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Understand, Assess, and Improve the Culture in Your Church with Chris Wignall

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Welcome to back to the unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to have Chris Wignall joining us today. He is the Executive Director of the Catalyst Foundation.

The job of the Catalyst Foundation is to come alongside leaders of charities and churches to help them understand, assess and improve the culture in their organizations in super practical ways. Chris has been working with Catalyst Foundation for 11 and a half years now.

Today Chris is with us to talk about a resource that will help you assess the health of your church’s culture.

  • Murky organizational culture. // Most mid-size and larger organizations tend to have a solid strategy and execution with their systems and policies, but something still may not be right. The team from Catalyst Foundation comes in to help organizations find a way to become really practical about what to do today, tomorrow, and on a regular basis to make culture tangible.
  • REACTIONS. // If culture isn’t working, we tend not to notice right away. To help solve the culture problems in a church, someone from the team at Catalyst Foundation will sit with leadership and talk about what’s happening at a church. A starting point to see how the culture at your church is would be to write the word R-E-A-C-T down the left side of a paper. Across the top, write I-O-N-S. This framework is the REACTIONS dashboard. The 5 words down the side are the reasons for a healthy culture: Reason, Energy, Alignment, Clarity, and Trust. Reason: do we all know and care about the reason for the organization? Energy: what’s the energy level? Do people have something to give and are they choosing to give it where we are? Alignment: are we all pulling together in the same direction? Clarity: do I know how information, resource and responsibility flows to me and from me? Trust: do we trust people in the organization – both their character and their competence? Score your church in each of these five areas under: I—Individual, O—Organization, N—Network (ex. Congregation, Denomination, etc.), S—Special/Specific.
  • Celebrate what’s working. // After learning what is and what is not working at your church and determining where growth is needed, the team at the Catalyst Foundation encourages the church to celebrate what parts are working for them. More often than not, we as leaders tend to focus on the problems and figuring out how to solve them, but it’s also important to celebrate the good work in the church and what is working well.
  • Work together. // As a leader you do your assessment on the REACTION dashboard, but it’s also helpful if the board or staff team does it together. Then you can talk about what concerns everyone or what is working. Some of us are aware of areas where we need help, but there may also be areas which are blind spots where we need someone else to provide input and wisdom.
  • REACTION Dashboard. //Chris wrote a book, The REACTION Dashboard: The simple tool leaders use to understand, assess, and improve organizational culture. The first half of the book is fictionalized stories of a group of leaders who come together and share their challenges with the organizational culture. They build the REACTION dashboard together and gain insights from each other. The second half is a workbook style with ideas to help you in your own culture assessment.

You can find out more about Chris’s book at www.reactiondashboard.com and www.catalystfoundation.ca. Connect with Chris on Twitter @ChrisWignall and Instagram @ChrisWignall.

Lightning Round

Something You Wish They Taught // Facilitation – meetings are a really big part of what we do, but too many leaders don’t know how to lead a conversation where you’re not dominating it yourself.

Influential Book // Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World by Kent Annan

Downloadable Resource // REACTION Worksheet

Contact // website catalystfoundation.ca or on Twitter and Instagram

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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.