Values are what we stand for. And as the old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something then you’ll fall for anything.”
In the face of an ever-changing world we shouldn’t be saying, “How should we change?”, but rather we should be asking the question, “What do we stand for and why do we exist?” So when we are faced with societal change we can answer with a strong and clear trumpet sound.
Our values are tied to our vision. But the means do not justify the ends.
We can’t manipulate to get what we want even if what we want is God’s best. We need to stop building for the immediate and build for eternity; to build not just for our generation or our moment in the sun to build selflessly for the future generations. To stop asking what’s in it for me and start asking what’s in it for them in the future.
Our values are part of our sowing and reaping. We build now upon what we are believing for in the future. If we have to manipulate people to see them converted. Or if we do it at the point of a gun barrel or sword then what is the point?
Jesus made this statement many times, “The kingdom of God is within you”. He meant that it is the Kingdom of God that governs our heart and mind and outlook. We need Kingdom values not just the values of a culture or a particular movement.
Here are 10 of those values:
1. Being Radically Word Based:
The Bible plus nothing, the Bible minus nothing.
2. Letting Theology Fashion our Behaviour:
Instead of designing our theology to fit our chosen behaviour, our behaviour needs to bow to theology or the study of God’s Word. If we are going to be radically Word based then it also means that we have to act radically Word based. We don’t change our interpretation of scripture to fit our chosen pattern of behaviour.
3. Friendship Before Function:
Acts 2:42 gives us a glimpse of life in the early church, “They met together daily…ate together…” They were committed to doing life together no matter what differences they had or difficulties that came up with each other. Their relationships were valued over their position, job, task or function.
4. The Priesthood of all Believers:
1 Peter 2:9
God is equally accessible to all the faithful, and every Christian has equal potential to minister for God.
5. No Gaps!
No generation, gender, age, culture, economic or race gaps. The Church is to be all embracing. The pigment of my skin might be different, the amount of money in my paycheque might be different, the way I do my hair might be different. But when my culture, gender, race, age or economic level separate me from a brother in the Lord in anyway then it’s time for my culture, gender, economic status, age or racial discrimination to bow down at the feet of the Jesus.
6. Covenantal Relationships:
Acts 2:44-47 describes relationships that involve more than just showing up at church on Sunday morning and turning to the person behind you at the prescribed moment and greeting them. It’s about getting involved, committed and genuinely concerned about your Spiritual family. It is describing a people that are in love with God, each other and not the things of this world.
7. A Plurality of Leadership:
All throughout the New Testament model of the early church we see a plurality of leaders emerging at every level. We see deacons (Acts 6:1-7); church leaders and body (Acts 15:22); elders (Acts 20:17-31); and Translocal ministry (Ephesians 4:11-) working together for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Teams of leadership working together at every level.
8. A People of Faith:
Hebrews 11: especially vs. 6, Romans 10:6-17, Romans 4:16-5:1
9. A People of Prayer:
Acts 1:14; 2:42, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Colossians 4:12
10. The Church as God’s Healing Community:
In order to bring healing to people we must be a healed people ourselves. In order to bring life to people we must have life. If all we have is religion then that is what we will bring to people. If all we have is some form, pomp and ceremony then that is all we can expect to bring people into. We must be a radical new breed of convert that loves God, loves His Word and loves people. With a clear understanding that we are all part of the priesthood of believers it’s up to us to be whole in every area of our lives.