The Environments of Your Church

In his book Creating a missional cultureJR Woodward lays out that a church should have a culture that is learning, healing, welcoming, liberating and thriving. I found this section of the book to be particularly helpful, especially the questions he asks to evaluate your culture.

Learning Environment

  • In what ways does Scripture shape the community you serve?
  • Is the community listening to God through the Scriptures and practicing in their everyday lives what they are learning? How?
  • In what ways are people actively reflecting on what they are practicing?
  • What percentage of the congregation is immersed in God’s story and teaching the Scriptures to others?
  • How many are actively interacting with God’s story as it relates to their local context and mission?

Healing Environment

  • Do the rhythms of the church make space for people to have down time and just hang with each other?
  • Are their regular times for people to be genuine with one another – with no masks?
  • How well do people know each other and share life with each other?
  • What percentage of the congregation considers the church as family?
  • How many are experiencing healing from past hurts and moving toward wholeness spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally?

Welcoming Environment

  • How many people genuinely welcome others into their tight community?
  • How well does the faith community reflect the diversity of the neighborhood?
  • What ministries are in place to help orient people into the life of the congregation?
  • What percentage of people meaningfully connect with others in the neighborhood, at work or in other missional spaces?
  • How well does the community incarnate the good news within the various missional spaces?
  • How willing are people to sacrifice their own cultural comfort to meet people where they are?
  • How many people willingly initiate with people who are different than them?

Liberating Environment

  • What percentage of the congregation is pursuing God’s shalom in the power of the Holy Spirit?
  • How many people are actively using their spiritual gifts to build the body and serve the neighborhood?
  • Is the congregation walking alongside the poor and oppressed? In what ways?
  • How is the congregation speaking to the powers and subverting systems that perpetuate injustice?
  • How much of the congregation seeks to be good stewards of all creation for the sake of the whole world?

Thriving Environment

  • How many people are discovering their calling and living it out with great passion?
  • To what degree is the multiplication of disciples taking place?
  • What percentage of people are being mentored and are mentoring others?
  • Are there apprentices for each ministry?
  • What percentage of people has a sense of ownership in the congregation?
  • Are there ministries in the congregation that intentionally help match people’s passions with the needs of the church, the neighborhood, the missional spaces and social justice issues?
  • How many people see their work as a sacred vocation by which they are able to serve their neighbor and bring glory to God?

Great questions for leaders to think through.