For Pinelake Church of Mississippi, the culture breakthrough no one saw coming began with a simple acronym— “WIN.” Read what happened next and see how Pinelake’s story just might apply to you.
Scott Wiggins is Director of Staff at Pinelake Church, a multi-site fellowship in Mississippi, where he trains and develops a church staff of 125 both spiritually and professionally. Says Scott, “A few years ago, Senior Pastor Chip Henderson and Senior Executive Pastor Tim Smith took on greater ministry opportunities, and they gave me the opportunity to step into the pastoring, development and hiring pieces of the staff. While there were no glaring weaknesses, it was a chance for our culture to get better.”
“Too often we measured staff health based on the last conversation we had with an individual.
“If someone left our team, and the perception existed that staff turnover was bad, suddenly this emotion began to permeate our staff. If we had a discussion about someone’s performance that perhaps wasn’t meeting our expectation, this singular issue permeated the team.
“We wanted to remove the emotional attachment of a specific issue; we had room to improve the health of our culture.”
“Working with the results of the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey, and their excellent coaching, we launched a series of specific steps:
“We created teams from across our multiple campuses, ministry assignments, gender and age. We gave each team–aptly named ‘WIN’ for What’s Important Now–a voice for how our organizational culture could improve.
“We wanted to accentuate the positives and also turn around any areas of negativity. This goal came to life when BCWI’s Cary Humphries wisely told us, ‘Don’t forget the areas in which you’re now excellent.’ Our WIN team for Compensation and Benefits recommended that we build this area by stating, in essence. ‘If God has given us favor, let’s not just reap the blessing, let’s multiply the blessing for the sake of fulfilling Pinelake’s vision, which is to see Mississippi change one Life Change Story at a time.
“The decision to improve our communication led to something more. Decision making in a multi-site church can be confusing as to who owns the decision. The resulting lack of clarity was manifested in our team when our people would sometimes feel poorly managed and confused as to what their next steps should be. Through our all-staff conversations we landed on a multi-site strategy/document that outlined where decisions rest, where freedom exists, and how autonomy can happen. We gave our people a play book, a resource and scorecard to do just that.
“We experienced something more we did not expect: Our focus on healthy communication naturally caused us to build on already-high levels of trust. We told our WIN teams, ‘Our entire staff is listening. We want to move forward based on your best ideas.’ What we learned in the process is that Healthy Communication and Inspirational Leadership, two of BCWI’s eight factors that drive flourishing culture, are clearly connected.
“’Are you in love with Jesus?’ This is the single most important question we ask every staff person. We work to build each person, both spiritually and professionally, from the inside out. I think of Adam Day, who pastors our middle school youth. Through his pastoral heart and the opportunity to do what he’s good at, he’s helped grow the middle school ministry from 100 students and 25 leaders to 300 students and 150 leaders.
We believe ministry is what you leave behind when you’re following Christ.”
“As we work to improve the health of our staff culture and see the impact in our ministry, I think of a principle crafted by John Maxwell called The Law of Connection”:
Effective leaders know that you first have to touch people’s hearts before you ask them for a hand.
“Adam exemplifies this truth. He captures people’s hearts first. They see the direction he’s walking and say, ‘Hey, I want to go in that direction, too—toward Jesus.’
“We believe ministry is what you leave behind when you’re following Christ, so that if God should lead Adam somewhere in the future, we’ll know his ministry was great not only because of what’s happening now, but also because of the sustaining vision of leadership he will have left behind.”
I call that a huge win for Pinelake Church and any organization that can build on its cultural strengths and discover what’s important now.
The Employee Engagement Survey
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