Culture and Change: Moving Vision Forward

I’ve been reflecting on how as a Church we keep before us the challenge of our Strategic Vision in relation to starting a satellite congregation in Pontprennau, building a centre for vocational training and sending Mission Partners, like Huw and Alison Williams, to Italy.

Peter Baker | 10:51, Saturday, 10 April 2011

It remains a significant and stretching Vision which will require sacrificial prayer, finance and faith. 

I was sent a link this week to an article in the Harvard Business Review, on the way in which organizations need to concentrate on 'soft skills' in the casting of vision and the management of change; soft skills being trust, understood language, common experience, corporate values. This invisible glue means that an organization can respond confidently to change because they believe in each other and what they are seeking to achieve. 

Culture is often summed up in the phrase, "the way we do things around here."  There’s an identifiable set of norms and values which shapes debate, how we handle disagreements and what matters most. 

The task we face is huge because we are not just a relatively large Church with a high degree of transient attendees and rapid turn over; we are a diverse Church where Christians from very different backgrounds are mixing in together. 

We have managed, by and large, to avoid the worship wars that have so undermined other churches. And I want to keep it that way! It was great to have a more orchestral feel to the music last Sunday morning, and then enjoy a more contemporary informal style in the evening. 

We have also learned to respect and value each others differences in relation to water baptism, spiritual gifts, the role of women in leadership, and the like. We need to be vigilant in these and other areas, and handle the issues and each other with care, for we are each fragile. Our perspectives are coloured by lots of things, even as we hold with a clear conscience convictions shaped by Scripture. 

I sat with the crowd who had gathered together at Dalton Street on Monday, as we discussed the exciting possibility of a congregation of Highfields in Pontprennau. Here were people meeting and hearing from each other, for the first time in many cases. Building trust and understanding is going to be gradual. But at the end of the evening I came away thinking, "I like this church, I like the way we do things around here!"  A culture where we are free to ask the tough questions and where we are sufficiently self aware that we know we have to look into our hearts and examine our motives in Christ.

Main thing

I keep saying it, but the main thing is to keep the main thing, because that’s the main thing!! The main thing is the gospel of Christ and getting that gospel out. We do that by concentrating on what matters most, holding lightly our personal preferences, and always seeking the glory of God above our own comfort levels. 

How we do things is as important as what we do. In that sense, culture always trumps strategy. 

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