Core Values Matter… One Degree Makes a Difference

7 Feb 2012

One degree can make all the difference. A close compass reading may seem adequate at first, but along the way you may discover that you missed your destination. And all because of a ‘minor’ detail!

Mission agencies have many similarities, yet each has it’s own organizational culture and priorities. This is not to say one organization is better than another. Each has a place in God’s plan. However, it does mean that a careful look at the beginning of your journey is important.

Sometimes a movement starts out in passionate pursuit of a few clear core values, but these become diluted over time. It is important that core values are reduced to writing and are frequently reviewed and discussed. The Scriptures, for example, constantly bring God’s people back to the basics, including the priorities of loving God and loving our neighbours. The more effectively an organisation articulates it’s core values, the sharper their focus will be. Vision and enthusiasm will be enhanced. For example, when Hudson Taylor launched the China Inland Mission, he and his colleagues had a few clear core values. They were passionate about authentic spirituality, evangelising the interior regions of China, using contextualised methods, depending on God for His provision, and sharing that provision with one another.

To be effective, core values should be few in number and succinctly stated. They should reflect both the reality of what one will find in the organization, as well as the vision of what the group aspires to achieve in the future. The purpose of a set of core values is not to say everything that is important about an organization, but to highlight a few critical priorities. Over the years, PIONEERS missionaries and leaders have reviewed our core values to see if they reflect who we are and to ensure they are clearly stated. As a result of accelerated internationalization, we have examined them afresh from a global perspective.

None of PIONEERS core values stand alone. Together, they form a personality and culture that has been specially tailored by God to help establish churches in diverse and difficult places around the world.

Core Value: Passion for God

First, we want to have faith in God. We want to be passionate about knowing, trusting, and glorifying Him in everything we do around the world. This will be reflected in our dependence upon prayer, our integrity, and our enthusiastic obedience of His Word. We want to be a group of people who are genuinely led by God.

Core Value: Unreached Peoples

We believe that our primary calling from God is to proclaim Christ among unreached peoples–those groups remaining in the world who have the least opportunity to hear and understand the life-giving message of the Gospel. There are still many hundreds of ethno-linguistic groups who do not have their own churches. Our passion is to bring the first spark of light to these dark places.

Core Value: Church-Planting Movements

Our primary task among the unreached is to initiate church planting movements. We pray God will use us to bring into being, healthy congregations, that will multiply until the whole people group is impacted by the Gospel.

Core Value: The Local Church

We always want to work in close partnership with the local church, both in the sending process as well as in our fields of ministry. We want to serve sending churches with excellence as we facilitate their overseas ministries. And where there are national churches with a heart for the unreached, we want to work shoulder to shoulder in the harvest.

Core Value: Team Centered

In our approach and structure, we are team centered. Normally we send whole teams–some of them mobilized from around the world. As these teams pursue effective ministry strategies, they encourage and sharpen one another. Their godly relationships are a testimony to the unsaved.

Core Value: Innovation & Flexibility

Sometimes innovative approaches must be used to gain access and effectively minister to unreached peoples. The goal is crystal clear, but the team must prayerfully choose the best way to accomplish it. All kinds of creative approaches are being used by PIONEERS missionaries and tentmakers around the world.

Core Values: Ethos of Grace

In PIONEERS we seek to relate to one another in an ethos of grace. In all our relationships, we endeavor to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual acceptance which encourages each of us to attain our full potential in Christ. We value the uniqueness and contribution of each individual and culture represented. Often we let people ‘go for it’ even if there is a chance of failure, in the hopes that they will ultimately succeed.

Core Value: Participatory Servant Leadership

PIONEERS emphasizes a participatory servant leadership style that is team based (decentralized) and involves an interactive approach to decision-making based on trust. We try to be relationship-oriented rather than policy-oriented. This takes effort and communication, but the benefits are many.

None of PIONEERS Core Values stand alone. Together they form a personality and culture that has been specially tailored by God to help establish churches in diverse and difficult places around the world.

by Steve Richardson, PIONEERS USA President

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