First, I want to clarify that I am a big fan of Perry Noble and NewSpring Church. I encourage any church to visit them as a benchmarking experience. Yet, when a highly platformed leader models a "missed practice," friend or not, I am compelled to create a learning experience for the benefit of your vision and your team. I am highlighting Perry because so many churches utilize his church values list for inspiration and I know he won't mind me teasing him a bit.
Recently, Perry blogged about his "staff core values" a common practice among visionary, creative type of pastors. Years ago, I worked through this with Chuck Swindoll who had list of "church core values" and "ministry values" at Stonebriar. At Faithbridge, where I serve as a leadership coach, we also had a separate list of values for the church and for the staff in the early days. The impulse to do this is essence of leadership; guiding, shaping and directing the team! But one simple and powerful principle is often overlooked in the process of creating a tool for your staff.
Let's unpack it so you can put it to work!
YOU DON'T NEED "LIST NUMBER TWO"
When it comes to creating "staff core values" or "guiding team principles" or whatever else you want to call them, don't take the misstep of creating "list number two." Don't fragment your communication. Don't create more complexity. Don't forget that your organization is a unified whole by creating a totally separate list of ideas.
The good news is that you didn't really need "list number two" for your staff. You need better understanding of "list number one." By creating "list number two," you inadvertently do more work for less traction with your staff.
Minor thing, you say? Not really. Let me remind you that your followers don't need more ideas; they need deeper ownership of the best ideas that you bring to the table - the biggest ideas that God has given you to lead with.
Put another way, your church does not need "staff core values," your church needs "church core values" that the staff can live, model and operationalize.
The key principle today: It's hard enough to shape culture, so don't dilute your efforts by segmenting cultures in your organization. There are lots of good things you need to segment, but your culture is not one of them.
REVISITING NEWSPRING - WHAT PERRY'S STAFF VALUES COULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE
Here are the five core values of NewSpring Church.
- Found People Find People
- Saved People Serve People
- Growing People Change
- You Can’t Do Life Alone
- You Can’t Outgive God
When Perry articulates his "staff core values" the list includes
- 3 Imperatives (Listen to Jesus, Commit to CHANGE, and the Best is Yet to Come)
- One imperative has 5 sub-points
- One imperative has 9 sub-questions
It doesn't take much to see how these values are related. So let's see how one simple and powerful practice keeps Perry focused on leading one culture, not two:
Use staff "demonstrated by" statements for your church core values to explain, clarify and model how the staff uses them.
For example, the value of "growing people change" can have "staff demonstrated by" statements that build out the 5 sub-points. For example:
- At NewSpring, staff demonstrate the value of "Growing People Change " by maintaining a genuine posture of CARE for each person, even when the tasks feel overwhelming.
- At NewsSpring, staff demonstrate the value of "Growing People Change" by practicing AWE; never forgetting where we came from and how far God has brought us.
Imagine, for example, how powerful Perry's 9 sub-questions as decision-making filters would have been if he placed those under the value of "You can't do life alone." If you look at those questions they are all about being in communion with Jesus, the Spirit and the community of other leaders at the church. Now this core value would have some depth and dimension to it rather than just being a hammer to pound people into small groups.
BREAK-THRU CLARITY FOR YOUR TEAM
Why not take an hour as a team and work on some "demonstrated by" statements as a staff? (I actually did this a week ago and will share it in another post.)
- Review your values as an organization
- Give everyone a chance to individually record how they demonstrate these day to day in their role
- Have everyone write down their 3-5 statements
- Share these as a team when everyone is done writing
- Highlight the ones that resonate with the entire group
- Create new "demonstrated by" statements together through 30 minutes of discussion
- Assign a final wordsmith and redistribute to the team
- Build the review of these into monthly or quarterly meetings
- Use these for staff self-evaluation and review
- Read this post as fuel for the conversation