Creating a Social Covenant Helps Build and Empower Relationships at Gateway Church

Gateway Church has developed a  Social Covenant including 14 biblical commitments for staff.

Gateway Church has developed a Social Covenant including 14 biblical commitments for staff.

The mega-church that’s found a way to create and sustain high levels of trust among its staff of 600 over multiple locations!

Challenge:
Gateway Church in Dallas regularly receives 26,000 individuals to its five weekend services. Welcoming and integrating this many people into worship and service has increasingly required its staff to work together and be on the same page. But how?

Strategy:
Instead of relying on a strict “top-down/trickle down” hierarchical model of accountability, Gateway’s leadership took a “flatter” approach.

“We call it our Social Covenant,” says Associate Pastor Allan Kelsey. “Its comprised of 14 biblically grounded commitments. The first 7 speak to the importance of investing in relationships, and the second 7 help us empower those relationships.

“Regardless of a person’s authority or rank, we wanted the Social Covenant to level the playing field of how we were going to do life together.

“At the start of new staff initiation, every new employee sees the Social Covenant spelled out on two large 2 x 3-foot posters highly visible throughout our workplace. The specific commitments are simple and clear, yet crafting them wasn’t a piece of cake. Our senior leadership locked themselves in a room for 48 hours. We honed the semantics of each statement to get just the right word or phrase:

Fully invest in relationships by:
o Listening to each other
o Encouraging and affirming each other
o Offering, soliciting and receiving honest feedback
o Believing the best motives
o Resolving conflict with forgiveness and reconciliation
o Being vulnerable and teachable with each other
o Reproducing ourselves in others

Fully empower relationships by:
o Trusting each other within healthy boundaries
o Challenging constraints and engaging in healthy confrontation,
o Developing potential in each other, which results in personal growth
o Walking in unity with grace and truth
o Focusing on the task(s) at hand
o Being accountable to produce fruitful returns
o Extending the opportunity to dream and have fun

Result:
True to the purpose of giving its staff a Christ-honoring way to do life together, Gateway’s Social Covenant invites accountability to link arms with charity, especially when trust is threatened. As Kelsey, explains, “A staff member has the freedom to call a foul on any person he or she believes has violated the Social Covenant. The ‘fouler’ must respond with two encouraging affirmations aimed at the teammate who was fouled. If the issue is weightier, the fouled team member has the option to ask for a “level up” conversation and go directly to the fouler’s boss, without fear of retribution from the ‘fouler’.

“The Social Covenant has been in place for two years. While we believe it’s fair, its ultimate effectiveness—as with our Christ-like actions—is a daily work in progress.”

Next: Creating a fair, competitive staff compensation package is beginning to pay off.

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5 Ideas For Staff Development That Build Culture: “First Tuesdays” at Gateway Church

At Gateway Church the first Tuesday of each month is dedicated to worship, communication and staff development.

At Gateway Church the first Tuesday of each month is dedicated to worship, communication and staff development.

When the staff of Gateway Church in Dallas grew 25% in one year, there was good reason for excitement—and well-founded concern.

Challenge:
From its first… Continue reading

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BCWI Announces 2014 Best Christian Workplaces

bcwiribbons2014_normalBest Christian Workplaces Institute announces 48 distinguished organizations have earned Certification as Best Christian Workplaces for 2014. Each year since 2003, BCWI recognizes exceptional organizations whose leadership understands that employee engagement results from a flourishing culture and drives positive ministry outcomes.
Certified Best Christian Workplaces span the globe and represent all facets of ministries from churches, schools to universities, parachurch missions… Continue reading

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Seven Values at the Core of a Flourishing Culture: A Next Level Church Case Study

Core Values

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Four Critical Elements of a Satisfying Job

Bill Hybels explaining the journey Willow Creek Community Church took to create a flourishing culture. The chart reflects the improvements in their BCWI scores over the past five years.

Bill Hybels explaining the journey Willow Creek Community Church took to create a flourishing culture. The chart reflects the improvements in their BCWI scores over the past five years.

Ask Bill… Continue reading

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Three Tips On How To Build Staff Culture: An Antioch Community Church Case Study

These HYT cards provide room to write a colleague's gifts or act of service. They are read aloud at staff meetings. Read on for more details.

These HYT cards provide room to write a colleague’s gifts or act of service. They are read aloud at staff meetings. Read on for more details.

Challenge:
In 1999, 400 people participated in the… Continue reading

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A Four Step Communication Strategy For Ministry Growth: A Mission India Case Study

Mission India's purpose is making disciples to transform India for Christ.

Mission India’s purpose is making disciples to transform India for Christ.

Imagine a three-fold increase in the operations and ministry outcomes of your organization in just eight years. Then imagine the enormous workplace stresses that come with such growth. Dave Stravers, president of Mission India, recalls when such… Continue reading

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Culture Transformation Takes Courage: The Willow Creek Case Study

Bill Hybels describing Willow's Best Christian Workplace survey results. Click to see the video.

Bill Hybels describing Willow’s Best Christian Workplace survey results.Click to see the video.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)

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Develop Your Leaders Through 360 Feedback: An FCA Case Study

“Without learning and growing, leaders die in terms of their effectiveness.”
–Ken Blanchard, Best-selling author, The One-Minute
Manager; Founder, Lead Like Jesus

Click here to learn more about implementing 360 feedback for your organization.

Click here to learn more about implementing 360 feedback for your organization.

For Ken Williams, Executive Vice President and CAO for… Continue reading

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5 Ways to Engage Your Employees Now

5 Ways to Engage Your Employees

5 Ways to Engage Your Employees

“Help me with some ideas” said a manager after looking at the Best Christian Workplace survey results for her department. It’s not an uncommon request, and the survey itself is a very actionable tool to help create effective action plans. Managers are busy and feel pressure… Continue reading

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