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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Apr '13

Organizational cultures that support the mission

Posted by T.J. Addington in organizational culture
We often just don't think about it. Every organization has a stated mission or purpose but many do not have an internal organizational culture that is designed to support that mission. It is, perhaps, why we don't deliver on our purpose as well as we could be.

For instance, the mission statement of ReachGlobal - the mission I give leadership to - is to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people. The key words there are multiplication and health. Both of those commitments require an internal culture of multiplication as well as a culture of health. It is not possible to see healthy churches multiplied without healthy personnel and it is not possible to actually multiply unless it is an intentional part of the culture since addition rather than multiplication is the default setting of most people.

Church leaders talk a lot about unity and love but if those kinds of values are not lived out by boards and staff it will likely not be lived out in the congregation either. Not only that but when the internal culture of an organization does not match its stated purposes it creates legitimate questions in the minds of many as to whether its leadership is truly serious about their stated purposes. 

I often speak with organizational staff about the lack of empowerment in their ministry. The senior leader talks the empowerment talk but the organizational culture does not empower - usually because the senior leader does not. It is an obvious case of cultures that don't match commitments and it is deeply frustrating to those affected.

Organizational culture matters a great deal. Often our cultures are accidental cultures as there has not been intentionality in their creation. The best cultures are clearly articulated, highly intentional and seriously lived out by leadership and staff.

Something to remember is that both  insiders and outsiders can read the culture of your organization. They can tell if it is intentional or accidental. They can also read whether it healthy or unhealthy and finally whether it supports your stated purposes. Often their commitment to the organization is directly influenced by what they  observe.