Pastor’s Retreat and Values
In our recent pastor and spouse retreat, we spent an hour around tables discussing the values of the ENY/NE District. After talking for a while, each group placed values on sticky notes and placed them on our Journey Wall. According to this exercise, the following are things that we have valued across the years.
· District Superintendents
· Inward focus
· The Word
· Pastoral heart
· Small town
· Family atmosphere of district
· Traditional way of doing church
· Communication among churches
In the general discussion that fallowed, someone blurted out, “What we have valued has been mostly about us.”
While many of the values in this list are admirable, upon closer examination, one begins to see that acceptance, growth, change, and risk-taking had no place in our value system. Instead, we were comfortable with “the same”. We did not want our boat rocked. Outsiders and outside ideas were held at arm’s length. This resulted in stagnant thinking and little growth.
We then turned our attention to the values that we want to have as we move forward into a new era. Once again, discussion took place around the tables and sticky notes went on the wall. This time a different set of values surfaced.
· Global ministry focus
· Church planting
· Spiritual formation
· Leadership recruitment
· Preaching and living the Word
· Caring for one another
· Leadership integrity
· Respect for each other
· Support of the pastors
· Retired pastors
· Heart holiness
· Church refocusing
· Leadership development
· Generational ministries
· Encouraging the call to ministry
· Open-mindedness to change
As the values went up on the wall, one could sense an awareness coming over the group. “You know, if we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten. Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. We are not wanting ‘church as usual.’”
A spirit of hope and expectancy was in the air as it was verbalized that we did not have to stay where we are. Although much of our heritage has been good, it is now in the past. Going forward we must embrace these new values if we are to serve our generation. Otherwise, as a district, we will continue to drift along until the district has no strength nor will to live left.
Someone who had attended the meeting later said, “I have considered my values from time to time and I’ve been aware that there is a difference between ‘actual’ values (i.e. what my behavior reveals that I value) and ‘preferred’ values (i.e. what I wish I valued), but what occurred to me for the first time in this new discussion of district values is that I/we can and should be intentional about what we value and that our preferred values can, in fact, become actual values if we come to believe them to the point that it influences our behavior.”
Now that you have had time together and the discussions of our Journey Wall, I would welcome your comments and observations. In a later communication, I will share with you, based on these preferred values, some of the direction that God has shown the DBA at their recent strategic planning retreat.