It is not uncommon for churches to have stated values. For example, values such as generosity, family, and service pepper the “About Us” sections of innumerable church websites. When used well, values can be a great asset to your church. Will Mancini, a well-respected church strategist and author of Church Unique, defines values as “shared convictions that guide decision-making and reveal the strengths of the church.” Simply, they are the things that matter most to a specific local church.
I would like to offer a reflection for churches who have chosen gospel centrality as a value.
If gospel centrality is a value you are saying the gospel is central to everything you are and everything you do. By definition, this means every other value must flow from and be shaped by a gospel perspective. They are different “value rivers” with gospel centrality as their source. This truth should help leaders see that if a gospel centered church is going to have other stated values, it behooves them to define them in light of the gospel. Unfortunately, other values are often framed in language removed from their gospel connections. In other words, values like family, service, and generosity are shaped with language that stands apart from the redemptive work of God in Christ. These definitions not only will weaken the values by tying them to things outside of the gospel but also belie gospel centrality as a real operating value.
Is it truly central or is that just something you say?
Align your other values to the value of gospel centrality. Write definitions tied to the redemptive work of Jesus. Demonstrate how values like family, service, and generosity have the Cross as their source, the gospel as their framework, the Person of Jesus as their reference point. Doing so will both push the flywheel of gospel intentionality in your church and more clearly display how truly centered upon the gospel you are.
Can you define your other values without the necessity of the death of Jesus? You may not be as gospel centered ‘values-wise’ as you think. Align those values with gospel centrality in mind.
***For a good reflection on why churches use stated values, read Will Mancini’s Why State Why