Values are the things that we believe are important and necessary to accomplish our vision. They determine our priorities and are what we use to measure our eventual success or failure. Although I highly value things such as leadership development, relevant expository preaching, and first impressions, my core values can be narrowed down to three things: authentic relationships, biblical transformation, and volunteerism.
Casual relationships are a dime a dozen nowadays. We can walk down the lobby of our church and talk sports, weather, or politics with a dozen people before service even starts. Authentic relationships, however, are a whole different story. Being authentic means that you are transparent, honest, and trusting in your conversation and cooperation with each other. This does not happen over night, but rather takes an abundant amount of time and effort from both parties.
Jesus was authentic in everything he did and although he had crowds following him, he was relationally authentic with twelve men who we know as his disciples. The disciples saw Jesus preach in the church (temple) and on the mountainside, but it was in the day-to-day living life together that had the most impact. “He walked alongside people, having conversations with them through the normal course of each day, holding people accountable, and demonstrating spiritual truth to them daily.” Why? It was in those moments that they experienced his raw emotion – his frustration, his love, his joy, and his pain.
It is in those raw moments of relationships that we are able to see the heart of the matter during conflict and conquest. Those are the opportunities to challenge the motives of the heart and dig in to the deep issues that matter in our family, our careers, and our spiritual development. When individuals are connected to other believers in authentic relationships, an environment of discipleship is cultivated and life change becomes inevitable.
Needless to say, the Word of God is foundational for spiritual development. Paul tells us the gospel “is the power of salvation” (Romans 1:16). The author of Hebrews tells us that that it is “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). “It judges all that is in the heart, for there it passes through, at once punishing [unbelievers] and searching [both believers and unbelievers]” David also tells us how God’s Word keeps us pure. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I will seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11).
The pinnacle of this core value is seen in Paul’s words to his disciple, Timothy. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Wiersbe gives a great description of the usefulness of Scripture. “They are profitable for doctrine (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right). Through the Word of God we will have everything we need to train and equip disciples to do the good they were created for.
Volunteering is an opportunity for disciples to discover what they were created for and take an active role in some form of ministry. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Paul was telling the church that they were each handcrafted in his image for his purpose. As Dempsey puts it, “God has saved us, not by works (Eph 2:8–9), but He has saved us to work.”
In Romans chapter twelve, Paul reminds believers that they are all part of the body of Christ, his church, all with their own distinctive gift. Here, as well as in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul lists out various categories and types of gifts that God has given the believers for the purpose of building up the church and fulfilling his destiny for their life. Offering opportunities to volunteer is really an opportunity for them to minister using their God given gift. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). “Spiritual gifts are not fundamentally a privilege but a responsibility, a call to be faithful to what God has bestowed.” Part of the privilege and responsibility in discipleship is to manage what God has given us for the benefit of others. This can, in part, be accomplished through volunteerism.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
– Mark 10:45
Read the next in this series of articles called Views of Discipleship.
 Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington, Discipleshift (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 134.
 Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 449.
 Warren Wiersbe, The Bible exposition commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 253.
 Dempsey and Earley, ch 20.
 Thomas Schreiner, The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37 (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 214.