My son, Josh, is graduating from high school this year. Our graduation present to him was a trip to several European countries that he desired to see. We flew into Frankfurt, Germany where we rented a car and began a serious road trip spanning six different countries over nine days. We saw “Checkpoint Charlie” and the last 100 meters of the Berlin Wall in Germany on our first day. The second day we toured Prague which is in the Czech Republic. From there we moved through Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, and Luxemburg before heading back to Germany. On Sunday we were in Prague and toured the palace, walked across the historic Charles Bridge, and examined the insides of several churches.
One of my favorite churches was the Church of Our Lady of Tyn. The church was under construction from the mid-fourteenth century to the mid-fifteenth century. The outside has impressive sculptures of catholic saints. The inside is adorned with even more intricate, gothic-themed sculptures and works of art. I was mesmerized by artistic beauty and impressed by the dedication of the artists who invested so many talents and time to create these impressive pieces. As I am admiring the structure, it suddenly dawned on me that it was 10am and there wasn’t a single person in the sanctuary to worship. Although full of tourists, it was void of worshippers. In fact, there are no services held in the church anymore except on special occasions. What was once a vibrant church, is now just a beautiful historic tourist stop void of any spiritual life. This empty church painfully reminded me of the price of irrelevance.
Our core values help us to stay relevant. They act like rails that keep the church train on track. These are our core-values:
1. Practical biblical teaching. We desire to teach the Bible in a relevant manner that is understandable and useful to all people.
2. Excellent worship. We desire to help people engage with God through spirit-filled, culturally relevant worship.
3. Relaxed, inviting atmosphere. We desire to cultivate an environment that enhances receptivity to the Gospel.
4. Exceptional children’s, student and family ministry. We desire to provide the best possible, Christ-centered, fun and inviting experience for every member of the family.
5. Significant, healthy relationships. We desire to create groups that build community and deepen relationships in order to teach people necessary skills to grow in their faith and make disciples.
6. Multiplication. We desire to fulfill God’s mandate for making disciples by adding multi-site campuses, launching new churches, and supporting missionary efforts.
(new) 7. Generous giving. We will be a people who give generously of our time, talent and treasure.
Don’t let your faith become irrelevant. Rekindle the core-values of your faith. Pray powerful prayers filled with faith. Read at least one chapter a day in the bible. Participate in a group, serve somewhere, and attend church on the weekend. Stay focused on what matters most.
As a church, our new slogan for 2017 is “Raise the spiritual climate of our community.” We will accomplish this if we stay true to our core-values. In fifty years (or more) I don’t want our church buildings to become a tourist site. That is why we are constantly tweaking and adjusting our ministries to ensure they stay real, relevant, and relational. Our core values keep us focused on what matters most. The single greatest gift we can give the next generation is a spirit-filled, life-giving church that furthers the kingdom of God in our community.