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One of the things I have been doing with our staff team this year is clarifying our “pastoral team core values.” This document is an attempt to “institutionalize” good values in our workplace. For example, in core value #1, humility, the question is how we can practice humility in the ways we work together. My focus is not on how these values should show up in our personal
lives, but rather how they pervade the workplace.

We are writing these values together as a staff, and are proceeding at the rate of about 1 per month. I’m very open to anyone’s input. Here is the 2nd installment:

Core Value #2: People are the Mission//Matthew 28:18–20

  • We believe the central mission of our church is to make disciples of all nations.
  • The focus of our ministries is on people, not on “projects.” We don’t simply paint walls or feed the poor. These things are an important part of showing the love of Christ, but our special commission as the church, our priority, is to make disciples. Everything we do must serve that end.
  • Recognizing that we all naturally drift away from evangelism, we pastors must continually reinforce that the goal of all that we do is to make disciples. When it comes to keeping focused on the mission, the human heart is like a car that is severely out of alignment. The moment you take your hands off of the wheel, the car drifts quickly toward the ditch of “social ministry.” Social ministry is easy and non-controversial. As pastors, we have to continually pull people back to evangelism. We are committed to blessing the city and meeting her social felt needs, but our primary purpose is bringin people to Jesus.
  • As the mission of God is to reach people, we will “do church” in whatever way best reaches people. Our preferences, even as pastors, will be seconded to His mission. The church doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to God. Thus, we will do church according to what is most effective in making disciples of Christ.

In other news, I thought it was funny that on, at the place they sell my book, Breaking the Islam Code, the “product” they chose to sell in conjunction with it was an online Muslim dating service. See below…International Muslim Marriage

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.

Humility//Prov 1:7:

  • 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.