What Are Values That Determine
the Success Or Failure Of Ministry?

When someone asks "What are values?" We assume we know what a value is...and maybe we do. But, we need to be able to articulate exactly what makes a value what it is.

So here we go...

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What are values?

Values are...

conscious and unconscious...

passionate thoughts...beliefs...and feelings

about something you want to keep...

or something you want to get.



It's an interesting idea...one that you may not have considered...values can be both conscious and unconscious.

However, a minister...by profession...is usually trying to convert a person to a new belief...or to the deepening and widening of an established belief.

And the minister usually operates at the conscious level... wihtout much attention to the question what are values that make this person act and not act in the world?

However...the person the minister is trying to influence may agree with the minister at the conscious level...but hold unconscious thoughts...beliefs...and feelings that would undermine that agreement.

What are values? Well...we might say "They're tough nuts to crack" because values are not located mainly in rational parts of the brain, but in those areas which are concerned with feeling and passion.

So, in stead of working hard to change someone's mind...the way a person thinks...the minister has to work to change the way someone feels about something. How does the minister get somone to want or desire to keep the sabbath holy?

By answering the question what are values that motivate or unmotivate this person?

Unconsciously a person may want to do good to someone...but the conscious strategy they use may be irrelevant like reparenting people or when a minister makes no distinction between spiritual direction adultery...or charitable giving and church embezzlement

If the minister doesn't know how the internal...unconscious beliefs are organized in the people they minister to...and how unconscious beliefs can be contagious thought viruses at the conscious level...intervening in their lives through ministry will be difficult at best. 

What are values that motivate politicians to spread democracy and commit genocide in the process?


Conscious thoughts...beliefs and feelings

...are the ones we know about and can get to easily because...they are specific to daily situations.

For example...professionals have their ethics and core values both of which help them make decisions on how to intervene with people.

Corporations have organizational goals that reflect what the company wants to keep or to get.

Families have traditions they want to keep and family boundaries that define them either as the Hatfields or the McCoys.


Unconscious thoughts...beliefs and feelings

...are core values and they are not easy to get to and articulate because they operate automatically largely out of our awareness.  And...they are not specific to any particular situation.  They color what a person does or doesn't do in every situation.

For example...a young man...a thief...was sent by the court for evaluation.  

He arrived for his appointment wearing a T-shirt with this messge on it..."It's not illegal if you don't get caught".

And using a technique to assess core beliefs...thoughts...and feelings...
the examiner helped the young man uncover a deeply held appreciation of his "oneness with humanity."

At the conscious level...this sense of oneness with others translated into a sense of entitlement..."what belongs to you belongs to me".

Core beliefs...thoughts...and feelings...however noble while they are buried deep in the psyche...can express themselves in behavior through strategies that contradict them.  That is...core values and the way they are expressed may be misaligned.

Core values always represent the better angels of our nature.

Jesus pointed this out innumerable times in the scriptures as when he told the centurion (Mt 8:5ff) that his faith cured the servant...or when he told the woman with the hemmorhage that her own faith cured her (Mt 9:21ff).

And if ministers accept the whole person as they are...then they have to find and accept people's core values because...for better or for worse that is where a person's spiritual life really exists.  

The trouble people get into often occurs because their conscious actions do not reflect accurately their core values...the better angels of their nature.

From what are values you can return to values and boundaries.

Or you can...



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