Thursday, August 03, 2006

core values

I have been thinking through what our church (Horizon Church) values. What we often state is that our core values are Relevance, Creativity, Unity, Integrity and Multiplication. But saying this often rings somewhat arbitrary in the ears of many listeners. Are these values arbitrary? Is their any real meaning behind them?

Here is my take on the significance of each of these core values:

Relevance: We value relevance not to be hip or cool. We don't want to be a passing fad. We value relevance because Jesus was God incarnate. God could have been in relationship to humanity at arms length. He could have continued to communicate through prophets. Instead, God came down and dwelled among us. He didn't just "meet us where we were at" as the cliche says. He actually became human. Jesus literally embodied the very creation that he created. He was the God-man. He was the "sent one" of God. And because of this, we take our example from Him. We try to live the gospel in a way that embodies the culture around us. We try to speak the language of the people. We desire to see the gospel incarnated in our society. We call this "being relevant."

Creativity: We value creativity not because we want to have style. We don't want to be flashy. We value creativity because we are creations of our Creator. And He made us in His image. We humans were designed to create. We were built to be creative. This manifests itself in offspring, visual art, music, stories and the like. N.T. Wright notices that beauty has a way of captivating us while simultaneously stirring in us longings for more. All beauty points us back to our Creator. Being creative doesn't necessarily mean being cleverly and stylistically new. Being creative means peeling back the layers of this world to reveal a beauty which points us Godward.

Unity: We value unity not so that the majority can have power. We don't want to establish uniformity. We value unity because it is a reflection of the relationship in the Godhead. Three in one. God is a perfect unity of diversity. He is one being of three distinct persons. As the Body of Christ, we too desire to be a unity of diversity. We too desire to participate in the relationship of the Godhead. For us, being unified does not mean we all agree or that it is easy for us to get along. Being unified means that we work at our relationships because we recognize that our ontological reality is that of "one in Christ Jesus." We do not strive for relationships of perfection, but rather relationships of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Integrity: We value integrity not just as a reaction against the unethical and immoral behavior of many leaders of the Church. We don't want to be those who try to clean out the speck in someone else's eye while we ignore the plank in our own. We value integrity because we believe Jesus came to make us whole. When we hide our sin from everyone, pretend to be someone we are not, and are generally two-faced in our approach to our lives we display the brokenness that comes from sin. We believe we are made whole again in Christ. Our fragmented selves are put back together into a complete person. In this state of "wholeness" we are free to be transparent with others about our weaknesses. We are free to confess sin, bear our burdens and admit our failures. Being a person of integrity means that there is a stability to your character that doesn't change from situation to situation. We value integrity because it is the source of authenticity.

Multiplication: We value multiplication not because we want the status of a big church. We don't want to foster more consumerism in our community. We value multiplication because we believe that it is how Jesus did ministry. Multiplication demands a giving away of power rather than a protection of it. All around us in the created world organic things grow by multiplication of cells. Healthy things grow and we want to be a healthy community. We value multiplication because it follows the Great Commission model of disciples making disciples making disciples. Multiplication breaks down unhealthy hierarchy. It also follows the organic and redemptive cycle of death preceding life. One must always be replacing oneself. Dying to self means life for others and true life for yourself.

To me, these values are anything but arbitrary. They have earned the name "core values" because they are at the core of who we are as a church community. Understanding the core values isn't about reciting a list of 5 catchy words. One can understand the core values without ever knowing the words to use or the language to describe it. Understanding the core values is about living out the gospel in our culture and community in such a way that you are leading others to follow Christ. This is who we are at Horizon Church.


At 1:44 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

awesome. beautifully explained!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Dave said...

yup. good stuff, mark.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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