There is something which exists inside of your organization even if you do not realize it: culture. Everyday you and the other leaders inside of your organization are creating a culture. Since culture always exists and is a necessary part of the work environment you and your employees spend 40 hours a week in, it is important that you understand culture and know how to change it.

3 Required and Important Stages for Discerning and Shaping a Church's Culture

This summer I read a fantastic book by Aubrey Malphurs titled, Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture. Malphurs’ main premise is that culture in the church is important because:

  • 80-85 percent of American churches are either plateaued or in decline
  • on a typical weekend only 17 percent of the population attend church
  • many of the young people growing up in church often leave church when going off to college (p. 111)

In his book, Malphurs outlines three stages of shaping a church’s culture. I’d like to outline those stages for you with my comments as a way to help you “discern and shape your church culture.”

3 Stages of Shaping a Church’s Culture

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The only way people know of any ancient literature is by way of copies, not originals. That’s not only true of the Bible; it’s true of virtually everything else. And because we’re dealing with writings that are so extremely old, you can imagine how few of these manuscripts are likely to have survived into modern times. . . So are you ready now for the number of surviving manuscripts from the New Testament that we know about and can currently access? Fifty-eight hundred. . . The Bible is by far the best-attested book of ancient origin.

Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw, “Truth Matters” (pp. 111-112)

A couple of months ago I watched the movie Dead Poets Society which is filled with lessons about teaching.

7 Lessons I Learned about Teaching from the Dead Poets Society

 Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

7 Lessons I Learned about Teaching from Dead Poets Society

1. John Keating (lovingly referred to as “Captain” by his students) was slightly obscure. He was always whistling to himself, walking in and out of the classroom at random times, and playing games with the students. In the beginning of the movie, it was clear that Captain did not fit the mold of the other straight-faced and curriculum-focused teachers. This contrast in teaching styles was clearest at the end of the movie when the principal of the school assumed Captain’s class and told the class to turn to the introduction of their textbook. The principal did not know that Captain had told his students to rip out the introduction. Furthermore, Captain had referred to the introduction of the book as “excrement” while the principal referred to the same essay as exceptional and profound. Continue Reading…

I have found that listening to podcasts and books on tape are two of the easiest ways for me to learn and grow as a leader.

5 Podcasts I Regularly Listen to in order to Learn and Grow

In 2004 I received my first iPod and began downloading podcasts. During those ten years there have probably been 50 different podcasts that I have tried out, subscribed to, and then unsubscribed. Over time there are five podcasts that I have stuck with and found most helpful to me as a leader.

This Is Your Life
Michael Hyatt’s podcast is a great weekly show that provides practical tips for leaders. Several weeks ago he changed the format of his podcast adding a cohost. I have not listened to the new format yet, but I am confident that the podcast still delivers value for leaders. Continue Reading…

In 2009 I endeavored my first attempt teaching a Bible study. It was for a men’s Bible study consisting of myself and three other men of various ages. I began leading us through the book of Nehemiah and then we spent half of a year looking at the fifteen years of David’s life before he became king.

Practices for Effective Bible Study and Teaching

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This experience teaching the Bible showed me two things:

  1. I loved teaching the Bible.
  2. I had to improve my ability to study and teach the Bible.

Recently I read the book, The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching. It was a great book which outlined ten tips that can help you study and teach the Bible better.

1. Be a diligent Bible student (pp. 269-272).
Every teacher should carefully study the Bible because the Bible helps the teacher grow spiritually, it guides him, guards him against sin, and encourages the teacher to move toward spiritual maturity. Continue Reading…

Creativity is an essential quality for a leader. A leader must be creative to see future possibilities, make things come real which were once only ideas, and think of ways to solve problems.

10 Easy and Essential Ways to Be More Creative

Photo Credit: Mike Beauregard

While reading the book, Creative Teaching Methodsauthor Marle LeFever provided a list of ways to be more creative and tell better stories. Even though the book focused on creativity within Bible teaching, I think these 10 principles can be applied by any leader.

10 Easy and Essential Ways to Be More Creative and Tell Better Stories

1. The creative process of a teacher starts with preparation (pp. 23-25).
Preparation is the ground work that a teacher does to become an effective teacher. This ground work includes learning how to study the Bible, lead group discussions, and use audio/visual tools. Continue Reading…

A leader must be a person of wisdom.

A Leader Must Be a Person of Wisdom

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Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say. – Proverbs 24:7 (NLT)

This verse provides a reminder that fools do not have wisdom but leaders do. In fact, when fools are around leaders they do not have anything to say because leaders live lifestyles different from fools. The wisdom leaders have has places them in a different position and social level than fools. Again, leaders must be men and women of wisdom.

What happens when leaders have wisdom:

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Attitude makes all the difference. The development of a positive attitude is the first conscious step toward becoming an effective leader. Successful leadership cannot be constructed without this crucial building block.

John C. Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible (p. 171)

As a book that was written and compiled from 15th century B.C. until the 3rd century A.D., the Bible can be difficult to interpret and teach.  Yet, the Bible is God’s inspired and authored Word. As the manual and rulebook for Christians to follow it must be taught effectively.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

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I recently read the book, Effective Bible Teaching by Jim Wilhoit and Leland Ryken. It was a fantastic book written to help any Christian teach the Bible effectively. Here’s the ten things I found most helpful in the book.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

1. Charisma does not always equal effective Bible teaching (p. 19).
Research shows that students are poor at assessing the effectiveness of Bible teaching. Students will sometimes rate a Bible teacher as effective even if the Bible teacher only entertains the audience instead of instructing. This is important because a Bible teacher’s job is to focus on teaching truth, not on how to be entertaining and charismatic. Continue Reading…

The key to learning the dance steps of discernment is prayer along with sound biblical study. . . You must remain in close community with God if you have any chance of discerning well. Instead of focusing your prayers on God revealing his will, focus on creating Godly wisdom and character in you. When your actions, thoughts, and desires reflect God’s priorities, then you are in a better place to discern well.

Dr. George Hillman, Ministry Greenhouse (p. 34)