Core Values; What Are They?

In recent weeks, I’ve been working with several churches on identifying their true core values. Some of these churches are going through the Reaching the Summit process, others have not, but wanted to know their true core values. Many churches who go to the extent of writing core values never realize some of the true core values of the church.

The common way these churches come to identifying their church values is to go on the internet and find other churches who have core values listed. Then they pick and choose the ones “they like” as core values for their church. My question is, “Whose core values are these?” these are not necessarily the core values of this church, but borrowed values from another church.

So how do we identify the True core values of a church? First, let’s identify what a core value is.

  • Core values are those inner beliefs that drive you to think, respond, act & do the things the way you do.
  • Values communicate what is important to me
  • Values influence overall behavior
  • In the church, core values are the constant, passionate, principle biblical beliefs that drive the ministry.

Before we can set the vision, before we can accomplish our mission, we must first understand what drives us – our core values.

Every person has their individual set of core values. This is what drives each person to respond, act and say the things we say and do. I also believe each church has a set of core values; those deepest inner beliefs that drive a church to act and do what it does.

Sitting amongst several seminary leaders a couple of years ago I stated, “Evangelism is no longer a core value in our churches.” Stunned looks of shock overcame their faces. I continued, “If it were, we would not have the majority of our churches in decline, would we?” Of course, they all had to agree, every one of these seminary presidents and vice presidents. Evangelism is not a core value because it is not manifested in the lives of church members.

Before we can write a set of church core values, does it not seem appropriate that we should identify the values of the individuals who make up the church? A business organization can write a set of core values for the business and recruit people who will follow those core values. Personally, I do not believe the church can operate in the same manner.

It is my belief that to understand the true core values of the church we must first have an understanding of the member’s individual core values. After all, core values are manifested through our actions. We can write the most eloquent, biblical values possible. But if our church is not manifesting them through actions and words, these are not the true core values of the church.

Next week I will write of one way to help identify true core values for yourself and your church.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.