Church Cultures

I was reading parts of, “Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code: 7 Keys to Unleashing Vision & Inspiration” by Samuel Chand. I don’t personally own the book, but I’ve already ordered it to own it. If you’re in any type of leadership within the church, you should do the same. Throughout the book he continuously brings up the word “culture“. Specifically, in Chapter 2, Mr. Chand lists five different types of organizational cultures found in churches today. I can’t say that I’ve experienced all five of the cultures as a “staff member” as I’ve only worked for one church for the last (almost) three years. However, through my experiences growing up and working in different “businesses” I’ve been in every culture mentioned. Some healthy and some not even close to being healthy. So I can relate…

Here are the 5 Types of Church Cultures according to Mr. Chand.

1. Inspiring

  • Inspiring cultures create an atmosphere where staff and volunteers bring their “A” game every day.
  • Inspiring cultures are built on trust and respect.
  • Authority is decentralized and the direction is clear.
  • Inspiring cultures place a high value on creating a healthy culture and developing people on the team.
  • They have high but realistic expectations.
  • Creativity is rewarded and failure is viewed as a stepping stone for growth.
  • Turf wars are eliminated and synergy is evident.
  • Stories of success are frequently celebrated.

 

2. Accepting

  • Accepting cultures are generally positive but some difficult decisions are avoided which creates tension on the team.
  • They typically have clear goals and strong relationships.
  • Generally, most people are supportive of the other folks on the team.
  • They tend to allow incompetent leaders to remain in their role too long.
  • Accepting cultures do invest in developing people and building the culture but not to the extent that inspiring cultures do so.

 

3. Stagnant

  • Stagnant cultures often start strong but over time they lose energy and begin to stagnate.
  • Team members are only valued when they produce. Very little praise is based on the character of the team.
  • Team members tolerate their leaders, but don’t trust or respect them.
  • People tend to protect their turf, fight for power, and limit communication.
  • Complaining becomes the norm and small problems quickly escalate.
  • Leaders try to control their team by micromanaging them.
  • The status quo is accepted and responsibility is avoided.

 

4. Discouraging

  • Discouraging cultures suck the life out of their people.
  • They live with unresolved problems and unhealed wounds.
  • Self preservation and self protection is prevalent.
  • The organization becomes all about the power and prestige of the top leaders.
  • People spend more time trying to survive power struggles then they spend doing the work of ministry.
  • Supervisors use threats and their authority to demand compliance and loyalty.
  • It is extremely difficult to implement a new vision because nobody cares.

 

5. Toxic

  • Toxic cultures create a “closed system” where no new ideas or advice are allowed in.
  • They breed bad ideas, bad behaviors, and bad values.
  • People are expected to do as they are told…nothing less and nothing else.
  • They have high expectation of team members but offer no autonomy to make decisions.
  • Fear dominates the organization.
  • Open turf wars are accepted which results in suspicion and resentment throughout the team.
  • Leaders delegate responsibility without authority.
  • Creativity and risk are seen as threats.

 

In this book, Mr. Chand says the following, “Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization. It determines the receptivity of staff and volunteers to new ideas, unleashes or dampens creativity, builds or erodes enthusiasm, and creates a sense of pride or deep discouragement about working or being involved there.”

My questions to you, the reader are these… What kind of culture are you (Pastors, Staff, Members, Volunteers, etc.) creating? Are you living in an inspiring culture or are you apart of rather discouraging culture? What can you do to help change the culture?

Please leave your comments above on the sidebar. Or email me at tim@madisonparkchurch.com if you want to be more anonymous.

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Gratefulness In Recent Times

Emily Hostel Rose

My Bride. She is my rose. She is a beauty! Marvelous lady of God!
This photo was taken in Portland, OR. Outside the hostel where we stayed for a few days last September.

Farmer's Market

I’m grateful for this Farmers Market. There is nothing better than fresh food.
A farmer’s market is a wonderful place. It’s a tradition that everyone needs to experience.

Rutledge Farm

I’ve been grateful for this garden. It has taught me how to grow a crop.
It’s also taught me to daily “weed” the sin out of my life like I must do with this crop to grow heartily.

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This bike just keeps me moving. I often think of my best thoughts while riding this bike.
This is my medicine for stress. It’s also my cure for low blood pressure. “96/70” the last time I checked.

Our home

I’m thankful for this home.
I’m most thankful for our friend’s Rex and Kathy who allow us to rent this home from them.
It allows us to grow as a couple, grow with our guests and grow alongside our families.

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My wife has a way of keeping her flowers looking amazing.
I’m grateful our home is surrounded by such beautiful plants.

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The gift of hunting continues to amaze me. God’s gifts in the outdoors are always stunning.
These two images are from this past year’s hunting season.

How about you? What are you thankful for today, last week, or even this past year?

Work Heartily

Well, here we go!  Back to work after a three day weekend for most – or maybe even a full week – filled with friends, family, relaxation, indulgence, fun and play.  Are you ready? I hope so. whatever-you-do

How do you plan to perform today?  Did your R&R revive you to bring your best efforts with you back to work?  Or did the break expose how you really feel about your job as you drug yourself out of bed this morning? 

Either way, you’ve made a commitment to someone – whether it’s an employer or yourself – to engage at work today. I’ve actually made a commitment to my wife and God.  For many of you, other people depend on your engagement at work as well.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” is a passage found in Colossians. Specifically Colossians 3:23. It’s crossed my wife and I’s path these past few days, multiple times. I’m praying today and this week that my wife and I’s work is based off of this scripture. When you are thinking about work in this way, how does it change your perspective on working?  I know it’s going to change mine more than once – and today as I think about the words again.

If it’s too much to think about working “as for the Lord” or you are of a different faith, modifying the words to match your circumstance brings power as well.  Work heartily as your family depends on you.  Work heartily to support the charity you believe in.  Work heartily to keep your beautiful home.  Work heartily to save for your next vacation.  Work heartily for the customers who rely on you. However, know that I want nothing else than for you to see it as you are “working for the Lord”.

Heartily.  As I type it over and over I realize that we don’t use this word much, so these variations might help. (I pulled these from google):

Work enthusiastically.

Work good-naturedly.

Work completely.

Work with gusto, with energy, emphatically, wholeheartedly, vigorously.

Perform at your best.

 

How can I pray for you specifically this week in working “Heartily” for the Lord?

Reflections of the past few days…

The increase and decrease of the week can take you from awesome heights in ministry to tears at the speed of an email, a passing conversation or a phone call. Or even at 11:30pm at night when you’re trying to sleep. I’ve been reminded recently just how much I don’t know, how little I really control and how much I must rely on God.

Here’s what I know about me that’s true.  I need to continue to seek God for wisdom, discernment, timing and intervention. Not other people! I need to continue to prepare myself, humble myself and focus on the fact that whatever good I’m privileged to accomplish is only made possible because I’m seeking that wisdom, listening for that discernment, willing to wait on His timing and looking for those God moments so that I can make myself available in a way that honors people and guides them to, or closer to, Christ.

I need to work hard at putting aside biases, stereotypes, and preconceived ideas that isolate me from the very ones He has called me to serve.

I need to be faster at realizing, quicker at thanking God for, and then somehow learn how to share His work as if I’m having an out-of-body experience, watching God and God alone accomplishing that which my heart knows to be Him and Him alone.

I want to realize hourly that I’m surrounded by many of the best leaders, creative and mission-minded staffers who share this journey. I want to learn from them and without a flash of envy, humbly share with others what I’ve gleaned as nuggets I happened, by the grace of God, to stumble upon.

I want to see with fresh eyes that every volunteer who has partnered with this church has a unique story, a God given gift that he or she is looking to share. I continually want to be about helping others who have yet to dive in to understand the same.

I need to have eyes and ears that recognize people who are hurting, or those I hurt, and have feet that move me toward the ones I often try to avoid.

And finally, if that day comes that I’ve done my best at all these steps, I need to realize that my best may often not be received by everyone. That’s when, after careful examination, I’ll need to be faster at letting things go.

It’s More Than Just Our Musicians

As a volunteer, have you ever been told, “your ministry made a difference in my life?”

I know our musicians hear things like that a lot. I’ve heard stories of guests coming up to a musician, with tears in their eyes or sobbing, because a song touched their life in a huge way. I’ve read comments were songs have brought people to the foot of the cross. How powerful. It’s so true. It has done that to me. Performances by gifted individuals often are that last link in the chain to a changed heart.

For those who’ve never heard, “you made a difference in my life,” I want to remind you that it’s a step-by-step process that often involves a bunch of people utilizing their giftedness to effectively communicate that our guests matter to God.

Think for a moment about the steps that lead that guest to a place where they can become receptive to the performance. Maybe it started months ago in 10 degree weather, walking from the car to the front door on a snow-cleared parking lot and sidewalks. They noticed something most take for granted, but it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because because a volunteer woke up early, and knew it would make a difference.

Maybe it continued when they dropped their child off in a classroom, a classroom where volunteers help create an engaging environment for children to hear from teachers about Jesus. While we provide “little people” church, adults are freed from distraction and are able to engage in the message within the artistic moment taking place on stage or on screen.

Or perhaps a guest’s reception to Christ was softened during a weekend service where moments captured in photography were edited and produced into a compelling video. Maybe it was the greeting, or the latest “coffee bar” served by smiling volunteers.

Get the point? Volunteers are needed in every step of the process; the roles vary but the impact equates the same in service to God. Whether you’re a guest’s first impression or last impression, you’re part of the plan! It doesn’t really matter in the big picture; God has given you a gift and the church is blessed when you choose to use it.

Opening Up: I do have challenges.

A lot of people who know me would have opinions on what my biggest challenge is. Some would say it’s my humor that gets in the way of serious conversations, others would say it’s my lack of organization and communication skills. Some would even say my biggest challenge is my burnout rate, which can be high at times. Let me reveal it now so you can focus on this post. It’s me. My biggest challenge has always been, and will always be, me. Focusing on what God has called me to every moment will always be my biggest challenge.

On to my second biggest challenge:  Rarely, ok, actually on occasion…truth be told, nearly every week I vent (refer back to paragraph one) to my wife about something involving volunteerism or volunteers. I love her to death. She is my true sounding board. I’ll express concern to her about a volunteer just not getting it when it comes to a ministry or responsibility. Relax – if you’re taking the time to read this, it’s not you.

Emily’s normal response to me is something like, “Tim, they’re only volunteers.” Phrase like that often keep me up or wake me up at night.

When I think about Emily’s response, I get what she’s saying…I’m the staff person, I get paid and volunteers don’t. Part of me gets that. About nine percent of me. It’s in the 91% where my second biggest challenge lies: helping volunteers who follow Christ understand that they are equally as vested in the mission, vision and values as any staff member.

I’m not talking about equal hours invested in ministry. I’m speaking in terms of stewardship – the stewardship of our available time, focused with excellence to serve for the cause of Christ. Excellence in our ministries matters to God whether individuals are paid or not. Giving our best, as if it matters to the cause of Christ (because it does), will change our entire perspective of how we prepare, present and perform our ministry.

Our volunteers – your volunteers are on the front line of this battle. It’s only in games like Risk where the “soldiers” on the map have no influence on the outcome of the mission.

It doesn’t matter the ministry. If we fail to internalize and live out that what we’re participating in has the potential to impact a life for the Kingdom, then we’ll never give it our all. (As a side note, if it doesn’t have the potential to impact a life, cancel it.)

I pray for our leaders to get this, I pray for them to challenge their team members to leave nothing at their “post” when they leave, to fully engage themselves in the ministry at hand, to be focused and intentionally seeking out how God will use them in the next moment to help others take a step towards Christ.

Man, if I could get this solved I’d get more sleep.

Wild Flowers and God’s Creation

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I stand amazed. Nature tells us much about God and about man. No apologies need to be made for drawing man’s attention to nature. 

I stand amazed. I stood at Moorman Park today in awe. My mind went from nature, to my heart turning toward God in worship and praise. 

Today reminded me of a piece of great hymn that turns my mind toward nature and inclined my heart to praise and worship God.

How Great Thou Art 
When through the woods and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

Psalm 24:1-2 
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 89:11
The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.

Question: How does your walk with Christ change your view of nature?

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A little coffee house romance

It’s been two days since I’ve done one of these. But, since I’m sitting here on this cozy Friday afternoon, I thought it was the right time. My best friend and soul mate just left to go back to work.

Oh, what a joy it is to have this wonderful young lady in my life as one of my dearest friends. Love you, Emily.

So, here I sit. Same coffee shop as the one we’ve sat in before, and it seems that not much has changed around here in the past couple of months. Same art, same employees, same coffee, same smell of fresh brewed coffee.

There’s a couple of young boys happily playing with their leap frog across the room. There is a group of four ladies talking about their husbands, sports and God knows what.

Over on the couch, a chappy with Very Cool (I WANT SOME) dark-rimmed glasses has been playing on his phone for longer than I’ve been able to keep track of. He has his ear-buds in, and every so often he really gets into his music.

There was a sweet friend across the table from me, as I mentioned earlier, and she’s talking about her morning at work. She’s shown me a beautiful smile, and oh my, it is wonderful! I had the privilege of asking her to marry me late last year, November 9th to be exact.

And then there are the random folks studying, working on homework, chatting away comfortably in corners. Typical coffee-shop type stuff, you know.

2013-01-25 13.51.53This afternoon has been one of peaceful studying and prayer. I’ve been doing a study on how to be a better husband before marriage, and I can’t even put it into words right now–I’m captivated with the One I call my King and Saviour. He is mighty and powerful, and He is pure. What a glorious truth! Perhaps once I have basked in and been submerged in the reality of the purity of God for awhile, I might be able to put some words to what I’ve been learning. For now, though? Oh, Jesus, how I love You!

If I were to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life on this earth in the study and pursuit of God, I would never reach the end of His greatness. And yet, after even just one afternoon, I’m completely captivated and awe-struck. It makes me think–what a glorious place heaven must be! To be in the very near and tangible presence of the King of kings for eternity without end. To see Him, to know Him, to worship at His feet! What we know on this earth is just a bare taste of who He is–and yet, what a beautiful taste it is!

I can’t wait to know Him more and more! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my living life with Emily and doing ministry together.

Save me with your Steadfast Love

| “Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!” Psalm 31:16

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The Bible that I read is full of undeserving, gracious, and generous love. God has no obligation to rescue us, but he chooses to do so and takes the initiative to bring it about.

This reminds me of the Hebrew word Hesed. Hesed is God’s steadfast love- the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, one-way love of God. This turns up in the Old Testament over and over, but it’s not just an Old Testament concept. Rather, it points to the fullness of God’s love shown in giving up his Son Jesus Christ.

Thankfully, through Jesus, God is actively reaching into our sin filled chaos lives and taking ahold of us. Thankfully God grasps us through his steadfast love, we are not driven away or lost.

God made a covenant with King David and told him his steadfast love would never leave him, his house or his kingdom. (2Sam7:15-16)

The steadfast love of the Lord never stops or leaves us, his mercies never come to an end. (Lam.3:22)

The Lord has mercy on us in our sin according to his steadfast love and abundant mercy. He blots out all our iniquities. (Psalm51:1)

Praise God for he is good! His steadfast love endures forever and is sufficient for us. (Psalm136:1)

God’s steadfast love surrounds those who trust in him. (Psalm32:10)

The Lord calls himself merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness to all his people! (Exodus34:6-7)

My prayer for you is that the Lord would continue to direct your hearts in knowing God’s love and Christ’s steadfastness. (2Thes.3:5)

Are there common themes in these verses? Yes! God’s steadfast love for his people is unwavering, it will never leave us. His steadfast love has lasted, and will continue to last, for all eternity. May you know that God’s love will never leave you, it will last forever.

*Note: The verses are summarized

No Place For You To Serve? Oh Really…

Every place of worship, no matter how large or small it is, at any given time will have an abundance of needs among its members. Some needs are easily spotted (Greeting & Serving), some are not easily spotted (Van drivers or Communion Prep). As Christians our calling is to serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ and to help bear the burdens in these moments.

Here are some ideas of where you can serve in the church at Madison Park Christian Church. If you do not attend this church, I am positive these roles are open in your church.

So here I go. In a perfect world…. At our current location….

  • We need 112 greeters to run an effective ministry.
  • We need 168 ushers/servers to run an efficient ministry.
  • We need 16 Guest Center volunteers to run a hospitable ministry
  • We need 16 people on our Custodial Team to run a well equipped and “clean” ministry.
  • We need 8 dedicated individuals who love the smell of coffee and love serving it to others.
  • To start our parking lot ministry, we need 24 committed men or women who would be willing to direct traffic while drinking coffee.
  • 8 people are needed to deliver Home Communion to shut-in’s
  • Do you want communion? We need 16 willing volunteers to prepare/cleanup the communion for us every Sunday.
  • 98 energetic young adults, older adults or even older adults are needed to teach and supervice our students in the elementary department.
  • 41 students/”techie” people are needed to help play instruments, sing songs and run “techie” stuff for our elementary youth.
  • 6 Fun van drivers are needed to pick up men and women who can’t just quite make it to church on their own
  • Currently we need 120 people for our Early Childhood (0-6 year olds)
  • 35 people are needed to help you focus on Jesus by making the “techie” stuff sound amazing
  • Have experience in banking, accounting or finance? We need you! We need 8 “money counters” to count our offering.

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE WE NEED TO SERVE IS 676. Still don’t have a place to serve?

I’m sure there are plenty of other opportunities that I have left out. If you would like, feel free to shoot those to me in the comments below or by email at tim@madisonparkchurch.com.

Call me at the church to get you signed up. Or email me at tim@madisonparkchurch.com I’d love to get you connected and serving.

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Photo Credit: http://runnin-onfaith.tumblr.com/