Culture is defined as the unwritten rules of behaviour within any social group. We use basic terms such as language, custom, food, dress, religion and festivals to best understand culture. It is the way we see things and naturally behave without giving it much thought, in common with others of our group.
Every community has culture whether or not the people in that community realise it, and what is of immense importance is that it can be good and life giving or the culture may be one that’s negative and toxic.
As part of the Church of the Lord Jesus, we also have a culture that’s borne from the Word of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit but is also not independent of the behaviours, attitudes and mannerisms of the people in the Church. To a large extent we determine the spiritual and social barometer of the Church as the Holy Spirit and the Word works within the lives of individual saints.
The early Church in the Book of Acts stands as an indelible model of Apostolic culture today that was both dynamic, bold, passionate and transformative. This is what we must strive to emulate in order to have an atmosphere of a revival and life giving culture. The very first characteristic is the unity of the Church. Acts 2:1 tells us that, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
Unity is the keystone feature in any thriving culture and in the Church. It is brought about by the love of Christ in our hearts for one another; producing an environment of acceptance and non-judgemental attitudes towards those in our church and all who come in. Though culture is often natural and unwritten, we can however build and change our culture intentionally to where people are welcomed with love and celebration as part of our family. In the process, souls are added to the Kingdom of God. The old paradigm of ‘Believe, Become then Belong’ must give way to a culture of:
Belong – Believe – Become
Acts chapter 2 began with Unity and it ends with these words:
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47 NKJV