Purpose: To share the ‘why’ behind the 4 core values of Word of Life
- The leader will have a deep and accurate understanding of the Core Values of WOL, as well as their personal and ministerial application.
About Stating Goals and Purpose....
- Word of Life believes in the importance of fields having goals and stating purpose.
- Creating goals are not critical to success.
What do core values do?
- Core Values help us in our decision making. It’s not just enough to know what our core values are – we actually have to refer back to them and remind ourselves of them when making decisions about current and future programs. Just because an idea is pitched and it seems to be have merit, it doesn’t make it ‘strategic’ in advancing our goals.
- Core Values help potential partners to know what we stand for. We know what WOL is – but billions of people do not. Core Values helps Moms and Dads, potential college students and donors to think carefully about what we stand for.
- Core Values help with recruitment of staff and retention. When a prospective missionary is considering WOL as an organization to serve with, it’s imperative that they can easily discern what we value the most and why. In addition, current staff can rehearse our core values as they remind themselves as to why God called them to our ministry and how He wants to use them to reach His goal of global evangelism.
What do core values allow us to achieve? (Select all that apply)
- Core Values help us in our decision making.
- Core Values help potential partners to know what we stand for.
- Core Values help with recruitment of staff and retention.
WHAT ARE OUR 4 CORE VALUES?
These 4 values were arrived at after diligent and rigorous discussion with our leadership team. It was decided that as we looked at what WOL is what we have stood for (and will continue to stand for) these 4 values best represented our organization.
Can you name our 4 core values?
- Learning, Follow-Up, Goals and Scriptures
- Discipleship, Missions, Conferences and Youth
- Scriptures, Evangelism, Discipleship, Youth
- Jack, Harry, George, Joe
CORE VALUE 1: SCRIPTURE
Obviously the Scriptures are ‘important’ to you, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be serving with an organization such as Word of Life. But when you move past ‘importance’ and move into ‘practicality’ how should we view the Scriptures and be using the Scriptures in our ministries? What does a Scripturally intentional ministry look like?
- A Scripturally intentional ministry elevates the Scriptures in our personal lives.
It is very easy for those of us who are ministers of God’s Word to forget to feed on God’s Word apart from our sermon preparation or teaching time. This isn’t just about setting a good example for our staff or our families, this is about making our daily communion with God the ultimate priority of our lives. Our public ministry and it's eternal 'worth' will always be from the outflow of our personal time with the Lord. We never want to become 'professionals' in our approach to ministry (meaning: we want to be men who first and foremost are passionate about the Lord personally, not merely 'professionally' or because our job requires it).
- A Scripturally intentional ministry elevates the Scriptures in our platform ministry.
- Points are made primarily with Scriptural evidence. What this means is that when we are talking to young people about life change we have to at some point in the conversation derive our authority from the Scriptures. It can be very easy to prepare subject matter that can be highly engaging and culturally relevant, but if it’s not basing it’s direction from the Bible then our content is merely human based and we will not see lasting heart change. In the days that we’re living in this is one of the factors that will set WOL apart from other youth ministries (and we don’t say that arrogantly but with a certain amount of sobriety).
- When the gospel is shared the Scriptures are the main focus, not just alluded to. So – the testimony of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection needs to be addressed from the pages of Scripture, not just our memories. We are sharing from the accounts of the gospels and the epistles with texts and references. We can all fall into the trap of making much about what God is doing from an illustrative standpoint and forget to discuss what God wants to do through the Scriptures.
- A Scripturally intentional ministry elevates the Scriptures in staff life.
What that means is this – if the only time that our staff families hear references to the Scriptures is when we’re in platform ministry to young people, then we are sending the wrong message. When counseling our staff, during general staff meetings, when in casual conversation it’s important that the people around us hear us speaking Scriptural words and driving people back to God’s Word for answers. The use of Scripture needs to be a normal part of life at our ministry locations.
In what ways do you believe the Scriptures should impact our personal lives?
In what ways do you believe the Scriptures should be elevated in our platform ministries?
In what ways do you believe the Scriptures should be elevated in staff life?
CORE VALUE 2: EVANGELISM
Since the inception of our ministry we have been focused and determined to keep evangelism as the core of what we do. It's imperative that all of our global fields keep evangelism as the bedrock of all ministries and refuse to allow the drift of other opportunities to take our focus off of this command from our Lord. What should we consider when it comes to keeping evangelism as a primary focus?
- Evangelism has to be hard-wired into our goals. It’s not enough to just say we’re ‘evangelistically minded’ – we need to put into action our desire to share Christ. As a ministry leader we will be requiring you to make evangelism a personal and corporate responsibility. We will be asking you annually to submit to us your plan as a field to share Christ.
- Evangelism isn’t a program – it’s sharing a Person. That probably sounds cliché – and maybe it is – but think about it for a moment…is what is happening in the name of the gospel actually sharing the ‘gospel’ or simply facilitating Christian gatherings? That can be a tough question to answer. You will know you’re sharing a Person when you take the time during your WOL activities to actually talk about Jesus Christ and His substitutionary work.
- Regardless of culture – at some point you have to ‘cast the nets’. It can be too easy for us to say “I can’t give an invitation in my country because of the culture.” That’s too broad of a statement for us to accept at face value. Even if conducting a stereotypical invitation is considered ‘off-limits’ for your culture, at some point in your relationship with the people God has given to you we are requiring you to bring them to a point of decision about what they will do with Jesus Christ. This doesn’t have to be in front of people in a meeting (though it can be) and it doesn’t have to be at the start of a week of camp (though it could be). But at some point during a specified season of interaction with a young person we need to ask them to consider the claims of Christ and what they are going to do about it.
Do you believe it's important to have a gospel invitation? Why or why not?
CORE VALUE 3: DISCIPLESHIP
Defining ‘discipleship’ can sometimes be like defining what ‘nice weather’ is – it can be incredibly varied and driven by many different opinions based on your own personal experiences. While this may be true – the principle behind discipleship is fairly universal, but the practice of it is not. The principle behind discipleship is teaching Christians the commands of Christ and helping them to observe them (Matthew 28:20). This principle is what we’re primarily concerned with – but the practice is an important consideration also. In what ways?
- Intentional. There are few things in life that just ‘happen’ – and discipleship isn’t really one of them. It’s not that we need to create a specific ‘road map’ towards Christlikeness for all of our staff or campers, but what we do need to be accomplishing is serious work towards creating an environment where discipleship can/will occur.
- Learner/Teacher relationships. Jesus said that “teaching” had to be occurring as we’re helping people to follow His commands (if uncertain about this read 'The Great Commission' again). That implies that there is a ‘teacher’ and a ‘learner’. So, we must be making sure that our staff involved in influencing young people are growing in their ability to ‘teach’ and in their ability to influence a learner. They need to know what to do when they are intersecting with a ‘learner’. We’ll go more in-depth on that in future sessions.
- A ‘One-Two’ Punch. Ultimately evangelism is the first step in making disciples. We need to be intentionally introducing people to Christ and intentionally helping them become like Christ in our ministry. The two go hand in hand. What can start to happen on a field is one aspect dominating the other. This can be more readily seen on fields where there is a Bible Institute or Discipleship Training Center. We can easily slip into a ‘comfortable’ ministry mentality where all we are doing is training people in the ways of Christianity without any opportunities to go about and tell others about Jesus.
- Usually discipleship just happens.
- Jesus said "teaching" was an important part of the Great Commission.
- There's really nothing wrong with focusing on either evangelism or discipleship.
CORE VALUE 4: YOUTH
By ‘youth’ what we’re saying primarily is people in a traditional ‘student’ phase of life – so that is traditionally preschoolers through college. That doesn’t mean that you will be carrying out intensive ministry with that whole phase of life (you rarely will be) – but what it does mean is that ministry to/with people outside of that target phase of life is not in our mandate as an organization. It doesn’t mean it can’t ever happen – but our focus must be on youth in the ‘student’ phase of life.
What that means is this:
- You could have ministry to senior citizens, but that ministry would have to be with a ‘youth’ focused purpose. For example, you could have a luncheon for senior citizens or adults, but the purpose of that function is to share the needs of the young people you are primarily focused on serving.
- Likewise, you may be ministering to adults, but you’re ministering to them with young people that are under your ministry care. In all our ministry scenarios we should either be focusing on our ministry to youth, using youth to facilitate the ministry or discussing how people can partner with us to help us reach more youth.
Ministry to adults within Word of Life is acceptable if....
- It seems like a good ministry opportunity.
- We're using young people to achieve the ministry.
- We're sharing the needs of youth and asking for ministry partners.
- We're having a Bible Study that is changing lives.
How Does this Relate to Ministry Direction?
First and foremost, the Field Director in particular should have a thorough understanding of Word of Life’s mission, programs, and Core Values, and the context in which these components operate. Following the Field Director the leadership around him and under him should follow his lead in their understanding. It’s important that the core leadership team demonstrate alignment in our Core Values and their application to ministry.
Whether or not they provide the vision, field leadership are responsible for keeping core values at the forefront when making decisions about staffing, allocation of resources, and competing priorities.
The term “mission drift” is often used to describe the gradual accumulation of programs and activities that may not directly support the organization’s core mission or priorities. Entrepreneurial field directors, donors with very specific ideas, and board members with individual agendas all can contribute to mission drift. In WOL our “mission drift” often times occurs when one area of the ministry dominates; when there is a lack of balance.
A good process to go through with your leadership team (if applicable) is an analysis of what is currently being worked on in the field and decide which ones are the closest aligned to our Core Values. Areas of ministry that are not aligned should be carefully evaluated as to how they’re helping us achieve our purpose/mission. In some cases this could simply necessity a ‘tweak’, but in other cases areas may need to be eliminated. Remember – the ‘pruning’ process can seem difficult but ultimately it will allow other ‘branches’ to be strengthened.