Back a few months ago I "attended" an online conference sponsored by the Leadership Network. One of the speakers was Samuel Chand, the author of the book "Cracking your church's culture code." I then received an e-mail about the possibility of reading the book and blogging about it, so I sent an e-mail and got picked to read the book and write about it. So I received the book a few weeks ago and spent some time over the last few weeks reading the book, pondering it's contents and wondering how it might apply to my context right now, as a church plant that is just in it's infancy.
Chand says that the seven keys of understanding the CULTURE and shaping it for the Kingdom are: Control, Understanding, Leadership, Trust, Unafraid, Responsive, Execution. I enjoyed reading the book as it is helping me to think about what the culture of our missional community is, and what it might be moving forward and how we can keep the culture healthy, missional, and seeking to move the mission forward.
Some of the quotes that stood out to me in the section that lays out the 7 keys to understanding CULTURE are:
Healthy teams foster the perspective that failure isn't a tragedy and conflict isn't the end of the world.
Courage, support, and innovation go hand in hand in inspiring cultures.
One of their chief concerns is that teams often talk about decisions but fail to follow through on implementing them (I find this a huge struggle in my own life. I feel that one of my gifts as a leader is in the area of vision, dreams, and putting the mission out there. The thing that I lack is knowing how to move step by step from where we are to where I dream us to be. I frequently say that I see A (where we are) clearly (not perfectly) and I see Z (where we want to go) (not perfectly) but I need someone to help me with B through Y. So the section about Execution was very helpful.
But I would say the most helpful, the most encouraging, and the most challenging part of the book was the chapter on "Changing Vehicles". I felt he was speaking right to me, as I continue to dream about what Veritas is called to do, be, and pursue. One of the helpful parts was the 13 questions laid out on page 139-140. Some of the quotes in this chapter that spoke to me include:
"How do you know if a vision is from God? One of the measures is that it has to be something so big that it requires God's wisdom and power to pull it off. Anything less is just a good idea. God's vision is to redeem not only individuals bu the entire creation. He's not just making new men and women; he's going to re-create the entire universe in the New Heaven and New Earth. That's a big vision! (a vision that I want to be a part of)
Churches must "re-dream" the dream or discover a new compelling vision for their existence.
Your effectiveness will always depend on your ability to see the future.
Strategic planning needs to be written in pencil because in a dynamic, changing environment, strategic planning needs constant evaluation and adjustment. (Couldn't have said it better myself)
The organization can't fulfill a God-sized vision, even in it's local market, without the alignment of people, plans, and funding around a common purpose.
If the vision is big enough, if the people have a heart for doing it, if God's will be glorified in a specific way, then the money will come. (One of my struggles as a church planter)
God has called us to partner with him to redeem the world.
I would say this book was helpful for me as we are planting Veritas. I would say this book would be helpful for any church leader no matter where the church is, no matter how young or how old, no matter how big or how small, no matter the setting. Because I believe it's easy to change "vision" (just write a mission statement, vision statement, etc..) but it's harder to change the culture. But if the culture changes, then the vision can come to fruition. So let's be in the business of changing culture (both inside the church and outside as well)