Values: Part 1
Recently our church rolled out a set of four values that define our mission. These are not new values, just updated ways of expressing the principles that have guided us since our inception in 2002. In this series, we’re asking two key questions:
- How does an inside-the-walls ministry (like guest services) fit in an outwardly-focused church?
- How should a specific ministry check its own identity to make sure it fits the church’s overall mission?
The Summit’s first value:
We prioritize the gospel above all.
The Apostle Paul specifies the pecking order of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…“
Paul said that the message of the gospel must rise above any other message, because the message of the gospel is simply that important: Jesus died in our place. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. And that truth changes everything.
And when our Guest Services Team realized that the gospel must be prioritized above all other things, it changed everything about our perspective.
Specifically, “We prioritize the gospel above all” allows us to look at our guest culture through four key lenses:
1. The gospel disrupts our comfort.
Left to ourselves, we will drift to the familiar, the comfortable, the trappings and traditions that are great for insiders but terrible for outsiders.
But the gospel doesn’t allow that. If the message of the gospel is Jesus in our place, then it makes sense that our selfishness and entitlement must be put away, and the needs of others must come before our own. We have to maintain an “others first” mentality, welcoming others as Christ has welcomed us. (Romans 15:7)
2. The gospel makes us more generous.
The extravagance of God’s grace should naturally overflow into our grace towards others. If the gospel is above all, it must be for all. We should be willing to to whatever it takes to reach all people.
We’ll get into that more with value #2, but for now, a generous mindset means that we will be willing to fund, staff, plan, and evaluate our ministries with our guests in mind, not just our insiders.
3. The gospel is the only worthy offense.
You know our first plumb line: The gospel is offensive, but nothing else should be. We believe that the gospel can stand on its own. It doesn’t need us to shine it up or prop it up. It also doesn’t need us to water it down or play it down.
The gospel is a patently offensive message (1 Corinthians 1:18), but the road to the gospel should be paved with rose petals and puppy fur. We should remove all other offenses, distractions, and barriers so the gospel shines in its full power.
4. The gospel gives us a for, not a from.
If churches don’t get the gospel right, then the congregation becomes a group of people that we want something from: we need you to serve, to give, to join, to lead, to volunteer, because that’s what’s expected.
But if the gospel is true, we can be a for people. We can say with authenticity that the gospel is something that allows us to give. And as we give the gospel to our guests, that generosity takes root and they continue to give to others.
See all posts in the series:
- Values: the Intro
- Part 1: We prioritize the gospel above all.
- Part 2: We do whatever it takes to reach all people.
- Part 3: We make disciples, not just converts.
- Part 4: We send every member.
- Values: the Outro
design credit: Jason Mathis