One of the privileges of my job is being able to attend conferences which have some amazing keynote speakers. I was at a conference in Nelson last week where Tā Mark Solomon, the chair of Ngāi Tahu, addressed the delegates about the ambitions of his Iwi – probably one of the most successful and pragmatic Iwi in New Zealand (Ngāi Tahu’s rohe covers most of the South Island, minus the Nelson/Marlborough area).
Tā Mark touched on the tribe’s whakataukī (proverb) which is:
Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei
For us and our children after us.
He emphasised that this proverb sits at the heart of all that Ngai Tahu do.
This got me thinking about the importance of having a vision and values and ensuring these are instilled in your family, team or organisation. When done well, values give us direction, they give us purpose.
The key is though, that it’s not just about developing them, filing them away and forgetting them (as is so often the case). Tā Mark emphasised that they need to be at the heart of everything you do. You need to continually reference back to them and assess what you do against them.
Kim and I have often talked about developing a core list of values for our family to adhere to. I like the idea of basing these around biblical concepts, and often think of the following verses when considering what we should include:
Micah 6:8: No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Acts 2:42: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
Revelation 2:19: I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
This topic has also been present in my mind as we look to call a new senior pastor for our church. It is so crucial to have a church vision and values that is continually reinforced and at the heart of everything we do. It’s also so important to have buy-in and agreement from the congregation that this is what we are about.
Having been back at our church for about nine months now, from my perspective the current vision, values and mission statement appears to have been a tick box exercise (or at least is now, probably ten years after it was developed), as I haven’t heard it mentioned once during a service or in any communications. This isn’t saying that the vision itself is wrong, just that it doesn’t appear to be at the heart of decision-making or what we do as a church.