With every generation, things seem to lose their quality. When I was a kid, I remember the one thing I wanted was a Walkman. For those of you who are under 25 years of age, this was a portable cassette player that you could take anywhere you wanted. Think of an ipod that constantly got messed up when the tape reel got twisted up, the batteries didn’t last long, and you had to flip it over to listen to Side B of your cassette tape. Yea, you better stop complaining about your stupid ipods! But seriously, I wanted one. And then, they came out with portable CD disc players. I can remember like it was yesterday traveling to away basketball games while listening to 2 Pac and trying to hold the disc player steady so it wouldn’t skip constantly. Ah, the good ole’ days.
I share this because no one cares about either of those products anymore. They have lost their quality. Now, music is simply a touch away on our mobile devices. I believe honor is much like those portable music players; it has lost its quality as generations pass. Honor used to be a big deal in our grandparents’ generation. Now, we have so much entitlement and live in such a ‘me first’ culture that honor is rarely even a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE to be honored, we just don’t like showing people honor. The definition of the word honor is simply to hold in high respect or esteem. But the other definition is one that I find extraordinary; privilege. It’s a privilege or an honor to not only be a part of God’s Kingdom business, but it should be an honor to be surrounded by others who giving themselves to a united vision and mission to serve this amazing Kingdom.
When you realize that that the part you play is much smaller than what you’re a part of; it shapes your gratitude and ability to show others honor.
As a church, the only way that honor will be a part of our culture is if we are relentless and intentional. Here are 3 things about honor to help us live out this cultural value:
Use Your Influence to Encourage Others
If your thought process during the week is simply putting together a schedule of volunteers to fill a spot for Sunday, you’re not leading with honor; you’re leading as a taskmaster. Leadership is influence. That influence should always be used for encouragement, guidance, and God’s glory. How often do you think about each person that you lead and how they impact your team? More importantly, how often do you celebrate the small wins that each volunteer brings to the table each week?
What gets celebrated gets elevated.
When people see that they’re winning; they give their all for a team. You should be a leader that is CONSTANTLY encouraging and celebrating others. Approach each week with the mentality that you’re going to look for ways to honor those who serve and lead around you. God will bless an honoring culture.
If You Don’t Bleed with Honor, the Third Generation Won’t Even Sweat
Remember, with each generation, honor loses its quality. Our kids, grandchildren, and the future generation will only copy our faith and passion. They won’t simply do what we tell them. They will live out what we show them. If we aren’t willing to go above and beyond, what will the next generation of leaders look like in our church?
If we want our future leaders to live out the values we instill as a church; we have to go above and beyond to live them out.
Winning teams unapologetically create a winning culture. They refuse to compromise even for the most talented person. That’s why teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the UConn Women’s Basketball team have had dynasties and been so successful. Even the super stars live out the culture of honor and hard work. One of the coolest moments I saw this year was when Tim Duncan (future hall of famer with the Spurs) retired and they celebrated his career. His coach said something profound when he stated that the reason why they won so many games and created a winning culture was because their best player was willing be corrected and honor the authority of the coaches placed over him. He said that if the superstar is willing to do that, it makes it easier to coach the rest of the players who ever played under him. The Bible describes this as ‘double honor’:
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”—1 Timothy 5:17-18
Real honor is about mutual submission. It’s understanding that I am honoring others because of their God given potential and the glory that it brings HIM, not ourselves. When you live a life of honor, it creates a powerful witness.
Turn It Up
What you see at a high level will seem silly when you do it a small level. When we started the church, we went overboard with people in the parking lot cheering, shouting, and clapping for first time guests. People thought it was silly. Some even made fun of us. But I can honestly say that the culture that we have for our first time guests today was built on the ‘silliness’ of our first year as a church.
When it comes to honor, culture, vision, always go overboard. When you turn up the intensity, it lays the foundation for future generations to keep the culture going.
We talk about Leading the Way in Worship, which means to come in wanting to sit close to the front, engage in worship, and engage in the message. The first couple of times we challenged people we had push back and people felt awkward. But now, our leaders fight for the front. They say that it has changed the worship experience for them. We must live out our culture in excess. What we do in excess will only be done in part in future generations. Don’t take it for granted because NO ONE will love this as much as we do!
A few practical applications:
– Begin finding ways to honor different people around you weekly. It could be with a social media post, a shout out during a team huddle, or a gift. Make sure to honor them in front of others!
– Use your social media as a platform for lifting others up and celebrating wins and honoring others. People live on social media now, take advantage of this ministry tool!
– Highlight ONE story from a previous Sunday or event. Don’t just share all of the big numbers, find ONE story to honor and celebrate. Go into detail and show gratitude for God’s work in that person.
– Honor those around you by:
> Engaging in worship (your worship leaders work hard to bring a powerful experience, don’t take your worship for granted!!!)
> Take notes and be engaging in the sermons NO MATTER WHO IS PREACHING. Those who bring the word work hard, honor their commitment by receiving the word with gratitude and intentionality.
> Show up on time to serve and to team meetings. Your leaders, those you serve are worth the time you invest. When you constantly show up late, you are dishonoring them by saying they aren’t worth getting up a little bit earlier or leaving the house a little bit earlier.
If we will turn up our honor; God will turn people’s hearts towards Him. I love church, let’s go above and beyond to create a winning culture!