The Church Culture Conference: Day One

It’s a sunny, muggy morning at the beautiful Willow Creek Community Church campus outside Chicago, and more than 190 Human Resources staffers from churches around the country are here to learn about the power of culture.

We are blogging live from the conference, and you can follow along today and tomorrow as we recap the tips and tools we’re learning from all the amazing speakers and sessions here.

Here are a few things we learned from Gary Schwammlein, President and CEO of the Willow Creek Association, in the opening session…

  • Your church probably has values, but do the people on staff know them? Do they live them?
  • A strong, positive culture allows you to focus on the right strategy and reach a few intentional goals.
  • Values determine behaviors—and leaders are responsible for paving the way by living out values.
  • Here’s an example of values impacting action. In Promiseland, the kids ministry at Willow Creek, these values guide every decision and action. If it doesn’t fulfill one of these values, they don’t do it:
    • Fun
    • Teach the Bible creatively
    • Relevant
    • Intentional shepherding
    • Spiritually, physically, and emotionally safe
  • “Catch” your colleagues when they’re going above and beyond, when they’re doing something really wonderful. Reward great results; don’t punish poor behavior.
  • Adopt the “walking around” style of management. If you’re a leader, don’t barricade yourself in your office—walk around, meet people, learn what they’re doing, and do it alongside them.
  • Take calculated risks. The key here is that the risks are calculated—they are risks you can afford to take. But never be afraid to try new things, even if you might fail.

Here’s a quick gauge you can use to see if the culture in your church is healthy. Where does your ministry fall on the gauge in each category? (Hint, answers to the right indicate a stronger culture.)

Gauging church culture

Check back with us later today for more on creating a culture of development in your church. And if you’re attending this year, stop by and meet us at the Life.Church Open Network booth, and take a tour of our free staff development app, Develop.Me.

FOMO is real, so don’t take chances.

Get the latest blog content delivered straight to your inbox.

Reach more people for Christ.

Find free resources, training, online community, and apps on the Life.Church Open Network.

Start your free account