As a leader and pastor I am constantly thinking of the culture I am living in, and the culture I am creating. I think about the culture I live in so that I can communicate a clear message that transcends culture. I want to communicate clearly who Jesus is, and in order to do so I must be able to communicate in a way that is understandable to those around me. If it’s not understood, it can’t be internalized, if it can’t be internalized, then it was last. I must understand my audience, and know who they are.
At the same time organizationally speaking, we have a culture. In our culture people often speak a different language, have different world views, and have different expectations. My role is to help shape that culture. For example, I always want to make sure we have a culture that is serving our community, and being generous toward missionaries to serve around the world. I must set that tone. I do that by teaching, doing, and setting an example of how. For me to neglect these things is to push them out of our culture. It takes deep intentionality to set culture.
Culture is even important on the family level. How do you raise your children? How do you speak to your spouse? How do you want your children to treat others? This flows from the culture of your family. How do you set that culture?
The question becomes first, what culture do you live in? What is the goal of your ministry, organization, or family? This is critical to know what the larger culture is, and then to decide what the culture and tone you desire to set are.