Thursday, March 03, 2016

Church Values

Two pieces came together this week to have me thinking about church values.  First, I listened to an interview with the pastor of a megachurch in the south who talked about the core values of his congregation.  While the wording might get under my skin a bit, I found myself more or less agreeing with the values he stated.  The part that hooked me was the clarity with which they were spoken.  The church has five very clear, short (the longest is 5 words) statements that give shape to their ministry.  The second piece is a blog post written by my daughter, "What are you doing?"  In it she raises the question of whether or not one's actions are furthering their primary path or taking them down rabbit holes. 

So I was thinking about the churches I've been a part of... I've been blessed to have been part of great churches doing significant ministry in their various settings.  While the values of those congregations have often been implied by their actions, none of them have been nearly so clear as to have 5 short clear statements which could be recited by anyone in the congregation or used as yardsticks to evaluate the direction of their ministries.  Of course, articulating values doesn't mean a specific church really holds them.  Nor does a list necessarily include all or even the most deeply held values of any given church.  For example, few churches would say they value the status quo above all else but many clearly do.  And while many churches might put evangelism as a core value - perhaps even their top one - few really live as if that is the case.  Still, at least trying to articulate them can only be a good thing.

So what are the values of Cambridge Drive Community Church where I currently serve? To what degree are they reflected in the shape of our ministries and our life together?  Are our resources allocated to support the things we value most or are institutional needs draining them more than the values would indicate?  We haven't clarified those issues as well as we could and should.  For example, I would say that one of our core values is that our buildings and land should serve the community.   In a typical month we have between 500 and 1000 individual people who use our property who are not directly affiliated with the church via concerts, recitals, 12 step programs, educational programs, and just enjoying the grounds.  Many of them are on the property multiple times in a month, some more often than even our most committed members.  While we charge for many of the uses, none are market rate and for many the church is essentially subsidizing the use.   We often wrestle with those costs and struggle with the difficulties of other folk using our "stuff."  If we had more clarity around those uses as a core value, the questions may be easier to address...

All of that gives me and us something to work on...

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