Culture MattersPosted May 29th 2012 @ 12:02 pm by Jerod
While spending time with friends this weekend, I observed a great conversation. One of my friends was talking about a new church start-up she was a part of. There was passion in her voice as she talked about the vision for reaching people in the community. She was in complete awe of how she could feel God moving through that church as the timing of things, like funding, finding a location and launching, were all falling into place. There was a sincere joy in her voice of being a part of something she believes is going to have a great impact.
If there was any concern in her voice, it came in the form of wondering if people would come. Would the church grow? Could they really ignite the community like they want to do? Then another friend of mine chimed in saying, “When there’s a great culture with an idea for where you’re going and the passion around it, people can’t help but be a part of it.”
Wow. These friends of mine are not really like you and me. They are not employed by a church. They are not tasked with thinking about vision casting or communications. They are regular church goers. It was amazing for me to hear their passionate, sincere conversation. For me, it gives weight to the advice churches are often given about casting a vision that people can embrace.
This conversation reminds me of a quote from Jim Senigal the (now retired) CEO of Costco. The warehouse retail giant makes intentional decisions about creating an atmosphere that is good for workers and an experience that makes customers loyalists.
In a CNBC documentary, he was asked how the Costco experience evolved. He said:
“Culture isn’t the most important thing. Culture is the only thing.”
As churches I think we sometimes forget about the importance of culture. And as my friends’ conversation shows, it’s powerful. Church leaders have to cast a vision, embrace it and make adjustments so the vision can become a real cultural ideal in a congregation. A church that lacks vision or ignores culture won’t be as successful as the ones who do embrace those things.
If you create a culture that is welcoming to visitors, you will reach more people in your neighborhood and better serve your community.
If you create a culture that embraces positive change, you will have momentum to grow in the future.
If you have a cultural ideal that trusts staff members to do what they’re experts at doing, your impact will be greater.
If you have a culture that believes communication is important then people will fully know what you stand for of how they can be a part of it.
If you create a culture that casts vision for the future, there will be something for your congregation to be a part of and something they want to share with others.
If you have a culture that insists on making the Gospel accessible to everyone you’ll be the church God wants you to be.
When you’re inside a church, you can feel its culture. People can tell where a congregation stands. It’s easy to sense if a church is committed to be on the move or stuck where they currently are. Leaders who cast vision can help shape an impactful church culture. People in your congregation want to be part of something bigger. And when they’re involved, they want to feel supported in their roles.
Be a church where culture is an important thing.