By Felipe Assis | President of City to City Miami
“Culture eats up strategy for breakfast” is a quote attributed to Peter Drucker. Whether Drucker or someone else said this, the point is that culture precedes strategy. Leaders that put strategy before culture are putting the cart before the horse.
As a “church replanter,” I have heard many more stories of failure than of success from leaders that have attempted to revitalize or replant a church. There’s a common mistake in those that end up failing. They craft and implement strategies designed to turn the ship around, but the strategies do not include and are not founded upon the establishment of a new healthy culture.
Great leaders begin with a healthy culture. A healthy culture can be compared to fertile soil which allows a seed to germinate, grow roots, rise above the surface, and eventually become a healthy plant that produces fruit. Paul used this imagery to describe his and his companions’ apostolic ministry in Corinth. He writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (1 Cor 3:6)
As Paul reminds us, gospel-centered leaders are gospel gardeners. They begin the work amongst a people by cultivating a culture that allows people (like seeds), when inserted into this culture, to crack and die so that new life can spring forth, grow, and produce fruit.
These leaders know that any attempt to bring health without a gospel culture in place will be a failed attempt. Even if it takes time, they know that real health is only bred out of a culture that is informed by the gospel.
If you are a leader and your assessment of your organization happens to be unhealthy, hear my suggestion. Put your strategic planning on hold, and begin to envision what a gospel-centered culture could look like in your context.
In my next post I will discuss what sets a gospel-centered leadership culture apart from all other leadership cultures.