The Importance of Values over Ministry Trends

It is relatively easy to create and set trends in ministry these days. It can be as simple as starting a new program for discipleship or changing the style of worship that stretches your people.

There is nothing wrong with creating trends and it is often rewarding. There are thousands of websites, books, blogs and seminars dedicated to understanding trends and explaining their development. However, the downside of only being a trend setter is that you spend a lot of time, energy and money on getting a trend rolling and it usually exits as quickly as it entered.

While the trend is new, you as a leader are labeled “relevant,” “fresh,” and “exciting.” But as soon as the trend has become another program on the list, it becomes labeled as “outdated,” “time consuming” and “irrelevant.” The brand new baby everyone can’t wait to hold becomes the uncle everyone acknowledges but tries to avoid at family gatherings.

Every ministry has a vision (hopefully). In that vision you have to have values. The difference between values and trends is the simple fact that values are foundational and non-negotiable, whereas trends are seasonal and are set only to accomplish a specific task at hand. Values have to be talked about often. Your staff or team has to know what your values are because they should directly affect the actions of your ministry.

To determine your values, here are a few questions you and your leadership team should ask:

  1. What are the things we, as a ministry, go after weekly?
  2. What are the things we are willing to set aside?
  3. What are the hills on which we are willing to die defending?

Your ministry will not only be deeper if you set the values in place but it will be wider. Why? Because you will be setting a foundation. That foundation represents a framework that you can apply to every decision your ministry makes moving forward. It relates back to your unique, God-given, DNA.

Identify your values and ensure your ministry is in proper alignment with those values. In my opinion, there’s no better place to start.

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12 thoughts on “The Importance of Values over Ministry Trends

  1. Values matter – they set forth the bedrock of your ministry. Trends and other new initiatives can help bring new momentum to the right values or reinforce those values. Good thoughts

    • Jack, I totally agree. I think the danger is when people forget that trends are in fact trends and they become foundational. I think your response reminds me of a house. The foundation will not change, but the decor can really brighten things up!

  2. Good stuff, Justin. I've always used the litmus test of the martyrs: Is this just my personal preference or is this a value/truth that I would be willing to die for? That usually brings clarity for me.

  3. Case in Point:

    I have a friend who is an archeologists who spends much time digging up past civilizations. For most of them, it is the well build foundation which is he only thing that remains. The same goes for our ministries. Ministries built on trends disappear. Those built on a solid scriptural foundation will remain. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Thank you all. All glory to Him in the foundations He set for us to use in the ministries He has given us!

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