Cultivate a Culture

In our recent book Culture Shift, we speak about every church having a culture. It may not be the one we want, but every church has one. In order to develop the right environment, that culture must first be identified and agreed upon. Early on at New Hope, we decided that one distinctive of our church’s culture would be an undying devotion to God and His Word.

This has become one of New Hope’s strongest tenets in our short history of twelve years. When you make daily group devotions your custom, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it strengthens the culture. And age doesn’t matter! Even our elementary students are doing this with a pared-down Children’s Journal; our junior high students are doing it with the First Steps Journal. When you get people from various age groups meeting to read the Word and to journal, you soon start developing a powerful culture that becomes a silent megaphone, unheralded but unmistakably present.

My goal is to continue developing a culture of undying devotion to God and His Word and to keep on cultivating until it becomes systemic throughout the church. Be sure to understand one aspect of utmost importance: Doing devotions is not a program! It is a culture, an environment, a shared DNA.

1b3A4fnJournaling begins with the leaders. When leaders develop a habit, a culture soon follows, and within that culture the young ones start to catch it. Make this a core value. Know that nothing becomes a value until you put time, effort, and money toward it. Invest in it. It will be the greatest venture you’ll make in your growth and development. Spend the time necessary to develop a daily mentoring system with the Holy Spirit.

I remember times when, as a young father with two babies in diapers, I couldn’t simply sneak off to do devotions each morning, leaving the squalling children to their mother. Personal experience and past consequences cautioned me against it. I needed another option. I would ask my wife for forty-five minutes alone, and I would go out to my car. The car actually became a refuge and an oasis for me. It was comfortable, I could play soft music on the stereo, and I could even run the air-conditioner now and then if it was hot outside. I decided I had to make the cultivation of my roots a high priority.

The bottom line: Find a way that works for you. Of course, if you’re a spiritual giant like Susanna Wesley, you can just put an apron over your head (as she did) and forget the world during a few moments alone with the Lord! If you haven’t yet begun, now is the time to start.

Try your hand at a journal entry.

1. Find today’s Bible reading on the following schedule.

2. Read the passages and find one that speaks to your heart.

3. Follow the SOAP acrostic and begin.

Jesus Pure and Simple


This post is adapted from Pastor Wayne Cordeiro’s book, Jesus Pure and Simple.