Culture replication

We are loving our time here studying at Bethel Church. We are learning lots and God is moving in powerful ways. Restoring relationships, healing cancer, equipping believers and revealing his fathers heart. People are travelling here from all over the world, church leaders, worship leaders, politicians, musicians and actors all hoping to experience something of the Kingdom and take it home.

The second most common question I have been asked, after what is unique about Bethel (addressed in 3 parts starting here), is can we transfer it to our situation.

So is it transferable?

The simple answer is yes, everything is transferable. The more complex answer is it depends! The core values at Bethel are all from the same bible we all have and God is the same the world over! The teaching here is nothing new. There is some revelation and emphasis that is fairly fresh making it feel like a new movement. In reality the team here at Bethel are pulling on a wealth of christian heritage and revival history.

It is also important to realise that the environment Bethel has developed has been built up over the course of 15 years or more, through much experimentation and learning. While I believe it currently presents a really strong example of how to sustain and steward a supernatural environment, the staff themselves will be the first to admit they still have lots to learn. For this reason, I wish there was a better name to describe the environment other than “Bethel culture”. The important thing in all this is to apply truth from the bible to our lives and not simply replicate another churches setup. There is no cookie cutter approach to church or relationship with God, no magic steps or simple 3 step plan. God cannot be boiled down to a formulae.

The culture, teaching and transformation seen here are definitely transferable but the real question is how can we transfer it and should we even want to?

Firstly it is my belief that there is a lot of good happening here. The values here are producing a great fruit. Healthy relationships and a body of people growing in faith and connection with God.

A culture is defined by a core set of values, beliefs and rules. Every region of influence presents its own unique culture. So when it comes to applying core kingdom values to any culture you will face unique challenges depending on how the values and beliefs clash with what is already accepted. Every church is influenced by the world around it to varying degrees. It can be tricky to spot. The bible is pretty clear that the principles of the Kingdom are in many ways completely different to the values of our society. Bringing cultural change always causes friction! Also let it be no secret that sustaining a supernatural environment where priority is given to what God wants to do comes at a great cost. It requires an unswerving resolve to remain heaven minded (Col 3:1-2) and the substitution of fear of man with fear of God.

In terms of the cultural challenges between America and the UK, the only real difference I have encountered is some of the language used. The values and structure can be boiled down to biblical principles that apply universally. Bethel is already exporting its values and strategies globally through a network of connections and having much success (www.igloballegacy.org).

The principles can be applied anywhere but the process will almost definitely bring challenge, require much risk, perserverance and the renewing our minds.

Whether you want to apply Bethel’s model for ministry really depends on whether you think the values Bethel stands for hold importance to you. Personally I think they are of huge importance, but then I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think that!

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3 thoughts on “Culture replication

  1. I completely agree Neil. Definitely transferable. In my one small exposure what I saw is an environment well within the grasp of others who are prepared to take Godly risks and act confidently from a foundation of faith grounded in the scriptural assurance that God will buld his church.

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  2. Thank you for this post and I can see that your argument makes sense. However I wonder if it is also possible that God chooses at certain times and at certain places to act and to move in particular ways. This would be my reflection from our previous visits to both the Lakeland and Pennsacola Revivals. It also emphasises (and I’m suggesting you are ignoring) the sovereignty of God, that it is He that acts and we don’t and can’t predict that if we follow a set of steps or values or principals that He will always respond in the way He did somewhere else.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Richard! There is no doubt God moves in great ways in certain locations around the world but I not sure there is any evidence to suggest that’s all he wants to do. In my experience God always sovereignly chooses to move through a man or woman of God yielded to his purposes. It is not so much the location as the heart of the individual or group of people. My main concern with limiting God to certain locations is it encourages unbelief and discourages faith. Faith is vital if we want our communities transformed. It would also suggest that our assignment to heal the sick, cleanse the leper and raise the dead was not actually going to be possible in most locations. I am convinced that if we seek God we can see the same level of authority and power as seen at many recent hot spots. You are right that God can’t be predicted or controlled but he has already revealed his will in the bible, and that is heaven to earth. There is no set steps, it is a relationship after all but his values and kingdom principles are revealed in his word and he is always faithful to his word. I think believing that God wants to work in power in our communities/nation is the first step to seeing it happen. That’s my current thinking anyway. Hope that makes sense 🙂

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