In my twenties I was part of a ‘youth church’, sounds fancy, but all it meant was that the church was made up predominantly of people in their teens and early twenties. One moment stands out in my memory.
I was in the hall, surrounded by young people standing in little groups and huddles. One of the leaders’ wives started speaking loudly and negatively about someone else, there was laughter and comments at the poor subjects expense – obviously they weren’t actually present. I was nauseated! Here I was at a church event and it felt no different to being at highschool – the same cliques, the same cattiness, the same self absorption with little appreciation of a wider world. Surely church was supposed to be different to that?
More recently I moved my custom from a service provider with whom interactions had become toxic to me. Before engaging an alternative provider I had several conversations in which I determined that their approach was respectful, mature and kind.
You see culture matters. It’s what people experience when they interact with your team, organisation, church or community. It is what attracts or repels people. A culture can be life giving or destructive. It is self reproducing; when people join a group, they tend to conform to or reinforce the culture, or leave. But how does it form and can it be shaped or changed?
The culture of a team, organisation or community is shaped by the interplay between its shared history, its vision of the future and the values that are lived out by its members. And yes it can be shaped and changed! We can help you learn how to shape your culture and ensure it remains strong and even spreads beyond you so that others adopt it.
Some keys to shaping your team’s culture are:
- Having a clear vision of the future you want to create (in other words your goal).
- Being intentional about consistently living and working from your chosen values.
- Naming and telling your shared, evolving story well.
To do these things well requires the following:
- Self awareness of individuals and the team
- Good interpersonal skills
- The ability to hold a future hope and present challenges in tension
And to do these things well takes understanding and lots of practice!
For Christian organisations and churches your team will need a solid applied theology of discipleship, community and mission and it will be from this that most of your chosen values and so your culture, will come.
Would you like some help?
If you have most of these things in place you are well on your way! Can you see some gaps or areas of weakness? Would you like some help bringing it all together and support on the journey of transforming the culture of your team or organisation, or even your community or workplace?
If so we would be delighted to help you with some training, coaching or a combination of the two. Find out more here.