"Culture Trumps Vision" say's church growth guru Sam Chand. Oh, how Mr. Chand is right.
I often wonder about the common culture killers in church. Of course, if a churches culture is always fighting a vision, any leader would have a hard road ahead. Culture is created or allowed. It is a leaders responsibility to create their desired culture. Its hard, but it is necessary. Culture is definitely a choice.
Within every church culture, there are realms of influence that leaders cannot always control. If you are leading a church with high-capacity volunteers, one must trust that the key volunteer leaders are projecting the heart of the visionary. Healthy volunteers will create a healthy church culture. However, we all have those high-capacity volunteers that simply stray from the objective from time to time, and fight the culture you are trying to cultivate.
After a few conversations with close pastor friends, I have landed on three toxins of a healthy church culture. Of course, if the culture is not healthy, the vision will be killed.
Take time this month to do a check up on your staff/volunteer leaders to avoid these three culture killers.
Assuming | One our seven staff values that we live by at Cross Point is: Believe the Best. This is by far the most difficult to live out on a day-to-day basis. But it is necessary for our church culture to remain healthy.
Just like your church, we fight the tendency to assume the worst, rather than believe the best. This shows up on three fronts: 1. Staff 2. Volunteers 3. Members
As a staff, when we assume the worst about our co-laborers, we are in essence saying, "I do not believe that you have the churches best interest, nor mine." This is dangerous, and of course, toxic.
You as a leader must confront all assumptions with truth. Hear this: The truth is never the problem. Ever. If you speak truth to your staff, whether it is how you are genuinely feeling, or how you perceive a thing, truth can be the bridge that removes all assumptions.
Your staff and key volunteers must know that assumption has no place in the ministry. If they are aware that truth is the only context for church discussion, then your members will also trust the heart of the leaders. Assumptions will never die, but you can surely help get them closer to the grave.
Dishonor | To me, this is pretty simple. If your staff dishonors one another, it will trickle down quickly to volunteers and members. Instant problems will arise in all major decisions once honor is thwarted. We must honor the gift in front of us privately and publicly.
Honor is not in word only, but in action. Hear this: If you cannot discern the treasure, you do not deserve the gift.
There is a heavenly treasure in your leader. Discern it and honor it. Do the same for those who labor among you.
Complaining | This dreadful toxin stems from the two above, assuming and dishonor. Complaining is easily accepted and overlooked, particularly if the people you are working with all have the same feelings or mistrust. It is imperative that you as a leader confront complaining. We all confront the issues differently based on our culture, but confront nonetheless, you should.
Allowing a complaining mouth into your culture is basically asking for a poisonous culture. It will spread, just as sure as leaven, it will spread and infect. Complainers find other complainers and complain together. Shut them down or they will shut you down.
Go after these three culture killers hard! Remove them before they kill your culture and trump your vision.
What are some of the culture killers you have experienced as a leader?
Thanks to @kylereynoldsis for the quote "The Truth Is Never The Problem.