Every organization has a unique culture that defines it. If we have been in an organization for awhile, we don't even think about its culture - we have become part of it. However, it is worth thinking about because the culture will have an impact - positive or negative - on our ministry. Culture is never neutral. Leaders, especially, must be acutely aware of the culture of their organization.
Organizational culture is the unspoken ethos of a group of people including its beliefs, social behaviors, practices, attitudes, values, and traditions - all of which contribute to a collective way of thinking and practice.
Culture matters. The best ministry people will not stay long term in cultures that are unhealthy because they value as an asset the time they have to make a difference for the Kingdom, and they will not invest their lives where the culture does not support the desired returns.
Organizational culture has a direct impact not only on people, but also the ability of the organization to flex and meet rapidly changing ministry opportunities and environments. Mission agencies that have a traditional, change-averse culture and are still planting churches one-by-one using Western missionaries as their primary church planting method are missing the mark. They could be seeing multiples of church planting results if they concentrated on developing, empowering and releasing healthy national workers. Their culture is preventing them from being effective in their work.
Church cultures that are controlling and do not empower and release good leaders and team members are compromising themselves missionally. Culture matters.
Take 15 minutes and jot down one-word descriptors of the organization you are a part of - taking into account its beliefs, social behaviors, practices, attitudes, values and traditions. Then write a one-sentence description of its culture. Is it the culture you desire to have?