Have you ever been honored for something you did or achieved? It's an amazing feeling.
But have you ever been in the midst of a culture of honor? An entire community that seems to go to great lengths to honor one another? This has been my experience at Christ Crucified Fellowship (CCF) these last 6 months.
From day one, I noticed how people praised one another and honored their efforts, thanked them for their time, for showing up and appreciated each other. It stood out to me because I don't often experience a culture of honor in our society, in my city and maybe even in the white culture I have been a part of.
I didn't have words for it at first, until I witnessed it in great measure. The last Sunday that CCF had services in 2016, they honored the work of Kenny Hart, their pastor of over 3 years who is going to plant a church in Central Harlem. They spoke words of encouragement, washed him and his family's feet and recorded a video of people in the community sharing his impact. They even interviewed his father and his wife about his impact in their lives. This is a video of Kenneth Hart's Dad encouraging him as he goes to plant a church out of Christ Crucified Fellowship later this year.
There was not a dry eye in the house, crying because of joy to see someone's hard work celebrated and honored. It was great to see words of life and strength spoken into him as he and his family begin the challenging work of church planting.
It lifted the entire room by honoring someone so well. I believe the entire room was lifted because of the culture of honor in the community, not just a moment of honor for one person.
A few reflections from my experience
1. A culture of honor is different than moments of honor
I've talked about this with a few people and they will point to moments of honor they have seen, but few I know have experienced a culture of honor. Typically moments of honor are reserved for the great achievement, the big event anniversary and the "above and beyond" activity.
Living in a culture where only moments are honored can create a performance driven mentality that the privileged and talented only obtain honor.
A culture appreciates people for who they are, how they spend their time and aims to notice the small ways people make an impact everyday. Experiencing it I've observed a greater joy in the community and a natural feeling of acceptance.
A culture of honor doesn't wait for great performance, but exudes gratitude and appreciation.
2. Gratitude over entitlement
Churches and organizations can often feel entitled as though people are lucky to have them and obligated to serve or work for them. We are all no doubt lucky to have the various churches and organizations that we are a part of that add meaning and purpose to our lives.
A culture of honor humbly appreciates that the church or organization is nothing without the people who show up, give of themselves and create the culture of the community. A culture of honor gives time to gratitude and find ways to express appreciation.
3. A culture of honor starts with you
CCF has taught me there is always an opportunity and a person to honor. There is always someone to thank, to speak a word of encouragement to and to acknowledge as present and valuable. The question is will you do it?
A culture of honor doesn't just happen, it is created when each of us choose to embrace honor as often as we can.
It changes the way I live every day and leads me to ask regularly.
Who can you honor today?