The book of Acts captures the captivating story of the birth and growth of the First Century Church. There are a few times in this amazing story where Luke clearly describes the ethos of the community that was forming.
A wonderful example of this is found in Acts 2:42-47:
“42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
These few passages give us tremendous insight into the culture that had developed in the early church. During a time filled with cruelty, uncertainty, and isolation, those who were embracing Christ were finding a shared life of community. Those who turned to Christ found the hope of their salvation and a new way of living that could not be ignored by those on the outside looking in. Others wanted what these Christians had!
The early church had a culture that captivated people. This culture was one of the driving forces that caused the rapid growth of the Church that we see unfold in the pages of the book of Acts.
It matters in our families, our workplaces, our teams, and our churches. The culture of your church has the power to kill vision or bring a vision to life. When the culture of your church is captivating not only to the people but also to the heart of God, you get to see Him move in powerful ways, many times, in ways you never dreamed or imagined.
If your church’s culture is truly captivating, people will love being involved and engaged. You won’t need to beg for volunteers. Rather, you’ll be able to help people find their true calling within the ministry of the church. Leaders will come, and they will stay and help you remain focused on your mission and vision. Your church will become attractive to your city and lives will be changed. In addition, your church will become one that makes disciples who make disciples to multiple generations of reproduction, and you will find yourselves working more and more on equipping, empowering, and sending out those whose lives have radically changed by the power of God.
The opposite is unfortunately true. An unhealthy culture will consistently hinder your church’s mission and vision. Stated more strongly, an unhealthy church culture will derail any effort of accomplishing the dream God has birthed in your heart.
What does building a captivating culture look like?
Answering that question is not easy or simple. It takes intentional effort and a clear focus. Without intentionality, our churches will drift into an unhealthy, consumer-based culture that will ultimately bring staleness to communities, and we will end up watching bad culture undermine our dreams for the future.
While it may appear to be an answer that is too simplistic, what is needed most is devotion. The culture that developed in the First Century has several contributing factors, but clearly, their devotion to a few things helped cement the captivating culture that developed.
- The early church was devoted to a shared mission, vision, and strategy.
- They had a devotion to the right values.
- The church was devoted to overthrowing the status quo. They wanted to change the bad culture around them.
- These new followers devoted themselves to a vertical view of God. They knew if they lived to obey and honor God, people would come to know Christ.
You see, a captivating culture has nothing to do with lights, production, a perfectly performed worship set, or even a dynamic speaker. A captivating church culture is one that is laser-focused on revealing the heart of God to people and seeing those people move and transform by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the culture of your church like? What are some small things you can do right now that could make a huge impact later on? Take some time and think about these things. Pray over them. Ask God to reveal His heart to you.