This coming year I am defining our Summit pastoral team "core values." Core values, for us, are different than our mission–our mission (Love God, Love Each Other, Love the World) describes what we do as a church, these core values describe how we do it. These are the characteristics that we desire for our work environment–first among pastors, then among our unpaid staff (volunteers) and then our congregation at large.
What we do is name the value (e.g., Humility, Excellence, Empowerment, Generosity, Audacious Faith, etc etc.) and then identify how we put it into practice in our "workplace." Our focus is not on how we express a particular value in our personal lives, per se, but how we express it in our policies, programs, and overall work ethos.
We are writing them as we go, and the list won't be final until next year sometime. Here is our first one… please add insight.
- We believe collaborative efforts lead to better products.
We make use of "ideagoras," whereby we put our "ideas" out on "the marketplace" and get feedback. No one should plan a major ministry initiative "alone;" we will brainstorm our ideas with other team members. We do this for every major initiative in the church. While it is painful to have "pet" ideas shot down, we believe collaborative brainstorming on the front end produces a better "product."
- We regularly give and receive both encouragement and critique.
We are confident that 20% of what we do is wrong, we just don’t know which 20%. Rather than overanalyzing every decision, we err on the side of taking action, and then learn from our mistakes by openness to candid feedback. (thanks to my brother-in-law Sebastian Traeger for this one).
We critically evaluate all major events and initiatives.
We take the initiative to invite feedback and strive to receive it well, giving the person who gives the critique the benefit of the doubt in their motive.
- We spend time doing good research.
The best ministry ideas (usually) come not from creativity alone, but from discovering the creativity of others and improving upon it. We believe a failure to research demonstrates either laziness or extreme arrogance.
- We invest in professional development for our pastors and volunteers, allocating time and resources to books, conferences, and strategic friendships.