In Joel’s blog post yesterday, he reminded us “about the dangers of trying to change structures without first changing the values.” I totally concur and would encourage you to clearly define your values as a church family.
Years ago, I enjoyed reading Built to Last by Collins and Porras. I believe that their definition of core values is superb. “Core Values: a small set of guiding principles; the organism’s essential and enduring tenets; not to be confused with specific cultural or operating practices; not to be compromised for financial gain or short term expediency.”
I encouraged the leaders of my church family to read Built to Last and in due time we journeyed to a retreat center for a couple of days. Our purpose was to “put on paper” three to five core values. It was a fascinating time of dialogue, prayer, laughter, and passionate “debate.”
Here’s what we came up with for Cypress Creek Church.
CCC adheres to the following three core values.
First, we adhere to the eternal authority and relevance of the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; Psalm 119:105, 160; Psalm 12:6).
Next, we are Christ centered because Christ is Lord (John 1:1-5, 12, 14; John 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:14-15).
Finally, all members are equipped and engaged for the work of service (2 Tim. 2:2; Ephesians 4:11-13).
As we lead our church family, these are the values that undergird or decisions, plans, and ministry initiatives. I’m sure these three core values are not “perfect.” Further, I understand that these values may not be who you are or who God has called you to be. I affirm and applaud the diversity of the body of Christ. Indeed, diversity is not the enemy of unity. I would not choose to project our values upon you. Here’s why.
Like Jacob, you need to wrestle with God. Putting your core values on paper, requires a great deal of wrestling (with God and others). One thing I love about Jacob’s story is that he chose one day to deal with his issues and wrestle with God. He would never be the same after this wrestling match. Do the same and invite others into the ring. Defining a church’s core values is a team event.
One final thought: Did you notice that a specific church structure is not one of our core values? Why do you think this is so?