Bread is both simple and complex. As a metaphor for a church’s culture, a loaf of bread is both a single object and the product of ingredients, processes, and time. The ingredients of a culture shaped by the good news of Jesus Christ reflect its community—its unique beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, and practices. Together, the cultures of Christian communities contribute to the church in its fullest expression, and by reflecting thoughtfully on these five elements, we can discern God’s personal call at work in our lives.
Each chapter includes questions for discussion and reflection as well as a group discussion guide, which will encourage and equip richer ministry within your local community.
What you have between your hands is a valuable addition to resources available to teachers and students of theology. It is a brilliant way of teaching the church about itself; one more outstanding achievement by accomplished pastor and theologian Rev. Matt Snowden and important contribution of Rev. Joshua Hays! I especially find useful and informative listing ingredients of the dough and giving ample explanation about each from the Bible and from other cultural landmarks. Church leaders have plentiful to learn as they read and browse through its pages; students will to learn more as they read about elements that make the dough—i.e., beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, and practices. The outcome is surely reviving one’s personal journey to seek the Kingdom of God by knowing Christ or by starting the path. It is especially useful for people and the church in the Middle East, and we sure benefit a great deal from translating to Arabic, a forthcoming project of our publishing ministry, Lord willing!
—Dr. Nabil Costa
CEO, Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) and founder of SKILD Center
As a college basketball coach, I work every day to instill a culture of joy among my players and staff. This book helps Christian leaders think strategically about the five ingredients vital to every culture.
Head Coach, Men’s Basketball
In a world where superficiality seems to be the order of the day, Joshua Hays and Matt Snowden lead us to a deep well of spiritual refreshing and bid us to drink deeply. Through experience and reflection, they offer profound and practical insights that will challenge and inspire leaders to develop the kind of spaces that foster Christian community under the Word of God, through the Spirit of Christ. This book should be in the hands of every leader immediately.
—Tyshawn Gardner, PhD
Associate Professor of Christian and Biblical Studies
Consider this book a timely multivitamin for congregational vitality. Do you need a boost? Matt Snowden and Josh Hayes give us real help for being the church now. Valuing individuality they explore Beliefs, Attitudes, Values, Goals and the resulting Practices in congregations. It is a toolbox for building soul culture to nurture and energize ministry. Through humor, thoughtful reflection, scriptural grounding and practical steps, Hayes and Snowden show the inspiration and perspiration they have shared in the challenge of ministry today.
—Suzii Paynter March
Former Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Matt Snowden and Joshua Hays have written a terrific book. It is a treasure for anyone who would seriously invest in building the “soul culture” of a congregation. This book unpacks the realities of ministry and helps give a framework for addressing them. I began reading out of genuine interest. I continued reading because it fed my soul.
Vice President, Harding School of Theology
Inside Soul Culture you’re about to find a passionate project that will call you wrestle with a living God and the churches life in relation to this living God. Joshua Hays and Matt Snowden are wonderful guides. They give so many handles and examples to make their ideas and larger points come to life. This is a very helpful book.
Author of the Ministry in a Secular Age series
The church is a Spirit-created institution. Though an outworking of God’s heavenly presence, it is manifestly a community of people who live and move in this world, with all its human problems and differences. It takes the Spirit and our willingness to follow God to be one. This book will help us discern where the Spirit is leading so that we may better fulfill God’s purpose for us as a community and find oneness through our God-given diversity.
—Dr. Ralph D. West
Founder and Senior Pastor of The Church Without Walls
Brookhollow Baptist Church