“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; ”(Matthew 13:44-46, NRSV)
We invest ourselves in what is important to us. This is true of individuals and of churches. We may develop ambitious vision, mission, and goal statements, but we know what is really important to us when we look at where church members invest their time, what the staff gives priority, and how we use our financial and physical resources.
For example, if we say we value serving the community and deny the use of our building to a ministry directed to the homeless, we are lying to ourselves. If we say we value children and don’t volunteer to work with them or allocate resources to improve the facilities they use, we are hypocrites.
We invest in what we value. The first step in measuring success is to determine what are our values as a congregation. Values undergird everything we do. We often express a set of superficial values that is very different from our deep intrinsic values. If a person says he values family time, but works 16 hours a day, six days a week, I question that assertion.
Every church should take to time to discuss and identify its values. If we value the beauty of our facility and want to maintain it in a pristine condition, let’s be honest about it because that will determine how we allocate our resources. If we value engagement with the world, we will let some other things go in order to pursue that value.
Values are our “north star.” When the storms of time, space, and budget allocation buffet us, our values call us back to what is important to us as a church.
What do you really value?