is there alignment or conflict? Assess if your church culture is on track with the purpose you want to achieve.
2. Formulate the vision
Always start with the end goal in mind. You might ask these questions: What would vision completion look like in the end game? What systems would need to be in place to get there? If your ministry truly operated as an Ephesians 4 church, what would you see? How would your church impact its community once your equipping ministry culture and systems have been implemented?
3. Model Values
It’s important to understand that equipping must be embedded as a core value of the church. It can’t be relegated to a new program in ministry. If it’s just a “program” you will set yourself up for failure. Programs come and go, but values are what sustain the church. They become the DNA of the culture. So, what are the values of an equipping church?
• Gift-based involvement of every Christian
• Servant leadership
• Team ministry
• Proactive toward change
4. Develop strategy
Once you have your vision and values established, you need to develop a strategy. Your strategic plan becomes your road map to reach your destination— within a realistic time frame. If you are starting from scratch, you’re looking at three to five years to begin to change, enhance, or root a new culture. Some things will be quick wins along the way. Some things won’t work out. You’ll make changes as you go, but celebrate the process as it unfolds. Strategic planning is not a one-time thing; it’s an ongoing process to sustain the vision, the values, and the direction of your church. It’s an ongoing way to live into the vision that God has called you to.
Put these steps in action and move the people at your church from sitting to serving!
[Editor’s Note: Culture-changing is one of the modules discussed in the training, “Building An Equipping Church” that will be offered this fall at Group’s Equipping Institute.]