Do You Have Core Values?

One of the things I do when I work with churches is help them identify what their core values are. A lot of churches have a list of values somewhere on their website, but they don’t know what they really mean. Usually, it’s a long list of serious sounding statements that is too long for anyone to remember.

We take the time to brainstorm and think through – what are the foundational values that help define who we are as a church? These 6-7 statements will guide how we act, think and relate to each other. We will now expect every new employee to embody these values before they are hired. The foundation of performance reviews will be how well the staff member lives these statements.

Doing this exercise with churches has caused me to revaluate what my personal values are. I don’t know that I have ever sat down and thought through a few statements that will be the guardrails for how I make decisions and relate to those around me.

It’s easy to say that we are going to live our lives to be more like Jesus, but what does that mean? Jesus was single and travelled every day on foot with 12 other guys. I’m married with 2 kids and drive a CUV to get the groceries. What are the core values that consistently stayed true through his entire ministry?

Here are 3 that I am working hard to make mine, and the questions I am starting to ask every day:




It’s becoming more rare to find people who are kind. The issues are too big and we are too angry about them to show kindness. We worry that if the world sees us as kind, they will take advantage of it. Jesus did everything with kindness. Even when the disciples were asking the wrong questions, He would take the time sit with them to get them to the right place.

Am I pausing enough to make sure what I am about to say is kind?


I have replaced joy with the pursuit of happiness. Things, people and situations make us happy, only God brings us joy. Jesus had almost nothing by the world’s standards, but He lived life as if he had everything. Because He did.

How can I stop pursuing things to make me happy and just be content to live in the joy that only God gives me?


I am a selfish person. My natural pursuit in life is to be served, not to serve others. The lens of every conversation, every interaction, every dollar spent, is – what do I get out of this? Jesus came as a servant who put a towel on His shoulder to wash the feet of His followers.

What am doing today to serve someone without a thought of what I get in return?

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes.