The culture of a ministry is the foundational beliefs and values on which its relationships and decision-making are built. Godly leaders establish cultural consistency throughout the organization, even at board meetings.
The three cultural foundation stones at our ministry are:
1) Honoring God
2) Cultivating healthy relationships with each other
3) Seeking God’s wisdom for decision-making
Anytime two or three staff members are in a meeting, we’re intentional about engaging with God as our Father, connecting with each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus, and discerning the Spirit’s plans for the ministry. It keeps us aligned with God. It’s invigorating for us. And it’s powerful for the ministry.
If you’ve read my blogs, you know that we’re proactive about engaging in our culture at board meetings as well. (5 Keys to Productive & Enjoyable Board Meetings, How to Take the Bored out of Board Meetings, Freshly Baked Bread at Board Meetings.)
These “Family Times” have primarily been staff-led—probably because it’s the world we live and function in, and it’s easy for us to carry it into board meetings. But recently, God impressed on us the importance of board members taking a turn. That way each person’s gifting and relationship with the Lord can influence these meaningful times together.
4 Steps for Inviting Board Leadership in Ministry Culture
- Discuss it with the board chairperson. Anytime you sense a new thrust for board meetings, you’ll want to talk about it privately with your board chairperson to seek his or her perspective.
- Share it with the full board. When you and your board chairperson come to an agreement, decide who will communicate it to the rest of the board members at the next meeting. Explain the value of having each person take a turn leading your board in an intentional time of engaging in your organization’s culture.
- Give direction for culture infusion. While your board members have likely experienced your culture at board meetings, it’s different to be in the driver’s seat. Talk through a few guidelines regarding purpose, types of activities, and time frame.
- Create a schedule. Map out a sequence of who will provide leadership for the culture activity over the next year. Include yourself and staff members who participate in board meetings. A week before the meeting, send a simple reminder to the person who’s leading.
For organizational culture to have integrity, it must be actively engaged in throughout your organization. Mentally comb through the various groupings of people in your organization—from volunteers, to staff, to board members—and assess the healthiness of the culture at each level. If you detect gaps or weak areas, work toward strengthening them. Great leaders ensure that their organizational culture is systemic and thriving.