Building a Vibrant Church Culture

On November 21st, River Valley Campus Pastor Kirk Graham spoke at a Transform breakfast on creating and developing vibrant church culture. Kirk prefaced the conversation by referencing Craig Groeschel’s five observed reasons that church leadership culture can often struggle:

  1. Void of vision
  2. Deflecting responsibility
  3. Resisting accountability
  4. Avoiding conflict
  5. Withholding trust

Kirk noted that a vibrant culture needs to center around a genuine care for people rather than hopes for increased numbers or decreased drama. He shared the journey to his current role, and spent the morning outlining the following twelve cultural leadership principles that he and River Valley staff have found beneficial. Kirk facilitated questions from the audience in an open Q&A format as members related each principle to their own church cultures.

  1. Cheering for success
  2. Establishing a culture of trust
  3. Sharing and keeping information
  4. Speak life and bring lift
  5. Promote, prefer, and defer
  6. Relationships over results 
  7. Move fast, not frantic
  8. Use relationship to influence others, not position
  9. Ask and listen, rather than talk and tell
  10. Use your strength to serve
  11. Embrace the truth to make us better
  12. Believe the best is yet to come

Kirk encouraged those present to lead out of the unique giftings and wiring that God gave them. He also reminded the group that creating a list of values and establishing a leadership culture is ineffective if the leaders themselves are not living out the values: “you cannot multiply something that is not who you are”. Kirk shared a few other River Valley approaches:

“We move at the speed of unity, not uniformity.”

“We move at the speed of unity, not uniformity. Even if we are not always in agreement, we can get around the same vision. We have a blast following Jesus. We work hard and have fun (Colossians 3:23; Ecclesiastes 2:24).”

A vibrant church culture is joyful and displays the fruits of the Spirit. Everybody, regardless of their alignment with each belief taught, should feel a sense of belonging and welcome. Kirk closed in prayer: “I believe we can build a church with great systems and structures, and miss Jesus. That is not our goal—God we need you to be a part of this.”

Speaker Recommended Resources:

How to Lead When You are Not in Charge – Clay Scroggins

The Ideal Team Player – Patrick Lencioni

Integrity – Henry Cloud

“We are in a season of transition; we came for practical advice on changing our culture and to sit with other pastors in ministry.” – Cassie, Mercy Vineyard Church

“My wife and I recently started the Christian Community Twin Cities Church; we attended to learn more about building a vibrant church culture.” – Hector, CC Twin Cities Church

“I’ve been coming to Transform Minnesota events, and even though I’m not with a church—I hoped the content would be relevant for ministries—and it has been! There are a lot of similarities between church staff culture and Christian non-profits.” – Mary, Christians for Biblical Equality

November 26, 2019
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