Transparency and Trust Build Culture: College of Biblical Studies – Houston Case Study

What president or CEO wouldn’t want to cultivate the kind of transparency and  trust  that can generate staff unity, organizational effectiveness and ministry impact? But what if turbulent events preceding your arrival meant you had to essentially start from a deficit position?



When Bill Blocker came to the College of Biblical Studies in Houston as incoming president he had his work cut out.

Blocker, who brought years of experience in administrative, educational and pastoral experience to the school, chose to lead by learning. “When it came to our staff leadership, there was no shortage of excellence, but rather a lack of execution.”


Blocker, Dr. Bill_Portrait1“My first objective was that everyone own the mission and come to the table with excitement and urgency,” says Blocker. “By honoring the dignity and strength of every individual, and by realizing each of us and all of us are representing God in our work, our mission from a statement that informs to a commitment that inflames a common passion.

“A second objective was to complement our strategic planning team with a cross-functional team that involved every single full-time faculty and staff. By involving everyone across educational disciplines and staff department, we began developing a common language while working off the same page.


By honoring each person’s giftedness and participation, the college’s senior leadership and staff practices the transparency that deepens trust in each other. Says Blocker, “Both individually and in our workplace, all of us realize our mutual source of strength and trust is Jesus, himself; He is the vine and we are the branches. If your organization is rooted in a healthy source, you will have healthy fruit.

Blocker’s vision, tended in the fertile soil of a mutual trust and desire to serve one another has yielded one irresistible piece of fruit. Each month faculty and staff gather for “CBS Live!” The crowd energy, involvement and fun is a mirror image of “The Price Is Right.” Brief reports from VP’s, a financial update give way to a chosen faculty profile, lively birthday celebrations and a time of prayer.

“If your culture is healthy, people will come alongside you and want to work with you, says Blocker. “We’re creating an atmosphere of authenticity. Ours is a community in which I believe there are no secrets. Our people know that being the greatest is only possibly by being a servant of all. Now that’s true collaboration.”

What’s the best employee “fit” for your ministry organization? This Houston based Christian college you’ve probably never heard of believes their approach can and will make a difference.

This is the first of a two-part series highlighting the College of Biblical Studies.  A podcast with Dr. Bill Blocker describing their road to building a flourishing culture will accompany the next post.  

4 Reasons Behind NewSpring Church’s Flourishing Culture

          If you were offered a comparable job at higher pay would you stay? … Or leave?

Recently, when asked this question, 97% of 400 staff at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina said they would stay (81% Strongly Agree).

That finding is consistent with an overwhelming 99% of staff that say they like working at NewSpring.

93% Staff Engagement at NewSpring! What?!

How did NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, grow from a living room Bible study of 8 to its current 35,000 weekend worshipers on ten campuses?Newspring-church_004

Could there be a correlation between NewSpring’s ongoing numeric growth and an overwhelming 93% of its 400 staff are engaged as measured by the Best Christian Workplace survey?

Central… Continue reading

Hybels: Practical Steps to Turn a Culture Around

This year’s Global Leadership Summit was my spiritual highpoint of the year. It was challenging and inspirational.  Bill Hybels led off with a talk right from the heart about Practical Steps to Turn a Culture Around.

GLS Willow CreekBill’s transparency about the nearly toxic culture he faced upon returning to Willow’s day-to-day leadership in 2009 is becoming legend. He… Continue reading

BCWI Announces 2014 Best Christian Workplaces

r_certified_r2 (2)

The 2014 Best Christian Workplaces rely on inspirational work and effective communication to create a flourishing culture that meets the needs of those they serve. Best Christian Workplaces Institute announces that 76 distinguished organizations have earned Certification as Best Christian Workplaces for 2014. Each year since 2003, BCWI has identified the list of Certified Best Christian Workplaces. This… Continue reading

Five Attributes That Improve Your Hiring Batting Average

Five Attributes Hiring

As a leader, I realized selecting the best people to join our team was the most important part of my job. Ultimately, it’s the people on the team that make or break our ability to meet our mission and goals. BCWI’s research has proved that it is even more important and difficult in Christian organizations. Why?… Continue reading

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!

Gateway Church in Dallas regularly receives 26,000 individuals… Continue reading

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.

From its first… Continue reading

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