FIRST-PERSON: Creating a culture

Baptist Press
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Posted: Nov 14, 2013 5:22 PM
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- To create a culture in your church, business or nonprofit organization, you must be clear about two things: your vision and mission.

Vision is a future picture of what you see or what you want to become. Mission tells you why your church, business or nonprofit organization exists and what it does.

An organization's culture, then, is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that flow from vision and mission.

As Southern Baptists, our missional vision, or mission statement, is clear: "As a convention of churches, our missional vision is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations."

When your mission and vision are clear, then you establish a set of core values. Core values are how we behave -- how we treat each other. These values are our guiding principles; they guide us in our decision-making processes and help align our decisions with the future we want our organization to experience.

For Southern Baptists, our core values are:

-- Christ-likeness

-- Truth

-- Unity

-- Relationships

-- Trust

-- Future

-- Local church

-- Kingdom

We as individual Christians can impact our church and organizational culture through our vision, mission and values. Jesus, for example, gathered a group of disenfranchised people -- His disciples -– and told them, "You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14).

Jesus gave us:

-- Grace

-- Unconditional love

-- Forgiveness

As Christians, since we have experienced these values, we can't help but share the wonder of His grace, His love and His forgiveness with others. As we share, diplay love to those around us, forgive our neighbor, act in grace to those who offend us, we gently salt and flavor the culture around us.

I was fortunate to work at Walmart under authentic servant leaders like Sam Walton, former CEO David Glass and former vice chairman Don Soderquist -- leaders who had a passion for their purpose and who consistently practiced their values. I was taught to lead from my heart as well as my head, to build long-term relationships with our associates, our vendors and our customers. Leadership is relationships -- and we had the self-discipline to get results as we integrated our business conversation with our values conversation.

You can have the courage to do the right thing and the courage to change the culture around you. It will take hard work and, most of all, teamwork. That is why we must step boldly into our leadership role in the church or the organization we lead with passion to unite others around us.

Authentic leaders know true north -- they have a moral compass and are prepared to stay the course despite challenges and disappointments. They are more concerned about serving others than they are about their own success or recognition.

No individual achievement can equal the pleasure of leading a group of people to achieve a worthy goal. When you cross the finish line together there is a deep satisfaction that it was your leadership that made the difference.

As pastors, ministers, lay leaders and business leaders, our goal is worthy -– to reach America and the world for Jesus Christ.

Andy Wilson is executive leader of ministry and operations at Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., and a member of the SBC Executive Committee. Wilson is the former head of Walmart's human resources division. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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