Monday, October 26, 2009

Values - part 2 - Corporate Values

Monday - October 26, 2009

Values - Part 2


In the last blog entry we focused on the Foundational Values:
the Bible,
Jesus Christ,
the work of the Holy Spirit and
I recommend that before you read today's go back and read that blog.
They are intended to go in together.

The church that I am using to illustrate these truths was begun on the campus of the University of Nebraska and always had a strong representation of students/faculty from there. That naturally pushed us to lay the kind of foundation I am describing briefly here....with a clear set of values that we considered frequently to sort out corporate and even very practical decisions. They kept us on track when discouragement or success could have tended to push us off course.

Here are the Corporate values we lived with.
(Corporate values are local church-held values - while
foundational values are more universal Church-wide values.)

Corporate Value #1
Creedal unity of faith is the truth formulation that anchors our fellowship.

This value helped us navigate with openness and clarity in a thoughtful environment.

Here's a quick explanation.

Imagine a bullseye with three rings.

(I draw this on a scrap of paper in a coffee shop setting frequently....and label it "Truth 101."
I recommend you try this out even as you read.)

The center of the bullseye I label: "Creeds"...and refer to the 2nd century Nicene Creed as a great point of illustration. In that center circle I also write "Jesus is Lord" - the simplest confession of faith always in the New Testament and in the early church.

In the second ring I write: "Doctrines" - which is important contemporary church formulations of truth - like, how, when, who and by whom do you baptize? How, when, who takes communion?

In the third ring I write: "Convictions" - like, what does it mean to live a holy life?

All the rings represent truth to be held with integrity, but all levels of truth are not of equal ly strategic importance.

Then, I write three other words about how I hope to manage those levels of truth on a corporate level. On the third ring: "dialog." On the second ring: "debate." And on the center - the truth of Jesus Lordship - "die" - it is refusal to flinch on this level of truth that has through the centuries produced a great number of martyrs. It is at this level of truth that we are members of God's Family, or not.

This helped us keep truth more clearly in view...keeping a firm grasp on what is truly critical truth, respecting each other's convictions, genuinely loving and accepting people no matter where they are on the journey towards life-giving faith. And not "killing" people for what is not credal truth itself.

Got it?

Hope so. This diagram is truly part of the truth that "sets me free."

I'll resume with Corprate Values number 2 and beyond - next time.



For deeper absorption...

1. Draw the diagram and then try to place in it where you are in much more detail.
2. Share the diagram with someone - see how you do explaining it and what questions they have. 3. Look up the Nicene Creed and study it briefly noting how it handles the Trinity.

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