Having a list of “core values” is an essential part of defining the nature of any organizational culture. Core Values are also a critical part of any “strategy.” Stating those things that help define your philosophy or approach as a church (or any other organization for that matter) is an important part of the overall strategy.
Around here we say these are the things we’re “willing to die on the fence over.” They define who we are as a church and what we will always focus on as long as we exist.
Here’s our list:
- Biblically-Based – The Bible alone dictates what we believe and practice.
- Culturally Relevant – To be effective the church must remain culturally relevant.
- Evangelistic – Followers of Jesus are passionate about evangelism.
- Church Planting – We will be a church planting church.
- Community – Life change happens best in community with other Christians.
- Discipleship – Followers of Jesus obey his teachings.
- Excellence – Excellence honors God and inspires people.
- Grace – We will foster an environment of love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
- Stewardship – We will give our time, spiritual gifts, abilities, and finances to extend Christ’s kingdom.
Of course, it’s one thing to list your core values, but it’s another thing to follow them. Sometimes it’s difficult. For example, often when we cover a “secular” song, like Bad Company’s Feel Like Making Love as the opener for a series entitled “Our Rotten Sex Life,” we get a little criticism from some. “I can’t believe you’re playing that song in church!” they will say. Based on our core values (specifically Evangelism and Cultural Relevance) we say, “I know, right!”
Of course just as many come up to us after the service and say, “I can’t believe you played that song in church! I’m glad I came today. This sure isn’t what I remember church being like when I was a kid!”
Oops! An un-churched person enjoyed the service. Crazy, isn’t it?