The Lift Project: Shaping Culture: The Incarnation Model

When it comes to shaping culture in the Christian context, at its best it leads to the incarnation model. Christians believe that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human form. Christians seek to bring the divine model into their life and leadership. More then simply asking, “What would Jesus do?” Christians seek to do what Jesus would do and follow what He is doing in this world.

Week 4 of Shaping Culture class in the LIFT Project focused on the Incarnation Model and its influence in shaping culture. It began by reading from chapter 10 of Peter Sazero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

Part of its influence is recognizing the tension between love and task. Leaders tend to be task-oriented, goal-focused, and vision-centered. Jesus engaged in relationship with people. Video 1 this week by Peter Scazzero built on his findings in his book and even more in his ministry. A couple of take away quotes that I picked up are:

“The work of love is a sacred work like prayer and reading the Bible.”

“Leadership is the most difficult place in loving relationships.”

Good words for a task-oriented guy like me to hear.

Video 2 featured Heather Zempel of the National Community Church in D.C. as she answered the question: “What does it take to build a healthy culture /environment for ministry? Part of the answer for leaders is not only figuring who we are but who we are not.

Video 3 also with Heather looked at the question: How does culture get fleshed out? She pointed out that culture is about people and how we relate to each other. It’s not only understanding one’s identity, but also living it out. Recognizing this is how we roll.

One of the additional readings was from Lance Witt and his book, Replenish, and his chapter on “Practicing the Presence of People.” Notice the relational theme this week? Yet that is the challenge of culture, it is not merely what we do, it is who we are, and even more who God is making us to be.

As I thought about how we develop the relational side of our culture at Christ Lutheran, here are some of the ways we roll.

Among our staff this year and some of our key leaders, we are attending the Global Leadership Summit simulcast together. Being inspired by great speakers, learning a common leadership language to use, time in breaks and lunches together, and best of all sensing the Spirit’s work in our midst, make it a great 2 day event to build relationships.

On a weekly basis our administrative staff gathers to not only meet together, but even more to pray together. Taking time to talk to God and to hear each other talk to God provides great connection. Periodically we will focus our prayers on one in our group, asking how to pray and then most of all taking the time to pray for each other.

On a daily basis our church office staff reads a portion of God’s Word and spends time in prayer for our church and for each other. Monthly we do lunch together, because we recognize that God invites us to do life together.

What are some ways you develop the relational side of culture?

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