Values determine priorities. Priorities determine decisions. Decisions determine destinations.
Let me lead with an example of this from my own life, and I think you’ll be able to see how it applies to all levels of life.
Most Americans are in debt. The question is what are you in debt for? Well, what you value dictates the destination of your finances and the decisions that paved the way.
Lindsey and I have education debt. Why? Because we value education. We prioritized spending money on education over vacations or a mortgage. We made decisions in line with that priority and voila–we’re in debt 😦 But it’s okay because Dave Ramsey’s going to get his way, and we’ll be debt free this December.
Now you’ve made decisions based on priorities and values, and those factors have led to where you are right now. Of course there are things that happen TO us, decisions we don’t make. But insofar as we are in control of decisions, this progression holds true: values –> priorities –> decisions –> destinations.
Allow me to apply this to a local church at this juncture. A church is where it is, for the most part, because of its values. Those values may be unstated, but we could deduce-based on present circumstances and past decisions-what the priorities are. The grave fear I have as a pastor and follower of Jesus is that far too many churches have a single unspoken value, namely, have church next week. If we can just get through this Sunday we have six days until it happens again.
There’s no destination in mind. There’s no vision of a preferred future. Thus, the unspoken values and priorities of a select few or a cowardly leadership take over.
Let me put it this way. In your church, if the answer to the question, “Why do we do this” is “because we’ve always done it,” you’re unspoken values are winning. And let’s be frank: Satan is thrilled over that. Churches with no vision, no intentionality, and no boldness don’t threaten hell one bit.
If you aren’t thrilled with where you are personally or where your church is, look at your values. What you value will ultimately determine your destination.