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Developing a Church Culture of Goodness, Part 2 - Culture is Almost Irresistible

Carl Ruby

Developing A Church Culture of Goodness

Part 2: Culture is Almost Irresistible

“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” - Jesus

When you are trying to find a church, think very carefully about its culture because, according to A Church called Tov (by Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer), a church’s culture is almost irresistible. A church’s culture consists of the values, expectations, and practices that guide members of the congregation. McKnight and Barringer suggest that there is a reciprocal relationship whereby leaders and congregations form and shape a church culture which in turn shapes them. They observe that church culture is powerful, self-perpetuating, and always changing.

Tov is the Hebrew word for good. Good church culture breeds compassion.

“A good (tov) culture teaches us to behave with goodness, and good behavior shapes our thoughts toward goodness.”

According to McKnight and Barringer:

Toxic, flesh-driven cultures breed a lust for power, success, celebrity, control through fear, an emphasis on authority, and demands for loyalty. [As these values] fester in the heart of a leader, they can’t help but bear bitter fruit, damaging the culture of the church and seeking to destroy anyone who gets in the way.
 A Spirit-formed, Christlike culture, on the other hand, nurtures truth, offers to heal the wounded, seeks opportunities to show redemptive grace and love, focuses on serving others (rather than on being served), and looks for ways to establish justice in the daily paths of life. A Christlike church culture always has its eyes on people because the mission of the church is all about God’s redemptive love.


Let’s work together to be sure that Central exhibits a culture that bears the good fruit of redemptive compassion. Next week’s blog will focus on warning signs that a church’s culture has become toxic.

To follow Scot McKnight check out his blog, Jesus Creed, or his podcast Kingdom Roots.

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