Much can be learned by observing how the Holy Spirit is shaping other congregations. Recently I heard Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) articulate eight elder approved statements that name their highest values. These statements can serve as a helpful conversation starter for other ministries seeking to identify ministry priorities. Of each statement the following questions could be asked:
- Is this a value to us?
- Is this true of us?
- If this is a value to us, how could it be truer of us?
Here are the eight value statements:
- We love people who are not yet Christ followers.
We celebrate that people who were far from God are regularly coming to faith through this ministry.
- We fight injustice, work for peace and extend compassion to people in need.
We do everything we can to fix what is broken in this world…feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the prisoners, welcoming the stranger, fighting injustice, overturning systems of oppression everywhere.
- We seek to be reconciled to one another including a desire to be radically inclusive and loving.
We seek to be welcoming and to reach across racial divides, gender divides, gender preferences divides, generational divides and language divides.
- We are becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.
Our mantra is “95% devotion is 5% short.”
- We encourage women and men to serve according to their spiritual gifts.
The Holy Spirit has deposited gifts in all believers (both women and men). Everyone is encouraged to express those gifts to the zenith of their ability with no restrictions.
- We are stewarding our resources generously, wisely and sacrificially.
We believe everything we have comes from the hand of a generous heavenly Father. Sound money management is part of a committed discipleship including giving the first tenth of whatever income the Lord may have provided us.
- We are gathering regularly for biblical teaching, corporate worship and prayer.
We expect everyone to prioritize on public worship each and every week.
- We are dependent upon and courageously obedient to the Holy Spirit.
We are willing to live dangerously in complete obedience to the Holy Spirit’s call on our lives.
If your congregational leadership attempted to articulate a set of value statements, what would they be? Naming values (both actual and aspirational) is an important part of pursuing God’s preferred future.