ATP Blog May 7, 2020
What is the culture of Grace Bible Church in Dauphin?
Culture has to do with atmosphere, traditions, attitudes and reputation in the community. It is what we are known for and known as. Some churches are known for their music, whether it be lively or conservative, and some are known for their friendliness. Other churches have been known for negativity, being a pastor-killer, or being judgmental of different people, while others are known for positive attributes, such as, a strong small-group program, or a lively children’s ministry.
Atmosphere: What is the atmosphere of the group of people we call GBC? I have heard some say that we are friendly and welcoming to new people. The newly formed church in Acts was known for having a welcoming atmosphere, especially for widows and orphans, those who were down and out. Jesus developed an atmosphere that went counter to the prevailing culture by making ‘sinners’ feel included and women feel valued. I believe the Bible challenges us to examine the atmosphere that we, the church creates so that it is welcoming to all who need the gospel.
Traditions: What traditions do we have that encourages people to draw closer to God? We have some traditions that do that, including having service leaders that are unique and provide various styles of worship. Another tradition certain families have, is to quickly make visitors feel welcome, and inviting them for lunch after the service. Perhaps others can learn from this and can spread the blessing around! We also have prescribed traditions like water baptism, membership (with responsibilities) and regular communion. The early church in Acts had traditions of regular Bible teaching, prayer and fasting, baptism, and eating together (2:40-47). Due to their atmosphere and traditions, members were added daily! The challenge for us is to develop the traditions that accomplish our main mission, and get rid of traditions that may hinder it.
Attitudes: What attitudes do we have as a church toward each other and towards those outside the church? Pride and hypocrisy are the worst attitudes to have, as a church that seeks to make disciples, encouraging people to worship, witness and walk right according to the Scriptures. There have been some people in our community who have had the attitude of looking down on those who sin differently than they do, or who judge others without first getting the full story or context. This is very damaging to the culture of a church that seeks to be God’s church here in Dauphin! We must see people as Jesus sees them (how Jesus sees all of us really): sinners saved by grace. We must learn to help people, gently and with grace, to deal with their sin, and yet feel accepted by God (and His body).
Reputation: How do the people of Dauphin view us and know us? If there is absolutely no talk about Grace Bible Church, then there is a problem: we are not ministering to the community. If the talk is negative, we need to listen and help change our culture to be more Christ-like. If the talk is positive, we need to examine it to see if it is true and what the Scripture calls us to. The Acts church had a reputation of caring for physical, emotional and spiritual needs equally. Like Jesus, they sought to help those around them find healing in Christ in all three areas. The challenge for us is to do the same. We need the community to see that we care and want to help. Then when they reach out, God will help us to minister to them in such a way as to develop a reputation as a group of people who care ... who worship a God that cares ... for everyone, no matter who they are or what they have done.