the shape of leadership

Six Benefits of Clearly Defined Values

Let people know what’s important to you

Influence Magazine on May 3, 2019

Words like “vision,” “mission” and even “values” are seemingly interchangeable for many leaders and pastors. But there are distinctions between these terms, however slight they may seem. In Value-Driven Leadership, Aubrey Malphurs provides a helpful definition of values: “a church’s constant, passionate, sacred core beliefs that drive its ministry.”

Values are not vision. Vision tells you what to do, but values dictate how to do it. Mission, on the other hand, is more about going from value to vision — a sort of map, if you will.

Understanding what values are can help you appreciate the importance of keeping them at the forefront of your ministry. Here are six benefits of clearly defined values:

1. Values Inspire Change

Without clearly defined and stated values, people will just assume the status quo is acceptable. While not everything must change, there are plenty of things that need to change. When you share your values with others, they can see both the need for change and the positive impact ahead.

When you share your values with others, they can see both the need for change and the positive impact ahead.

2. Values Predict Direction

In the same way, values will give direction to your ministry. Everyone knows the change you want to implement. They are the driving force behind why you do what you do on a weekly and daily basis.

3. Values Attract Helpers

People who are willing to put in hard work are looking for a place to do it. When they see you have clearly defined values, they will want to invest in your vision.

4. Values Create Hope

You’ll have an enhanced ability to see the end point of your mission when you clearly define your values. That end point is one of hope. We have an eternal hope, the end point of our life on earth. But we also have shorter, more attainable mile markers in ministry. Each one gives hope for abundant life.

5. Values Ignite Enthusiasm

When you clearly define what is important, people get excited. As Malphurs puts it, values are “the invisible motivators that move people’s hearts toward meaningful ministry.” Shouldn’t you want that for your church?

6. Values Increase Credibility

Your people will decide what’s important to you. You can influence their thinking by being clear about your values, or you can leave it up to them. When you share your values, you are laying claim to the direction and outcome of your ministry. And when you follow through on them, your credibility can only increase.

Keeping your values in front of your staff and congregation is vital to the continued success of your vision. It also encourages people to go in the same direction as they understand what you are passionate about. Continue sharing your values with your congregation, demonstrating them in your community, preaching about them in your sermons, and walking them out in your life.

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