Have you ever written down your values, the principles determining how you live your life and into what you’ll invest time and energy? Values determine practices and practices determine results, which are the goals you’re working toward. Values shape and mold your priorities. When clearly written down, they serve as filters to help determine into what you will and will not devote your efforts. Another way of viewing values is to see them as “rules of the road” for your journey. They are a compass that keeps you headed in the right direction.
You should especially be values-driven because they determine your “why” which is described in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He sent . . . ” Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people,” and Peter tells us he doesn’t want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Why do you do what you do? It should be because of the love of God to provide salvation to everyone who believes. In Matthew 9 Jesus went to the villages, saw the crowds, then was moved with compassion.
Values must be founded on God’s values, because as His child you should value what He values by loving what He loves.
If you value God’s Word, you read and study it, seeking to obey it and living by its direction in every area of your personal and church life.
If you value prayer, you strive to pray without ceasing.
If you value people who are far from God, you share the gospel at every given opportunity. If you value the mission of God you’re actively involved in carrying it out.
What does your church value?
Do you really value the mission of God enough to live it out daily in your community?
Do you value numbers as you gather for church or do you value scattering and multiplying?
Do you value acquiring and saving for a rainy day or giving it away?
Recently, a pastor shared his church’s decision to give away a $50,000 surplus from 2021 because depositing it in their bank account just to sit there felt “criminal.” Another pastor said their theme for this year is “extravagant giving.” Jesus did say that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
If you and your church really value the mission of God, faith-filled risks are required to give yourselves away in how you think, talk, spend time, and invest your treasure in God’s mission. Preferred values are important beliefs, but they are not always exhibited in behaviors. They’re only aspirational. Practiced values are an obvious part of behaviors. They are actual values seen in your life. In assessing church planters/missionaries the best indicator of future behavior is present behavior. Reality check: Values must match our behaviors!
As a missionary sending agency our goal is to fund fruit, not fantasy. Every believer and every church must be able to identify their true, and practiced, core values. They are . . .
biblical because they are rooted and grounded in Scripture.
consistent because they rarely change.
indicators of your passion and generate emotion and energy.
distinctive because they reflect God’s unique assignment for you and your church in the mission of God.
convictions that influence what you do, not what you say.
Core values are not statements of faith, belief, or theology. They are not biblical purpose statements that could describe any and every congregation. They are not a list of favorite programs that are only the delivery systems for your values. If you say you value children in your church, that value will be seen in the programs and how you minister to them. Your mission is your church’s “what.” Values are the “why” you do it and mission is the “what” shown by Great Commission obedience.
Values-driven (why), mission-directed (what), vision-focused (where), and strategy-accomplished (how).
In The Multiplication Workshop Dave Devries says, “Values reflect a person’s unique beliefs, core convictions, and guiding principles. These values will guide ongoing attitudes and behaviors. Values are often unwritten assumptions that guide actions. In any situation values are confirmed by actions, not just by words. They’re about deeds rather than words. Core values should be able to be expressed in terms of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.” What does your life and ministry show that you value?
In The Leadership Challenge James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner say, “Values help us determine what to do and what not to do. They’re deep-seated, pervasive standards that influence every aspect of our lives: our moral judgments, responses to others, and commitments to personal and organizational goals. Values set the parameters for the hundreds of decisions we make every day.”
Have you taken time to prayerfully determine and write down personal and ministry values? Maybe now is the time!Values help you make day-to-day decisions. Remember: Values are not what you say you’re doing, but what you’re actually doing. Set aside time for a prayer retreat directed by His Word and the Holy Spirit.