Values based leadership.

The first time I heard these three words put together in one sentence was during the preparation for our International Leadership Lab. I worked with Piotr G. as we developed our curriculum. I will not forget what he said to me.

“Many people have no idea what their true values are. They may think they know. But, they really do not know until they are put to the test.”

I immediately thought of myself.

I would like to think I am driven by noble values like service or compassion. But, my heart doesn’t pound for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. No one will ever mistake me for a Mother Theresa. I pondered further. Maybe I am driven by structure or order but anyone who knows me knows I love the randomness of life and chaos is cause for creativity in my book. I have family members who are driven by a fierce sense of fairness and equality. So, we all get the $5 bill at Christmas. I know life isn’t fair and all people cannot be treated fairly, so fairness cannot be one of my values. I worked harder. Meditated longer. Thought deeper.

I honestly wanted to discover I held some values that were considered ‘pastor-like’ or values that others thought highly of so I could feel some level of satisfaction. After all, I am a pastor and a leader. I should have satisfactory values that meet everyone’s approval and expectations. I continued on my journey of discovery.

Encouragement! That’s a good one. My gym buddies all think I’m very encouraging. I can be. But, I don’t think that encouraging others motivates me out of bed at 4AM in the morning. I don’t rehearse ‘encouraging’ words and I don’t wear a perpetual smile. Honesty and truth seem like stalwart values to have but I know we all tell and accept versions of the truth about ourselves and each other. I know the honest truth is often painful and most people don’t want honest truth. They want grace filled truth and to keep it scriptural.

Here’s a list of values I’ve already mentioned and I clearly admire but do not possess: service, compassion, structure, order, creativity, fairness, equality, encouragement, honesty, and truth. Maybe one or more of these resonate with you. We can always determin what our true value is when someone tromps on it or disrespects it. It hurts when someone doesn’t value what we value! We can throw a holy tantrum, complain and try to get others to see the light! We will control, advocate and hammer when necessary. Hopefully, by now, you figured out that we cannot make anyone do something against their will. 

If you’re an order or structure person….the mess in your house will make you crazy. Constant yelling and punishing others will only develop a deep chasm between you. STOP! Discover what motivates them. They are different than you and have other values. Discover what they value and share your value for order and structure with them. I considered this exploration exercise fun—like an adventure. I was up for the challenge of discovering my own beautiful values so I could somehow win the prize. AND…there they were! Wow, holy, commendable and Jesus-like right?

Fun. Adventure. Challenge. Beauty. Winning. 

I had to make peace with who I am years ago. Some very wise people taught me to be the best version of me so I could help others become the very best version of who they needed to be. I am not noble, structured or orderly. I love a mess. I come alive when the worst challenges are right in front of me. I am the one you want in a serious situation because we will laugh about something. I thrive doing something for the first time and flourish living day to day. I love a random schedule. I see movies on opening day. I try new products. I watch for the new car styles. I notice new eye glasses, hairstyles and facial hair on others—well, mostly men. I google the new seasonal color palettes for fashion and decorating. I crave information that will help me come out on top. I love to win and hate to lose.

I value the values of others. I get revved up thinking about how we can work together. We all win when we understand how significant it is to have diverse people with us who are unashamed of who they truly are and really do see the world differently. It is beautiful to pay attention to how they hold diverse values close to their heart. Maybe that’s what it means to have Kingdom values and belong to the Kingdom community. Maybe that’s how the healing begins.

And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 9:2

Pastor Jen