Direction Setting or Culture Setting?

If you had asked me what leadership was about a while back I think would have leant much more heavily towards direction setting rather than culture setting. Not that either is unimportant, but I have always tended to see the role of the leader/s as being that of choosing the direction and then planning how to implement the various strategies to move towards that direction.

And while I still do that stuff to some degree I’d have to say that I’m coming to see culture setting as way more important in the scheme of things. If we get the direction right and the culture wrong then chances are we aren’t going to head anywhere anyway because the people haven’t gelled. But get the culture right and create an environment people want to be part of and my hunch is that the rest will flow out of it much more easily.

By ‘culture setting’ I mean framing up the kind of people we will be and then living that out. Some would say this is just a natural by-product of any leader in a role, but I think we can let the culture of a community shape us, or we can endeavour to shape it.

So these days my question is less ‘where are we going?’ and more ‘who are we becoming?’

As part time paid church leaders its sometimes difficult to see in tangible terms just what Danelle and I do – at least that’s how I feel – but I know that a big slice of it is just this – setting a culture. Its been a couple of years now and I feel like we can see some of that culture taking shape and our identity becoming a little clearer and stronger as a church community.

Choosing a culture means we won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but then we aren’t trying to be and in that there is a great freedom to let ‘church shoppers’ know that if its glitz, pizzaz and shiny happy people with nice teeth and no problems they are after then we probably aren’t ever going to make you happy.

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