In recent years it has become in vogue for organizations to spell out their core values. So I went browsing the internet and found several examples from the corporate world. One company emphasized excellence, teamwork, and leadership. Another had seven core values: safety & assurance, relationships, social responsibility, people, innovation, financial responsibility, and integrity. Another industrial company said its core values are safety & health, environmental stewardship, respect for people, and the highest ethical behavior. All of these are good values, but of course each list leaves off what would certainly be a guiding value for any established business: making profits. No business would publicly state that as a core value even though we all know it’s true.
The church is not a business, but there are core values that guide our functions. We don’t seem to agree on what they are though. I found several different lists for both churches and denominations on the internet. One church specified excellence, evangelism, engagement, equipping, expansion, encouragement. Another one emphasized Christ-likeness, relationships, teamwork, trust, and excellence. And one of our national church organizations (the CCCC) has this list of core values…
All of these are good core values. I don’t mean to denigrate any of them when I say that the church should firstly draw its core values from the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. To understand this we can start by considering the opposite values of each beatitude. Some of them are found in parallel teaching from Jesus in Luke 6. These would be…
These “core values” are prominent in the world, and sometimes they are celebrated with great gusto. But I think when push comes to shove people know that they need something better. And this is where the church has something better to offer than the world does in this 21st century.
The beatitudes give the best core values a church could have, and they come straight from the mouth of Jesus Himself. These values are…
Of course no single person embodies all these traits in a complete way, but that only points to two things:
God bless you,
Andrew McHenry, Pastor
First Congregational Church
The blog of Andrew McHenry, Pastor of First Congregational Church of Emporia, Kansas.