Seven Principles for Building a House (or Culture) of Honor

By: Executive Pastor Dan Zimbardi

…in your organization, your business, or your church.

God Blesses Houses of Honor. As God looks down, He sees a house, a home, a husband and wife are respecting and honoring one another, I believe that God blesses that house. When God looks down and sees a church were the elders, the Pastor, the board, the members are respecting and honoring one another, I believe that God blesses that church. This principle works for all types of organizations, all kinds of places where people gather together. So as leaders, how do we build a culture of honor, so that God will bless that house?

#1. Honor People When they Don’t Deserve it and Despite their Inadequacies. 

This is tough because, just in our human nature, we respect someone if they respect us, but if they don’t respect us, we don’t respect them.

Look at the relationship between young David and King Saul from the Bible. This relationship illustrates this point. At the time, King Saul became very envious. He became jealous of young David so much so that Saul started to pursue him and even tried to kill David with his own hands. Armies were sent to kill him because he was so envious of this young upstart leader. Still, God flipped the script, and he delivered King Saul into David’s hands. Not once, but twice.

And what did David do? David chose to honor Saul and not kill him. Even though he could, and the reality is, he probably should have killed King Saul, but he decided not to. He chose not to so that he would be honoring to the Lord, and he would be honoring to who the Lord appointed as the king. This is such an excellent illustration for us today to think about honoring people when they don’t deserve it.

Think about what happened through David’s line. Think about the House of David. Who shows up at the house of David and David’s line? Jesus shows up. This is a great picture for us when we honor people that don’t deserve it. God blesses that house. God blessed the House of David as he honored King Saul and chose not to kill him. This is a difficult and challenging principle. Think about as a leader, what do I need to do to start honoring people even though they don’t deserve it?

#2. Make Allowances for one Another’s Faults. 

Colossians 3: 12-13. “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves. You must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, make allowance for one another’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

This is very challenging. Make a little more room for people when they blow it or make a mistake. But this is the charge that God gives us. To make more space and to give grace and forgive people when they blow it. As we do that, we’re honoring them, and hopefully, in return, when we blow it, they will honor us.

People do not feel honored when their leaders are constantly criticizing them. If you’re negative or if you’re continually picking on someone, it’s not creating an excellent work environment.

#3 Be First and be Quick to Apologize. 

No one wants to go first and apologize. When we’re in a confrontation or conflict, we want the other person to go first. This principle is all about the leader going first.

Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

At the end of the day, leaders set the tone for their organization. They set the pace. People repeat what they see their senior leaders do, and if a senior leader is the one who, when they blow it says, “Hey, I am sorry I blew it. Please forgive me.” People who are watching will follow the lead.

That is honoring the person that receives the apology. Hopefully, they’re setting the pace, so that when the person that they’re apologizing to blows it, they will apologize to the next person. If that’s happening consistently in an organization or a home, honor becomes present in that place.

#4 Have Reverence for the Senior Pastor and his Wife or the CEO of the Organization.

If there were a hierarchy of these three words, it would start like this, it would begin with respect. Then up a level to honor. Then at the very top, would be reverence. Reverence would be this particular kind of respect.




I have a son, and I want my son to know and feel and believe that I respect him as his dad, but with my grandparents, I want my grandparents to feel a special kind of respect.

The word for that is reverence.

Reverence is a special kind of respect, and I have reverence for my grandparents because of the place that they have in my life. The trail that they have blazed for me, how they’ve loved me, cared for me, and helped to raise me. I believe this is what must happen in organizations and especially churches. The reality is there’s a unique weight and pressure and responsibility for a senior pastor and their wife. You have to settle the fact that God has anointed and appointed the Senior Pastor to lead the church. Once you do that, you can usher in this whole idea of showing reverence to the senior Pastor and his wife. I believe this is how a church can build a culture of honor. This is how they can build a house of honor that God can bless. It starts with showing that special kind of respect for that senior leader that God has anointed and appointed to lead the church.

#5. Supervisors Over-deliver to Your Subordinates.

We’re going to flip the script. This is for the supervisor. If you’re leading people inside a business or church, then you are to over-deliver to your subordinates.

That’s right over-deliver. I heard this phrase years ago from a CEO named Jack Welch. He was running one of the largest companies in the world, General Electric. His philosophy was to over-deliver to its customers. They didn’t want just to deliver. They didn’t want just to do a good job. They tried to surpass expectations for their customers. I think to be a great leader and manager and supervisor of people and to build this house of Honor. We need to think about “how I can over-deliver to the people that I’m leading and serving in my organization?” I want you to think about one of the best ways to do this is when someone on your team that you’re managing is struggling, they’re going through a difficult time. This is an excellent opportunity for you to over-deliver. They’re going through a difficult season, and how I can over-deliver to them is to care for them to love them in a very unique and special way. When someone on your team is in their worst as a supervisor, I want you to be at your best for them. This is a way for you to over-deliver for them.

#6. Stop Dishonor People on Social Media. 

This is so relevant in our day and age today. Where most everyone has access to and is on one form of social media or another. If I had a big megaphone to the big C Church and all of Christendom, I would say, “Hey Christian, stop dishonoring people on social media, especially those that you don’t know. Politicians, police officers, whatever acts you have to grind stop dishonoring people on social media.”

I want you to listen to the Apostle Paul’s words from a letter he wrote to Timothy, a young pastor. He writes, “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God, not to wrangle about words.”

Paul goes on to state, “…which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.” Think about what Paul’s saying. He’s saying, don’t get twisted up in conversations where you’re fighting over words that don’t matter and think about how that translates online. So many Christians are on social media, Twitter, or Facebook, and they have these arguments with people. They’re wrangling about words, and this is a problem. Paul says that when we wrangle about words, we ruin the ears of the hearers.

Here’s a picture of my mind where if I’ve been dishonoring people on social media. I see an old friend, and he is walking towards me, and I’ve got this essential message that I want to share with him. The most important message I could ever share with this friend. Then as we’re walking towards each other, I’m talking, and I’m starting to share this vital idea with them. I see him, but he is pointing to his ears like, “Hey, I can’t hear what you’re saying,” and I think about this message as a Christ-follower – the message of the Gospel. It’s the message of what Jesus did for me, but because I’ve been wrangling with words and arguing with people on social media. My friend who doesn’t know Jesus, he can’t hear what I’m saying, I’ve ruined his ears.

Another way to translate this is you’re ruining your witness when you wrangle with words on social media. If you are a leader in the church, or if you’re just someone that follows Jesus, stop angling with words and stop arguing and dis-honoring people on social media. Use social media as a platform to express what God has done in your life and the grace that He has shown you.

#7. Submit to One Another Based on Gifting and not just Position. 

In an organization, we submit to the boss or whoever holds the highest position on the org chart. I want to flip that. It is not always the boss, who is the most gifted in any particular area. And when there is a need to lead in that specific area, say, “Hey Sally, you have the gifting when it comes to this ‘thing.’ God has placed something unique in you, and I want you to be empowered to make this decision. I want you to lead the team as it relates to this ‘thing’ that we’re working on. Sally, I am submitting to you and the gifting that God has placed in you.” When you do that as a leader, and a supervisor, people feel loved, cared for, necessary, and they feel honored. Who’s making the tough decisions, who is figuring things out, it’s should be who has the gifting, in the room. You start to move that through your organization. People will love working there, people will feel empowered, and it is an excellent way for you as a leader to build a house of honor.

God blesses a house of honor. As a leader, you have the opportunity to create a culture of respect in your organization, at home, school, or your business. The hope and the prayer and the belief are when God looks down and sees a house, church, or company where honor is present, God’s will place his hand upon it on bless that place.

As the leaders, when you honor your team, they will honor others. Soon honor will become a part of the fabric of your organization and your culture. Remember, as a leader. You set the pace.

Pastor Dan Zimbardi has been the Executive Pastor of Sandals Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America, for the past eight years. Dan spent twenty-two years as an entrepreneur and corporate executive and has worked with some of the most dynamic brands in the world, including Google, Nike, and Burton Snowboards. Dan’s passion is to train and develop leaders both in ministry and the marketplace.