Friday, August 29, 2014


Change and Culture

Todd Rhoades on changing church culture:
Change the culture too fast and everything blows up.

Change the culture too slowly, and you’re probably not going to be around to see any of the church.
I think he undersells what culture actually is. Of sure, the pace of changing worship style is important, but that does not change the culture - just the packaging of the culture. See that's the rub, changing the packing doesn't change the product. Culture is one of the products of the church, and it runs much deeper than music style, instrumentation and big screens up front.

See, I don't think we have a culture problem at church - at least not in the sense that Rhoades refers to culture here - equating it to packaging. You change packaging in a product that has little or no intrinsic value and packaging is what you are selling. In recent decades fluid consumption in the nation has switched from soda to flavored waters and energy drinks. If you put them in a lab and analyze them there is not much difference between the two. The difference is the packaging - and all of them don't do much water doesn't do. We could live without any of it. You put vast resources into packaging such a product because that is what you are selling.

Jesus is essential to life and there is no alternative product. If we have to change our culture (packaging) to sell the product then we are selling the wrong thing. Medicine is not sold that way - its essential nature means we don't have to focus on that stuff. The medicine market does not move fast. Change comes slowly. The developments costs are incredible, but worth it because of the result.

The church isn't selling right now. It's not because of our packaging - it's because of our product.

Does that mean we do not need to change our culture? No it means we need to have a much deeper understanding of just what that culture is? That culture is measured not in music and hipness, but in lives genuinely and deeply changed, on levels we can barely access. That happens at the pace that happens. It is nothing a board can control.


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