As I continue to read Neil Cole's book on leadership it continues to revive thoughts and themes that have been buzzing around my head for a long time. He writes about organisations being "value-led rather than personality-driven". Something that surely ought to be paramount in the church.
But this is not just a simple matter of establishing our values. I've been down that road and discovered that establishing values is only the first step. If those values are not inculcated into the ethos of the church, they will have little or no impact on the life of the church.
That aside, what are or should our values be? What things rise to the surface and what characteristics of current church life give away the true values with which we work? I'm reminded of John Ortberg's "shadow mission" talk from a few years ago.
One value that I believe demands our attention if the church is going to flourish is a very baptist core value, namely the priesthood of all believes. There are times when this seems to be a value we hold dear but upon which we often fail to act. Having said everybody can and should be involved in ministry we then go about the business of setting apart the few in order that the many don't have to.
If we are committed to making disciples then surely part of that process is doing what Jesus did not just knowing what Jesus did. We cannot minister vicariously through others, we must involve ourselves.
I raise this more of a question than an answer, but somehow we have to work out how to get people engaged in the full range of ministry that forms the life of a faith community. We cannot go on assuming that it's someone else's responsibility to do these things.
There are other values too that need work-the role of leaders; the place of Sundays, to name just two that come to mind. Perhaps they are not values, but reflecting values.
I just wonder, if we boiled everything down to the core, what would be the values that we would find there and how would we go about reshaping the church in order to express those values through our shared life together?
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