Your ministry flows out of your values. Picture the whole church as a tree: the values are the roots. You can’t see them, but they are responsible for virtually everything that happens above ground. The roots produce the fruit. If the fruit is good, you assume the roots are healthy. If the leaves are diseased or dying, you can guess the problem lies deep in the roots.

So mine your current ministry to identify the values that underlie it. Which values are truly owned (lived out currently) rather than just stated? That’s what will make the difference. The long-term identity of any ministry church depends on the lived out values (the DNA) you start with. If you start with a tightly-knit group of friends who rarely include others, you are unlikely to end up with an open, outreach-oriented ministry. If you disciple people via a linear discipleship program that covers each point systematically. you’re unlikely to end up with a Spirit-led process that addresses issues as you life live and serve together. What kind of ministry do you want? What do you want it to look like in 7 to 10 years? It all depends what you’re going for—and whether you get there depends what you’re starting with.

Values are:

  • • passionate, non-negotiable convictions that are expressed in consistent behavior—what we do demonstrates what we truly value
  • • constant, motivational, and observable/discernible
  • • our core convictions that serve as the internal guidance system by which we make decisions, formulate plans, etc.
  • • evident in how a person or a group uses time and resources
  • • the why behind the what

Values are not:

  • • our statement of faith, belief, purpose, or theology. What is believed is not necessarily valued. For example, the demons believe in God (James 2:19), but they do not value him. You may believe in evangelism, but do you do it? If you do it, then it is truly a value.
  • • either methods or programs we employ. The methods and programs are the delivery systems for our values. For example, a method might be a weekly date night with your spouse, but the underlying value would be healthy family relationships.