Creating Clarity

Hopefully you’ve been following along with the recent ARChive articles and are aware that the staff has been working through Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage in order to assess the health of ARC.
We’ve been looking at the importance of Creating Clarity. Creating clarity is all about achieving alignment so as to minimize any possibility of confusion or disorder that might negatively impact our ministry. Lencioni would go on to suggest if leaders are going to bring clarity to their organization, then they must agree on the answer to these six questions: Why do we exist? How do we behave? What do we do? How will we succeed? What is most important, right now? And, who must do what?
Last week I began addressing the second question, how do we behave? Basically Lencioni would say that, whether good or bad, an organization’s behavior flows from its values. So what are some values of ARC? Lencioni suggests dividing our values into the following four categories: Core Values, Aspirational Values, Permission-to-Play Values and Accidental Values. Last week we considered our permission-to-play and accidental values. Thanks to all of you who submitted additional thoughts.
For the remainder of this article we will consider what the staff perceives as our Core and Aspirational Values. First, core values are just two or three behavioral traits that lie at the heart of the organizations identity. Core values should be used to guide every aspect of the organization. Second, aspirational values are the characteristics that an organization wants to have, wishes it had, or believes it must develop in order to maximize its future effectiveness and success.
Determining our core and aspirational values isn’t as easy as it seems simply because there are so many to choose from. Is family unity a greater core value than leadership development? One person may believe prayer should be a core value while others believe welcoming all people should be a core value. Some believe outreach should be a core value, however we all agree that outreach is an aspirational value of ARC.
So how did we reconcile our thoughts? Well, after an eighteen month discovery process, it just so happens that the Reformed Church in America has just adopted three new values at General Synod that they are going to be focusing on in the next ten to fifteen years. And along with each value, they have listed a number of bullet points to bring clarity to each value. So in order to work in cooperation with what God is doing in our denomination we suggest that ARC also adopt the following values as our combined core and aspirational values. They are 1) Cultivating Transformation in Christ 2) Equipping Emerging Leaders of Today and Tomorrow 3) Engaging in Christ’s Kingdom Mission. (Please see full document in your mailbox).
As the staff and Consistory has been looking at this recently approved denominational document, we feel there are some additional measures and words to tweak in order to make it fit our context. Those possible additions and changes will be covered at the Congregational Discovery Workshop on Tuesday evening July 16. And again, why are we reflecting on these six questions and why are we hosting a Congregational Discovery Workshop? We are working through this process in order to be attentive to what God is doing in our hearts, to repent where necessary, and to discover where he is at work in our community and world so that we can join him there.
In the meantime, after reflecting on the newly adopted focus of the Reformed Church in America, would you agree that those three sets of values are values that should be core values of ARC?
Soli Deo gloria, Mike

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