“Culture” is one of those buzzwords in the modern church. It can often be seen hanging around its besties: “love on somebody,” “season,” and my personal favorite, “doing life together.” We throw it around like a hot potato, and it can sometimes seem like the meaning is all but lost as it drops further and further into the abyss that is evangelical jargon. Nevertheless, positive culture is critical in fostering a healthy team dynamic.
In all reality, positive culture is a necessary element of building a healthy, invested team in any setting. I like to define culture as the shared language and attitude of your team. In its most potent form, culture is the flavor behind your conversations as a team, and it determines the attitudes regarding the everyday situations that arise as you work together. A culture of negativity generally makes attempts at encouraging conversations less effective, and difficult conversations more challenging.
A key to building good culture is identifying weaknesses in your team’s morale, and replacing the discouraging with the constructive. Culture is built by what we allow, both in speech and in action. Jesus was great at calling out attitudes that contradicted His way of living. In Luke 9:37, he calls His disciples an “unbelieving generation” for their lack of faith in casting out demons. He then proceeds to cast out the demons and confidently carry on… well, doing Jesus stuff! It was as if to say, “in our cadre, we believe and we trust in the Father.” Later, these same disciples who were rebuked went on to perform and believe incredible miracles through the Holy Spirit.
For us today, this often looks like calling out mentalities that contradict our desired culture. Often, people come off stage after a worship set and the very first thing they do is self-deprecate. “I totally botched that transition.” “I played some real stinkers on that one.” I’ve found that this is a form of subconscious apology, and a lack of focus as to what the goal actually is for a time of worship. So, instead of allowing this kind of speech with a “that’s okay,” I have made a conscious decision to divert the focus to what the Lord did through that time of worship or what He spoke to me. The beauty of a distinctive culture is that over time, contrary attitudes tend to protrude like sour notes.
In a strong culture of encouragement, self-deprecating remarks (that musicians often seem to make) seem uncomfortable and unwelcome. This is not to say that we want to create protocol droids that do not speak their minds; rather, we want to create teams that echo the words and attitudes of Jesus in their conversations. In my team today, I can safely say that for the most part, people have started coming off the stage primarily with encouragement for each other and with excitement for what God did. In those little moments, you have huge opportunities to lead your team.
In what areas do you feel your team could use some more constructive or uplifting culture? How can you steer conversations and attitudes to further point to Jesus?
Vagner Lage is our Plantation campus Worship Leader. He graduated from Southeastern University and is an avid fútbol fan, a great musician, husband, and friend. Follow him on Twitter.