First is a commitment to continual growth. Paul indicates the perpetual nature of our growth in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory." This ever-increasing glory originates from God which is what makes the process of transformation into His image compelling. Our aim is to be one in relation and likeness with Christ, so it is clear that this is a lifelong pursuit (Philippians 3:12) that will be fully realized only when He returns (1 John 3:2). So, like Paul, we have to be willing to keep changing and growing as the Lord works in us through the Holy Spirit. There exists a tension then between the contentment and peace that comes from knowing that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6), and the passionate effort to take hold the heavenly prize that is laid before us (Philippians 3:13-15). You will note that Paul indicates at the end of that discourse that all who are mature should think this way; this is not an optional or occasional mark of maturity in Christ. We look for quantifiable and qualify-able ways to measure the growth that is occurring in our lives, so that we can recognize God's work and give praise for what He has done.
Our second core value is thriving relationships. As our love for God is the greatest command we have, love for each other is next (Matthew 22:35-40; John 17). In every relationship, we should aim for increasing levels of healthy interaction, peace, building of trust, strengthening of understanding and care for one another. Paul expounds on Jesus' instruction to love one another in Ephesians 5:21. As an overlay to every specific relationship that he talks about, Paul says that we are to "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." So we can articulate with Paul what thriving relationships look like in our homes, our church, our workplaces and our communities.
Unrelenting Service Lifestyle follows as the next core value because every relationship should be characterized by service. Service is both a means to and one of the characteristic ends of maturity in Christ. Our new man grows and old man diminishes as we put down our own agendas to meet the needs of those around us. Likewise we are built up in our faith in God and His body when we are supported through the service of fellow believers. Since we belong to each other we gladly employ our gifts, time, and resources for the promotion of the body (Romans 12:4-8, 10; Galatians 6:10). "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." This perhaps provides the world the most practical and compelling evidence of maturity.
As we adopt a lifestyle of service, we believe that God would give us great courage and creativity to serve in ways that answer significant problems, meet real needs, and bring good returns. Like an entrepreneur who sees the opportunity to invest in a particular niche, though there may be considerable risk, he is willing to do something new in order to achieve success. So we make room, and increase our capacity to serve others significantly. This means that we put effort towards discovering and honoring the gifts that God would give each person to be effective in their serving.
The core value of exemplary leadership follows service. Jesus, the leader of leaders, came as one who served, and set the model for us to follow. The essence of our leadership is opposite from that of the world (John 13:12-17). We consider Moses' example, who served the nation of Israel, bravely standing against their enemies, and obediently following God's leadership. Our leadership will provide protection, direction, and security for those we lead as we articulate Goad's ways and give sound reason for our faith. As leaders we will conduct ourselves in such a way that the ministry might not be discredited (2 Corinthians 6:3).
The final core value is maintaining a long-term outlook. We are eternal being, created to be with an eternal God in an eternal family for...eternity. Though the concept of eternity haunts the heart of every man, too often the scope of mankind is short-term, temporal at best. This means to be an increasingly prevalent characteristic of our culture (think microwave and TV commercials). But our relationship with Christ calls us back to VERY long-term thinking in every aspect of every relationship and every endeavor. Our cost-benefit analysis must have an eternal perspective, and our commitment must be towards God's eternal kingdom. A long-term outlook gives us great grace and patience with others as well as ourselves.
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