I read this post from Mark Batterson’s blog. (For those of you who don’t who Mark is, he is the pastor of National Community Church in Washinton, D.C. and the author of “In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day” and “Wild Goose Chase.”)
Mark was talking about a book that he had read about the founder of Amazon.com and the culture he created there that started with him building his first office desk out of a cheap Home Depot door and sawed-off two-by-fours. Mark then went on to say:
“…creating culture is the most importantand most difficult task of a leader. In fact, the only thing more difficult is changing culture. But the good news is that culture is nota mystery. It is living out your core values in meaningful ways. It iscommunicating your values in memorable ways. And that boils down to small actions that make a big difference. Things like making desks from doors!”
I agree that creating culture is the most important task of leaders. That is the reason why I am so passionate about focusing on children. Here is the comment I posted to Mark’s blog post:
The greatest impact we can have to actually create culture is to influence people before their core beliefs are pretty much set in stone after the age of 9. Creating culture within children is like working with clay; it’s easy to mold and shape. The clay dries very quickly after age 9 and becomes rock solid by age 13. After that you are having to chisel away at stone. Yes, there can be change but usually only happens due to life crises and/or divine intervention.
Sadly, too many churches and church leaders wait until high school or university to seriously address spiritual formation issues and impacting culture. If we truly want to create culture and have lasting impact, then it needs to be done early. Do we ignore students and adults? No. But more intentional thought needs to go into realizing that children are probably the most integral part of our communities and deserve more of our resources, thought, and strategic planning.
What are your thoughts on creating culture? What are some obstacles you face in putting children’s ministry as a priority in affecting culture at your church? What are you doing with children to create a culture that is transformational and can have lasting impact in the future?