If the real issue is the culture of the congregation, then how doesShaping Culture one embed new culture or change the existing culture in an organization like the church? Well, how do you raise children? How do you “embed” in them good, healthy, Biblical, Godly “habits” and assumptions and behavior? There’s a lot of overlap here.

I recently had a conversation with a client under the subject of “vision casting.” I asked, how do you try to influence and raise your children? Do you leave it to chance? Of course not! Then what are the concrete things that you are doing when you are raising your children? He came up with four things:

  • Talking with his children. In other words debriefing (life) with them.
  • Planning things. Making sure that what they are doing in life are priorities and not wasting time.
  • Praising them. Affirming them when they do things well or do the right things.
  • Modeling what it means to be a good person, a good Christian.

In many ways those are things that happen when you are working to cast vision or more specifically, work to shift the organizational culture of the church. Like raising children this is not something than can be left to chance! So, what do you imagine could be done under each category to cast vision and shift the organizational culture and where it is going?”

  • Talking with people and debrief everything: What did we do and how did we do it? What worked (to live into the vision)? What didn’t? What should we do differently next time? What should we do now?
  • Planning: What are the ways we should prioritize our activities and actions? Put another way, how should we steward God’s resources for greatest effect to live into God’s will for His church in this place? Upon what exactly should we base those choices?
  • Praising. What has happened or what has been accomplished for which you can give praise and thanks to God? How can you appropriately recognize and affirm the servants of God who have done these things in God’s name? How can you publicly lift up those things that move you closer to God’s vision for this place or God’s future for this church? How can you give thanks for what you learn from your mistakes?
  • Modeling. How can you as a pastor or ministry leader be an example in word and deed as a Christian, as a ministry leader, as someone who is seeking to live into the shared vision of the church? Every word, action, inaction, opportunity or missed opportunity teaches someone something. How can you use these as times to teach?

Along the way the former culture is challenged and discouraged in large ways and small ways. The new culture likewise is encouraged, affirmed, and further embedded. Culture is powerful driver of values, beliefs, assumptions, actions and inactions. These four things can be a practical way for leaders to be proactive in influencing people and organizations to “do the right thing” and “grow up” to be what God wants them to be. More intentional “shaping” to come…

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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com

Shaping Culture: Accidental or Intentional?

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