A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Two

October 3, 2020

Part of the board’s (Council/Consistory) discernment work is to define the congregation’s present reality. Charles Olson in his book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders points out that the board’s culture is an important area to define reality in. Only when the council names this reality can it move toward becoming a community of spiritual, discerning leaders.

In the previous post, we looked at 5 different types of cultures that define the shape of boards:  the Advisory Culture, the Political Culture, the Broker Culture, the Bureaucratic Culture, and the Managerial Culture. In this post, we’ll look at three more cultures.

Corporate Culture:

This culture is often powerful in the church that draws its leadership from the corporate world. The corporate culture wants to bring in the measures and efficiencies of a business to make the church run more smoothly. The pastor becomes the CEO; he is to create a winning vision, a winning product, and a winning team. Failure to do so will end the pastor’s tenure.

Strategic Culture:

This culture is a planning culture. The board seeks to find the right strategic plan to bring the congregation where it needs to be. This board works with Management by Objective and focuses on business tools to move forward. The focus here is less on prayer and more on strategy.

Parliamentary Culture:

This culture is about keeping the rules of procedure. It knows Robert’s Rules of Order well and lives by them. The concern is less about what God is calling us to do and more about if we have done everything decently and in good order.

Many of these cultures that councils exhibit have important and helpful tools for the council to use. Sometimes councils combine several different cultures with one of them predominates.

When you reflect on your council, which of these cultures or a combination of cultures defines your reality as you do your work?