There are many clues; some obvious and others subtle. Most churches are a combination of what follows, watch closely and you'll see it in your church. I've categorized a few:
- Control Culture: The leader seeks to have input into, or control every aspect of ministry. Evidence of this type of culture is in staff and volunteers who feel pressure that their performance is never good enough. This feeling is compounded by the leader's weakness in interpersonal communication skills, lack of accountability, and unapproachable nature.
- Numbers Culture: Evidence for relevance is driven by numbers: numbers of attendees; numbers of small groups; numbers of children in ministries; the amount donated on a weekly basis. Numbers matter more than relationships. Closely related to the Pedestal Culture.
- Cowardice Culture: Evidenced by the use of executive pastor or staff to deliver bad news at direction of senior pastor. Senior pastor refuses to accept responsibility or be accountable for bad decision making.
- Last-minute culture: All execution is last minute, even if planning is done months in advance. Most likely, planning and execution are done last minute. Little regard given for personal schedules of volunteers, and possibility of previously scheduled events.
- Only my Ministry Matters Culture: Intra-church ministries and teams do not compare calendars, and cross-schedule events. So much for the idea of a body working together.
- Pedestal Culture: Senior and executive staff who exhibit reclusive behavior, rarely interacting with "the flock," as if the very activity is beneath them, and perhaps best left for a pastoral care professional. Difficult for these individuals to come down off their pedestal and get a different perspective.
- Excuse Culture: "Oh, it's because he's a musician." It's because he's a big picture individual." "It's because he's the teaching pastor." "It's because we're short-staffed."
- The Miscommunication Culture: How can the church communicate the gospel, if it can't even communicate internally well?