What is Your Church’s Culture?


By Tanner Hieta

Churches and organizations view strategy and vision as the most important part of what they do. This includes things such as where they want their company to be in 5 years? How many people they want coming to their church by the end of the year? How can they make more money? What do they want their church to accomplish? These are all very important questions to ask, but without the right culture nothing will grow. Peter Drucker stated, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” An unhealthy culture will destroy a healthy strategy or vision.

If a culture has never been thoughtfully established, it will be hidden in everything you do. Culture is the way an organization behaves. It’s the behavior of how you act around the people you lead. It’s how your staff treat each other and how they work with each other. It’s how they treat the people who they lead or follow. Is there an up-down-all around kind of trust and loyalty in the organization. What I mean by that is, is there loyalty from the leader to the people who he leads? Are the people loyal to their leader? Are the people loyal to the people they serve with?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see where your culture in the organization is:

What does your company value and believe in?

Would you want your children to work here?

Would you want to work here?

What kind of language are you using? Is it focused towards the people you are trying to reach or is it language that only the people on the inside would understand?

Who is rewarded and for what?

What is the general mood? Are people excited to come work for you and do their job? Or do they dread waking up in the morning and having to come to work? Are they scared if they make mistakes?

How do people feel valued and encouraged?

Do your staff think that they can speak up and have input on the organization?

Every organization has a culture. The things your organization does and how they behave is what determines your culture. If you don’t like your culture, change it. But you can’t just change how people behave, you have to change the beliefs and the values of the organization. Who do you want to be? Why do you want to be like that? And how are you going to show that?

At our church, we have a vision of creating churches unchurched people love to attend. How do we make sure our culture reflects that?  Because culture trumps vision. You can have a good vision, but if you a negative culture it will eat your vision for lunch. We have changed the way that we speak in the church. We took out the “churchy” words out of our vocabulary so that new and unchurched people could understand what we are communicating. We have a culture of making it better. That we aren’t good with not enough. We want things to be better. All of our staff and volunteers love what they do because they know the why, and they feel like they are a part of something thing that is much bigger than them.

Samuel Chand said that, “a positive culture will act as an accelerant for your vision.”

What do you want your culture to be?

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