9 Reasons Values Matter to a Church

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  1. They determine ministry distinctives.
  2. They dictate personal involvement.
  3. They communicate what is important.
  4. They guide change.
  5. They influence overall behavior.
  6. They inspire people to action.
  7. They enhance credible leadership.
  8. They shape ministry character.
  9. They contribute to ministry success.

From Look Before You Lead: How to Discern & Shape Your Church Culture by Aubrey Malphurs.

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Values Drive Commitment

I often hear pastors say, “I can’t get anyone in my church to serve.” “I can’t get anyone to give or invite their friends or get in a group, or ____________.”

The reality is that what we believe and what is important drives how we live.

If we don’t give and live generous lives, it means we don’t believe the gospel is generous and we don’t understand how our response is to be thankful and be generous to others as God has been generous with us.

If we don’t use our gifts, it is because we don’t believe the way God has wired us is important or that we will be held accountable for those gifts.

If we don’t share the gospel with those we know and love who don’t know Jesus, we are saying the gospel isn’t that great. We are also saying that we don’t believe the Holy Spirit lives in us and can work in our lives.

When we don’t let people into our lives in community, we care more about what others believe about us and less about what God thinks of us.

What we believe, what we value drives our commitment to things.

What Guides Revolution #9 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#9:  We will target men.

Whether you realize it or not, every church and organization has a target. I hear pastors say all the time, “We’re trying to reach everyone.” This sounds right and biblical, but is not possible. Whether a church admits it, they have a target.

What kind of music is played?

How loud is it?

What is the preaching like?

What is the dress like?

How much money and manpower is spent on kids and student ministries?

What time are the services?

These are just a few basic questions. Another way to figure out your target if you don’t know, look at who is coming to your church.

When we started Revolution, we looked at this idea and we looked at who we could best reach with the people already in our church, who was on our heart and who didn’t go to church. Across the nation, the least likely group to go to church are 20 – 40 year old men. So we set out to reach them.

When we think about sermon ideas, music, videos, how we do church, we filter it through the lens of a 20 – 40 year old man.

This gets misinterpreted as “Revolution doesn’t like women.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here is one thing that is true about churches. When it comes to graphics, sermons, songs, atmosphere. Women like what men like, but men don’t like what women like. Don’t believe me? Ask a man.

This was brought home to me yesterday. We were hanging out with some new Revolutionaries and she said that before coming to Revolution she was told, “we don’t like women.” We talked with them about it and she shared some of her thoughts about it. I mentioned, that if a woman gets connected at a church in women’s ministry and gets her spiritual needs met, not only does this keep her husband from having to fulfill his God given role as the spiritual leader of the family, but it will keep him from getting connected at that church. He will come home from work, feel tired and think to himself, “She’s connected, I’m tired, so we don’t need to do anything else at church.”

At this point, most women will speak up in disagreement. Yet (and her husband did this), almost all men will say, “That is exactly true.”

Ask most Christian husbands why they aren’t more involved at church and they will eventually tell you it is because they don’t need to be because she is. He is “So and so’s husband.” Too many churches by looking through the lens of women have actually created a place where a man doesn’t want to or feel connected to. (A great book on this is David Murrow’s Why men hate going to church).

The funny thing is that if I didn’t tell you this was our target, you might not be able to tell. We try to do it in subtle ways, but the reality is women will go to church with a man, but it doesn’t always happen the other way around. In fact, I can’t tell you how many women have come up to me and said, “This is the first church my husband likes.”

We believe that biblically, the husband is to lovingly lead his house, he is to pastor his wife (and kids), he is responsible to God for the spiritual well-being of his wife and kids and will one day make an account for this before God. Not the woman. This doesn’t mean that men rule over their wives in a domineering way or always get there way. Men are called to love and serve their wives and kids. But they are also called to lead them spiritually. That’s what we want to do, call men to fulfill their roles and responsibility. We want men to be men.

If we pull this off, we will be the most family friendly church in Tucson.

What Guides Revolution #8 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#8:  We will expect guests

Every church would like to have guests, at least that is what they say. You drive by most churches and their sign will say “visitors expected.”

One of the things that has been in our DNA from day one is that we want to reach people. To do that, we need to have an expectation that people will come to Revolution or that we will bring people with us. But not only that, we must create an environment that will make people want to come back.

The reality is, whenever someone comes to Revolution, that is a gift, one of God’s creation that we need to treat with respect and honor God by being prepared for them. The reality is, God does not send people to churches that are not prepared for them to come. Why would God allow someone to enter a place that won’t honor God, that will give someone a bad taste in their mouth? If someone is ready to hear the gospel, God is going to send them to a place where they will hear it, be welcomed and get a good picture of who God is.

Do your church building and environment say, “We’ve been waiting for you?” One of the best compliments for us is when a pastor or a church planter comes to Revolution and says, “You can tell you’re expecting guests.” Awesome.

What Guides Revolution #7 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#7:  We want Tucson to be grateful we’re here.

There has been a question circulating through church leaders over the last several years that I think is a good one to reflect on:  If your church disappeared, would anybody notice? And if they noticed, would it be good or bad that they noticed? What would they remember you for?

We want to be a church that loves our city, that serves our city, a church that our city would be grateful to have as part of the city.

This is a huge dream and a daunting task.

One of the ways that we do that is by doing what we call missional life projects. This is where we serve other organizations in Tucson. We go to them and ask, “How can we serve with you, how can we come alongside of you and help do what you are doing?”

What Guides Revolution #6 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#6:  Making it hard to go to hell from Tucson

Our mission at Revolution is to “help people find their way back to God.” This means, we want to be God’s agents in Tucson to help people find their way to God and into the kingdom of God and out of hell.

To many churches play defense, let’s keep the world out. Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that he is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Gates were put up in the ancient world to keep things out, they were the defense mechanisms. That means, as a church we are to be on offense.

We put it this way, “We want to storm the gates of hell with our super soakers loaded.”

We will not play defense, we will not seek to keep the world out, we will be in the world bringing Jesus to the world. This means, at Revolution, we will do everything short of sinning to help people find Jesus and begin a relationship with him. We will challenge each other and hold each other accountable to building relationships with people outside of the church to help them find Jesus.

This is why Jesus left us here on earth (Matthew 28:18 – 20; Acts 1:8).

This also means that we will expect to grow. Throughout the gospels, crowds followed Jesus around. I believe that if a church points people to Jesus, they will grow, they should expect to grow. It is a law of the universe, if you aren’t growing you are dying. Our goal is not to be huge, our goal is to be healthy and help people “find their way back to God.”

What Guides Revolution #5 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#5:  Saturday Matters

I get asked all the time why I say Saturday night is going to be awesome? Because I go to church expecting God to show up and do something. I pray all week and pray through my sermon and prepare with the expectation that people are going to find Jesus through what we do on Saturday night.

We work hard to create an atmosphere where people, whether they’ve been Christians for 20 years or are still checking out Jesus or are skeptical, that they can feel comfortable, follow along and connect with God.

This means, we need to be building relationships with people outside of the church and bringing them, praying along the way, expecting God to do something in their lives at church.

When you arrive on a Saturday, you need to come expecting God to show up and do something HUGE! Because our leaders and creative team believe that God is going to move in our worship gathering and meet us there and change lives!

We work hard to not only make our worship gathering great and give every opportunity to connect with God, but the same goes for our first impressions team, our Planet Rev team and Rev Up.

Because, Saturdays matter.

What Guides Revolution #4 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#4:  Excellence matters

I’ve never understood this statement: “It’s good enough for church.” Translation:  “I think so lowly of God that I will give him my leftover crap.”

This does not mean that we are shooting for perfection, this means that God expects our best and we will give it to him (Malachi 1:6 – 14). This means that when it comes to sermons, music, drama, video, kids, first impressions, everything will be done with a level of excellence.

What do I mean by excellence?

Doing the best we can with what we have.

This means, we will work hard, practice and prepare well and when we do something, we will do it to the best of our ability. That is what is “good enough” for church. The best we can do.

What Guides Revolution #3 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#3:  We will stay simple.

When I was growing up, we were at church all morning on Sunday morning:  Sunday school and then church. Back for choir practice Sunday afternoon, then church. Back Wednesday night, throw in some other ministries and you are living there.

A few years ago I was in a staff meeting at a church I just started working at. The Executive Pastor said with a smile, “If you wanted to, your family could be at our church 7 nights a week.” I asked, “Is that good?” You should have seen the glares I got. Apparently, I didn’t know what was “good.”

One of the things that has driven us is to be simple. At Revolution, we want to do a few things and we want to do them well. When we got started, we looked at what the Bible said a Christian was, what they did, what practices they were involved in and then set out to just do those things (worship, teaching, serving, community, reaching out).

Right now, here’s what we do:

  1. Worship gathering
  2. Small groups
  3. Kids ministry (Planet Rev)
  4. Student ministry (Rev Up)
  5. Missional Life Projects (outreach/serving)

One of the things we are doing to stay simple is with small groups. They run on semesters. There are 3, 12 week semesters each year, with a 4 week break in between. This is when we have sign ups for the upcoming semester. We also do most of our missional life projects in the context of small groups in place of having a “normal” small group time that week.

As you can see from the list above, there are a few less things than the church you grew up in. This is intentional. Does this mean the list will always be this small? Not necessarily, but we are not going to do something just because another church does it.

When a new idea comes up we ask:  Will this help us reach our target (20 – 40 year old men), can we do it better than anyone else? If we can’t do it better and someone else is doing it, our stance is how can we support them and be a part of what they’re doing? The goal is not to grow Revolution, but to expand the kingdom of God in Tucson.

What is interesting about this is the only push back we get on this is from people with a churched background. Unchurched people don’t give push back to this idea. The conversations I have with people as to why we don’t do more are always interesting. I will say something like this, “This isn’t the only biblical way to do church, it is just the way we do church. It may not seem right, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t work.” By staying simple, we are able to help people grow, not kill themselves with church activities, and stay on mission. Because their calendar doesn’t revolve around church, you are able to build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus and live out the gospel in front of them and share it with them. If you are always with Christians at church, you aren’t able to do that.

I think this philosophy is one of the reasons God is blessing Revolution and moving the way he is.

What Guides Revolution #2 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#2:  We value life change

It is about changed lives. We’re not interested in helping people bloated Christians, we don’t want a church full of people who can score 100% on a bible knowledge test (unless they can apply it).

When you hear a sermon, when you’re in a small group, when you serve, it should change you.

When I preach, I’m not thinking this is a class or that I am trying to teach you something. I’m trying to point to Jesus and showing how, through the text, he can change you and make more like him.

This means, we are interested in who you are becoming than who you were.

Why?

Because Jesus changes lives.

We are here on earth to do one thing, take the message of Jesus to the planet (Acts 1:8). There are churches and Christians who are not into that. If that is, Revolution will drive you nuts. We are more interested in helping people find Jesus than making sure we are all comfortable while doing it.

When I stand in heaven, I want to see the rows of people who are there because of what God did through Revolution than to see a small group of people who were happy that we kept things the same, didn’t ruffle feathers and held up traditions over helping people stay out of hell.