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Marks of a Healthy Culture

Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He was not diminishing strategy. He was simply recognizing the overwhelming influence culture has on people. It dominates everything else. It is constantly teaching, constantly showing people what is most important. By culture, I am referring to the shared values and beliefs that undergird all that the ministry or organization does. How can you tell if you have a healthy ministry culture? Here are three marks of a healthy culture:


In a healthy ministry culture, there is a culture of prayer. People sense the freedom to stop meetings, not just begin meetings, to pray. People come to work surrendered personally, having spent time with the Lord. Prayer is not an afterthought or a transitional moment in a healthy culture. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works. Prayer is the greater work.” Prayer shows that we trust God and not ourselves, not our creativity, innovation, work ethic or skills. Unless He builds the ministry, we labor in vain. Without prayer, an utter dependence on God is lacking.


In a healthy ministry, there is joy. People enjoy their roles, the mission and each other, and laughter is often the expression of the joy they share together. There does not have to be Tuesday trips to the bowling alley for the staff to get along (not that there is anything wrong with that), but they actually enjoy working together and serving alongside one another.

New Leaders

The fruit of a disciple is another disciple. The fruit of a healthy ministry is developed leaders who multiply the ministry and expand the kingdom. In a healthy ministry culture, new leaders are given opportunities to be developed through serving, and seasoned leaders are there to provide coaching and encouragement.

These markers are far from exhaustive, but check them in your culture. Is there a dependence on God displayed in prayer? Is there laughter in your halls? Are new leaders being developed and deployed?  

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Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, he served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary and has authored or co-authored several books, including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. He is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.