Mission, vision, purpose, values. These are words that drive much of an organization’s attempts to increase its effectiveness as an organization. For me, the one most frequently overlooked or undervalued is the matter of values. Values drive decision-making in many ways because what you consider important (whether articulated or not) is what determines your decision.
Shared values are important for organizational effectiveness. When Commissioner David duPlessis became Territorial Commander in South Africa, he confronted the treacherous realities of ministering in a culture emerging from decades of apartheid by articulating the values by which he would lead the Territory. Some years ago, I followed his example and set forth the values by which I wanted the part of the organization that I was leading to operate.
During our current time of social upheaval, it has become obvious to me that there is a clash of values at the heart of what is happening: safety vs. freedom, rights vs. responsibilities, economic security vs. health security, which identity group dominates our thinking (race, religion, nationality, gender, etc.), etc., etc.
For the purpose of this blog, I decided to revisit the values statement I used to guide decision-making in the Divisions I led. Over the next few weeks, I’ll set them out and reflect on their current applicability.
#1. Our common love for God will be the principal motivation for all we do, our devotional life will be the source of our strength, and the Scriptures will be the basis of our guiding principles.
This value comes directly from The Salvation Army’s Mission Statement: our “ministry is motivated by the love of God.” There are two dimensions to this statement – 1) the love of God for us draws us to him and issues in 2) our love for him, expressed in obedience to his commands.
Our love for God means a desire for intimacy with him, which drives our devotional life and results in a deepening relationship and growing spiritual strength.
The Word of God revealed in Scripture is “the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.” Our guiding principles must be Biblical principles – for us as individuals and for the organization we serve. As Christians contend with new paradigms for worship and fellowship, e.g., it is important that we keep Scripture and not politics as the source of our guiding principles.
#2. People matter to God, therefore they matter to us. Compassion will characterize our ministry, courtesy our social and business interactions, and consideration of the needs of others our service.
It is easy in the warp and woof of organizational life to forget that “meet[ing] human needs in His name” is intrinsic to our gospel proclamation. It is about people! (For example, any discussion about schooling during a pandemic that talks about anything other than the best interests of the children is a sad case of missing the most important thing. It is about the children!)
We do damage to our witness when compassion, courtesy, and consideration give way to anger, argument, and arrogance – which is happening too much lately IMHO. We are quarreling over “black lives” vs. “blue lives” and more than our egos are being bruised!! People matter. PERIOD
This is where I start. It’s where Jesus started when asked the greatest commandment. He replied, “Love God. Love your neighbor.” That’s the foundation for all other values.
More to come. Praying for you still.