Andy Stanley – Building a Healthy Staff Culture – Catalyst One Day

The local church should be the greatest place in the world to work. My goal is to make working at North Point the best job that you ever have.

I think every local church should be like that. We have shared values and mission. We have a 2,000 year history. The inner workings of the local church should be extraordinary.

One of the reasons we chose this topic is we want local churches to get healthier so that we can do our ministry well.

This is the one thing we have to get. It is the thing. And it's clearly taught in Scripture, one of the few leadership lessons there.

Mark 10:32-45

If you want to be great in God's kingdom, you use your service for the sake of other people.  Jesus washes their feet to show them that when you're in authority, you use your authority to benefit all of those who are below you, who are less resourced, less talented, less powerful than you.  The more you have, the more potential you have to serve those who have less.  They got it because He washed their feet.  That was the end of the ego trip for their disciples.

  1. Healthy and productive staff cultures are characterized by mutual submission.
    I'm here to serve you, and you're here to serve me, and the more you have, the more responsibility you have to be a servant.

    1. The message of mutual submission: I'm here to facilitate your success regardless of where either of us shows up on an organizational chart.
    2. The assumption of mutual submission: While our responsibilities differ, we are both essential to the success of this enterprise.
      There are no non-essential personell in your enterprise.  If there are, you've hired incorrectly.  All of us are equally essential for the success of the organization.
    3. The question of mutual submission asks, "What can I do to help?"
      This is a game changer.  People think they're there to help you, the leader.  And you know why they think that?  Because you're leading like a gentile.  Senior pastors, walk into your student ministries office and ask, "What can I do to help?"
      We have this culture that somehow took an OT paradigm that has been abandoned and replaced with NT language.  We took this OT prophet, priest, and king, and we force it on the local church, and it's nonsense.  There are no especially anointed people.  The word anointed only shows up a couple of times in the NT, and it refers to Jesus.  The other times it says we're all anointed because we have the Holy Spirit.
      The NT could not be clearer, we're not a kingdom.  We're a body.  There are noticeable parts and not noticeable parts, but none of them are special.  In the local church, if you're a good talker, they put you in charge.  People say, "Oh, Andy, you're so great."  And I'm like no.  It's a gift.  Somebody gave it to me, and somebody can take it.
      We teach it, and believe it, and then we turn right around and grab this OT paradigm and force it on the local church.
      IF you want to know if the pastor's anointed, it's not on stage, go home with him or her.
      This hurts the local church.  It's not just unbiblical, it's anti-NT.  It attracts a bunch of sycophants and sets the pastor up for a fall.  If you foster that in your church, you will not have a healthy staff culture.  You're going to churn and churn staff until you get enough insecure people around you that feel good about yourself.  You're trying to make yourself a prophet, priest, or king.
      The more spiritual you are, you should be the greatest servant in your organization.
      If you embrace mutual submission, and you model it, and this trickles down through your staff, you will unleash people's gifts and talent.  They'll stop caring about making you happy and start caring about doing things with excellence.
      God doesn't care how many people you can gather or how well you can teach if you don't have love.
  2. Best Practices
    1. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
      Symbolic Leadership: I can't do everything for everyone, but I'm not going to miss an opportunity to something for someone.
      We take the ridiculous thinking that if you can't do something for everyone don't do it for everyone that we learned from the lunch lady who wouldn't give you an extra cookie because she would have to give one to everyone into the rest of our lives.
      Do you know how you leverage your resources?  Anytime you can do something for someone you do.  People won't be jealous, they'll copy you.
    2. Systematize top-down service.
      It's one thing to randomly buy someone a paper cutter, but you have to systematize this.  When I meet with our leadership team of 14 people at the beginning of the year, I ask them for 2 or 3 things I can do to help them.  Every year our groups person asks for two messages on groups.  With my high school team, I spend a day developing bottom lines.  For our Global X guy, I do one or two trips a year.  I can't do everything for everyone, but every single year, I ask what I can do in our organization to.
    3. Create and maintain a organizational pace.
      1. Without margin, there is no room to serve beyond a job description.
        People will not loan their talent and resources to other departments if they have no margin.  If I don't have margin, I can't serve my staff.
      2. Without margin, we seek first our kingdoms.
        You work all day and your family misses you.
        Show me an overworked staff, and I'll show you turf wars and politics.
        If you walk into someone's office and you're greatest fear is they're actually going to have an answer, you can't
        We always shut down the entire organization the Sunday after Christmas.  We have no worship services.  It is light at the end of the tunnel for the entire organization.  Do you know how hard it is to get volunteers to staff a children's ministry the Sunday after Christmas?
    4. Celebrate and reward mutual submission when you see it.
      Tip: What's rewarded is repeated.
      You have to make a big deal out of it.
    5. Confront your ego.
      What's most important? Building a great organization or creating a name for yourself?
      If you really view your staff as a supporting cast for your name and your ministry and what God is doing through you because you're the guy, then I dare you next week to sit them all down and tell them.  God has called me, and you are all hired help to help me what God has called me to do.  If you can't do that, then you're leading like a Gentile.
      Do I want to build a great church, or do I want to build a name for myself?  You may build a name for yourself in the pursuit of building a great church, but the moment you flip that switch, the sharpest leaders in the organization will start looking for the door.
    6. Drop the term loyalty from your vocabulary.
      You will never create a culture of mutual submission with loyalty as a core value.
      Tip: If you has to ask for it, demand it, or have people sign a document pledging it, you are the one with a loyalty problem, not them.

Conclusion:
Albert Speer, who was high up in Hitler's organization but was not responsible directly for any of the atrocities, he saw the whole thing, Hitler's evolution, he said,

There is a special trap for every holder of power, whether the director of a company, the head of the state, or the ruler of a dictatorship. His favor is so desireable to his subordinates that they will sue for it by every means possible. Servility becomes endemic among his entourage, who compete among themselves in their show of devotion. This in turn exercises a sway upon the ruler who becomes corrupted in his turn.

The key to the quality of the man in power is how he reacts to this situation. I have observed a number of industrialists and military men who knew how to fend off this danger. Where power has been exercised over generations, a kind of hereditary incorruptibility grows up. Only a few individuals among those around Hitler, such as Fritz Todt, withstood the temptation to sycophancy. Hitler himself put up no visible resistance to the evolution of a court.

-Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs by Albert Speer, p. 83

If God has gifted you, God is going to use you, and people are going to respond. And some of them know how to respond appropriately. But others will respond in a way that can change you.

It was the question God the Father and Jesus asked of the world, "What can I do to help?"  We have the privilege of serving God and his people.

Posted at 11:13 AM on November 15th, 2012
More in Leadership
Andy Stanley – Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture – Catalyst One Day

Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in...

Close