Have you ever written down your values, the principles that determine how you will live your life and into what you will invest your time and energy? Values determine practices, and your practices determine your results which are the goals you are working toward. Your values shape and mold your priorities. When they are clearly written down, they serve as a filter to help you determine what you will and will not devote your efforts to. Another way of viewing values is to see them as the “rules of the road” for you on your journey. They are your compass that keeps you headed in the right direction.
You should be values-driven because they determine the why. The why 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 that He does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance (II 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 and then was moved with compassion.
Your 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, then you read and study God’s Word and seek to obey it and live by its direction in every area of your personal life and your church life. If you value prayer, then you strive to pray without ceasing. If you value people who are far from God, then you share the gospel with them every opportunity that you are given. If you value the mission of God, then you are actively involved in carrying it out.
What does your church value? Do you really value the mission of God enough to strive to live it out every day where you live? Do you value gathering and the only metric that matters are numbers, or do you value scattering and multiplying? Do you value acquiring and saving up for a rainy day, or do you value giving it away? One pastor recently shared how they decided to give away a $50,000 surplus from 2021 because to just place in the church’s bank account to sit there felt “criminal.” Another pastor told me their theme for this year is “extravagant giving.” Jesus did say that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
If your church really does value the mission of God, it will require being willing to take faith-filled risks in which you give yourselves away in what you think about, talk about, how you spend your time and how you invest your treasure in God’s mission. Preferred values are important beliefs, but they are not always exhibited in behaviors. They are only aspirational. Practiced values are an obvious part of one’s behaviors. They are actual values that can be 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 practiced core values. They are biblical because they are rooted and grounded in the Scripture. They are consistent because they rarely change. They are what you are passionate about and that generates emotion and energy. They are distinctive because they reflect God’s unique assignment for you and your church in the mission of God. They are convictions that influence what you do, not just what you say.
Core values are not your statements of faith, belief or theology. They are not a biblical purpose statement that could describe any and every congregation. They are not a list of your favorite programs which are only the delivery systems for your values. If you say you value children in your church, that should be seen in the programs and how you minister to them. Your mission is your church’s what. Values are why you do it, and mission is the what, shown by obeying the Great Commission. 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. Often, values are unwritten assumptions that guide actions. In any situation, values are confirmed by actions, not just by words. Values are more about deeds 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 this: “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, our responses to others, our commitments to personal and organizational goals. Values set the parameters for the hundreds of decisions we make every day.” Have you taken the time to prayerfully determine and write down your personal values and your ministry values? Maybe now is the time!
Values help you make day-to-day decisions. Remember, your values are not just what you say, they are what you are actually doing — that is what you really value. You will need to set aside a time to have a prayer retreat in order to be directed by His Word and the Holy Spirit. If you like more direction on determining your ministry values, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Heidi@bmaam.com