Building a Team Culture at Your Church that You’ll Love with Brian Cook

Thanks for joining in for this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Brian Cook, the lead pastor of ACF Church  (Alliance Christian Fellowship) in Eagle River, Alaska.

Right now 4.5 million people in the US are quitting their job every month and 50% are looking for a new job. Staff culture is a big deal and it’s important to enjoy yourself at work. Listen in as Brian talks with us about shifting your team culture so that your staff and volunteers will love what they do.

  • Do you enjoy the current culture at your church? // A short time after coming to work for ACF Church Brian realized that he didn’t really enjoy the culture there, but also that he was responsible for setting it. If you find yourself in a similar place, ask yourself what you and your team have done to create your current culture. Ask your staff what it’s like to serve at the church. Encourage your team to be honest and share their thoughts and experiences.
  • Set up the structure to grow. // Part of the problem at ACF Church was that they didn’t have the structure for their growth. When the church grows the team should grow, but also a structure for moving from a smaller size to a larger one is necessary. At ACF people felt like they were cogs in a wheel that could be replaced rather than part of a team that was being discipled and building relationships. Instead of trying to use people to build the ministry, ACF wanted to shift to using the ministry to build people. They set up a discipleship structure with a director/coach/team captain and flow charts so each person knew who they were caring for and who was caring for them.
  • Check in with others. // ACF Church determined that the right number of people for someone to lead is six individuals. This small number gives leaders the time to check in consistently with their people. A higher number made it difficult to keep up with the check ins, and less than six wasn’t meeting the needs of the teams and church.
  • Know what to look for. // There are things the leadership looks for in their team members to identify those who could move into a leading or coaching role. This includes looking for those who are setting the culture in their area by investing in their colleagues and praying for them without being asked. They might arrive early or stay late for meetings or events, and have trust and rapport with others.
  • Create changes needed in leadership. // As the church grew, Brian found himself overwhelmed with doing all the leading at the top by himself. He realized he was trying to excel at things he wasn’t built for, so he divided his work into three jobs and brought in two people to work on the leadership team with him. In addition to the lead pastor role, this now includes the executive pastor and director of operations. Each of the three jobs has their own focus. As lead pastor, Brian’s focus is on the vision. The director of operations focuses on how to “make it work”. The executive pastor role is to “keep it moving”.
  • COVER is needed to love your role. // Brian is giving us a digital copy of Leading At ACF Church: Being a Coach. He wrote this to help him define someone who loves what they do at the church. He created the acronym COVER, which stands for Care, Oversight, Vision, Encouragement, and Resources. These are the things people need in order to love their jobs. The staff has weekly COVER meetings with every team member which last 20-30 minutes. During this time they focus on those letters and whatever the immediate need is. Oversight, for example, helps people understand what is expected of them and what success looks like. Encouragement reminds people of the big why behind everything ACF Church does by telling stories of how God is at work.

You can learn more about ACF Church at www.acfak.org or you can find Brian at AKBrian on social media. Click here to download a copy of Leading at ACF Church: Being a Coach.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Medi-Share

Medi-Share is an innovative health care solution for Christians looking to save money without sacrificing on quality. As the nation’s largest health care sharing community, Medi-Share members take comfort in knowing their eligible medical expenses will be shared by their community. Click here to download the FREE REPORT: The 10 Things About Mental Health Every Pastor (& Leader) MUST Know!

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.