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04 – How to Design Church as a Rocking Organization


Appreciation for the power of organizational values is growing in churches.

This is good. Core values are primary to organizational effectiveness because they are intrinsic to how we view life and make choices.

One of my personal core values is…
“If I look out for others, God will look out for me.”

I like looking out for others. And I believe God expects that of me. It’s a strength that plays well with a servant leadership style.

As a side effect, I’m not good at asking for something for myself. It’s hard for me to ask others to meet my needs. That’s neither good nor bad. It’s just who I am. And always will be.

We navigate life better when we are aware of our core values.

You identify your organizational values by answering the following question.

What motivates our behaviors?

We don’t create organizational values; we discover them. They already exist in the hearts of the leaders.

We may not think about them because they are so natural to us we take them for granted. But they are deep in our soul to the point they influence our thinking and motivate our actions.

Unspoken values are always present. They may be silent but others who share space with us sense them in our behaviors.

Values shape church culture

That’s why every church is unique. The people who make up the church body bring a blend of values that creates a distinctive culture.

In folksy terms, culture is “how we do things around here” and is directly attributable to core values.

When you can articulate the collective core values of your church you have a great perspective from which to view your God-given mission in your community.

It is also a great gift to offer new people who want to quickly understand what your church is all about.

Actionable values

If you already have a list of core values, here’s how you make them powerful.

Values need to be associated with corresponding behaviors that you want to characterize your church. These behaviors are called “norms”.

Many churches have come up with a list of values they post on the wall or on their website. That’s ok but not much is likely to happen until expected behaviors are attached to each of the values.

For example, if you value generosity your norm is something like, “we cannot out give God”. It’s values and norms together that deeply influence organizational effectiveness.

For some great examples, check out these links:

More values discovery questions

When am I at my best? What brings out the best in me? When do people most want to follow my leadership? What are the irresistible ideas in my head that influence my decisions?

Just one more thought on values

I’d like to push you to think beyond biblical phrases. They are theological values that are normally covered in your statement of faith. You have already defined these.

Now move to philosophical values, those deep internal motivations that shape the way you think and define the person you are.

Question: Is your church clear about what motivates organizational behaviors?

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