How do our values impact our culture.
When you walk in here you say, "Man, I like this place. I like being here." When you walk into a restaurant, you say you like the feeling. Maybe you walk in somewhere else and you don't like it.
And it's not just the aesthetic, the colors on the walls.
When we started LifeChurch, it was in a 2 car garage with mirrors on the walls. We had nothing you would think of when you think of normal church. We had two borrowed speakers, one mic and mic stand, and an overhead projector. This environment was so bad. Our overhead transparency flipper, his name was Jerome, and he got a finger shot off in a drug deal gone bad. Jerome would be worshipping and forget to flip the song, and all of the sudden you'd see his hand there, and you could see people looking up at the garage door counting fingers.
It was nothing you would think of when you think of excellence and church. But the first week there were 40 people, and certainly they were all Christians, but I was committed to evangelism, and so I made a call for people to accept Christ. 7 people raised their hands, and there were tears.
It was a very healthy culture.
Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
The number one force that shapes your culture is your values.
What we value determines what we do. What we believe determines how we behave.
Think about the difference between the synagogues run by the Pharisees and the party at Matthew's house run by Jesus. Their priorities were reflected in what they did. Jesus said he came to seek and save the lost, that the healthy didn't need a doctor but the sick.
Think about the customer service you get at Chik-fil-a. Here are their values.
- Putting customers first
- Drive to continually improve
There is another organization that in front of everyone all of the time says, "here's what we do." In the chirch word, what we value determines what we do.
- If we value tradition, we'll focus more on the present then the past.
- If we value relevance, we'll wear skinny jeans and lots of hair product.
- If we value evangelism, we'll focus on people outside of the church.
- Determine honestly what your actions say you value.
- Your actions may say you value the status quote.
- Your actions may say you value the building. Don't run in the building. Don't bring drinks in.
- Your leadership may value being in control.
- Your actions may say you value generosity, or missions, or diversity... or the handbell ministry
- There is often a big difference between what you claim to value and what you do. The difference between what you claim to value and what you do is the pain.
- Your values may say you value evangelism, but you're really interested in keeping Christians happy. You say you value excellence, but there are three typos in the bulletin.
- Early in my ministry, I kept saying we valued small groups, but I was not in a small group. Our groups were horrible because my actions were inconsistent with the value.
- Identify the values God has put within you (or your leadership team).
- There are certain things God has burdened you with. You can't do church like Andy because Andy values one thing, and you value something else. I used to try to copy everyone else. I liked Willow Creek, so I tried to be Bill Hybels, and that didn't work. So I started liking Rick Warren, but he does everything on purpose. I"m way to accidental. Then I tried to be Joel Osteen, but I have way to badd of attitude.
- What do you passionately love? What makes your heart leap with joy? What breaks your heart or makes you righteously angry?
- I grew up in church but didn't understand the Gospel. I got a free Gideon NT in college, so I started reading in Matthew, and Ephesians 2:8-9 saved me. I was saved by the Word of God, by a free Bible, so when people tell me I should sell the YouVersion Bible app, I say "No, I got saved by a free Bible!" Then I met a guy who came on the YouVersion staff who was saved by a YouVersion app. I love that.
- I filled in for a friend at his church, and the church secretary told me I needed to preach a good sermon because they had a visitor... a rare occurrence. This lady wasn't dressed so well, and she came up to greet me before service. The deacon stepped in front of me and asked her if that was the best she could do for God. She turned around and walked out.
- If you look at what I do and what I love, everything points to evangelism because I grew up in church and didn't understand the Gospel. My church will always have an evangelistic bent. Discipleship is great. Worship is important.
- Narrow them down to 10 or fewer values.
If everything is important to you, nothing is important to you. I like 7 better than ten. I like 5 better than 7.
- Once you've clearly defined your values, describe them in short, life giving statements.
- If you can't tweet your values, they're too long
- If they don't move you emotionally, they're too dry.
- If they don't create passion within you, get some new values.
- Instead of saying, "We value evangelism," We say, "We'll do anything short of sin to reach people for Christ. To reach people no one else is reaching, we have to do things no one else is doing."
Therefore, we're not going to do what everyone else is doing. That's why we'll do church online.
- We say we're spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. This gets planted deep within my heart.
- We don't say we value generosity, we say that we will lead the way with irrational generosity.
- We love unity, but we say, "We're all about the capital C church, the local church is the hope of the world, and we know we can accomplish more together than apart."
- We don't recruit volunteers, we release leaders, because volunteers do good things, leaders change the world.
- Say them over and over and over again until they become a part of the people.
- Shape your culture and build your people around your values.
- Lead toward your values as if your future depends on it, because it does.
- Vision leaks, and values drift over time.
- Hire and recruit for your values. I would take a B- player with the same values over an A+ leader with different values.
- You may want to take a separate set of organizational values for your team. Behavioral values, not just what we believe, but how we behave. Ask what behavior the 10 top leaders within your organization have in common:
- Great work ethic
- Sense of humor
- Culturally relevant
- We design our interview questions around these values.
- Remove people with distinctly different values.
- If there are people on your team who are going to be miserable because they have radically different values, help that person find some place they're going to flourish. That's cancer to our organization, and it's not fair to them either.
- If you can't change the values above you, do everybody a favor, leave, and speak honorably of where you came from.
- If you don't like where you're going, change directions.
One of the most painful times in LifeChurch, between years 11 and 13, I felt like I was losing the church I loved. There was gossip and rumors. There was layers upon layers, poor communication, high staff turnover, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I just finally got to the place where I felt the best years were behind me. I spoke at a leadership conference and felt like a huge hypocrite, I sat down afterwards, put my head in my hands, and God spoke to me, "Quit whining. You're sharp. Fix it." That's kinda the way my dad would talk to me or a coach would talk to me. Those words were so meaningful to me. God was saying to me, "You've got everything you need to do everything I've called you to do. Leaders lead, and that's what you need to do."