During 2013, our staff and elders at The Brook spent the entire year working on Vision Clarity. (We were blessed to be able to work with Bryan Rose from Auxano. Any pastor, staff, or church that desires to be lifted out of the fog would greatly benefit from time with Auxano.) Beginning with our Mission, we worked diligently to make sure our values and our vision were not only in sync, but were clear to us so we could clearly communicate them to anyone and everyone else. People not only need to know WHAT, but WHY and HOW. As a result of many months of prayer and hard work, we had the incredible experience of seeing our core values come to life. These are the motive behind our mission - "shared convictions that guide our decisions and reveal our strengths". Your core values should always be able to bring you back to the question, "Why?"
WHY do we choose to do this the way we do it?
WHY do we forgo these specific programs, even if everyone else embraces them?
WHY will we go to battle for this...but not for that?
Beginning in February we walked through a six-week sermon series called Rooted :: The Foundation of Who We Are, taking an in-depth look at these values. These biblical principles are the catalyst and motivator that drives our church. They always bring us back to the question, "Why?"
Here's a look at our Core Values:
Authentic Worship - Worship is a way of life
Audacious Faith - Our vision goes beyond our resources
Disciple Making - Imitate me as I imitate Christ
Generous Giving - We are blessed to be a blessing
Intentional Living - No relationship happens on accident
Servant Leading - Actions speak louder than words
When we plan our corporate worship gatherings, are we encouraging and equipping our people for those times to be an overflow and an outpouring of praise to God for what He's done and is doing in and through our lives, or is it just a weekly routine meeting where we simply get "filled"?
When we ask God for vision for our church, our ministries, our missional communities - and we better be asking Him for vision - is it birthed from, thought up, and prayed for through the lens of our own limitations, or through the knowledge that we serve the God of the Universe, the giver of ALL good things, supplier of all needs, and rightful owner of everything?
When we talk about missional community here at The Brook, it's not our end goal. Making disciples is what sits at the center of the target. Speaking of audacious, can you believe that Apostle Paul, telling the Corinthians, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ?" Well actually, you and I are called to that same audacity as Christ-followers. This was Jesus' directive and command, to "go and make disciples", not "go find a church with some great preaching."
When God set up the tithe it wasn't so that we would always have the easy math of finding 10%. It was a starting point. It was to teach us how to begin "giving back" to the One who gave it to us in the first place. We don't give out of obligation, but out of gratitude and generosity.
When we live like Jesus, our lives will be interruptible. We live every day on purpose and on mission for the Gospel. This won't happen on accident.
When we lead, we remember that Jesus showed us how to do this by getting on his knees, wrapping a towel around his waist, and washing his disciples feet.
You see, we can always - and should often - come back and check our motives.
This gives us freedom to say "No" to certain things. Sometimes even good things.
As you seek the Lord's guidance and He unfolds the values and principles that guide WHO you are, WHAT you do, and HOW you do it, you find yourself walking in great freedom to do just that; be who He's called you to be.
Simon Sinek's awesome book "Start With Why" wasn't a new idea. That's a Jesus idea.
And it's not just a great idea for a church or business. It applies to your life and your family, as well.
If you belong to our church family at The Brook, I encourage you to begin to press into these values and examine your day, your schedule, your habits, and your whole life through them. Always come back to the question, "Why?"
If you belong to another church family, what values drive your congregation?
If you don't belong to a church at all, I guess I would ask you the same, simple question: Why?