The Lift Project: Shaping Culture: Building Plans for Change

So if you want to shape your work/church culture to the one God desires, what do you do? Where are the points to lay a foundation and build? What are the potential stress points for conflict or for growth.

Week 5 of Shaping Culture class in the LIFT Project focused on laying out building plans for shaping culture. The fun began with 2 videos from Bob Bauer and his story of culture change. 3 lessons I took away from what Bob shared:

1. To change culture, start with a core group and grow from there. That core group might be you and one other, just keep multiplying the group and build the DNA of the culture God desires.

2. Honor and bless what has been. God did not show up the day you showed up. God has been at work the whole time. Some times God calls you to hang in there, simply to build you character, to build the change He wants first in you. Cultural change can bring tension, and the proper response is one of love.

3. Pray! Pray! Pray! and get more people to pray with you for what God desires. Seek His face. Seek His will. Seek His Spirit to build culture.

That was re-enforced with a video by Jarret and Jeanne Stevens. As they pointed out our temptation is to come in talking to God in prayer, and God invites us to listen. An additional truth they added was the power of submission. Our goal is not to accomplish “my agenda” but to let God form us for His agenda, and that involves submission. Shaping culture is not about getting more power, being more under God’s power and those He puts in authority over us.

This week’s class also featured a blog post of Michael Hyatt (one of my personal favorites to read) called: Shift the Drift. His words of wisdom (and his words are often wise): “As leaders we can’t afford to drift with the current. We have to intentionally direct it, so that we can accomplish the bigger vision to which we are called.” 

You can go with the flow or you can ride the flow. Shifting the drift moves from happenstance to following God’s guidance and direction. That’s a team effort, but it begins with a leader whose eyes are on God, heart is open to God, and not only hear’s God’s call, but moves consistently and passionately in that direction.

The added bonus this week was the 1st part of a planning process for shaping culture. Lift Project courses are not about becoming great theoreticians, but practical application.

The first part of the process highlighted 4 areas to address:

1. Refine your vision. Having worked through what your culture is and what you believe God is calling it to be. What vision will move you in that direction. (Week 1 of the class)

2. Determine the gaps. Where are you now, where does God want you to be. The difference between those answers are the gaps that need to be addressed. (Week 2 of the class)

3. Identify 5 critical core values. What defines your culture. What values drive you? This is a week 2 team activity. That makes it a challenge when you are the only one on the team taking the class. It’s part of what the administrative team I am a part of will look at this fall. But for an example, building our church on the Word of God is a congregational core value, so much so that when we looked at planning for the years, using 40 Days in the Word as our fall emphasis was an easy decision. We highly value God’s Word, and getting people engaged in that Word on a daily basis, even better becoming people who can feed themselves as the Spirit guides them was an easy decision for the culture we believe God is shaping in our midst.

4. Strategize with your team. Again, a fall activity. Notice that shaping culture is not forcing my cultural preference on others, but building change that God brings. Leadership at its best is a team sport. That’s why part of the strategy at this point is identifying strengths and weaknesses, and building appropriately.

As you look at a process of change in your experience, what has worked best to maximize growth in following God’s will?


1 Comment

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One response to “The Lift Project: Shaping Culture: Building Plans for Change

  1. Richard, Thank you for these clear and powerful insights!
    What a needful reminder that “God was here before I was!” Feels obvious, but I certainly don’t always act that way. I receive the challenge to join his work today…rather than create my own path.
    Thank you!

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