Canoeing the Mountains: Part 7

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

This quote, often attributed to Peter Drucker, shines a light on our best approaches to problem-solving and adaptation processes. As many new pastors begin their relationship with a new congregation, a new strategy is the expectation.

“The new pastor will have the strategy that will fix problem-X.”

As Tod Bolsinger and Andy Crouch put it:

“Culture is what we make of the world. It is the combination of the language we live in, the artifacts that we make use of, the rituals we engage in, our approach to ethics, the institutions we are a part of and the narratives we inhabit that have the power to shape our lives profoundly. Culture is the air current that lifts the bird, the water that holds the swimming fish, the background and frame that draws the eye to the center of the picture. It is all the unnoticed, taken-for-granted and powerfully present elements that shape our lives and work.”

In short, culture is the way we do things around here.

We, as Agape Baptist Church, have our own very distinct culture. It is what makes our church family belovedly special to us. It is something that has developed and slowly evolved over time and it is all the things, named and unnamed, that we love about our church.

Our culture is what it is. Whether we acknowledge it or not, it powers everything we do. Some of it may be unhealthy or a hinderance. Much of it is good and life-giving and we can testify to that.

Numerous organizational leaders and writers have said the same thing: “After working on strategy for 20 years, I can say this: culture will trump strategy, every time. The best strategic idea means nothing insolation. If the strategy conflicts with how a group of people already believe, behave, or make decisions (their culture), it will fail.”

So, what do we do with our culture? With great clarity, we ensure that it is aligned.

We identify it. We name it. We check it. And we reinforce it.

What Agape values forms our culture. When we are clear, unified, and aligned on these matters, we are able to move with conviction and relational congruency.

What actual values and behaviors of Agape do you cherish?

What words describe Agape’s culture?

How do we talk about Agape with others?

The answers to these questions speak to our church’s culture. We need to have a good understanding of how we all answer these questions. Ask these questions of someone this week and share your own thoughts.

May we find clarity, alignment, and unity on who we are and the culture of our beloved community.

Peace to you,



Canoeing the Mountains: Part 7