Vision and Values
If we are not clear about where we are going and why it is important, then we are very unlikely to get there. Since this is unequivocally true, in ministry we talk a lot about Vision.
Unfortunately, in our desperate search for empowering Vision we sometimes leave the concept of Values behind. This is unfortunate because what Vision is to ends, Values are to means. Values define the culture in which we will pursue our Vision. In Christian ministry, the Vision itself is never sufficient. We must have as much concern about the process as we do about the end. Who we are is at least as critical as where we are going.
Over a decade ago the leaders of Fellowship Pacific realized that, not only were we not thriving, our region was actually in decline. Demonstrating a deep conviction regarding God’s desire for our ministry, the leaders began a daunting process of change. In short, they wiped the slate clean.
The most significant part of our change has been cultural. In the past five years the Region has endured the pain of rewriting our DNA, attempting to instill an overarching value of interdependence. Fellowship Pacific was born in 1927 out of our opposition to a modernist movement, which etched some deep grooves in the core values of our people and churches. Certainly, we claimed (and still claim) that the Word of God is our sole source of authority, however, often this was expressed as a statement of opposition to others. Those embedded roots have, at times, made it extremely difficult for us to joyfully work together, truly leveraging our collective partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the good of His Kingdom.
Partnership 2016 was a five-year pilot project in which our Region test-drove the simple, but authentically expressed value of partnership. Like each of you, we began with the question of Mission and Vision. However, we worked equally hard on the concept of process. It was a heavy, heady, and hard discussion of values.
At our Regional convention in April, with a vote of over 96%, our churches strongly endorsed the value of continued and growing partnership. These discussions of who we want to be have helped to redefine Fellowship Pacific, and been a critical part of the process that has resulted in a different end: average annual growth of over 7%, greatly increased finances, and a sense of God moving us together to something very special. In all of this, the glory belongs to God alone. But let’s also take a moment to appreciate Values. We ignore the culture of who we are at our own risk. Actually, that is not true: we ignore culture at the risk of who Jesus has called us to be.