Josh McDowell is well known for his 1972 best-selling book on Christian apologetics, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Today 50 years later, Josh McDowell Ministry (JMM), is serving and equipping the Body of Christ around the world, raising generations of purpose-driven Christians who know what they believe, why it is true, and how to live it out.
How the organization utilizes a 35-member staff to impact an estimated 10.2 million individuals for the gospel of Christ, annually, is a story of courage, faithfulness, and hard work.
Before making their tremendous culture breakthrough, the organization had to face a pain point. Looking back CEO Duane Zook admits, “The BCWI Staff Engagement Survey made it clear to us, that as a ministry of communication and messages we had to face the fact that we had room to improve in our own internal communication. If we had not done anything, we’d still be struggling in the area of healthy communication. No action would have led to us being hampered in our effectiveness as a ministry and probably we would have digressed.
“The survey helped us become honest with ourselves and ask, ‘How can we talk about culture, get our staff more engaged and improve?’
The Action Steps
Josh McDowell Ministry’s (JMM) culture rebuild was—like transformations—strategic, practical, and smart. Duane revealed that three turn-around moves led the way:
One bite at a time…
“After our first survey, we knew we wouldn’t be able to focus on everything that needed doing. What we didn’t do was try to devour the apple all at once. Instead we picked a few ideas to work on to improve our culture one bite at a time.
Two ways to improve … starting with cell phone distractions in meetings!
“We began noticing some unhealthy behaviors had become unneeded distractions in our meetings. People were looking at their screens and responding to their phones. We didn’t want devices hijacking our conversations, so we decided to turn them off to honor, cultivate and preserve healthy communication with each other. By respecting one another, we got more done in less time.
Three clear benefits
- “Completing back-to-back annual surveys gave us a reference point we never would have had before for our culture’s measurable, improving health.
- By the third annual cycle, we developed a rhythm to name and meet our organizational, department and team-member goals.
- Today we intentionally review and analyze the BCWI survey results in light of our organizational purpose and the distinctive mission and vision God has given Josh McDowell Ministry.
Creating a healthy, flourishing culture isn’t easy, but if you work at it intentionally, it’s well worth it.”
Today the evidence of JMM’s improving, healthy culture is obvious:
- Staff are more engaged.
- Trust, faithfulness and integrity shine.
- New clarity around delegation has equipped, empowered and encouraged people to make decisions.
In just two years, the organization culture has soared, from a level of healthy to flourishing. That places Josh McDowell Ministry in the top 25 percent of over 1,000 organizations that completed the BCWI survey.
Says Duane, “We’re still on the front end of learning how to grow the health of our culture. Our commitment to continue to survey with BCWI has taught us to stay on track with our demonstrated organizational strengths, keep working on the areas where we need to improve, and serve one another as we work on building a healthy culture. Building the continued health of our culture helps build Josh McDowell Ministry, which will continue making known the Gospel until the whole world hears.”
It’s Your Turn!
In your mind, what’s one piece of evidence that suggests you need to assess the true health of your current staff culture?
“This Dust Can Take Down Your Culture”
Brad Carr, President, SonicAire
The Employee Engagement Survey
Click here to learn more!