The Church Culture Conference at Willow Creek

Church culture. If this is your first time hearing about the concept of “culture” as applies to church, you’re in the right place. The Life.Church Open Network is attending the Church Culture Conference at Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago, and over the next two days, we’ll be sharing some of the tips and tools we learn here for cultivating a strong, positive culture in your team.

Stepping back a bit, the concept of “culture” in a church might be a new one to you. A church staff should only focus on attenders, right?


Having a strong culture that’s built on the mission and principles you value most will make your team more capable, more resilient, and more effective at reaching people for Christ.

Here’s a few examples from Life.Church. Similar to Willow Creek, we value something we call “a culture of development.” Our staff spends a good amount of time setting goals, reading leadership books, studying Myers-Briggs and Strengthsfinders, and even having “difficult conversations” that help an employee grow or heal. We spend intentional time on development.

At first glance, it may seem like wasted energy—none of that development is geared specifically toward attenders. But, we’ve found that if we lay this groundwork of development in our staff, they’re able to do more and reach more in the long run.

The goals we set turn into results. The leadership books help us lead volunteers and attenders. The personality tests build self-awareness and help increase our capacity. The difficult conversations help to nip blindspots in the bud before they become issues that could take us out of ministry.

We’ve even created an app to help us develop. Develop.Me is an annual performance review tool that helps us set and track goals, communicate with our teams, and grow as leaders. If you’d like to implement Develop.Me in your church staff, you can use it for free as part of the Life.Church Open Network.

Stick with us this week for everything we’re learning at the Church Culture Conference, and join us in the Life.Church Open Network community to share your tips on promoting a culture of development at your church.


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