Got Culture?

On Sunday afternoon, our entire student ministries team, along with spouses, is heading out to Palm Springs for our annual Staff Retreat. Amazingly, the church picks up the entire tab for this 3 night retreat because they recognize that each year just as we come out of a crazy school year, we head into what feels like an even crazier Summer! They support our need to get away to relax and re-charge.

Heading into our retreat, I've spent some time trying to identify and quantify our day-to-day culture. Who are we as a team? What are we marked by? What do we value? How do you know if you 'fit? etc. Without question, we have a culture that is unique, but trying to create a tangible representation of that culture (both the 'real' and the 'ideal') proved to be quite a challenge. I think I landed on something I'm ready to share at the retreat and I'll post about it when we return.

In the meantime, I'm going to toss this out to you: Can you define the culture of your student ministry or church team? Anybody want to share?


Michael Norman said...

Messy... Not messy in a bad way but intentionally messy. I know that sounds like a cop-out but we do everything intentionally but allow space for things to change and adapt as we need too. Some obvious weaknesses to this but some fantastic advantages also. It works for us because life is messy... and so is God.

Michael Norman said...

So when do we get to hear about your insight into your culture? I believe your own REAL culture (not percieved by parents, elders, politicians, community) can be one of the hardest nuts to crack, but one of the most fruitful.

Kurt Johnston said...

Michael, what I tried to do was quantify our working/office culture, not necessarily the culture of our actual student ministry programs. While, obviously, our working/office culture will influence the rest of the ministry, I think they are seperate.

Here is what we now call the "Elements That Make Up Our Culture". Some of these are real in that they are an accurate assesment of current culture, and some are ideal in that we need to work to implement them together:

- Christ Likeness
- Leadership
- Teamwork
- Community
- Effort
- Speech
- Fun
- Humility

There's some definition and application for each of these that we are trying to protect/aim for as a team.

Michael Norman said...

Thats well put. There are definately real and perceived cultures/values and I think sometimes the hardest part is determining the difference.
Do you find that your student ministry culture reflects your current community youth culture? (with some obvious differences)
And how does this working culture fit within the rest of the church? (ie. are other departments the same, conflicting etc.)