St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is working and deciding what are our core values as a congregation. This is very good! We are also review our mission statement, seeing if it reflects our current understanding of mission and does it make sense to people who read it. This is very good!
As a pastor I am called to help folks understand why we do what we do and who do we do this for! Members and non-members alike are included! What I see as the core values of this congregation, the membership sees and what the culture sees as our core values could differ widely.
This is not unusual, but it can be a challenge! Some of the challenges are:
1. Too narrow.
2. To broad.
3. To cerebral.
4. To simple.
5. To short.
6. Too long.
Well you get the picture. Notice it is not so much about the core values themselves but how they are presented. I will say I have been accused of making our core values too simple. Too broad, too Biblical or too theological. Well we are the church you know. Be that as it may, core values are not necessarily a reflection of what is, but what we strive to be. Not that we are there, but we desire to be there, in both word and deed as followers of Christ.
St. Paul’s is an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) congregation, where Christ is at the center of living out our faith and mission. Our Lutheran heritage, guides and influences, who, when, where and how! Things like Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, God’s Word, Grace, The Cross of Christ, all mean something vital to our relationship with God and one another. In other words these are the core values.
I know, these are simple, straight forward and theologically deep, but they are the core values of how we believe, experience, understand who we are and whose we are. Yes we can go into the deep end of the pool in our discussions and explanations of these significant aspects of our faith. But we should in no way be surprised that by focusing on these pillars of our faith, we are identified us as followers of Christ. These core beliefs separate us from the culture we live in as they should.
When we get done in our review and study of our core values and our mission, I hope that we will not forget those essential markers that identify us as Jesus people! Amen!