So what is Kingdom Culture? Maybe we should start by saying a bit more about the nature of a culture.
A culture can be defined as the system of beliefs, disciplines, practices, and relational boundaries that reveal how life is lived among a particular people group, for example, as found in different countries or even your workplace.
Wherever it is it’s the way of life found in any particular group of people, consisting of the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they as a people group accept (often without thinking about them), and that are passed on by communication (teaching), immersion (being in the culture – sometimes things are better caught than taught!) and imitation (copying behaviours), from one generation to the next.
What’s the difference between values and a culture? Every culture has its values, they are the bedrock, the fabric to the culture, but they are not the culture itself, culture is the shared experience of what is deemed important, so for example in the New Testament the culture of the Pharisees was one of “law, regulation, judgment and shamed obedience.” (Martin Schmaltz – Discovering the Kingdom). That culture was created by the values they held together.
But there’s something we need to know, a value is not a value unless it is lived. We can be good at saying these are our values, but unless they are lived out they are not, they are just good ideas, nothing more. A value is not a value unless it is lived and when we live it out and share those values together we create a culture. Culture then is created through the expression and experience of the things we believe and hold dear, the BIG question for each of us, is what kind of culture am I, are you creating and revealing, by your life, your marriage, family, church, your business etc.?
As God’s holy people that’s not to be the culture of this fallen world that has been judged and is passing away. The culture that we are called to model is a kingdom culture, a culture that derives from Heaven. A kingdom culture can be defined as one that reveals the reality of God’s reign, presence, love, wisdom, and activity in the different spheres of human experience – in other words, something of the culture of heaven on earth.
For starters a kingdom culture is a place where there is:
- love, grace, and freedom as opposed to hatred (the Bible offers no middle ground, you either love or hate), law, bondage, control and a performance mentality.
- thanksgiving & prayer as opposed to grumbling and complaining – they are the devils words/tools.
- honour & encouragement – seeing and valuing others as God sees them as opposed to a critical faultfinding spirit and negativity.
- humility & servanthood as opposed to self-promotion, pride and wanting to be served.
- faith & obedience as opposed to unbelief, cynicism, and rebellion.
- joy & praise as opposed to your own pity party and spirit of misery.
- forgiveness & reconciliation – as opposed to unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment and separation.
- looking out for others as opposed to putting self first.
- transformation as opposed to a this is the way I was made therefore I can’t help it, I can’t change, or a holding the fort mentality on the part of the church regarding the gospel and the world. We are called to change and be culture influencers/changers.
Note that these are all contrary to the general ways of a fallen world. Every one of them opposes a ‘devilish’ attitude and action (strong term I know, but we either live from above or from below – there’s no neutral ground).
And remember, the intent is not that the church should be a society in itself, a nice holy, happy huddle, merely waiting for the return of Christ, but rather a light to the world, a city set on a hill, salting society, a people holding forth the word of Life.
We as God’s holy ones, his family, a colony of heaven on earth, are assigned the task of creating a kingdom culture in our homes and in our church and then carrying that culture out into society and so bring Heaven’s influence on earth.
What would such a culture look like in your home, your church, when you go into the world, to work, the school etc? What will it exhibit?
To be continued….