A Note from Chris Adams: Our guest writer is Simone Monroe. She is the director of Women’s Ministries at Lake Pointe Church in Dallas, Texas, and has led women’s ministry teams for many years. Today she shares three kinds of culture leaders create, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
By Simone Monroe
Culture is pervasive. It affects everything! Have you ever stopped to realize that the leadership culture you create will determine what happens within your ministry? There are three types of leadership cultures that I have observed: structured, flexible, and fluid. Are you aware of the culture in your women’s ministry? Do you know the advantages and drawbacks of each?
1. Structured Culture
This is the most common found in traditional churches. Positional in nature, each person on the team has specific duties and detailed instructions for carrying out those duties. The organizational structure of this culture is hierarchical with everyone knowing their place in the chain of command. Teammates don’t tend to help outside their own area of responsibility. Team members’ time of service is well defined.
- Advantages: The advantage of this type of leadership culture is the clarity created due to the clearly defined lines of responsibility and time of service. With this type of culture it’s easy to assess when responsibilities have been carried out or failure has occurred.
- Disadvantages: A disadvantage of this culture is pride. Position can easily become more important than service. As pride creeps in, an inflated sense of importance can develop in women due the position they hold. Another disadvantage of this culture is that it tends to negate creativity and ingenuity, making new initiatives more difficult to introduce and establish.
2. Flexible Culture
This culture lends itself to leaders feeling the freedom to step outside traditional roles or methods to do ministry in more creative ways. Time of service and definition of responsibilities are not always as specific as in the structured culture.
- Advantages: A flexible culture allows for discussion and consensus rather than a dictatorial style of leadership. This type of leadership culture is becoming more common in churches because it emphasizes service and teamwork.
- Disadvantages: The disadvantages of flexible leadership culture can arise from the chain of command not being well defined, questioning of decisions due to everyone having a voice, and a nebulous definition of the responsibilities of individual team members.
3. Fluid Culture
The third type of culture emphasizes function rather than form. Fluid culture focuses more on service than events. The development of team becomes more relational and times of service are flexible. Position is minimized. The team functions as one. Even though team members have specific areas of responsibility, they gladly pick up the slack for those who need help.
- Advantages: The biggest advantage is the organic element of this culture. It allows for paradigm shifts, the development of new leadership, and new initiatives to take place quickly, almost effortlessly, with no dissention and almost no divisiveness. Younger women are particularly drawn to this type of leadership culture.
- Disadvantages: Some of the disadvantages are that the chain of command can become blurred due to lack of detailed instructions for positions and the varied nature of service times and nontraditional positions on the team.
Evaluate your team culture and decide which of these three it most closely resembles. Then accentuate your strengths and overcome the disadvantages to make teamwork as effective as possible.
Simone Monroe is the director of Women’s Ministries at Lake Pointe Church in Dallas, Texas, a global strategist for ProvenWay Ministries and a LifeWay ministry multiplier. As a speaker, conference leader, and freelance writer, she is also a member of the Association of Women’s Ministry Professionals. Simone earned a Master’s degree in Christian Leadership and a certificate in Women’s Leadership from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Simone’s passion is teaching and developing women to fulfill their God-given potential.