The Late John Wimber
Values affect what we think and, consequently, what we do. Our values are an intrinsic part of us, although we seldom think about them in a conscious fashion. They determine the ideas, principles and concepts a person or group can accept, assimilate, remember and transmit. They can be fallible and must be constantly revised and reviewed in the light of Scripture.
According to this definition, values play a critical role in the life of a church. Therefore, pastors need to articulate their congregation’s values. This is an attempt to define the values that give our congregation its distinct mission and culture at this time. This document is written for pastors and lay leaders with several goals:
- To help us understand and articulate our values.
- To provide a grid for evaluating the goals and effectiveness of our areas of ministry.
- To encourage us in pursuing ministries that conform to our values.
Values tend to cluster into several categories that determine our approach to and motivation for our priorities. Our values are best expressed by the following:
Pursuers Of God The depth of God’s relationship with us is inexhaustible (Ps. 41:1; 1 Cor. 2:6ff; Phil. 3:8-10). Therefore, we seek Him and wait expectantly for His presence in all that we do (John 4:34; 5:19-20).
The Bible The Bible is our final authority over opinions, dreams, revelations, visions and any other authoritative source that we may look to for direction. At our core we are evangelical Christians. Our approach to life and ministry should be shaped by the counsel Scripture gives us (2Tim. 3:16-17).
Unity Our brothers and sisters are not our enemies. Therefore we relate to one another honorably, seeking to preserve the bond of peace. We will love what Jesus loves: the whole church. This means we will love those in our local congregation, those in the Association of Vineyard Churches and Christians across denominational lines (Eph. 4:3-6).
Compassion And Mercy We desire to accept into our fellowship any sincere believer who is attempting to walk in obedience to God, is repentant of his or her sins and is in submission to the authority of the church. God’s mercy always triumphs over judgment (James 2:13; John 8:1-11).
Equipping God calls and enables believers to express the talents, gifts and ministries that He has set aside for them. The orientation of all ministry is toward the integration of biblical truth into everyday living that impacts out community and beyond—not limited to individual improvement or self-fulfilment (Eph. 4:11-13).
Relationship Caring for people is our highest priority after submission to God, because the purpose of the cross was the redemption of men and women. To the best of our ability we will treat each person with respect, dignity and loving patience—always seeking what is best for his or her life and growth (Rom. 12:9-13; 1 Cor. 13:4-9; Col. 3:12-14).
Family We deeply value the building up of families and believe in the priority of children, while at the same time embracing and valuing all adult believers who identify with out church family (Matt. 18:1-10; Col. 3:12-15).
Generosity We are stewards of God’s gifts and resources (Matt. 10:8, 39; 13:45-46). This means that when God directs, we will be willing to give away what we have, to risk the security of current success in order to advance the kingdom on earth in greater ways. We do not own our ministries, so they are not ours to keep. We “give to get to give.”
Simplicity We want to be “naturally supernatural,” avoiding behaviour that draws attention away from God and onto ourselves. Simplicity affects our worship style, how we pray for the sick and minister to the poor, carry out discipleship, teach the Bible and so on (1 Cor. 2:2-5; James 3:13; 1 Thess. 4:11-12).
Risk-taking We are willing to let people make mistakes as they grow in their gifting. We know that gifting develops in an environment of trial-and-error, so we are willing to be patient with people’s weaknesses and failures while they learn (John 21:15-19; Gal. 5:22-3).