Often there is a big disconnect between who you image yourselves to be and the way you behave. Have you ever wondered why you struggle to lose weight no matter how determined you are to change this time? If you remove the physical reasons dieting isn’t working. Maybe just perhaps, the issue has more to do with your core values. Let me give you a precise definition of core values. “Core values … the things so important to we that they shape how we think and how you do all that we do. Our core values reflect our heart, what we care about deep down. They overflow to shape the words of our mouth (our narrative) and the actions of our hands (our behaviors).”1 Todd Wilkins
Organizations often struggle to define their core values clearly. When the core values are unclear, you put the mission at risk. When core values are ambiguous groups will waste valuable time and human resources on ministry plans destined to fail. Those plans fail because those well-developed strategies. And those God-inspired mission statements. And big God-sized vision statements are contrary to the core values of your organization.
Two key elements to help shape your organization’s core values, those elements are your narrative and your behaviors.
How Are You Sharing Your Story (Narrative)?
What stories you highlight in your public assemblies (worship) communicate what you value. What do you talk most frequently about with your people? What is the metrics you commonly measure? Do worship attendance, the dollars collected toward the budget or the numbers of people in Bible study define who you are? These things are important indicators of church health. Do you want those to be measurements of success? If you want to change your focus, change your stories. You control the narrative. What you celebrate determines what is most important to you. Your story should inspire others to embrace your values. It should move people to join in the mission God has called you to carry out.
What are You Doing (Behaviors)?
I remember growing up hearing this saying, “Talk is Cheap.” We can have the best intentions, but in the end, people judge you by your actions. How are you investing your time? That’s what determines your values. If I you want to lose weight, but never change my eating habits how serious am I? If I just pass by the gym on the way to Kristy Kreme donuts, then I can’t expect to lose weight. My behavior reveals my real core values. Where you invest your time, talents and treasure express to the organization what you value.
If you want to change the direction of your ministry, carefully examine your core values. Before you waste valuable time and energy looking for the magical mission bullet. What is the message you are communicating to your tribe? The stories you are highlighting are necessary. Shifting to missions may be as simple as telling different stories. Try modeling the behavior you want to be emulated.
1″ Multiplication Matters” by Todd Wilkins