Shared values cultivate unity around a central purpose and help individuals to make good, godly life decisions.
Look at this short video where Werner Joubert, pastor of Shofar Christian Church Secunda, South Africa, gives practical help to small group leaders to cultivate the vision and values of their local church in their discipleship relationships.
Romans 14:2-5, 10-17
2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind…
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Observations and reflection questions
Context: There were different factions in the congregations of Rome arguing about a Christian’s diet religious observances of feasts days.
- According to Paul, why is arguing about what is right and wrong (in terms of religious observations) wrong? [hint: verses 3-4]
- Paul gives two “tests” by which to judge what is acceptable or right in terms of religious observances. What are these two “tests”? [hint: verses 12, 17]
- What do understand under the phrase “the kingdom of God is … of righteousness andpeace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” [verse 17]
- How would agreement to the priority of “the kingdom of God is … of righteousness andpeace and joy in the Holy Spirit” help these believers to maintain unity and agreement in their service of Christ?
Application and prayer
As the church in Rome grew in number, so did the opinions of what is right and what is wrong, leading to factions and infighting within the church. Paul obviously had his convictions, but he was wise enough not to impose his own convictions on others; rather, he brought the whole conversation back to the core of the Gospel: to establish the reign of God in each life and community, and from there he laid the well-established pillars (or values) of the Kingdom of God: “what promotes righteousness, peace and joy in God? Do this!”
- If someone who works with you were to compile your core values based on what they hear you talk about, what would that list contain? Try to honestly write this down.
- Such core values are very useful in directing a life or community in what is most important, as it strives to emulate what it desires to produce. As an exercise, prayerfully compile a list of core values (3-5) that could act as guideline to navigate
- your personal life
- the fellowship group or work department which you lead
- How would you make these values “workable”? Prayerfully consider which practices/ habits would transfer these guiding values from the paper to the heart of the group/ community.