Core Value 8: Pastoral staff model ministry values of team, affirmation, and excellence through their teaching and relating with the church family.

Sometimes speed-reading can be quite helpful—like if you’re a student who has a 300-page novel to read for a test tomorrow morning. But sometimes, it’s good to slow down and focuses on the meaning of each of the keywords in a sentence. Like right now, for example. Let’s unpack Core Value 8 keyword by keyword.

Pastoral Staff: Pastoral staff isn’t people who are paid to be Christians. They’re not even people who are paid to do ministry. (Paid or not, they’d be Christians. Paid or not, they’d do ministry.) Pastoral staff are people who are1)specially called by God to equip believers for ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-13)and 2) paid so that more of their time can be freed up to do so (1 Corinthians 9:7-14)

Model: So much of life and faith is caught rather than taught. Like it or not, a child tends to mirror her parents; a class takes on the personality of its teacher. And a church will often develop the qualities of its pastors. Pastors aren’t perfect, but they ought to be pursuing Jesus with a level of passion and integrity that allows them to say (like Paul did) to a group of people:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)

Ministry Values: It’s not just what you do, but the values behind what you do. Any ministry will be characterized by a set of values. In fact, it’s those values that will shape what that ministry does—and how it is done. Here are three values that our pastoral staff members feel are particularly important to lift up in their work at CVC.

1. Team: God never called Christians to act as “Lone Rangers” in ministry. Even Paul, as qualified as he was, always built a team to work alongside him. The role of pastors is not to do all the work of ministry themselves but to continually train teams to do the work of ministry.

It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians4:11-13, NIV)

If you look at the pastoral staff at CVC, you’ll find diversity in personality and giftings. And yet, the pastors work together as a team to accomplish the vision God has given for this particular local church. And they’re always striving to build up new and effective ministry teams made up of CVC people.

2. Affirmation: In his second letter to Timothy, Paul charges his young pastor friend with the responsibilities of leading a church. One of those responsibilities is to “encourage” (2 Timothy4:2). People grow best in a context where their gifts and progress and contributions are affirmed; they become discouraged in an atmosphere where affirmation is absent. On more than one occasion during the time that Moses was grooming Joshua to lead Israel, God instructed Moses to “encourage and strengthen him [Joshua]” (Deuteronomy 1:38, 3:28, NIV).At a crisis moment in David’s reign as King of Israel, David took an action that discouraged his army. One of David’s advisors went to the King and told him:

“Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now.” (2 Samuel19:7, NIV)

The pastoral staff at CVC understands the vital nature of affirmation for the life and health of the body.

3. Excellence: Sure, it’s okay to make mistakes. And no, we’re not going to hit perfection this side of the pearly gates. But we do strive for excellence in ministry at CVC. What that means is that the pastoral staff members are going to give their particular areas of ministry all the energy and skill and gifting and resources they’ve got. And they’re going to continue to learn and grow and try to get better at what they do. It also means that if you’re a volunteer in ministry, you can expect the pastoral staff member over your department to not only affirm you, but to challenge you to grow in your ministry commitment, competence and character.

Here’s the deal: we’re not seeking excellence because we’re driven perfectionists—not in our better moments, anyway. As King David said, “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24b, NIV). We’re seeking excellence because we believe our God is worth giving our best to.

Teaching and Relating with the Church Family: The values we just talked about should come through clearly in two ways—through what a pastor teaches and through the way that pastor relates with others at CVC. Paul challenges Timothy to:

Watch your life [relating] and doctrine [teaching] closely.(1 Timothy 4:16a, NIV)

Neither words nor actions are sufficient on their own. They must work together in a way that demonstrates integrity—that the values are woven through the pastor’s heart and words.

So, there’s the slow, focused reading of Core Value 8. Set aside some time in the next day or two for some slow, focused prayer on behalf of CVC’s pastoral staff. Pray that God would give them the strength and passion to live out this value He’s called them to demonstrate through their lives and ministry.

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