With a core group of people, years ago, I helped to start a church.
Though so many of the excellent church-planting stuff that is available was not around then, we were a collegiate group that wanted it to go well....and so we did a lot of the stuff naturally that is taught today as a good way to plant.
The church began public meetings in an Episcopal chapel, moved within months to a nearby bingo hall and then on to a Seventh Day Adventist church. We had outgrown three facilities in just a few years.
Quite a ride!
(I'll bet you can tell that one of our core values was not "to have a contemporary, well-located building!")
All the while it grew and grew until we had gone through three building programs, and were into three services each weekend with over 1300 people attending on average.
(I'll bet you can tell that one of our core values was that people matter to God...and we should do everything reasonable to reach them.)
Actually, though, as we began, we could sense the great need to be clear about our values. It really is the best way to be good stewards of time and resources, to avoid conflicts, and to spend your time welcoming people and developing strong teamwork.
This blog and next....at least.....I want to briefly set forth what those values were/are.
They helped us greatly....and perhaps in some way they will help you as well.
You are welcome to incororate or adopt these as seems best, and I encourage you to give me a call so we can talk about them together and I can coach you as to how you might best proceed. 719-339-7746 - cell
Value #1 - The Bible
"What the Bible says is the most essential single ingredient to the description of values, personal and corporate."
A key to finding the answer to any question for us was finding out what the Bible says.
A large focus of every gathering was to study the Bible together.
A large amount of time on the part of teaching staff was spent in study.
And wherever possible we wrote out study materials, outline sheets and papers to make clear what the Bible says about various matters of special interest to our church.
You could not be around us for many days, till you sensed: the Bible really matters here.
Value #2 - Jesus Christ
"Jesus Christ is the most important personal model to emulate in living out values."
Though our times and cultures have changed greatly, we concluded that Jesus came "in the fullness of time" - the time carefully chosen by the Father to teach us "everything pertaining to godliness," and that the way He lived within time was for us a key model to how we should live. The pace, the attitudes, the love, the relationships of Jesus - and much, much more are a model for us to study and absorb as ours.
Value #3 - The Holy Spirit
"The work of the Holy Spirit in His gifting and power is the key to being equipped so as to value what God values and actualize the same."
Getting filled full of the Spirit and living that way, we sensed is the key to responding well to life's challenges. Stuff just changes when a full dose of the Spirit is applied. So we made teaching about the Spirit, Life in the Spirit Seminars, Sunday school classes on everything we could think of about the Spirit, and regular Sunday laboratories of the Spirit a regular part of our life. We taught new members about the Spirit and made books on the Spirit required reading for leaders.
Value #4 - Prayer
"Prayer is integral to any meaningful progress being made in any area of our life together."
So we were always strongly in prayer when as a church we gathered. Our services had much focus on prayer, corporate and individual. Our altars were always active. We had a prayer line by phone where people could call and receive immediate prayer and prayer teams and special times of fasting and prayer. And frequently there were testimonies given about answered prayer.
I have always been better at praying without ceasing than praying for an hour at a time (get it? :)....so my strength or weakness there became a cue to the whole church. We had occasional all-night prayer meetings, but those were rare...and fighting the fight against sleep seemed to be a prominent as the fight of faith. However, when you came among us, you heard people in prayer, saw people in prayer and were drawn into prayer actively. Some gatherings seemed to become almost an extended conversation of us all with God Himself.
We called these first four values our FOUNDATIONAL VALUES because they simply were a part of everything we were and did....they were the stuff of every recipe....like flour, and water, and salt.
Are these the values of your life? your ministry? Or have they become givens but tack-ons in what you are doing or who you are. Are they flour or frosting in your recipe called church?
I urge you to strengthen up by refocusing on these Foundational Values and watching God begin to take over your life more and more - corporately and personally.
More next time when we focus on CORPORATE VALUES.
These were what we called our Foundational Values.