God cares more about changing us than He does about changing our circumstances. I learned this early in life when I went on missionary trips. I traveled to a number of remote places around the world as a young man, and while I always set out on these journeys with a goal or a project in mind, I quickly learned that they were just as much about transforming my heart as they were about helping others. It’s not that our mission didn’t involve doing good stuff for people, but I always came home different than I was when I left. Because most of my trips were arranged by organizations that had years of experience, they knew that it was equally as important to build into those who were ministering as it was for us to minister. That said, we would have an hour of quiet time every morning as well as corporate worship and unplanned free afternoons just to hang out and build friendships. All of these things created a culture that transcended whatever trouble or obstacles we encountered on the trip. As long as we were bonded to Jesus and each other, we could weather any storm and thrive in whatever chaos found us. In fact, through the years, I’ve learned that this is true in just about any setting or organization, regardless of its mission or purpose.
My friend, your culture is more important than how much you accomplish. There’s a saying that goes, “People may not remember what you said, but they’ll remember how they felt around you,” and this is true in both relationships and organizations. As an individual, be the kind of person who deposits faith and encouragement with everyone you encounter, and create your own culture of safety and kindness. Then, transfer it to the places you’re called to lead. Whether at work, church, school, or home, focus on building an atmosphere that is loving, transparent, and so tight that it can’t be destroyed by any external attack or chaos.