Today I want to talk to you about your cultural iceberg. You’ve probably heard us talk about organizational culture a lot because we think it’s important. If you’ve watched other 90SLs, you know we’ve talked about the cultural pyramid and, like the cultural iceberg, it walks through what is visible and what is invisible in your church’s culture. We want to use this analogy to help you take a further look into it.
When we look at the cultural iceberg, we have to understand that only 10% of an iceberg is actually visible – it’s what lies above the surface – and in a church setting it’s the things that people can see. In like manner, it’s the things that you can’t see that make up 90% of your church’s culture. These things are harder to see.
Up top, the things that are easy to see are your logo, your vision, the taglines of the church, the things that you put at the top of a newsletter or plaster across a t-shirt. But it’s often what lies beneath the surface that reveals whether or not these visible elements are actually accurate. The hard to see things like people’s assumptions, the church’s values, the measurements, the communications, the things we celebrate – all these things help make up whether or not we actually support what we state as our vision. It really tells us if these visible things line up with the invisible. Ultimately, if we want to impact our church’s culture, what’s written on the walls must also be lived out in the halls and the way that we interact with one another. The more you can close the gap between what is visible and invisible, the more accurate your culture will reflect the vision of your church.
Now that you understand the cultural iceberg, what are you going to do about it?