A culture of honor gives room for people to grow in freedom and power
One of the premier core values and goals of an apostolic environment is creating a safe place that brings out the best in people. Paul asserts that knowing a loving God is the pathway to accessing the unlimited supply of His goodness:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:14-21).
Paul, a man who moves from being the most famous terrorist of his day, is here praying for the saints to know the strengthening power of God’s love and abundance toward them. This is a prayer of a Father. This is a prayer of someone who knows how to create a place where sons and daughters can catch the wind of the Holy Spirit in their sails and be swept into a hope filled life of destiny and purpose.
Love Casts Out Fear
It’s important for leaders to believe that love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Love and fear are mortal enemies. People are designed to be at their best creatively, relationally and
productively when they feel free, safe and understood.
Conversely, anxiety drains people of their creativity, increases relational friction and drops the overall production of people.
To successfully reduce the anxiety levels of your people brings great dividends. In order to create this place leaders must know how to invite and allow failure—failure that comes from experimentation, risk and innovation.
People were created to be creative. Leaders who build a culture that facilitates this will find themselves surrounded by some of the most capable, brilliant people in the world. Humans are attracted to freedom. The presence of the Lord brings true freedom to the innermost being of mankind (2 Cor. 3:17). That freedom allows for the best of a person to come forth. It’s a freedom that allows people to live the dreams of their greatest hopes and wildest imaginations. This culture fosters an environment of powerful, innovative and productive people.
The supernatural activity of heaven is attracted to places of faith and risk. The fear of failing has no place in a loving and free culture. This can be a shocking statement to Christian leaders who find it their primary responsibility to make sure nothing goes wrong. Understandable, but fear is not the catalytic spirit of our church culture—or is it?
Unfortunately, many leaders are afraid of these high levels of passion and freedom. Every leader will
eventually cross paths with someone who in the name of “freedom” hurts everyone around them and creates a big mess. Or, we experience someone who is following their passion only to selfishly indulge in dangerous lifestyles or poor choices.
The reaction: Limit the passion, freedom and risks of the believers. In a spirit of fear, leaders try to avoid the mistakes of some people by reducing all the people in the environment to a manageable level of freedom. As someone who has been in the business of “people messes” for most of his life, I understand the reaction. Nonetheless, it is a reaction that unleashes a powerful foe of the kingdom of heaven: fear.
When leaders cultivate a fear of failure, they build a culture that wants control. This need for control begins to undermine freedom and this reaction ultimately is what chases innovation, creativity and joy out of the culture.
A Significant Paradigm Shift
It is a myth or a fallacy that we can control other people. If the truth were known, most people—including leaders—are having a big enough challenge just controlling themselves. Therefore, a significant paradigm shift is required. Our lives as leaders are not about trying to control people toward good goals, but instead leading them into managing greater levels of freedom for themselves.
If we are to bring more of heaven to the earth, then certainly we will introduce more freedom and power to people’s lives, not less. We are not going to die and go to church one day. Heaven has far more freedom and power
available to us than earth. Our lives on earth are freedom practice!
A culture of leading free people into greater levels of freedom and power is what we at Bethel Church call a “Culture of Honor.” The idea of honor can be defined like this: Honor is nothing less than two powerful people working together to meet the needs of one another and the needs of the situation.
The first major ingredient that honor requires is powerful people. Repeatedly, Jesus emphasized His goal of increasing the power available to people who know Him and believe Him to be the Son of God. He gathered a group of average guys and transformed them into supernatural disciples, displaying signs and wonders. These men become so powerful that they ended up in a contest discussing which of them was the most powerful. Nowhere did Jesus react and try to reduce their greatness.
Instead, Jesus said, “If you want to be great be a servant” and “become as a little child” (Matt. 20:26; 18:3).
Servants do not control people and children are creative, free and make all kinds of mistakes as they explore life daily—they’re professional mistake makers.
Honor Is Valuing Relationships
Another key ingredient to honor is valuing relationships. When Jesus taught that the most important commandment that directed our lives was love, He was giving us the key to creating a safe place. An environment that is void of love is a place that needs many rules and restrictions much like you would find in a prison. No one expects love to be the culture of a society of inmates. Therefore, there are thousands of rules that make one group powerless and another group powerful. Both groups are scared of the other.
But, if we learn to excel in our loving connections to one another, we have less need for rules and more room for honor. In order for freedom and power to flourish, we must have a high value for the people around us. Likewise, we need a keen awareness of how our lives impact these important relationships.
Simply put, we do to others what we’d have them do to us. Powerful people make powerful messes with each other. Rather than taking power from those who make these messes, we teach other powerful people around them to confront and require respect in these relationships. Growing in skills of healthy productive relationships helps us to build lasting covenants, while living the destiny and purpose of our lives.
A culture of honor helps sustain a supernatural environment through preserving the freedom and power Jesus died to give us as believers. He knows that we are at our best when we breathe the freedom of His presence and walk in the power that rearranges earth to match our Father’s kingdom.
Danny Silk and his wife, Sheri, are the family life pastors at Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. Danny also serves as a guest lecturer at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, and oversees the Transformation Center at Bethel Church, helping people find inner healing. He is the author of Culture of Honor: Sustaining a Supernatural Environment and Loving Our Kids On Purpose: Making A Heart-To-Heart Connection (both Destiny Image).