Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How To Decode Your Church's Culture

Church leaders today must possess effective skills in many areas and fill multiple roles…theologian, church historian, Christian educator, business manager, counselor, custodian, and many more. It’s a daunting challenge, yet one filled with unlimited joys and possibilities as a servant leader in ministry with others.

One of the critical skills especially required of today’s church leader is that of being a missiologist, or a mission strategist…being able to decipher or decode the internal culture of his or her church as well as the culture of the local community. Such skills allow a leader to keenly focus the available resources toward effective strategies in ministry rather than relying on trial and error, traditions of the past, or someone else’s “success” story. Not only do such skills allow wise church leaders to lead more effectively, they also allow them to lead more harmoniously. Both are crucial for long-term health and growth.

So, how are you at decoding your church? Here is an insightful article and downloadable assessment tool that may be helpful to you.

How To Decode Your Church’s Unique Culture
Written by Brett Selby

The culture of an organization is its “corporate personality,” a living blend of values, traditions, norms, assumptions, and experiences that produce a nebulous code of behavior often referred to as “the unwritten rules.”

Every church has "unwritten rules" and a unique church culture. If you don't know the "unwritten rules" and if you do not know your church's unique culture, you may be headed for conflict, stress, and possible termination.

Consider the following examples:

  • In response to a consistently full auditorium, Pastor Steve announces the addition of a second worship service. Though this results in some complaints, he is nevertheless surprised when he loses his job six months later. The only reason given was that he had split the church by starting the second worship service.
  • Pastor Brandon is encouraged by some members to add a contemporary service on Saturday nights, based on the model of a nearby non-denominational church. He decides not to do so and loses many members, most of who were on the church leadership team. Four months later, he reluctantly moves to another church in a different community.
  • Student pastor Glenn scales back the Tuesday night discipleship structure to involve students in community ministry projects. Even though more students participate in this than did in the discipleship groups, he is fired over a series of incidents involving miscommunication and calendar conflicts.
  • Adult pastor Neil puts together a comprehensive, small group structure for home Bible study and community but does not require attendance reports from each group. Four months later, he moves to a different church under duress and is replaced by the Evangelism pastor.
Read the rest of the article How To Decode Your Church’s Unique Culture @\

Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!