Shape Behavior – Shape A Culture



Shape Behavior – Shape A Culture


The following is from the RLM Leadership Podcast with Richie Shaw from Real Life Ministries Spokane.

If you’d like to hear the entire podcast you can find it here.

Let’s talk for a few moments about our routines and habits as a church, both individually and collectively. When it comes to church, we all want to be part of something that is thriving, healthy, and moving forward. Nobody really wants to be a part of something that is not growing or is dying. What many church leaders do though, is focus on the results – they look at the numbers – of baptisms, of church attendance, of small groups- etc. On our leadership team, we have tried to become more aware of what we are focusing on. We have discovered that when we are focused on the results, we often miss the things that produce those results.

[tweetthis]If you focus on the results, you can miss the process, and may never get the results you are actually going for[/tweetthis]

We do need to measure results. We also need to celebrate results. But what we really need to learn to pay attention to, focus on, investigate and challenge is the process. And that includes the daily and weekly habits we have as individuals, leadership teams, and as a church.

I have been reading the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. He actually investigates a church in the book. Saddleback. Rick Warren leads this church in southern California. They have created a movement, and it was really helpful to see how God used the power of habit and routine to create that movement. It is clear to see that Saddleback is more focused on the process than the results. And because of that, the results have come. Rick Warren is quoted in the book to have heard Jesus say to him – “You focus on building people, and I will build the church”. [tweetthis]We need to focus on building people, and Jesus will build the church. #Relational #Discipleship [/tweetthis]

So we read Matthew 16:18 where Jesus promises that he will build his church, and we get really excited about that. But we don’t connect the dots and say, Ok – if that is his part, what is ours? Our part is really making disciples. And how do we do that? We give people new habits to shape new behaviors in their life to become who Jesus has made them to be.

These are the values we have in our church. Pursue – Connect – Give – Multiply. We pursue Jesus in people. We connect in authentic relationships. We give our life in our finances. We multiply to the next generation what God has done in us. We give it to them and release them to do what God is calling them to do. We are giving our people new habits to help shape new behaviors, to have the life that Jesus is calling them to.

If we can help people put actionable habits and behaviors into their lives,  we are creating a movement. This is what Jesus was doing constantly as he spoke about what the Kingdom of Heaven was like – ‘You’ve heard it said” – “But I tell you this”. Jesus was re-engineering their thinking, their beliefs, their habits and their behavior. [tweetthis]If you can shape behavior you can shape a culture.[/tweetthis]

One of the things Duhigg does in his book is identify that for every habit there is always a cue. That cue triggers a routine – the action you take,  and that routine ends with a reward. So if the cue is: I’m hungry. The routine may be: I eat something really good for me. Then the reward is: I feel better about my overall health, or I have a sense of accomplishment. So there are three parts to every habit: cue, routine, reward.

If you used this with pursuing people at an individual level the Cue might be: I know a lost person. I know somebody doesn’t know Jesus. The Routine could be: I reach out to them. I call them. I invite them. I bring them with me on a Sunday. Then the Reward is: They come to church. They get baptized. They’re in my group now. Lives are being changed. People see it on a screen, a baptism happens! Reward Reward Reward!

As leaders, we can leverage this to help shape new patterns, new habits, and new connections for our people.

Here is another example – Cue: I need encouragement. Routine: I show up at small group every week and share what is going on in my life. Reward: I am heard – I don’t feel so alone anymore.

So when we are thinking about how life is going, how our groups are going, how our teams are going, I want us to think about and focus on the key habits and processes that will help drive the results that we all want. And I think that is a discipline for us as leaders. We need to focus on the process, habits and routines that we’re trying to build.  Both in our own lives and in the lives of those we lead.

I believe that the Spirit of God is just as involved in these processes, in these habits, in these daily disciplines, as he is in the massive, miraculous result-type moments. I think it’s easy to go, “Man, that was cool. That was miraculous. That was God, and only focus on the result moments for that miracle. And then we miss the miracle of being willing to pick up the phone tomorrow when somebody missed your group.

I want to see us make the effort to focus on the process and the people that God has given us and the development of all those that he has yet to give us. I believe the potential being unlocked in each one of them is going to be absolutely amazing.