Creating a Multiplying Culture: 7 Questions for Your Team

Leadership strategist Brian Zehr says that culture is everything, especially when you're thinking church multiplication

Brian Zehr

Mark and his team planted a church in 2011.

But even before they officially launched the church, a culture was beginning to form.

Culture is everything.

As Mark’s launch team grew, he cast vision, formed relationships, and developed priorities and timelines for everything from finances to community involvement. For both Mark and his team, it was all a rush of adrenaline, prayer and risk. If spiritual entrepreneurship is anything, it is a constant striving for that fine line between wisdom and faith. Some liken it to “storming hell with squirt guns.” It’s fun, but you better have a plan.

Two years later, the church grew to a gathering of 250 people or so celebrating what God has done. A start-up became an official self-sustaining church!

Now what?

When We Don’t Create a Multiplying Culture

How do Mark and his church continue to reach people, impact the community, grow disciples and live in the intersection of wisdom and faith?

Here’s the problem: Often the energy that it takes to engage the apostolic endeavor of a new church creates a culture that is not set up properly to multiply. The launching of faith communities stops at one.

Mark is not alone.

I’ve seen pastors, church planters and denominational leaders wrestle with the alarming statistics. The data indicates that most churches seem to grow to a point where they’re unsure of what to do to multiply the mission and ministry that God has given them.

That’s a problem. The solution is found in culture.

Culture is everything. But what is culture?

The Big 3 Elements for Creating a Multiplying Culture

in its simplest form, culture adds together a church’s highest priorities (its values) with a distinct dialogue (an intentional narrative), supported by a clear, consistent set of actions. This isn’t just a once-in-a-lifetime set of actions, but behavioral patterns that are regular and rhythmic.

When values, narratives and behaviors align with a multiplication vision, we begin to create a multiplying culture.

So if culture is everything, what can a church or church plant do to create a multiplying culture?

It starts with asking the right questions.

That’s what Mark and his two-year-old church did. We began to work with the team to shift their culture. We encouraged them to ask the following seven questions with their team:

Values:

  • What needs to be most important now? In other words, what is God saying to us in this season of our church?
  • What priorities should we pursue if we want to to multiply leaders and our congregation?

Narrative:

  • How will we talk about what is most important?
  • How do we engage our people in these defined values?
  • What verbiage will we use to lead our people to the intersection of faith and wisdom?

Behaviors:

  • What will we do to live out our most important values?
  • What  actions should our leaders consistently take?
  • What programs or processes will equip our people to live out the values of multiplication?

Yes, culture is everything. The good news is that once we align our values, narrative and behaviors with God’s call to multiply, the culture of our church shifts.

By the way, Mark’s church has planted out of their now six-year-old congregation. And they’re looking for more leaders to multiply.


After a 20-plus year career as a church planter, campus pastor, lead pastor and as the former director of training and coaching at NewThing, Brian Zehr is now co-founder and leadership architect of Intentional Impact, a leadership development firm headquartered in Naperville, outside Chicago. Brian’s passion is to help leaders and organizations grow through inspiration, insight and instruction. He is the author of THOROCITY: The Seven Critical Components to Lead With Confidence.