Every local church develops its own identity or D.N.A. The uniqueness of a Church is molded by a variety of elements that influence the overall dynamics and model. A great metaphor for describing Church culture is the illustration of an Iceberg. Some elements of culture, like the tip of an iceberg, are visible and sit above the surface of the water, whereas others elements of culture, like the larger body of the iceberg, are hidden well below the waterline. Some of the factors which forge the culture of a Church are aesthetic factors such as a building or the style of a worship service. These visible features are easy to observe and communicate something tangible about values and we all know first impressions can be very important. However, it is the invisible elements of Church culture which we hold most vital to Church health and wellbeing.
This deeper level of culture to be cultivated is best described by the word “ethos”. An ethos is the unwritten, unspoken assumptions about the reality of people and life which happen implicitly, so that they occur as a natural outflow of the hearts and minds of people in the Church. An ethos can be difficult to define because it emanates from concepts such as grace, mercy, compassion, justice and humility. Although it is invisible, the ethos of a group is the prevailing spirit, it gives impetus and direction to everything the Church does like a powerful current in the ocean. It either carries us closer to the vision or further away from it. Our ethos is embedded in the description of core values, ministry distinctives and statement of faith. These statements combine to outline the specific style, values and vision of this Church.
Guidelines form the foundation of the genetic framework of the Church. They remain constant and drive the ministry. What we value dictates decision making, problem solving, risk taking, goal setting, team building and allocation of resources. It is imperative in casting vision that people interested in being part of our ministry in Officer understand the D.N.A. and feel called to compliment this blueprint.