Values that Define Us
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
September 14, 2003
Last week we took a look at the mission of Sunrise, and we discovered
Sunrise Wesleyan Church exists to introduce individuals to Christ and
to help them grow through meaningful relationships, authentic worship,
and solid biblical truth.
Today we’re going to continue in this series of messages called The
Sunrise Story, and we’re going to look at our Core Values. You may ask,
what’s the difference between our mission and our core values? (Go
ahead, ask.) I’m glad you ask.
Our Mission Statement tells us what Sunrise is here to do.
Our Core Values are the principles that guide us as we fulfill our
They are the things that we value and will not violate. They really
define our personality as a church and describe why we do what we do
how we do it.
Why Are Core
1. Our Core
Values provide a framework for ministry
There are lots of good
ideas that churches have, but just because it’s a good idea doesn’t
mean that it’s a God idea. It doesn’t mean that every church should try
it. So when someone comes up with a good idea, we need to be able to
determine if it’s a God idea for Sunrise. First, does it fit with our
mission? And second, can we do it in a way that is consistent with our
There are so many good ideas out there… I have files full of good
ideas. We could run around frantically trying to do them all and never
even scratch the surface, and the end result is that we wouldn’t
accomplish much at all. Our Core Values help us rule out good ideas
that aren’t consistent with who we are and what we’re called to do and
be as a church.
2. Our Core
Values remind us of what’s important
It’s easy to fall into a
routine and just start going through the motions of being a church. By
returning to our Core Values every once in a while, we can keep
ourselves sharp as a church. They can remind us of who we are and why
we do what we do. And when we start to stray away, they can pull us
3. Our Core
Values define our ministry style
For example, one of our
values that we’re going to look at this morning is Significant
Relationships. We want people to get to know each other and build
friendships. So we avoid a “High Church” feel to our services. We dress
casually, we provide a hospitality area, and we have a rather informal
approach to just about everything we do. All because we value
Our values help define our ministry style. Basically, they define our
personality as a church.
At Sunrise, we actually
have seven core values. And when you put them all together you have an
acronym for the word SUNRISE. Funny how that works. Actually, what
happened was this… over a period of time in the dreaming stage before
Shera and I even moved to Charlottetown, I tried to identify the things
that God wanted to be important for Sunrise. This involved a lot of
prayer and planning, as well as an understanding of who God made me to
be as a pastor. And as I went through this process I ended up with
twenty or thirty different values. Some of them seemed to fit together,
so I was able to combine them until I ended up with seven. Then it was
just a matter of finding the right words to express those seven values,
and we ended up with what I’m going to give you this morning. So let’s
take a look at the seven Core Values of Sunrise Wesleyan Church:
Sunrise Core Values:
We’ve already mentioned
the first one, but let’s take a closer look at it…
Sunrise is a place to build friendships and find loving support. We
will strive to be interactive and relational in our approach to
ministry, allowing for individual expression while placing a high value
on unity in the Body.
A great deal of what we are called to do as a church happens through
relationships. We encourage you to share your faith within the context
of relationships, we provide ways for you to grow and learn from each
other and encourage each other within the context of relationships, we
stress that the Christian life is not meant to be lived in solitude,
but that we need other people and they need us.
There are a ton of verses that tell us that. There’s a Greek word,
“Allelous”, which is used throughout the New Testament and has been
translated in English as “one another” or “each other”. Let me read you
some of the verses where it is found… (verses in NIV?)
"Be at peace with each other" (Mk. 9:50)
"Love one another" (John 13:34, & 12 other references)
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love" (Rom. 12:10)
"Honour one another above yourselves" (Rom. 12:10)
"Live in harmony with one another" (Rom. 12:10)
"Stop passing judgment on one another" (Rom. 14:13)
"Instruct one another" (Rom. 15:14)
"Accept one another, as Christ accepted you" (Rom. 15:17)
"Have equal concern for each other" (1 Cor. 12:25)
"Serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13)
"Carry each other's burdens" (Gal. 6:2)
"Be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph. 4:2)
"Be kind and compassionate to one another" (Eph. 4:32)
"Forgiving each other as God in Christ has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32)
"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" (Eph.
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph.5:21)
"In humility, consider others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3)
"Do not lie to each other" (Col. 3:9)
"Bear with each other" (Col. 3:13)
"Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another" (Col.
"Teach one another" (Col. 3:16)
"Admonish one another" (Col. 3:16)
"Make your love increase and overflow for each other" (1 Thess. 3:12)
"Encourage one another" (1 Thess. 4:18, and 5:11)
"Build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11)
"Encourage one another daily" (Heb. 3:13 and 10:25)
"Spur one another on to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24)
"Do not slander one another" (Js. 4:11)
"Don't grumble against each other" (Js. 5:9)
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you
may be healed" (Js. 5:16)
"Love one another deeply from the heart" (1 Pet. 1:22 & 4:8)
"Live in harmony with each other" (1 Pet. 3:8)
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1Pet. 4:9)
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others" (1
"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another" (1 Pet. 5:5)
"Greet each other with a kiss of love" (1 Pet. 5:14)
God Himself is the one who put value in our relationships with each
other. The relationships we form within the Church have a lot to offer…
they encourage us, they hold us accountable, they support us, they help
us pray, they give us opportunities to minister to each other, they
help us mould our beliefs, they keep us from feeling like we’re in this
thing alone, they help us realize that the fears and doubts and
struggles we face are not unique to us but that we all face them… our
relationships are key to the survival and growth of our faith.
So at Sunrise we value relationships because God values relationships.
What are some ways this is evident at Sunrise? What proof do you see
that we value relationships?
(comfortable casual atmosphere, not like a library, supply
coffee/snacks at services, have social events, small groups, support
groups, newcomer pizza parties, interaction in services…)
God gives every believer special abilities that are to be used to serve
others in and through the church. Only when every believer in the
church discovers how they are equipped to serve can the church reach
its full potential.
We call these special abilities Spiritual Gifts. Basically, they’re
special abilities that the Holy Spirit distributes as He sees fit to
every believer for serving others. God’s pretty smart, and I think He
gives us the gifts along with our personalities and our dreams and
passions so we can accomplish His will for us. And when we identify how
God has put us together, we can better understand what we’re supposed
to be doing, we’ll be able to get involved in some form of ministry,
and we’ll be effective and fulfilled in that ministry.
Take a look at these verses from Romans 12…
Romans 12:4-8 (NLT)
Just as our bodies have many parts and each
part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are all
parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And
since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each
of us needs all the others.
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if
God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have
faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving
others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of
teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have
money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability,
take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing
kindness to others, do it gladly.
You’ll notice in these verses that the Church is referred to as
Christ’s Body. I love this description. It tells me that every single
believer (and for that matter every married believer) has a vital part
to play in the Church. No one is insignificant. Every person has value
and has something to contribute to the kingdom of God.
Let me tell you something… If you are not involved in some form of
ministry, you are outside of the will of God for your life. God has
uniquely equipped you to make a difference in the Church, and if you
are not pursuing that, no matter how much you attend church or even
read the Bible and pray, you are not living the way He intends for you
Yes, I realize that there are seasons of life when you may have more
time and energy to offer to God than at other times. And I know that
there are crises we all go through which require us to pull back and
deal with some issues in our life before we can be free to minister to
others effectively. But if you are a believer and never participate in
ministry, and if you never even plan to participate in ministry, then
you are neglecting a serious part of the Christian life, you are living
in disobedience to God, you are robbing the Church of the gifts God has
given you to be used in serving, and you are limiting your own
spiritual growth and development.
This past year we offered a seminar called Network. Several of you
participated in it. It is designed to help you better understand how
God has put you together… what gifts, passions and personal style He
has given you… and how this can help you discover an area of ministry
where you can be effective and fulfilled. We will offer this seminar
again this coming year. But don’t wait until then. I believe that if
you really want to discover God’s will for you, you need to experiment
with different areas of ministry to discover whether or not you are
gifted in those areas.
1 Corinthians 12:12, 27 (NLT)
The human body has many parts, but the many
parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ.
Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a
separate and necessary part of it.
The very name "Sunrise" implies a fresh start. Regardless of the past,
people can find acceptance at Sunrise. No judgmental attitudes will be
permitted. Instead, reconciliation and restoration will be the norm.
A lot of people have been hurt and disillusioned in life. Help me out…
what are some ways or reasons that people have been hurt or
disillusioned in life?
(rape, loss of job, abuse, broken marriage, unmet dreams, judged by
We’re not going to reject anyone because of their past. We want to
offer hope, love and forgiveness to people because that’s what Jesus
offered. Of course, if someone has a history of child molestation,
we’re not going to put them in the nursery or let them work with kids.
But we are going to love them and help restore them and help them find
an appropriate area where they can get involved and be a part of
Sunrise and the Body of Christ.
Galatians 6:15-16 (NLT)
It doesn't make any difference now whether
we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have
been changed into new and different people. May God's mercy and peace
be upon all those who live by this principle. They are the new people
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)
Don't you know that those who do wrong will
have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who
indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male
prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers,
and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your
sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You
have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and
the Spirit of our God have done for you.
Do you believe that God has the power and authority to forgive a person
and change their life? Then we need to value New Beginnings.
Real Life Christianity
We believe the Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was
written. Sunrise is committed to interpreting God's Word in the modern
world and exploring ways it can impact everyday life.
We don’t want to just spout theoretical and abstract theology. We want
to help people see how a relationship with Christ can improve and make
a difference in every area of life. The Bible’s packed full of
practical applications for our lives, and we’re here to discover what
Yes, even the newest books contained in the Bible were written nearly
2000 years ago. That’s true. But it’s the Word of God. It’s timeless.
It’s alive, active and powerful.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)
For the word of God is full of living power.
It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost
thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
Isaiah 40:8 (NLT)
“The grass withers, and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
1 Peter 1:23 (NLT)
For you have been born again. Your new life
did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you
will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes
from the eternal, living word of God.
The Word of God is not meant to be something that we read and file away
in the back of our heads. It’s not meant to be something that we look
at on Sunday and forget about the rest of the week. It’s meant to be
applied to our everyday lives. It’s completely relevant today and has
the power to transform lives, improve our society, and lead people to
Intimacy with God
We believe God desires every person to know him personally. Sunrise is
committed to helping people grow in their relationship with Him and to
providing opportunities for people to express their love for Him
through prayer, corporate worship and service.
We’ve already talked about Significant Relationships with others as
being a value at Sunrise. Intimacy With God means that we also value a
relationship with Him.
Being a Christian as well as being a Church is not about going through
rituals on Sunday morning, it’s about developing a deep and intimate
relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s about getting to know Him better
and better all the time. It’s about experiencing His love and loving
Him back. You know that old song, “Oh How I Love Jesus”? It says, “Oh,
how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”
Jesus loves you beyond all measure. He loved you enough to give His
life for you. He’s not about a religion, He’s about a relation. He’s
not some distant judge who determines whether or not you live up to a
code of conduct, He wants to know you and allow you to know Him
The apostle Paul said,
Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT)
We ask God to give you a complete
understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to
make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always
honour and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind
things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and
Sharing Our Faith
Sunrise is committed to reaching pre-Christians with the hope of
introducing them to Jesus Christ. Evangelism is and will remain a
priority. Every believer will be given opportunities to be trained and
will be encouraged to practice personal evangelism.
We discussed this a bit last week when we talked about our mission as a
church and how part of that is to “introduce individuals to Christ.”
The verse we centered on was…
Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the
We have been given the mandate from God to make more and better
Disciples. And this can only happen as we share our faith with the
people around us in everyday life who so desperately need to be
introduced to Jesus.
Expanding the Church
Sunrise is committed to home and foreign missions. We will provide all
the support we can to future church planting efforts and will regularly
highlight ministries operating around the world.
A number of years ago now, the CEO of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, was
looking for help in leading the company. And he had his eyes set firmly
on Pepsi CEO John Sculley. So Steve Jobs travelled to New York to meet
with Sculley and convince him to move to Silicon Valley and take the
helm at the Apple Computer headquarters. But Sculley wasn’t all that
interested. He was quite content with what he was doing at Pepsi, so he
told Jobs that even for him to consider it he’d need a million dollar
salary, a million dollar bonus, and a million dollar severance package.
(Must be nice to be able to make a demand like that!)
Steve Jobs really wanted Sculley, so he swallowed hard and agreed to
the terms. But he added that Sculley would have to move to California
soon. But Sculley countered by saying he could be a consultant for
Apple from New York (The Big Apple).
But that was a deal breaker for Jobs. So he asked Sculley, “Do you want
to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to
change the world?”
In John Sculley’s book, Odyssey, he writes:
“Steve Jobs’ challenge knocked the wind out of me. I’d become so caught
up in my future with Pepsi, with my pension, and my own life that an
opportunity to change the world nearly passed me by!”
~ John Sculley, in Odyssey
Do you want to change the world? At Sunrise, that’s exactly what we
want to do. And we’ll do it by expanding the church here at home and
around the world.
“The local Church is the hope of the world.”
~ Bill Hybels
Jesus told His disciples…
Acts 1:8 (NLT)
“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in
Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What does this mean for Sunrise? What does it mean to expand the
Church? Well, really it means three things:
We will expand the
Church by reaching people through Sunrise.
We will expand the
Church by starting new Churches throughout PEI and North America.
We will expand the
Church by supporting missions around the world.
Okay, so those are our
Core Values here at Sunrise Wesleyan Church. Those are the values that
shape our ministry and guide us as we strive to accomplish what God has
called us to do… to introduce individuals to Christ and to help them
Q & Eh?