Creating a Culture of Execution that Values both Results and Relationships

© 2015 John Purcell

Why do so many churches have a real challenge when it comes to taking a vision or mission and turning it into “boots on the ground” that get results? I can’t count the churches that I have talked to that have a culture of “doing church” and maintaining what they have but no sense of how to move the church forward to a God-honoring future. When they hear that the answer is to create a Vision and Mission, they work hard to create great-sounding statements, only to see nothing change in the church or it’s community around it.

If you are frustrated that very little seems to happen to move your church toward that Vision Statement or Mission Statement that you have created, then I have GOOD NEWS for you: you CAN create a CULTURE of EXECUTION at your church! But if you are afraid that doing so requires that you become too “corporate,” then I have more good news: you can actually value relationships even more if you strive for results in the right way. Suspicious? Curious? Then read on.

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I find that churches are like pendulums, either valuing relationships over results and not doing well with execution OR valuing results over relationships, causing the church to feel cold and corporate. The most common driver determining which side the church swings to is the natural personality of the Sr. Pastor.

What are the barriers to execution at churches? Here’s a list that you can check against your church’s situation:

  1. A lack of focus – coming from a lack of vision, lack of planning, lack of agreement (leadership teams that aren’t cohesive), or unwillingness to say “no” (resulting in doing too many “good’ things)
  2. A lack of organizational clarity – Who does what? Who makes which decisions?
  3. A lack of accountability – both organizationally and personally
  4. A lack of confidence – in other words, fear

The healthiest 4 step process for overcoming these barriers is to create a meaningful Ministry Plan, always have an actionable Strategic Plan, develop an Accountable Organization, and equip Leaders to focus on their best roles in a culture of Biblical community. The key elements of each step are listed in the following graphic.


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The discipline of learning to work with goals is a key element in your cultural transformation. However, all of this without the discipline of focusing on relationships and loving one another, even AS you are doing all of these other things, will result in one of two bad outcomes: you will not be successful at cultural change at all because it is so counter to your natural organizational and personal habits OR you will be successful only to find that you have actually swung your pendulum to the other side. This latter result would most often happen when you bring in a new leader who is wired to drive for results.

The solution is to understand and endorse the belief that getting better results will actually value and improve relationships when you focus on both.

Which step(s) do you most need to take in order to create a culture of execution at your church?

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