It’s been said that, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While there is now a dispute about whether the business management leader Peter Drucker ever really said it, we believe that the statement remains true. A company or ministry culture will “eat” or thwart any attempt to create, enforce, or move strategies or vision that is incompatible with the culture that has been established within a group of people.
Culture, or accrual of information within a group of people that affects the way they behave, will dictate how people go about fulfilling vision and duties. For example, if one of your strategies heightens safety in ministry but volunteers are placed in ministry roles without conversations and background checks because the main urgency is to fill a vacancy, then you will soon find that other safety measures will go lacking. And it will become the new culture to fix things quickly rather than correctly. Most people will agree that establishing a healthy culture is necessary to a healthy ministry. However, the question remains, how does healthy culture happen?
A Strong Foundation
Healthy culture starts with a strong foundation much like a healthy body needs strong bones. When bones are broken, cracked, fractured, or even weak it affects the body’s ability to remain strong and perform the functions for which it was created. The same is true of culture. It is difficult to establish culture without the foundations of vision and strategy. These foundations prevent confusion, dissention, and wasted resources. Caring about the people on our teams requires taking the time to pray and discover where the ministry is going and how it is going to get there. Once vision and strategy are established, lay the foundation well, build strong bones, by communicating it in consistent and relevant ways that strengthen and align all ministry components and participants.
As a healthy body requires flexible muscles, healthy culture requires flexible minds that have been stretched by continual learning. Leaders are learners and continually learning keeps us in a posture of humility. It reminds us that we don’t know it all. Learning keeps us from becoming “right” about everything and our egos from becoming inflated. Learning also keeps us growing. It prevents us from becoming stale in an industry that is always changing as kids and students age, generations change, and popular culture affects patterns and behaviors. Our muscles of ministry must remain flexible, pliable, and willing to move lest we become egotistically irrelevant to the generation we are called to serve and the people we serve with. Everyone can be stretched to learn, grow, and lead together.Learning keeps us from becoming “right” about everything and our egos from becoming inflated. Click To Tweet
A healthy body requires fuel to keep going. Without that fuel, food and water, the body will break down and stop operating at its highest capacity. Healthy culture needs fuel that is often provided by the data of success. Take time to celebrate small and big wins. Keep track of where the ministry is now, where it is going, and when your team accomplishes things in the winning direction. This data, or fuel, will be necessary as teammates get tired or discouraged when difficult days arise. The fuel of celebration keeps the energy positive. Negative energy is draining and only attracts negative people. Positive energy and positive people who have been fueled by data that shows progress will keep everyone moving in the same direction.
Jesus Christ is our Blood
One of the most important components of a healthy body is blood! It is rarely seen but if it stops flowing correctly the body is in trouble. It is a powerful internal source of life. As is with the blood in our body, the centrality of the power that we hold through the blood of Jesus Christ must remain our central focus. Without it, we become organizations that are designed to do good but without focus on the purpose for which the Church was created. There is power in remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ—His shed blood for us and the families we serve—so that we all can be in relationship with Him. That sacrifice, the cross, and victory, the resurrection, must stay central in our personal lives and remain the source that keeps all vision and strategy moving forward.There is power in remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ—His shed blood for us and the families we serve—so that we all can be in relationship with Him. Click To Tweet
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