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Keeping Culture White Hot as Your Church Grows with Jonathan Brozozog

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Thanks for listening in to this week’s unSeminary podcast. I’m happy to be talking with Jonathan Brozozog, lead pastor at Passion Church in Minnesota.

Passion Church had small beginnings fifteen years ago, but stayed teachable and grew over time as a result. About six years ago God gave them a new vision and they allowed themselves to be flexible and step into it. The result has been tremendous growth and life change in their community.

Jonathan is with us today to talk about Passion Church’s development of their volunteer culture and how they’ve kept their culture strong as they’ve grown and gone multisite.

  • Touch humanity first. // Passion Church didn’t want to abandon the move of the Holy Spirit so they pursued God for a strategy. God led them to touch humanity first and introduce people to a relationship with Jesus before connecting them with the Holy Spirit and his gifts. This strategy led to many unconventional ways of reaching out to people in the community, from running a U-Haul franchise to running a web marketing company and even a driving school. You never know what sort of opportunities will allow you to connect with your community and serve them in unique ways. These venues opened the door for Passion Church to have a lot of networking opportunities in their area.
  • A culture of volunteering. // When you focus on reaching lost people, they may not understand the concepts of tithing and biblical generosity, but chances are they are willing to volunteer. Jonathan notes that the new people coming wanted to love others and give through their actions, their time and their talents. And so Passion’s focus shifted to developing a strong volunteer culture. This also led to firing up their outreach culture so they were demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways rather than simply talking about it.
  • Mercy forgives but grace empowers. // Passion Church communicates to people that what they’ve been through in their lives really empowers them into their destiny. As Jonathan says, when God heals your brokenness, he leaves the medicine (the Holy Spirit) inside you to heal someone else. Our journeys and our ups and downs make us a key to unlock somebody else’s destiny, and this is all through God’s grace. Share with people about what God has done in your life and point them to his grace, healing and restoration.
  • Empower others where they are. // Ephesians 4 says its the work of the leaders to equip God’s people for the work of the ministry. Passion Church began to really empower their people right where they were to volunteer and serve. Even if they were new to the faith or still exploring, made mistakes or were still trying to figure out life, that didn’t disqualify them from serving. Being given opportunities to serve enabled people to see God working in and through their lives. This strong volunteer culture also extends to developing volunteer leaders, for example on the worship team which has no paid positions. This allows Passion Church to keep the staff lean as they empower others to use their gifts.
  • Teach the culture. // Church culture happens by design, not default. One of the things Passion Church thought about as they grew and went multisite was how to keep their culture strong even at a new location. Jonathan and his team looked at several models that other churches were using and eventually and came up with their own system. Ultimately they created Passion Culture Courses—an online course for leaders, directors, and volunteers with about 250 videos and counting. These videos contain trainings for everything in their culture, explaining what it looks like, why they do what they do, and how culture informs how they respond to various scenarios. It has been important in maintaining the culture across the locations of Passion Church.
  • Reinforce the culture. // Every Sunday night the staff and core volunteer leaders meet together for an hour for a “family huddle”. During the first 30 minutes, they share positives about each other and the campuses that reinforce the culture. Then they bring in several new leaders each week and pray and prophesy over them. Prayer is their first line of defense, not their last resort and has been integral for keeping their community strong. This huddle time has been a big part of helping everyone keep the heart right in their culture as it flows back out in service to others.

You can find out more about Paradise Church at www.passionchurch.com.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.