CNLP 037: Creating an Incredible Team Culture—An Interview with Chris Rivers

How do you make sure your team stays aligned with your mission and vision?

Chris Rivers’ job at NewSpring Church in South Carolina was to teach new staff NewSpring’s culture.

The challenge was they were adding up to ten new staff per WEEK. Chris explains how they did it, and what you need to do to keep your team aligned, whether you’re adding staff, adding volunteers or simply trying to align your existing team.

Welcome to Episode 37 of the Podcast.



Guest Links: Chris Rivers


Chris Rivers on Twitter

NewSpring Church

CultureBus on Twitter 

Links Mentioned in this Episode


Injoy Stewardship Solutions

John Maxwell

Perry Noble

The Church Leader’s Podcast

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Chris says that culture is what your environment says you value, and the art of culture is saturating your environment with your vision. Culture is the litmus test for your vision, mission and strategy, and in this episode, Chris tells us how to ensure those values align with your ministry.

  1. Define your cultural filters. New employees need to know a few key things when they become part of your team – Who you are, what they are responsible for and a leadership principal paramount to your ministry. Those are filters that say, “This is important, and if you’re new, this is what we want you to know.” During the first 90 days, it’s critical to repeat the process so that your culture is instilled into the employee’s routine. It gives them an understanding of what you’re about and gives them clarity to what they’re supposed to be doing.
  2. Introduce systems that reinforce culture. Know what it is that you want for someone new to your team. When you focus on the process, that’s the starting point for creating an irresistible environment. One of the biggest challenges is getting people to embrace systems, and most of the time, leaders don’t focus on that enough. Have conversations about how you’re keeping things central, and identify the leader who’s holding others accountable for how you’re conquering ministry as a team.
  3. Celebrate and evaluate. Many times when people come into a church, they need to be equipped to be part of the mission God has called them to do. If you look back at the disciples, none of them had a resume. They just had a willingness. They potential we have in Christ, plus the willingness to do whatever it takes, changes everything. There are a couple ways to do that:
    a.) Focus on people. You’re working hard to accomplish vision and mission, but you can’t recall the last time you celebrated as a leader and thanked your team. When was the last time you celebrated what God was doing in your ministry.
    b.) Focus on the evaluating process. Evaluate what’s working and if there’s a room for improvement or a chance to change. Ask, “Are your systems working, and is this something we can do better?”

Quotes from Chris

[tweet “Culture is something that can change the way we do ministry@chrisrivers“]

A special offer from Chris

Listeners of the podcast have the chance to take advantage of a special offer from Chris! If you’re looking to enhance your church culture or create a healthy culture from scratch, The Culture Assessment is just for you.

This resource, normally $1,999, is available for $999 to the first 10 listeners who inquire. Just go to to read more about what the assessment has to offer and how it can benefit your ministry team.

Opening Day at Connexus Church

As I mentioned in the podcast, we opened our new church building at Connexus Church on Sunday. Here’s a shot from one of the opening services.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us. It was an incredible day. I am SO thankful. More people than we’ve ever seen before…so many of them unchurched.

I’ll do a post soon about things I learned about relaunching a church into a new building. 🙂

To see more about our grand opening in the meantime or to watch the opening service, click here.

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Next Episode: Jared Brock

It’s no secret, the prayer life of many church leaders leaves much to be desired.

Jared Brock, a ministry leader in his 20s, was no exception. So he set off on a 37,000 mile trip around the world to discover prayer in all it’s forms. Here’s what he learned, and how it can help you.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 38.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment!


  1. Brent Dumler on May 30, 2015 at 9:42 am

    This has been one of my favorite topics in the past 5 years. Fortunately, our Lead Pastor is very aware and intentional about projecting our church’s culture. What a great interview. Chris has so much to offer.
    I do have a question for Jared Brock (unless it’s already recorded). I’d be curious if he would have any thoughts on ways to create corporate prayer in the local church in a way that is meaningful, engaging, and friendly to family schedules? Opposed to a traditional week of prayer which requires 5 consecutive weeknight gatherings at the church.
    I’ve been loving the pics and Periscopes of the new Connexus campus, Carey. Really excited for you and the church!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 30, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks Brent. so glad. Jared’s interview is done…:( But thanks for asking. I usually am done the interviews 2-3 months before air.

      And thanks for the encouragement. So exciting!

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