Tag Archives: Values

The Core Values of WPBF

Our church’s core values are posted on our website  but I want to take a brief opportunity to rephrase and expand on what we mean by those core values. I have tried to rephrase these values as “loves” since you value what you love. What you love you also pursue, so when we hold these things as values they also form what we aim for – our vision and our daily and long-term goals.

Unstated in this list of values is one that is foundational to all of them: We love God. We seek to glorify Him in all we do.

We love God’s Word (Biblical Truth)

We love the Bible because it teaches us about God. It is God Word to us.

We believe that the Bible is trustworthy and without error. We do not need to wonder whether or not it is telling us the truth. Because God never lies – he cannot – neither can his word. It is therefore also our authority. While interpretations of it may vary, it still wins the argument. We also believe that God’s word is sufficient. It gives us everything we need for life and godliness. This is why we preach from it every Sunday and while we meditate on it in weekly Bible studies. There are many other sources of good information, but the Bible will always remain our primary source. Finally, we believe that the Bible is clear, in the sense that its basic truths can be understood by anyone. Because it is accessible to all we all wrestle through it together. Certainly, there are many parts that are hard to understand, but it does not follow that only certain people, with particular degrees, can understand its plain meaning.

We aim as a church, then, to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and to together apply it to our lives.

We love God’s People (Loving Community)

Certainly, we are called to love the whole world, but we have a particular responsibility to love the local church. This love contains within it a goal and that goal is that we might become the mature body of Christ, firm in the faith and in the knowledge of God. There are many ways we demonstrate this love for one another but there are four called out in Ephesians 4 which I will briefly mention.

  • We aim to speak the truth in love.
  • We aim to use our gifts for acts of service, or to equip others for acts of service.
  • We aim to practice humility and deference to the needs of others.
  • We make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bonds of peace.

How does this play out? We aim to right any wrongs as quickly as possible. If there is a disagreement about preferential matters, we try to defer to the desires of others. It’s OK, even great, when I don’t get “what I want.” Even when we disagree about a particular we try to remain united in what we can all agree on and stay united to the mission God has given us.

We Trust Our Heavenly Father (Trusting God)

To state in terms of love: We love obedience to God greater than we love our own “success.” Or, to put it another way, our “success” is measured in terms of our obedience to God. This is really just another way of self-evaluation. Our primary criteria for self-evaluation isn’t the size of our church or of a particular ministry, but whether or not we are doing the things God has called us to do and not doing the things God has forbidden. This frees us to focus on obedience, which is within our control, instead of results, which are given by our gracious heavenly Father in whom we put our trust.

Of course, we rejoice in growth, and how people are responding to the gospel is one of the criteria we measure ourselves by, but it is not the ultimate criteria.

We love God’s Word (Gospel Mission)

We are inspired by the love of God for us and we are compelled by his command to go into the world and make disciples. We do not exist for our own sake but we are sent, like Jesus was sent, because of God’s love for all mankind (see John 3:16).

We have a mission and that mission is to make disciples, to proclaim the good news of Jesus and call people to follow Jesus in every aspect of their lives, including obedience to the call to “make disciples.” This is how we live out love for God’s world.

This mission is holistic. The gospel is an essential component, but not the only component. People are whole people – body and spirit – and we are called to love them in that way. And so we seek to meet the physical needs of our community (and worldwide communities) and their spiritual needs as well.

What does this mean for our church? We aim to do this in a variety of ways, most obviously through our After School program, but we always need to be open to other ways of reaching out to the community God has placed us in.

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Church values: Church has value

The church website already answers the question “why should I go to church?”

Jesus says that all of those who believe in him are his people.  He says that we are like his “body” – his living and moving presence on the earth until he comes back to earth himself.

So, being part of a local church is really important!  It’s important because we learn about Jesus’ Word (the Bible) from one another, we love each other, and we know that if we serve Jesus together we will accomplish so much more than we ever could alone.

Being part of a church that follows Jesus is just another one of the ways that we obey Jesus and follow him, because he told us to be connected to one another and love one another as members of one “body” together.

I want to answer this same question, but from a slightly different perspective, that regularly attending church is a right and good response of worship to God.

This past Sunday the message was on Hebrews 1:1-3. This passage presents a picture of the Son, Jesus, as highly exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Such an image of Christ demands a radical response from us. We can either try to define God on our own terms or we can embrace the Son as the radiance of God’s glory. We can either respond in rebellion to His reign or we can worship the One who sustains the universe by His powerful word.

The response of worship is first of all a posture of the heart, mind, and will. But, like all religious responses, the internal “heart” response must always be followed by actions (James 2:14-26, 1 John 3:17-18). So, if we are to worship God properly we must do so not only in our hearts, but with our actions as well.

There are many ways to worship God – privately in prayer, around the table as a family – but the pattern of Scripture consistently emphasizes the regular practice of corporate worship, the coming together of the people of God to listen to the word proclaimed and respond in songs and acts of praise. This was the practice of Israel (for example, see Nehemiah 8 or the Psalms), the pattern in the early church (Acts 2:42-47), and is the ultimate vision of worship in heaven (Revelation 7:9-17).

In Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The purpose of this regular gathering is for mutual encouragement so that the people of God can “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (10:23) but it was also most certainly for the purpose of worshipping God together.

So, church matters, specifically, coming to church matters, for many reasons, not least of which is the proper response to the Son who deserves and demands our regular worship.

Church Values: Leadership Accountability

Over the past few weeks, Pastor John and I have been trying to highlight some of our church values. A couple weeks ago I did a blog post on our value of “holistic Gospel mission.” Yesterday, John spoke to our church about our value to have accountability in leadership.

We believe we are all on temporary assignment. Right now, Pastor John and I serve as leaders and teachers. We have the blessing of serving along many other godly men and women, all trying to serve God and build up the church. However, because of our leadership positions, and because we are paid staff, we want to be extra transparent with our time and our tasks.

Practically speaking, this means that every month we submit an hour report and task report to the board for their review. These reports are available to anyone, though I’ve never received a request. Others on our staff also submit reports to the board for review.

At the board level, this means that we publish the minutes from our board meetings.

Theologically, we value this because we recognize that we are accountable to those we serve in the church. Also, we recognize that we are to walk as children of light (Eph 5:8).

This Sunday John preached on portions of Isaiah 8 and 9. The passage provides a contrast between the people who live in darkness and God’s promise of a “great light” – which is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. Since we follow up our worship services with group discussion time in our Bible Fellowship Groups we got the opportunity to think more about the practical implications of this passage.

One of the discussion questions was, “what can you do to get out of darkness?” I think one of the answers is this – honesty and openness. This is also one way to stay out of darkness. Ultimately, we’re accountable and transparent because we recognize our own human propensity to sin, and secrecy provides the environment where sin can grow. The habit of regular reporting our hours may be somewhat trivial, but, Lord willing, it’s a discipline that helps us stay in the light.

Church Values: Gospel Mission

Halfway around the world, fighting has broken out along the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The violence has thrown the already volatile and troubled region into renewed chaos. Residents are fleeing the city of Goma.

Given that our church has a relationship with some missionaries who have served in the area, today (Sunday) we presented the church with an opportunity to provide emergency funds to provide displaced people in the area with basic necessities. These missionaries also regularly provide goats for widows and bicycles for local pastors in the region. They also equip local pastors to teach their congregations “the whole council of God.”

Our church’s relationship with these missionaries is relatively young, but we’re excited about it, not only because of the great good they are doing in an extremely dangerous part of the world, but because their values closely mirror our values as a church.

As I’ve noted before, the unique mission of the church is that of gospel proclamation, that is, bringing the good news that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and that, for any who will come to Him in faith, He will give eternal life now and forever. That being said, we still have the responsibility to help the needy whenever we are given the opportunity. Sending money to local churches in the DRC and Rwanda is a way we can meet that need.

We as a church value “holistic Gospel mission.” That is, we want to reach out to the whole person, both their physical and spiritual needs. Whenever possible, we don’t want to sacrifice one for the other. Some situations call for us to meet a spiritual need. Some call for us to meet a more practical or pressing need.

This is part of what we’re trying to do with our After School program. One of our primary motivations for starting the program was to provide kids in our area with a safe and fun place to go between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00. Local city leaders had informed us that this was a dangerous time for kids, where they could get recruited into gangs or get into trouble. We were trying to meet a very practical need for the city. But, it’s also a great opportunity for us to teach the kids about God – to present them with a message they might not hear anywhere else.

On face value – comparing our mission to the kids of Wyoming and our missionaries’ mission to the displaced in DRC/Rwanda – seems trite. Certainly, the conditions in DRC/Rwanda are much more dire. Nevertheless, the two missions come out of the same value set, a desire to meet the practical and spiritual needs of the world around us, by loving, serving, and proclaiming Christ.

Note: This post is the first of a series on the values of the church where I currently serve: Wyoming Park Bible Fellowship and this post appears there as well.