Barriers to Mission – Culture

We all know of leaders who have put a great new strategy or structure in place, thinking it will be the answer to all their problems, only to find that they have the same problems they had before, just packaged differently. This happens in churches, in not for profit organisations and in business.  Management expert Peter Drucker reminds us that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  Culture can be loosely defined as “the way we do things around here”.  Much of it comes from old patterns that have been affirmed and strongly held values and entrenched behaviour.  If you are planning to make changes then you will invariably discover how important culture is In my work with congregations all over New Zealand I see many examples of church culture that is a barrier to mission. The culture is often a transactional consumerist one; it’s like a club for members.  “I contribute offerings, I expect the minister to visit me”, or “what do all the staff around here do all day” or even “why do we waste money on these no-hopers in the community, we should focus on our own children”. roadblock1A missional congregation has a transformation culture.  They have a story of hope and grace and love to share.  They don’t have to be thinking up new ways to “get people into church” because we are called to join God in mission, wherever that might be.  Developing a missional mind-set means letting go of things that may be important to us, but may be barriers to the plan God has for us.

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