The 5 Stages of a Shifting Church Culture

It’s been interesting to see how a culture shifts within a church over the course of a few years. When the Lord spoke to us clearly about Harvest House Church becoming Convergence House of Prayer I really did not know what to expect.
What I do know is that this is what we are supposed to be doing. The Lord has confirmed this many times over with the prophetic word and in the hearts of leadership.

Knowing the Lord has spoken creates a stake in the ground where we sense His pleasure and are confident in the direction we are going.

Not too many leaders have taken a church and successfully shifted it to a House of Prayer. I think we are on our way, but believe me, it keeps us on our knees trusting Him as we navigate a shifting culture.

In my quest to better understand how church cultures shift, I just finished reading, “Cracking Your Churches Culture Code” by Samuel Chand. The author helps define a churches culture and what actually happens as the culture changes. I highly recommend the book.

Chand reveals a natural process that unfolds as a culture changes. In order for a culture to successfully change it will move through five stages

  1. Entrepreneurial StageDiscovery phase. This is when the Lord is opening the eyes of leadership and points them in a new direction. Leadership can now see what can be and that what the Lord is stirring in their hearts is actually possible. They begin moving forward, exploring what God is saying and experimenting with how it can actually  work.
  2. Emerging StageGrowth phase. Here the vision begins to grow in the hearts of a wider group. It’s important that leadership has solid credibility and can be trusted.  If these are not in place then the likelihood of a healthy transition is distant.
  3. Established StageStability phase. The direction is embraced and systems are being put in place. The course of action is met with a plan to move people from one step to another.
  4. Eroding StageSurvival phase. In every culture there is an eroding stage. I really don’t know why this is but nonetheless it is part of the flow. This is where the new culture is vulnerable.  It’s important at this stage to re-kindle the vision with fresh creativity that empower the core values.
  5. Enterprising StageThe re-firing stage. Here leaders must return to the Entrepreneurial stage to gain fresh vision and new ways to strengthen the culture. This needs to happen on a regular basis to maintain a growing and healthy culture.  New discoveries are experienced around the new cultures core values.

I realize that there is movement going on in every phase at Convergence. I sense overall we are somewhere in the Establishing phase.

I really don’t want to get caught up in the mire of structure, yet these “stages” help give me  a roadmap for the journey ahead.

I’d be interested in your input regarding this — 

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  1. Char Larez Feb 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    So excited to be a part of something so revolutionary, challenging, and beautiful!

    1. Greg Feb 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Great to have you as part of our growing cHOP family. I pray that Convergence truly will become revolutionary in every possible way. 😉

  2. Frank Feb 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    interesting… in the 38 years I’ve been leading group therapy, I have often found the Boston or Berstien model of group development helpful… There is a science, with this & other studies/models with thousands observed, reporting & outcomes measured. It would be no surprise to you to see that Biblical principles support what the evidence shows as effective… would love to talk with ya some time…

    1. Greg Feb 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Frank, thanks sharing. I have never studied Boston and Berstien or other of the group models that you shared. Would be interested in how these support Biblical principles.

  3. Dean Deguara Mar 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Picked it up again! Better the 2nd time. Trying to get unstuck!

    1. Greg Mar 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Great book. Not all of it is applies but good eye-opening material. I don’t know of another book that tackles the components of shifting a church culture. Using it now for reference.

  4. Marc Madrigal Jun 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Interesting model of change. It reminds me that leaders can’t expect to make a single announcement and expect everything to begin changing. The dream must be repeated and rekindled over and over until it starts to stick. I still don’t get how to shape organizational culture but it definitely helps when God is the one behind the shift! Sounds like CHOP is on its way 🙂

    1. Greg Oct 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Hey Marc, I don’t know how your comment was missed, even way back in June, but glad you jumped in. You’re right in your assessment. Changing culture is a slow-burn. We have to keep saying what’s important and what is valued over and over again. I think people get it when you hear them say that they are tired of hearing it. 😉 Leading well through cultural change is about living it and saying it repeatedly. Blessings, friend!


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