Oh, don’t we love them?
We’ve done the exercises. We’ve brainstormed. We’ve written them down. We’ve even put them on pallet walls.
But then what?
Maybe you’ve done the exercises because someone said so, or maybe because you saw value in it. But how do we go from cute values written on a Google doc to living them out?
A core value should be so fundamental it should function like a filter.
“Does this align with our core values?” If the answer is not a resounding yes, then it’s out.
I’m certain your church has core values and most likely they’ll have a verse associated with each. And while I don’t want to discourage you from having those, they rarely translate to how you are communicating with your audience. Mostly because they are generally too generic (redundancy for impact) or not applicable when it comes to how you communicate.
And let’s be honest. There’s a good chance they are not top of mind when working on church communications.
So, let’s change that, shall we?
How Many Core Values Should You Have?
I like to have 5 communication core values for churches. “But why?” — you ask. Five gives you enough variety to encompass different aspects of how you communicate without being overwhelmingly difficult to remember.
Can you have 3 instead? Or 7? Of course. I probably wouldn’t go beyond that but the number is up to you. So, rule of thumb: between 3 and 7.
Now that we have cleared the number, let’s make sure they are simple and easy to repeat. A 10-year-old should be able to know them, understand them and repeat them easily.
Four to five words each should suffice. These should not be vision statements, but core values that should speak for themselves.
Litmus test: can it be applied to how you communicate? If the answer is no, rethink it.
Here’s one example:
Represent the love of God
Bless, send and equip others
Remain faithful to scripture
Live from purpose in community
How to Bring Your Core Values to Life
Now, let’s bring them to life!
If you have a newsletter, build it so there is a section where the love of God is clearly represented. Maybe a reflection, devotional or simply a note from the pastor focusing on this one core value. This can also represent remaining faithful to scripture.
Below that, add a section for blessing, sending and equipping others. This could even rotate on a weekly basis where one week we focus on blessing, another on sending and another on equipping.
End with a section about living from purpose and in community.
Encourage your leaders through a dedicated email that goes out just to leaders.
And now these core values are alive and well.
Take it to social media. Could you create a weekly reel where you focus on living in community? Or a behind the scenes showing how you encourage your leaders?
Questions to Ask when Creating Core Values
And if you are wondering how to create your own, here are some questions to get you started. Don’t forget to invite your team:
As a church what breaks your heart?
As a church what gets you excited?
How do you want to be perceived in your community?
What is your church fighting for or against?
These questions should bring to the surface clarity about what’s your essence as a church and that’s where your core values flow from.
What do you think? Share your ideas below or on social media.
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