We all have values. Whether we are aware of them or not, there are values that we allow to drive our lives. Most people have not taken the time to think about what those values are and how important it is to be intentional about developing the right values in our lives.
Values are important, because values create behaviors and behaviors create culture. When we find ourselves in difficult situations or environments that are not producing the results that we desire, we have a culture problem.
And how important is culture? Leading leadership guru Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for breakfast. Basically, what he is saying is you can have the greatest plan or strategy in the world, but if you do not have a healthy culture, it will trump your plans every time.
At Immanuel Baptist Church, we have created a set of values that we want to drive our behaviors and our culture. It is a set of values that should be reflected in every decision we make and every ministry that we provide.
Our first value is love God. In the greatest commandment Jesus said the most important thing we can do is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Everything we do at Immanuel will reflect our love and commitment to God.
Our second value is invest in relationships. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as our self. Our love for God should drive us to love our neighbor. At Immanuel, we will invest in people’s lives and show them the love of Jesus.
Our third value is focus on serving. Jesus said that He did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. As we reflect the character of Jesus we will serve those in our community.
Our fourth value is to engage the culture. Jesus modeled this by coming into our world, becoming one of us and giving His life to reach His creation. Our job as believers in Christ is not to isolate ourselves from the world but to insulate ourselves from the world. We are commanded to be in the world but not of the world. As a church, we must engage the culture so that we can show the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world.
So how can you make sure that values are being instilled in your family, your business, your church or your life? First, I would challenge you to list your values. They may not be actual yet, but list out what you would like to set the course for the rest of your life.
Second, make them public. If you are a church or a business, it should be the first and the last thing your people see. If it’s for you or your family, print them on a sheet of paper, laminate it and place it in a place where you and your family can see it daily. Third, make and support decisions based on your values. The best way to allow your values to shape your culture is to make them work.
A great question to ask yourself is this. Are you living life or is life living you? If you are in the category of driven by life, then change the tide by giving your life to Jesus, creating values that are based on scripture and leading those around you to live a life that matters.
Jeff Pratt is gathering pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.