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Understanding Your Values

You have more than likely heard the phrase, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast?” The idea is that best designed plans only go as far as the prevailing values and systems of an organization allow them. Culture is simply describing, “the way we do things around here.” Culture is strongly shaped by what we value. 🔎 You can tell what is valued in a church by what gets celebrated and what gets shunned. Values describe why we do some things and why we don’t do other things. Lyle Schaller said, “The most important single element of any corporate, congregational, or denominational culture is its value system.” While mission answers “what we do,” values answers “why” we do what we do. ⛪️ Values are the shared convictions a church holds to; they are the common heartbeat of a congregation that inform and drive the motivation for its missional and ministry activities. Aubrey Malphurs defines values as “the unchanging, passionate, foundational core beliefs that empower and guide the ministry.” This is why it is important for the church to take time to identify the core values it holds to in light of what Scripture reveals that God values in His church. It is important to determine if the things that a congregation is passionate about are in alignment with what is described in the New Testament. A passage I often refer churches I consult with to is Acts 2:42-47 which describes the life of the early church. It is a brief but important window that allows us a look at what God values and blesses among His people. 📖 Biblical passages like this and others can help a church determine if they are on course or if their mission and values are misaligned. How can you define your values? Ask questions like, “What do we celebrate?” “Who are our past and present heroes?” “What stories do we often to share?” “What does our budget and calendar say we value?” “What do we ask our people to spend their time at church doing?” What is communicated and promoted the most?” Next week we will share more about how to shape our values. – Dr. Gary Mathes