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Cracking Your Church's Culture Code: Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration Hardcover – October 26, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization. It determines the receptivity of 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 there. Ultimately, the culture of a church shapes individual morale, teamwork, effectiveness, and outcomes." —From Chapter One

Often church leaders confuse culture with vision and strategy, but they are very different. Vision and strategy usually focus on products, services, and outcomes, but culture is about the people—a church's most valuable asset. Cracking Your Church's Culture Code offers a practical resource for discovering the deficits in an existing church's culture and includes the steps needed to assess, correct, and change culture from lackluster to vibrant and inspirational so that it that truly meets the needs of the congregation.

Prominent church and leadership consul-tant Sam Chand describes the five easily identifiable categories of church culture (Inspiring-Accepting-Stagnant-Discouraging-Toxic) and includes diagnostic methods that church leaders can use to identify the particular strengths and needs of their church's culture. To help in this process there is also a separate online assessment tool (www.freeculturesurvey.com).

Once a church's culture is clearly identified, leaders can put in place a strategy for applying the seven keys of CULTURE (Control, Understanding, Leadership, Trust, Unafraid, Responsive, and Execution) that will make their church's culture one that stimulates people to be and do their very best and ultimately reach their highest goals.

From the Back Cover

Praise For cracking Your Church's Culture code

"Cracking Your Church's Culture Code provides a methodical introduction to understanding the idiosyncratic dynamics of your church and their impact on the overall vision of your ministry. This book is comprehensible and constructive as it reveals the seven important keys to creating a cohesive tone within your organization."
—Bishop T. D. Jakes, The Potter's House of Dallas

"Dr. Chand said, 'Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization.' I couldn't agree more. Dr. Chand's latest book, Cracking Your Church's Culture Code, is a must-read for every church leader. If you want your ministry to move forward, buy this book for everyone on your leadership team!"
—Craig Groeschel, senior pastor, LifeChurch.tv, and author, The Christian Atheist

"Sam Chand keeps firing golden bullets of practical assistance to church leaders. He's a blessing—and here's another offering of workable wisdom that is sure to bless many."
—Jack W. Hayford, chancellor, The King's University

"The number one reason a vision is aborted is because the visionary and the vision carrier aren't aware that a toxic culture exists—and that it can bring death and destruction to a church. This is a must-read for the life of your congregation and will create a healthy environment that breathes success and significance. I commend Dr. Samuel Chand for his wealth of experience. He has identified the keys that will reveal where you are and how to fix it."
—Bishop Eddie L. Long, senior pastor, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470627816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470627815
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Gibbs on November 11, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Culture - not vision or strategy - is the most powerful factor in any organization, according to Samuel Chand in this book. Culture determines how receptive people are to new ideas, it encourages or suppresses creativity, it builds up or deflates enthusiasm, it creates a sense of pride or discouragement, and it shapes individual morale, teamwork, effectiveness and outcomes.

The book describes a range of different cultures. Inspiring cultures are ones with clear direction and an atmosphere of trust and respect. Accepting cultures have a positive atmosphere but some unresolved issues. Stagnant cultures have less trust, respect and loyalty, and more complaining and turf wars. Discouraging cultures have power struggles and attract malcontents. Toxic cultures use fear as their dominant motivational factor.

The author goes on to define seven keys of culture (Control, Understanding, Leadership, Trust, Unafraid, Responsive and Execution), then discusses how vocabulary defines culture, change starts with the change-initiator, chaos is a necessary part of the change process, and it is often necessary to change the vehicle (organizational structure) in order to reach the desired destination.

I was initially put off by the book's title, mistakenly assuming that the content was about prophecy, but when I started reading I was amazed by the way the author was describing in a coherent logical way something that most church leaders intuitively sense but do not have the vocabulary to express - church culture. This book is going to be a great help to many church leaders who are wondering how to deal with change, conflict and problem people. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
According to Sam Chand, "Culture--not vision or strategy--is the most powerful factor in any organization." Many churches formulate excellent vision statements and strategic goals for reaching their communities. But their success or failure depends on whether they have attended to "the personality of the church," that is, its "organizational culture." Chand arranges these churches on a spectrum from "inspiring" to "toxic."

What separates inspiring churches from toxic ones is how they deal with seven organizational issues, which Chand outlines using the acrostic CULTURE:

* Control: "People function most effectively if they are given control (or authority) with responsibility."
* Understanding: "Every person on a team needs to have a clear grasp of the vision, his or her role, the gifts and contributions of the team members, and the way the team functions."
* Leadership: "Healthy teams are pipelines of leadership development."
* Trust: "Mutual trust among team members is the glue that makes everything good possible."
* Unafraid: "Healthy teams foster the perspective that failure isn't a tragedy and conflict isn't the end of the world."
* Responsive: "Teams with healthy cultures are alert to open doors and ones that are closing."
* Execution: "Executing decisions is a function of clarity, roles and responsibilities, and the system of accountability."

I wish that Chand had devoted a chapter to the spiritual dynamics of church cultures alongside the excellent chapters on organizational dynamics. But that is my only caveat. I recommend this book to pastors whose vision for reaching their communities is bumping up against the toxic elements in their own and their churches' personalities. This book will help them identify the challenges their church culture poses and work toward solutions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The hidden culture in most congregations is the most powerful force for growth or decline. Often leaders in the church will seek to turn a congregation around. A church might be declining in attendance for over five years, and often the blame is placed on an elder, preacher, or "those people." Rarely is the estimation of the congregation this simple. The growth or the decline of a church is chiefly to be found in the undercurrents of culture. But how does one understand the culture of a congregation?
Samuel R. Chand, who is a church consultant, has written a needed book on the topic. Of course, he writes from a denominational perspective, therefore, some of his insights will not translate over to the church, but much of his writing does. His first insight is that culture trumps vision. Frequently, a church seeking to reestablish a trend of vibrancy will attempt to restore the vision for a congregation. A new vision statement will be created, believing that this will promote renewed energy, but this endeavor will fall flat because unless the culture embraces the vision this process will fall short.
In chapter two, the author looks at the five most common cultures in congregations. It notes that there are inspiring cultures, accepting cultures, stagnant cultures, discouraging cultures, and toxic cultures. It seems that most churches of Christ are in the stagnant to discouraging cultures category. In the next chapter, the author deals with the number one reason why congregations do not grow into stronger communities for Christ. He mentions the prevalence of excuses. Churches that become unhealthy never blame themselves, but rather displace the anxiety onto someone else or some cultural phenomenon.
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