Value Clarity 3: What’s Unique About You?

If you asked me for my personal values I might talk about integrity, or family, or humor. I would not talk about breathing or eating. The reality is breathing and eating are more central to my existence. I could certainly list them as my most critical values, but I wouldn’t. Why? Because they are givens, true of everyone, whereas values are distinctives.

If you asked for our church values I might talk about reaching radically lost people, or using irreverence to lead people to reverence. The reality is that the Lordship of Jesus and the authority of the Bible are more central to our church. We could certainly list them as our most critical values, but we don’t. Why? Because they are givens and should be true of every church, whereas values are distinctives. 

Patrick Lencioni uses the term “permission to play” to describe the “givens.” For instance, he argues that a business shouldn’t have “honesty” as a value, because it shouldn’t need to be mentioned. You don’t have “permission to play” with us if you’re not honest. And every business should be honest, whereas values are distinctives.

So what makes your church unique?

Think of it this way: Let’s say there’s a guy who studies churches. He spends a year at a church learning everything he can about it. Then he goes to another church and does the same. He’s been profiling churches for decades. This year he’s studying yours’. He’ll be at all your church services, study your budget, listen when you pray, sit in on all your staff meetings, and eavesdrop on all your conversations and counseling appointments. At the end of the year the two of you sit down and he says, “You know what’s interesting and impressive about your church? The things that really marks you as a church, what distinguishes you are…”

How would he finish that sentence? My guess is that those are your values.

So what would they be for your church?

Values are one side of the “Vision Frame” – a brilliant, clarifying tool from Auxano. If you want amazing coaching on discovering your values (as well as your mission, strategy and measures) get into an Auxano co-lab!