Some books get a quick thumb through and are never picked up again. Others get a thorough reading but end up only being the source of a quote or an illustration. And a few books join the elite ranks of regular reference and recommendation. Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code: Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration, the latest from Dr. Samuel R. Chand, is that last variety! There’s no doubt I’ll be pulling it off the shelf again and again. In fact, it may not even get shelved!
I had the opportunity to read chapter one a few months back and for some unknown reason it didn’t grab me at that point. I don’t know if it was my mood or the fact that it was a pdf, but honestly, I was a little disappointed. I’d heard so much about Sam Chand from so many of my friends, but on looking over the sample, I wondered what they saw. Can I tell you something? I am so glad I kept reading! Turning to chapter two I discovered a fantastic resource that I’ll come back to on a regular basis!
In Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code, Chand makes the case that “culture–not vision or strategy–is the most powerful factor in any organization.” Further, he explains that:
- It determines the receptivity of the staff and volunteers to new ideas,
- Unleashes or dampens creativity,
- Builds or erodes enthusiasm, and
- Creates a sense of pride or deep discouragement about working or being involved in the organization.
There are a number of elements that I found immediately helpful. First, every chapter concludes with a set of diagnostic questions, making it immediately useful for the pastor or leader evaluating their own organization. You don’t have to be in a toxic culture for these questions to be applicable, either. And, you can see right away that since departments have their own culture, these questions will have application there as well.
Second, the chapters dealing with 9 Culture Killers and 7 Keys to Culture both come with built-in diagnostic tools. I know I’ll be frequently referring to the lists here as I talk with consulting clients.
Third, Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code provides the overview you need to take advantage of the free online survey, leveraging the findings in your quest to build a healthy culture.
Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code is one of those books that you’ll use over and over again. Much like Church Unique (Will Mancini), Good to Great (Jim Collins), The Future of Management (Gary Hamel), or the Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive (Patrick Lencioni), this one is packed with great diagnostic questions and tools that will inspire many conversations and staff meetings.