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The Christian Calling to Rescue Cultures: The Servant

The Christian Calling to Rescue Cultures: The Servant


Editor's Note: This is the first installment in a series of articles about Christians who rescue cultures.  We hope that through this series, you will be persuaded of God’s call for you to rescue the cultures you are in, that you will get ideas from the examples of others and that you will be encouraged to take action in rescuing the cultures around you. 

Horst Schulze, a young German working in the hotel industry, noticed that many of his colleagues had an unhealthy view of themselves as lowly servants to the hotel’s guests.  That’s not how Horst viewed himself. He knew that every human being is created in the image of God, serving is the highest calling, and that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. 

The young German had a passion for excellence, worked hard and continued to improve his knowledge and ability.   In time, Schulze became President and COO of Ritz-Carlton.  As a leader, he taught the people at Ritz-Carlton that they were “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentleman.”  He told them to take pride in serving others and in becoming professionals who strived for excellence.  He walked the talk and it was not unusual to see Horst bending down to pick up trash or straighten something that was out of place. 

In our book, Fired Up or Burned Out (Thomas Nelson) we wrote about Ritz-Carlton’s remarkable culture that resulted in the organization being consistently recognized for its outstanding customer service, quality and overall excellence.  Much of the credit for Ritz-Carlton’s success is attributable to the influence Schulze had in shaping a culture that values employees, gives them a voice and empowers them to make a difference.   Today, Horst is leading a new hotel company called the West Paces Hotel Group.

Schulze is a fine example for all of us to follow.  Christians are called to be workplace culture changers.

Three Types of Culture

There are three types of cultures. The worst culture is the Dog-Eat-Dog Culture where people with power try to control and dominate others.  You can also see the Dog-Eat-Dog Culture in communism and fascism, in drug and human trafficking networks, and in toxic homes and workplaces.

The second type of culture is the Culture of Indifference.  In this culture, people are so focused on themselves and on the tasks to achieve money, power and fame they fail to take time to connect with other human beings.  Because people are human beings and not machines, the culture of indifference gradually drains the life out of them and leads many to unhealthy addictions to alcohol, illegal substances, sex and pornography. America today has primarily become a Culture of Indifference. We are beginning to see it in America’s rising level of dysfunction. 

The best culture is a Connection Culture where people feel connected to the people they work alongside and to their work (because it brings truth, beauty or goodness into the world). A Connection Culture is often the result of the influence of Christians like Horst Schulze who know an even greater connection through their connection to the body of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.   The body of Christ is the church that Scripture says even the powers of Hell will not overcome.  

Only the Trinity has a higher degree of connection than the Church because the members of the Trinity have loved and glorified one another throughout all eternity (See John 3:35John 14:31John 16:14John 17:1John 17:22-24).

Connection is Biblical. Jesus prayed to God that believers would John 17:21” Paul states that Ephesians 3:10 We are called to be 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 in the world by creating churches, workplaces and communities that have cultures of love and connection.

Time to Take Action

Cultures today desperately need rescuing.  This includes cultures in workplaces, in homes, in churches, in neighborhoods, in schools, and in nations. Consider the following statistics:

  • Disengaged Employees - In America, 70 percent of employees don't feel connected and are not engaged at work. They show up for the paycheck, but don’t give their best efforts; 
  • Loneliness - Across Western nations, physicians recognize an “epidemic of loneliness,” between 1985-2004, the number of Americans who had not discussed “important matters” with a friend over prior six months tripled to 25% of those surveyed.  The percent of Americans living alone soared from 10% 1950 to 27% in 2010.  A 2010 AARP survey found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely as opposed to 20 percent a decade earlier;
  • Depression - Levels of depression today are 10X the levels of depression in 1960;
  • Substance Abuse - It has been estimated that although America has 4.5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes more than half of the world’s legal mood-altering drugs for anxiety and depression and two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs;   
  • Sexual Addiction and Pornography – Six to eight percent of Americans are addicted to sex (National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity), Seventy percent of 18-34 year-old American men visit a porn site monthly, and the average adolescent American boy watches 50 pornographic videos each week.

From a human perspective these statistics can be overwhelming but let’s not forget that with God nothing is impossible.  God calls us to be a 1 Peter 2:9-10 who empowered with the Holy Spirit come together as the Church that saves the world from Dog-Eat-Dog Cultures and Cultures of Indifference. Will you commit to making a difference?  

Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson). Rev. Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities, and he is the author of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press).  Michael Lee Stallard is president of E Pluribus Partners, a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop “Connection Cultures” that boost productivity, innovation and performance. 

Publication date: June 20, 2012