by Paul Alexander, The Unstuck Group

Every organization has a culture – attitudes they want adopted, values they want championed, beliefs they want instilled and behaviors they want reproduced. Leaders are the cultural architects of any organization. Eventually every organization takes on the character and priorities of its leaders. As a result, leaders need to be intentional in culture creation.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker

At Sun Valley Community Church, there are 7 statements that make our staff culture unique. These describe a way of operating and a way of treating others that we expect from those who are in leadership.

#1  Leadership – We choose to love first and lead second, but always do both.

In our culture, we expect leaders to learn how to lead others with both grace and truth. We believe that truth is best received when there is a strong foundational context that “we want something for you, not from you.” However, we also choose to never stop with only love. It’s never loving to leave out the truth. We train leaders how to say the hard things in caring ways. Relationship is key to receptivity. High trust paves the way for high challenge.

#2  Risk – We have a big God, so we take big risks and trust Him for big results.

The only thing that can stop the church is the church. The role of the church is not to keep the convinced comfortable. At Sun Valley we aren’t afraid to try new things and make mistakes. We have high trust in our leaders, and high trust leads to high expectations. We hire leaders who are willing to try new things and expect them to become “masters of midcourse correction.”

#3  Effort – We work hard, give our best and put family first.

The Bible teaches that the ability to work is a gift from God and that ministry is a privilege. At Sun Valley, we expect our staff to work hard. We expect them to set goals, devise strategies, implement tactics, develop volunteers and reproduce leaders so that greater impact can result. We also know that our greatest ministry is to our family. We want our staff to have an intimate relationship with their spouse and a healthy relationship with their kids. We expect our staff to understand that the balance between ministry and family is not a problem to be solved, but a tension to be managed. And we expect our staff to become experts in managing this tension.

#4  Team – We want to take the hill, and we want to take it together.

We have a job to be done, a goal to be accomplished and a dream that one day every person has had an opportunity to say “yes” to Jesus. This is the hill we want to take. Yet, in the midst of taking the hill, we’ve realized that we are better together than we could ever be apart. Sun Valley functions best as a team. There are no silos at Sun Valley – no one is expected to work alone. No one person has the best ideas all the time. Instead, we learn to leverage each other’s strengths.

#5  Attitude – We live on the solution side of every issue.

We expect the ministry of Sun Valley to grow. Growth necessitates change and change always comes with a new set of challenges and problems. It’s easy to see the problems. Anyone can do that. The challenge is forming the solution. We expect Sun Valley staff to be proactive when it comes to problem solving. No matter how difficult the task, we expect staff to have a positive outlook, a cooperative spirit and a willingness to “get dirty” in order to move forward.

#6  Sober-minded – We know who we are and who we’re not and we do what is best for the whole.

Nothing is more damaging to ministry progress than a leader who is not self-aware. Therefore Sun Valley staff choose to lead in areas of strength and defer decisions to others when it comes to their weaknesses. Our staff run every decision through the filter of “What is best for Sun Valley?” not “What do I want to do?”

#7  Outsiders – We exist for those who are not here yet.

We expect staff to unapologetically support the design of our weekend services to be guest-friendly. We expect our leaders to plan for guests to be effectively welcomed in their ministry environments. We expect ministry trainings to focus on making outsiders insiders and to help insiders make relational room for outsiders in their personal lives. We expect our leaders to model outreach to neighbors, friends, relatives and co-workers in their personal lives.

Photo Credit: angeloangelo via Compfight cc

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