By Jennifer Tribble
Every church and organization, whether you know it or not, has a culture. It’s the heartbeat of your ministry- everything flows from it. Culture consists of the intangibles of what is experienced through the people, environments, and values that your church has internalized and carried.
You may have heard the old adage culture eats vision for breakfast, as true as that is it is widely overlooked in most circles of ministry. Culture gives momentum to your church’s vision; it carries it from person to person or place to place. It is who you are, how you act, how you respond to a crisis and what you believe.
As a church or ministry we need to be intentional about creating our cultures, if we don’t – you’re likely to have a culture that is toxic or doesn’t represent who you are as a church or ministry and a vision that falls flat. We all have a culture, but are we intentionally creating the type of culture we want replicated in our people and church environments?
You can have the best strategies in the world, great execution, and amazing vision, but without culture- you will be spinning your wheels trying to get it to stick. Culture is the number one factor in determining how people respond to vision and leadership, so it deserves careful time and attention to getting the culture right.
At our church we took about a year as a staff to create and define who we are as an organization. We narrowed it down to 10 culture codes that reflect who we are and the behaviors and values that truly reflect us as a church. They give us healthy boundaries and the responsibility to hold each other accountable to our culture. WE are the ones who set and GUARD our culture- You cannot create a strong culture unless you are willing to FIRST model that culture.
These are the 10 culture codes we guard as a team when it comes to creating churches unchurched people love to attend:
- We lead with vision: We are not reactionary. Period.
- We make it better: This fly’s in the face of its good enough, everything is a learning opportunity.
- We mess with the methods: we constantly innovate and do things no one else is doing to reach the lost, we are not afraid to try some thing and do something different. We will make streams in the wasteland, if necessary, we will make a way.
- We keep it simple: We guard our hearts against complexity, in Luke 9 it says “don’t load yourselves up with equipment you are the equipment!” As organizations grow the natural tendency is to add programs and keeping adding more and more, if it doesn’t fit the vision, cut it.
- We need to know: We guard hearts against secret clicks and gossip – We are moving together as a team and gossip is a culture killer.
- Were all In: Guards our heart against that’s not my job mentality- we all are building this church or ministry together there is no elevated positions, “that’s not my job” is out of bounds.
- We never waste a crisis: We guard our hearts from being overwhelmed by problems, every crisis is an opportunity.
- We make each other look good: Gossip or being publicly critical of one another is unacceptable. Inside the meeting we can disagree, but when we leave it stops there at the door. We are never going to put someone down publicly to get ahead.
- We replace ourselves: This guards our hearts against selfish ambition- we are always replacing ourselves, training someone else to replace our positions keeps our churches moving forward, creating new leaders to reach new people.
- We guard our culture: above all WE protect and guard our culture. We hold each other accountable and carry our culture.