It is not new to hear popular preachers and some church leaders say that Christians, Muslims and pagans are serving the same God. The mix up and difference between the appearance and behaviours of Christians and the society is very thin simply because the church seen to have neglected her culture according to the Bible. Of course, the church is not in the world to antagonize traditional or surrounding culture, but she is here to influence individuals with kingdom culture so they can in turn influence surrounding culture. Unfortunately, the culture of the society around the church appears prevalent among Christians and the church therefore is deeply imbibing the culture of her society contrary to biblical stand.
A. Biblical Foundation – Jeremiah 10:1-2; Exodus 23:2; John 17:14-16; 1 Cor. 11:16; Eph. 5:7-10,11-12
Cultures are traditions, lifestyle, beliefs, practices, systems, ‘the way we do things here’ or way of life dominant among a group of people. Therefore, the world wherein the church lives has its practices, lifestyle, traditions and way of doing things. But the church – the Ekklesia, assembly of Christ’s believers is not expected to imbibe the world culture surrounding her. Also, the church must hold sacrosanct the following truth:
The church is in the world, but not of the world – John 17:14-16.
The church is not to learn the way of the Gentiles – Jeremiah 10:1-2
The church is not to antagonize tradition or surrounding culture.
The church is to influence individual people with kingdom culture, who will in turn influence others in the world.
Church is not in the world to join surrounding culture.
Every church must be thermostat not thermometer.
Yes, there is the worldly culture, the church culture and the kingdom culture. The kingdom culture is superior to all others because it is the culture, the lifestyle of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it must override all other cultures both in the church and in the world around church.
B. Tendencies of Church Embracing Surrounding Culture
Surrounding culture is the worldly practice of sin, carnality, lust, secular and unbiblical lifestyle of the society. There is the tendency of church forgetting her kingdom culture of the Jesus’ lifestyle and practicing the belief of the society around her when the following is the order of the day:
When the pastor and church leader is ignorant of the kingdom culture.
When the human formulated church culture overrides the kingdom culture.
When the teaching of the Bible is brief and activities, ceremonies and anniversary is a usual practice in church.
When Jesus Christ is not seen as the Lord, but as the blesser of the church.
When material blessing and charisma is a proof of regeneration.
When Jesus Christ ceases to be our model and message.
When the fundamental teaching of repentance, salvation, victory over sin, sanctification and allegiance to the Master is not the focus.
C. Other Cultures and Kingdom Culture
There are 3 kinds of cultures in existence – worldly culture, church culture and kingdom culture.
- Worldly Culture – This is the pattern, method and practice of sin, unfaithfulness, works of the flesh, gentile system and method.
- Church Culture is what the leader teaches, models, practices and permits regularly in church. Church culture is what you encourage, discourage and accept.
- Kingdom Culture – This is the lifestyle exemplified by Jesus as seen in the scriptures. Jesus is the King of the kingdom, He must be lifted up and remain the focus of the Church.
In kingdom culture:
Repentance comes before salvation.
Character comes before charisma.
Truth is sacrosanct.
Favour of God comes before the favour of men.
Sin is not tolerated.
Moderation is the rule of the kingdom.
Idol worship is not tolerated.
D. How To Create Healthy Cultures in Your Church – 1 Tim. 3:14-15
You can erase all the toxic cultures surrounding your church and create a godly one. How?
- Be a model of what you want in the church.
- Teach extensively and practically demonstrate them.
- Intentionally demonstrate integrity, love, care, welfare and devotion to God, prayerfulness, obedience to God and proper administration and leadership.
- What you demonstrate in your leadership is what people will catch.
- Correct lapses, mistakes and errors wisely but boldly.
- Pray intensively and do spiritual warfare within the church.
- Discipline and rebuke sins. Administer justice and fair-play.
- Demonstrate maturity and spiritual depth in handling issues.
- Correct wrong atmosphere with prayers, teachings and practical examples.
It is only when your internal culture is a kingdom culture that you can penetrate and change the surrounding cultures around you.