No, this is not another article about what is wrong with our American culture. It isn’t about how the younger generation has gone to the dogs, the economy has tanked, and America is floundering. It isn’t about how we need to fix our country quick. It’s about getting our culture right in the church! Laura and I were on a plane headed to Tennessee for our nephew’s wedding. It was a rich blessing for me to perform the ceremony for this wonderful young couple and to be able to see a lot of family, as well as many friends.
A few minutes into the flight I picked up a copy of the Airlines magazine and thumbed through. One of the reasons I always enjoy doing that is to see how many famous restaurants we have in the Metroplex!
One of the articles was about the famous online shoe company, Zappos. There was a quote from Tony Hseih’s (Zappos founder) book about the success of the company (there was enough in the article that caused me to order the book for my iPad).
In discussing why everyone is so happy at Zappos’ and why they enjoy their job so much he said, “At Zappos, our believe is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff – like great customer service, or building a long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers – will happen naturally on it’s own.”
So, it started me to thinking. Is Hseih right? Well, obviously he’s figured out something. In 2008 Zappos passed the One Billion dollar mark in sales! In 2011 Zappos was number 6 on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Is there any thing that we can learn here to help our churches?
I believe there is.
So many churches seem to be inhabited by unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied people. Often times when people tell us they don’t feel as if they are growing we shrug them off and say, “Just become more spiritual.” Well that really helps!
Maybe we can do some things to help members want to grow in their faith, to help them want to attend worship, and to help them feel good about what takes place. Maybe if we get the culture right people will be happy. Maybe they will actually want to praise God (regardless of the style of songs we choose). Maybe they will want to invite their friends and neighbors because they know they will be blessed when they visit.
Maybe if we get the culture right we can love one another more and serve one another even more. Business culture has been defined as, “the way your organization operates, it's customs, attitudes, etiquette etc.” So what can we do to help improve the culture in our churches?
Be Intention About Our Worship
Those of us who lead in worship need to do a better job of planning our worship gatherings. We would do well to coordinate the songs that we sing to the message that will be presented. We need to make sure that audio/video people are better prepared and don’t just throw everything together at the last minute.
If we are assigned a scripture reading, a prayer, or communion thoughts we need to think about what we are going to say/read days in advance. All of us who attend should pray about our worship gathering through the week.
Help Our Guests Feel Welcome
Greet visitors as quickly as possible. At Lewisville we have members stationed at every door to open the door and welcome everyone who enters. We also have a welcome center so that our guests can receive a copy of the church newsletter and ask any questions they may have.
Some churches have visitors stand and they are given a special welcome package. At North MacArthur, the visitors are asked to remain seated while members stand and come to greet them. Other churches have everyone stand and speak to one another. The more people who can speak to visitors the more they will feel welcomed and want to return.
Provide an Atmosphere of Joy
Church leaders should do everything possible to help all who attend glad that they were present. We should have someone extend a warm public welcome to everyone
Men who are leading in the worship service need to smile and act as if they are glad to be serving the Lord. King David understood the importance of this long ago when he said, “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful singing.” (Psalm 100:2)
Focus Our Worship on the Lord
Even visitors understand that our purpose for gathering it to worship God. Our worship gatherings need to be God-focused and Christ-centered. When the Corinthian Christians were able to get out of themselves and focus their worship on God Paul said an unbeliever “will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:25)
God has created us to be worshipful people and everyone has a longing deep in their heart to be closer to the Lord. Most people attend worship because something is missing in their life, because there is a need they are looking to feel, because they have a longing to praise God, or because someone they love has invited them and they want to spend time with them.
All of these suggestions are meant to help improve our church culture. Improving our church culture is a means to an end. The goal is to reach as many people as possible with the Good News about Jesus. What ideas do you have that you could share with us?
Dear God, please help us to do everything within our power to create in our worship an attitude of joy as well as an attitude of reverence. Father, help us to reach out to everyone who visits our worship assemblies and make them feel welcome. Dear God, please help us to do everything we do to bring honor and glory to Your Name. Through Jesus, our Savior we pray, Amen.