Culture of Honour


At the risk of not showing honor to peers in ministry, I want to tackle the topic of honor today. I’m concerned. I see a trend in churches that I think is unhealthy. Honestly, I believe it’s also unbiblical.

There are a number of churches today that are trying to teach a culture of honor. The concept of honor is biblical. In fact, Romans 12:10 tells us to:

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV)

We should show honor to our leaders, but God designed it to go both directions. If it’s one-way, it’s unhealthy and unbiblical.

Let me explain further how God designed honor to work in church leadership. First of all, we are supposed to submit to our leaders. Hebrews 13:17 says:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

One of the ways we show honor to our leaders is by submitting to their authority. At the same time, though, leaders are instructed to show honor by serving those they lead:

“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”

That’s the servant leadership that seems to be missing when the “culture of honor” is carried out to the extreme. Servant leadership only goes one direction. When that happens, honor only goes one direction.

Honor is supposed to go both ways. That’s not what I’m seeing in churches today. Some churches are trying to create a culture where all the underlings are supposed to honor their senior pastor by serving his every need, by guarding him from the congregation and by always saying “yes sir” to every request among other things. Being armor-bearers to each other is one thing, when it creeps into making the pastor the “king” it’s a completely different deal.

My fear is that this “culture of honor” trend plays right into the sin of pride. Unchecked, pastors can quickly get to a very unhealthy place for themselves, their ministry and their marriages. God did not design the pastor to be the rock star. God charged pastors to equip God’s people to do the work of God. When an unhealthy “culture of honor” is promoted, God’s people wait for “God’s man” to do the work of God. That may work for someone who only intends to be a preacher, but it doesn’t work if you are trying to be a pastor.

Here’s some wisdom that may help you begin taking steps in the right direction:

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

If you want to receive honor, you have to give honor. If you want to experience honor, you have to embrace humility. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Rather than expecting your church to show you honor, maybe your focus should be on serving your church.


9 thoughts on “Culture of Honour

  1. Just wondering, have you read Danny Silk’s book, Culture of Honor? It seems like you are misunderstanding the point of the book.

  2. I find it very frustrating to be stuck in the middle between warring factions in the church. As I struggle with addiction and character issues, it seems that many in fellowship are pre-occupied with the confusion. Do we have expectations by way of the revelation of God’s (Jesus) character, or are we so wrapped up in the in-fighting that we lose sight of real progress and spiritual growth. I am repusled by the controversy. Lord, please guide me in my quest for meaningful welcoming fellowship. May the hunger for your presence not be a liability to the church OR a means of manipulation by falsehood and witchcraft. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

    • I hope that you’ve gotten the sincere help that you’ve been seeking. I don’t know how correct any church is. Sincere people make sincere mistakes. Just keep your eyes on Jesus and He will lead you. I’ve been hurt in the church by really sincere people. But they are people. It took me years to understand it. The Holy Spirit will keep you from falsehood. Don’t look so much to the net for answers, they’re are lots and lots of opinions. The bible says that we would do greater things. Any time someone is used to do something greater than what’s in the Bible, we call it herasy and witchcraft. Seek Jesus. He is a friend and will not lead you astray. Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

  3. Here is a quote from the comments, Ricky Burnett writes,

    “The places the Church would go if its community would continue to go above and beyond. Amazing perspective. I’ve seen too many churches that were inward focused on honoring each other. Imagine if instead of standing up when the pastor walks in, we stood up for those who are lost and broken. Imagine if instead of cheering the pastor, we cheered and more over shouted for the soul that found Christ. Imagine if we all gave up our best seat in the church building. And imagine most a church that put the needs of the community above parking spaces, building paint, and stained glass windows. Honor… love it. God bless.”

    • Have you done this yet? Are you doing it soon? I am VERY interested in the proper definition of this. What’s wrong with good old fashioned loving one another? Even loving our enemies. It seems to me honour needs to be earnt before you give it to someone else – you honour them because of their character – they have earnt your respect

  4. yes…. I concur… that in my circumstances when a culture of honour should have been highly regarded by the senior leadership team in relation to more than one issue, the actual opposite could be said..

    when it came to our turn we tried so hard to follow the biblical precedent as outlined in Matthew 18… but sadly to no avail.. my senior leader could not be held to account by anyone it seemed.. he took the position of anyone going with one or two witnesses would be faction forming & anti unity…

    on the other hand some gentle questioning of Bethel practices – led to as many accusastions under the sun as you can think of ….. came home with a flea in the ear & a broken heart.

    honour only flows upwards it seems & I was deliberately informed that the anointing flows down..

    see we can say whatever we like & adopt any teaching or doctrine there is … but at the end of the day what we actually believe is what we are living out in our lives.. Thats the truth!

    & hey if we are living a pure Godly life .. flowing with the word of God… there is no need to promote a COH & identify it as a specific to be pursued… in a Godly environment that is rich in the fruit of the spirit …. it will already be present..

Please add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s