While the United Methodist Church has agreed on its mission, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” we have yet to have a common agreement on what this means! Words like “disciple” and “transformation” are fairly nebulous and vague when you don’t have a common culture throughout your organization. Maybe this is just the nature of having a statement that is supposed to fit a global organization. Perhaps the best place to truly have mission and vision statements are on the local level.
In my mind, the best vision statements provide focus. They set the scope of your mission. In a way, they function like fences around a daycare playground. The fence keeps the kids in one general area, but within that area they have the freedom to play and do what kids do. Core values then, are like the behaviors we expect from the kids: play nice, share, etc.
So, a congregation and its leadership functions best when focused by a clear vision and guided by core values that can be embodied across the board. One of the places that understands core values better than anyone is Zappos, the online shoe specialist. Their core values are clearly and concisely articulated both in their culture and in their employees imagination. They are focused – THE online shoe store – and they understand the behaviors they embody in carrying out that mission.
- Deliver WOW through Service
- Embrace & Drive Change
- Create Fun & a Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth & Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
In my two interactions with Zappos, they deliver. While I was serving in a rural area of Oklahoma, I needed some brown dress shoes. Wearing size 14s, it becomes pretty hard to find exactly what you want and get them quickly. A friend told me about Zappos, so I took a chance. I needed them in a few days, and figured it would be cool if they could get them there in a couple of days, but if not I wasn’t going to have a real problem. I ordered them on Monday, and they were sitting on my porch Tuesday afternoon. Magic. WOW. I told everyone. They knocked core value #1 out of the park, and I’ve told the story several times. Mission accomplished on their part.
What are the core values in your church? What are the values you communicate in evereything you do from greeting guests on Sunday morning to cleaning up after wedding receptions? Do you know? When people leave your church on Sunday, do guests say, “WOW, I felt like an honored guest,” or do they say, “Wow…they acted surprised I was even there”? Do the people on your leadership team understand the values they’re called to embody in everything from answering the phone to sending out emails? If not, it may be time to give it some thought.