The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications

E074 - Culture & Food

Joanna: Today we're talking about food. How food can help build a culture on your team and a really powerful way. And we're going to use some examples.

Joanna: In a previous life I did a stint as a young adults pastor and one of the biggest things that I was inheriting was a toxic culture in this young adults community. And so I was realizing that food was going to be a thing that would help bring people together. I really was in the gospel stories and I loved how Jesus was constantly eating with people eating with his friends enemies and everything in between. There's this powerful thing that happens when people get around food. So in that young adults community the way we began to be less toxic and begin to build a community that was healthy where people loved and respected one another was we eat a lot and regularly together. And so I think that same thing can be true in a work context and an office culture. What does it look like to have more opportunities to have food or drink together. So one of the things we do in my team and my department is we're often messaging each other Hey I'm doing a coffee run, what's your order? And it's something so simple it costs you know two bucks to go through the drive through and get someone. We're not talking about even fancy lattes sometimes but having a basic coffee with cream and sugar. It's a fun way to just encourage one another to thank one another and to come together as a team and feel like we really are part of it. We even have, coffee is a big deal for us. We have like a coffee setup in our office where people from other departments are coming because they know we have great coffee beans. We've got the grinder we've got the french press we've got the pour over, we've got all kinds of ways to make coffee. And people will come and even just the culture building that's happening as we make coffee because we're gonna make it slow it's not like a Keurig where it's going to happen real fast it's grinding the beans we literally use a hand grinder and it's just part of the day we're trying to be intentional with spending 5 minutes, 10 minutes at the most waiting for that water to boil and doing that coffee thing together we have some snacks and stuff too that are always available but we want it to be a place where people like to come and when they come there might be something for them to engage with.

James: And one of the culture things that we have around food here is that every Friday we go for lunch. It's a company paid lunch. And it's amazing how people always want to show up on a Friday when they know they're getting a free lunch. My brother works part-time for us and it's amazing how many Fridays he wants to come in because he knows he gets a free lunch out of the deal. And the reason why we do that is we just have conversation we often take at least an hour to go to a sit down restaurant and we just talk like as soon as the food is out we start talking about life, we start talking about friends and relationships and it's just great to have conversation that's not all about getting something done and trying to focus on business and communications. It's good to just have a relationship. We talk about trips. We talk about things that have happened to what your weekend looks like and that's just really important team building and you get to know people way better when you do that. And it's an investment. And I think like you were saying like it's important for people to break bread together. Not to be too religious about it but like go out for lunch or even how it is you know if you only have a half hour go out with someone and just you know even if it's fast food you're grabbing a burger or something. You're going to talk about things and you're going to get to know someone and you're going to start building relationships that are stronger and deeper. And I think once those relationships are stronger and deeper you also find that you work better together you're able to kind of understand maybe where someone's coming from or if they have a stressor in their life right now you're going to then be maybe a little bit more patient with them if they're struggling with something. So I think it can only lead to good things by getting to know each other better and caring for one another outside of a work context.

Joanna: Ands not everyone can afford to do a lunch for the staff you know every week like you do, that's awesome. I should come here on a Friday sometime and eat your free lunch but this idea of food doesn't have to be expensive. It can be a potluck thing you do once a month. It can be everyone brings their own lunch and just that there's that one day a week where you intentionally leave your desks go sit somewhere else and just hang out and eat lunch. Maybe it's board games and lunch together or whatever it is. There are ways to build culture over food that I think are really powerful. So there are ways that you can implement that too. I'd love to hear from you. Post on social media like Is there a way that you do this in your own company, in your own church culture? Post to us on Instagram we're going to ask that question today and we'd love to hear your ideas of how to do that well.