What is code? It's a difficult question. We can talk about code as the essence or soul of a church. We can talk about what code does, which is to shape the face of how the church displays itself to the world. Under the radar, code shapes our vision, values, and mission. It subtly mirrors our symbols, stories, and history. It is difficult to define because it is invisible, like the air we breathe.
But perhaps code is most easily understood when things are out of alignment, when something isn't right. In fact, a church incongruent with its code is the single greatest cause of conflict I see, and it creates far more damage than clashes over personal differences, worship styles, or even most theological differences. Incongruence can prove to be highly destructive.
Incongruence is the disconnect between what we say and what we do. It is commonplace, almost expected, in our culture. For example, when Sears launched "the softer side of Sears" campaign, it landed on deaf ears. Why? Because when ...1