I'm preaching through a series on Core Values for my church. We have five: Truth, Beauty, Redemption, Community, & Mission. This Sunday the Core Value is community.
The series has been phenomenal, for me as the pastor-teacher and for the congregation. It's been a great discipline to derive some values for our church in our context, prepare the messages, and watch our people respond. The response has been exciting.
This has been a more difficult series in some ways for me. I typically preach through books of the Bible, so this is harder work. I also realize that once I define the values they are considered defined. I feel obligated to be comprehensive yet simple.
One thing I have done is to not only apply the values so we know how we live them out, but also to have one significant and challenging application each week. I want our people to respond concretely to each value.
So, for example, the first Core Value was truth. For our concrete application we took an offering for Bibles that we could buy in bulk and have for giving to friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. If we value truth, let's get the Word out! The offering allowed us to buy 120 ESV Bibles (Outreach Edition, both OT and NT). It's fun to watch our church respond and see something tangible happen because of it. The Bibles arrived early this week.
This week as I prepare to talk about community, I've realized how helpful it is for our community of believers to think through what we value together. God is doing some great things.