by R.A. Weigel
Culture is based on the values, ethics, beliefs, systems of language, communication, artifacts, physical materials, and spiritual perspective of a group of people within a specific physical boundary. Culture tends to frame expectations, interactions, relationships, norms, information, celebrations, and most collective practices. Culture builds a sense of who is allowed to have power and influence – and who is not. Culture insinuates or codifies rules and laws, as well as acceptable or unacceptable human practices. Culture plays one of the most important roles of human production, cooperation, social order, societal agreements, and education. Culture is a force that establishes nearly all aspects of human social and organizational life in relationship to acceptable or unacceptable outcomes.
Bottom line, culture tends to play THE crucial role in what people do and the outcomes of their lives, and yet… too few take the time to consider the culture that they live in. As somebody once quipped, “A fish would be the last animal to discover water.” Just as a fish would be the last to identify water, most people live within a culture and have no idea what that culture is doing to them, for them, with them, or at them. In other words, most people are oblivious to their culture simply because that’s the way things have always been. In addition, they’ve never been taught the significance of what culture is or how to identify it.
“Culture tends to shape us most deeply by what it presents as normal. We are creatures of cultural habit. Our loves, our longings, our loyalties, and our labors can become products of the liturgies our culture imposes. We live according to them but rarely think through them. Unintentionally, we become culture shaped rather than intentional about shaping culture. But the Lord Jesus calls Christians not to be “conformed to this world, but … transformed by the renewal of [our minds]” (Romans 12:2). Thankfully, He’s given us a Story bigger than the cultural moment to make this possible.” (A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle)
Is it really so hard to see that God would prefer to have his people leading the culture instead of acquiescing to what unbelievers have put in place? The values and ethics of Believers in all forms of businesses and organizations would certainly make the world a better place. So, what’s stopping that from happening? To begin, it’s the unfortunate and misguided willingness of God’s people to partner with lawlessness, unrighteousness, iniquity, and injustice. It’s also being afraid to step out and do all that the Lord has given Believers the right and skills to do.
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NLT) – Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?
It’s my intent in this article and subsequent training, (to be announced at another time), to have you consider how you might use your skills as a Christian coach to support reshaping the culture and not simply acquiescing to it or trying to live on its periphery. From my perspective, it begins by clearly stating that you’re a Christian coach who helps others based on the ethics, morals, and values of being a Christian. In other words, when you clearly frame that you’re a Christian coach, having Christian coaching credentials, you’re reinforcing behaviors and expectations that align with Christian values and ethics and diminishing those that don’t. You’re purposefully creating a safe space for your clients to talk about how the culture is influencing them. As a Christian coach, you’re able to help your clients rewrite their stories from a Christian perspective which can include their organizational practices, systems design, vision, strategies, performance drivers, talent processes, and actions that build for a future that is not simply for today, but important for their future when they will eventually stand before Christ in judgment.
Christians should be leading the culture… not following it! Where in the Bible does it say that Christians are to be second-class citizens? It doesn’t! Christians should be leading in business, politics, schools, stores, organizations, industries, the arts – AND COACHING… but they’re not. Too many Christians in all walks of life are willing to compromise to the pressures of the world. Too many Christians have been seduced by the devil’s twisted systems – thinking they have to compromise, when in reality, God had already promised to meet all of their needs when they don’t compromise.
Philippians 4:19 (NLT) – And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
It’s the culture that determines your effectiveness as a Christian coach and acquiescing to a perverted culture is a slippery slope that will only become worse over time. If you’ve never noticed, perversions, debauchery, and immorality consistently increase over time unless a stronger culture forces it to stop and even then, (because there is a devil), it never really stops but moves underground. Consider the history of mankind. For example, did you know that it was the stand of the early Christians that eventually upended the perverted Roman culture?
“St. Augustine in the early part of the fifth century said that the Romans despised Christians because they opposed their unrestrained sexual lifestyles (The City of God 1.30). Tertullian said that the Romans so despised the Christians that they hated the name “Christian” (Apology 3). One finds a similar hatred directed toward Christians today. Given that biblically minded Christians oppose the currently growing sexual immoralities, such as sex outside of marriage and homosexuality, they are negatively referred to as “the religious right” or as “bigots.” Similar to the Romans, these critics do not like it when sensually lustful behavior is morally questioned and called sinful. The hateful attitudes that once were directed against the early Christians seem to be returning, and for similar reasons, despite the current attention given to toleration. Increasingly, Christians are hated by many who advocate “hate crime” laws. In large measure, they are hated because they seek to honor God and his laws rather than “redefine God as our future selves,” as Richard Rorty, a self-proclaimed leftist, believes ought to be modern man’s concept of God.” (How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt)
Your efforts as a Christian coach have powerful implications. So, don’t let yourself be led astray with the idea that all coaching is alike. It’s not. The secular coach can never help people in the ways that you can. For example, let’s say there’s a country leader that has a coach. That leader tells his coach, “I’d like to plan my invasion of the people of Ah-Choo.” The unbeliever, secularist coach might ask, “What’s your plan for invading Ah-Choo?” But the Christian coach would ask something entirely different.
- “When you eventually stand before Jesus in judgment, how do you think that plan will go for you?”
- “What evil might be influencing you to do that?”
- “What happened to cause you to consider that?”
- “How do you think that’s going to end for you?”
- “You know that I’m a Christian Coach and will ask questions based in biblical truth so… What makes you think that killing the people of Ah-Choo is an acceptable practice?”
As a Christian coach, we take Jesus at his word. We believe that there is a literal hell where the unrighteous will be sent. We uphold the traditions of marriage, family, male and female, (without a “what’s behind door number 3”). We recognize that God made us all one people without the divisions that the secularists consistently try to push. Throughout all of that, we may find some backlash, but we’re not going to change a bad culture by being cowards.
As Christian coaches, we don’t apologize for being Christian or for telling others that we believe that the Holy Spirit helps us in our work. As Christian coaches, we recognize that we answer to God, not only for what we say, but for how we say it, and the heart we use while helping others through our coaching.
You have the ability to redeem many parts of today’s culture through the talents that the Lord has given you. You have the ability to redirect thinking through your talents and mend what the systems of the world has been broken in your client. People can be restored, business refashioned, and dignity revived through the heart you bring through Christian coaching. Thank God for all that you do for His glory.
Too often the church complains about culture instead of creating it. The energy we spend on criticism is being stolen from creativity. It’s sideways energy. We need fewer commentators and more innovators. I try to live by Michelangelo’s maxim: criticize by creating. Quit complaining about what’s wrong and do something that makes a difference!” (Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson)