Determining core values needs to be a Spirit-led process. Although we borrow strategies and exercises from the secular world or businesses, we must never forget that we are part of the Kingdom of God. As such, God is leading, not us. We need to listen with an open heart and a spirit of sensitivity.
One way I like to lead teams in prayer is what I call “Asking God questions.” It tilts our hearts toward a posture of listening, and the practice is rooted in the Quaker tradition. This is a 45-minute period of waiting on God. Here are the rules of the process:
- No statements, and no preambles. Questions only.
- The first question asked is, “God, what would we be asking you?”
- Then silence as people reflect and then pray out loud their questions.
- Sometimes there will be long periods of silence in between questions. That’s okay.
- Someone quietly writes down all of the questions as they are prayed aloud.
Examples of questions that might be prayed are, “God, what values do you have for us?” “How do you want our community to see us?” “What are ways we can serve?”
I find that this exercise works well not just for values identification, but for many other leadership issues where the team needs to hear from the Holy Spirit as well. And although the practice is originally from the Quaker tradition, it’s quite compatible with many different Christian traditions.
After the time is finished, the leader closes the prayer. Then he or she asks the group, “What words or pictures did you get as we prayed that may have been from God?” This allows people to process the experience and share what they were hearing.
Look for our next blog entry on the process of identifying core behaviors.