Article by Teresa Chang
God is entirely motivated by love. Love moves His hands to action and is the driving force of His heart. Our freedom is a pulsing desire within Him. As a church leader, building a pastoral culture in your church will help each member walk in the freedom and love God has made available to us.
Remember, culture is the shared values, priorities and practices, along with the traditions, symbols and expressions that unite a community. Your culture reflects who your church is at a deep level. As you clarify your values, you establish your priorities—things that are more or less important for how you spend your time, energy and resources. Out of your priorities emerge your everyday practices (things you naturally do on a day-to-day basis). Each of these individual “steps” works to establish a pastoral culture in your church.
How to Build a Pastoral Culture in Your Church
Many apostolic churches that are strong in the prophetic tend to neglect care and community, but we should never do one and leave the other undone. The Church represents the Good Shepherd on the earth; therefore, true and tender care needs to be a part of our culture.
1. Have a strong value for God’s Father-heart.
To build a culture that cares, we need to consider the passion of God’s heart and have a value for fathering, which essentially looks like valuing the innocent and helpless among us. We also need to honor sacrifice and practical love, which is love in action toward one another. These things have a tremendous payoff, and they cannot be left to chance. We have to work at them as a congregation and cause them to grow.
Look closely at the five core values of caring community (providing, protecting, healing, feeding and comforting) and begin to emphasize and implement them, adapting your church language, practices and priorities to support them.
2. Infuse pastoral culture into your primary team.
As a church leader, give your core team a vision and infuse them with the values and priorities that will help them take the vision as their own and spread it through the congregation. Remember, culture reflects the senior leader’s lifestyle and the core community of the leadership team.
3. Bring pastoral culture to your congregation.
Show your church what it looks like to walk in loving community with one another.
Begin to instill pastoral culture in your congregation through personal interaction, public preaching, testimonies and ongoing celebration of cultural successes. As you do these things, you will see pastoral culture form. Every movement needs pastors; they are connectors who naturally link a group together in community.