The Sunrise Story Part 3
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 that…

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 mission.

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 Values Important?

 

Three reasons…

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 values?

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 back again.

 

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 significant relationships.

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…

Significant Relationships
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. 5:19)
"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. 3:16)
"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 Pet. 4:10)
"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?

PARTICIPATION
(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…)

 

United Ministry
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 to live.

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.

 

New Beginnings
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?

PARTICIPATION
(rape, loss of job, abuse, broken marriage, unmet dreams, judged by church…)

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 of God.

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 they are.

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 God.

 

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 personally.

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 better.

 

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 Holy Spirit.

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 grow.

Q & Eh?
 


 

 

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