Cultivating the Culture

Eight Qualities of New Hope’s Culture

A lot of people have a heart on the inside that might be frozen or shriveled. Then when they come to church, it should be a culture that begins to allow growth to take place. We have to decide what that culture is. We at New Hope, after a lot of prayer and thought, decided what kind of culture we want here.

1. HARVEST CHURCH

We will connect everything to a soul because that is why we exist. If people are not coming to Christ, then why do we exist? We are not here just to diaper saints over and over until they die. We are not a caregiver home. We are not a country home. We are not just going to convince the already convinced again and again. No! The Bible says we are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

We have to connect everything to a soul. We have decided to do that at New Hope, to be a harvest church.

2. LIVE HEART FIRST

“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart…therefore you shall serve your enemies…” (Deut 28:47-48 NASB).

God wants us to serve Him with all our heart. Remember this: A mind might reach a mind, but it is only a heart that will reach a heart. We are trying to reach people’s hearts; therefore, we have to serve and do what we do with all our hearts. Of course, your mind has to be involved too, otherwise we will have chaos. Throw your heart across the line and live heart first.

One day somebody came to me and said, “Wayne, it is nice to have all these things, but I do not see any heart anymore.”
I said, “Yes, there is heart.”
He replied, “There might be, but I do not see it.”
I said, “Yes, we have heart. We have lots of heart.”
He said, “We have a lot of activities and programs, but where is the heart?”

I remember going back to God and asking, “God, where is the heart?”
Here is what the Lord said, “Start pruning back. Prune back until you see the heart again. When you see heart then start growing. If there is an overgrowth and you have outpaced the heart, prune back and grow slower until you are living heart first. Keep growing, but heart first. If people do not see the heart then all they will see is man’s efforts. Grow heart first.”

From then on we said, “Do not clean the table with a washcloth; clean it with your heart. Do not hand out bulletins with your hands; use your heart. When you embrace, do not just use arms; use your heart. When you serve, serve with your heart. When you love, worship with all your heart.” That has to be our culture. God says, “Live heart first.”

3. BUILD EMERGING LEADERS

You will see a lot of young people around our church. One of our young dancers is seven-years-old. Another of our dancers started here when she was six and now she is a beautiful fifteen-year-old young lady. They start real young, but we thought, “Let’s allow all of these young people in so that we can mentor them and build emerging leaders.” This is the reason we have a Bible College. It is because our culture is to grow young leaders.

4. DOING CHURCH AS A TEAM

We decided that we will be lean on full-time staff and large on volunteers. That is where the heart is going to be found. God said to me, “Do not hire those who do it well, hire those who can facilitate those who will do it well.” This conference was put together by volunteers; people who take off from work and give a part of their year so that people like you can come and be stirred, ignited, energized, encouraged, and equipped. Volunteers! We are doing church as a team!

5. UNDYING DEVOTION TO GOD AND HIS WORD

We are a people with an undying devotion to Christ and His Word.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11 NASB).

God is saying in the end days He will send a famine for hearing the words of the Lord. It is time we break that famine. We have to be a people of undying devotion to God and His Word.

It is part of the New Hope culture to read the Bible and do daily devotions. We read the Bible here! In fact, if you do not, the question is, “Why not?” or “How come?”

6. GRACIOUS IN ALL OF OUR DEALINGS

We are dealing with problems all the time. One of the common denominators of growing churches is problems and pain. That is a common denominator. We have to be gracious. Otherwise, we will not be able to resolve problems. We need to be gracious in all of our dealings. If we are a leader in a church, we are going to be the culture-setter in that church. If we violate one of these qualities, it will destroy the culture.

Leaders are culture-setters or culture-breakers. Your words can build or destroy.

Keep the culture that we are going to do church as a team and we will be gracious in all our dealings.”

Leaders, not only will you set the culture, you have to make sure that you are maintaining it. Cultures are fragile.

7. A CULTURE OF JOYFUL SERVANTS

We want a culture of joyful servants where people truly enjoy serving. Our Doing Church as a Team conference is not only to equip, stir, energize, and ignite; but also to celebrate the wonderful servants that we have here at New Hope. They are some of the best people in the world! They really are.

8. GENUINE AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Genuine and healthy relationships are absolutely critical. We can have all of the joints in line, all of the technical things in order, all of the connections there; but it is like our skin is dry and cracked, every movement hurts. Relationships are like that. If we do not have healthy relationships; we can have every moving part in place, but every motion hurts because of poor relationships.

I want to encourage us to make sure that everything that we have is built on genuine and healthy relationships. Do we maintain it like that all the time? No. But when relationships go bad; we will feel tension, something is wrong.

The tension is good because God is saying that something needs to be resolved. Tension is not bad in churches. Sometimes we shy away from it. We numb ourselves to it. We drug ourselves to avoid it, but tension is not bad. It is God saying, “I would like you to take care of this. Do not let this continue. Do not tolerate it. Let us resolve it.”

God promises to heal. We decide how long that healing is going to take. Do we want healing to take a day? It will take a day. Do we want it to take a year? It will take a year.

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