By Ps Lee Kok Wah
About 20 years ago, our church leaders identified eight commitments to help us nurture our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. While some of us may be familiar with the headings of these commitments, probably only a few can recall the elaboration of these core values. To refresh our memory, I reproduce here the full version of The Bible Church’s Core Values.
Our core values
Total commitment to the Lordship of Christ and His interests is the norm of every believer. We are commanded in Scripture to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Lk 10:27). This is a matter of continual personal choice that has to be made daily in our lives, and involves submission to Christ as Lord of our lives, doing all things with excellence for Christ, be it in our workplace or in Christian ministry (Col 3:23, 24). Such dedication enables us to have a close walk with the Lord and is acceptable to God.
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21). Our commitments (core values) determine the stewardship of our talent and resources. It is therefore important for us to determine what our core values are.
To help us live out our personal and corporate commitment to the Lordship of Christ, our church has adopted the following core values.
A commitment to the Word of God
The Bible is God’s authoritative and infallible Word (2 Tim 3:16), given to us that we may live the life of abundance (Ps 1:1-3) and grow in godliness (Jn 17:17). Systematic study and meditation of God’s Word results in godly discernment and understanding (Ps 119:98-100, 130) which is essential for the believer’s sanctification (Ps 119:9), wise living (Ps 19:7-11) and spiritual growth (Heb 5:14). All believers who continually crave after the Word of God (1 Pet 2:2) and stay engaged in it through a lifetime of continued learning will mature in Christlikeness. We learn through our personal devotions, small group studies and submission to corporate teaching and preaching. Hence the church shall endeavour to provide systematic and Bible-centred preaching and teaching.
A commitment to grow spiritually
Conversion is the beginning of the Christian pilgrimage. It is vital to continue the journey to completion (2 Pet 1:5-7), in order to experience the abundant life (Jn 10:10) and to serve effectively (2 Pet 1:8). In this way we will make our calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10-11) and receive the crown (2 Tim 4:7-8). Obstacles can include doctrinal error (Gal 1:6), materialism (2 Tim 4:10) and careless Christian living (Eph 5:15, Pr 6:10-11). We affirm that it is God’s plan that through His Spirit, Christ’s image be formed in us (Rom 8:29), for, without godliness in character, there cannot be godly service (Lk 6:43). We are therefore committed to emphasize the need for continued spiritual growth for every Christian, through the regular and proper study of the Word of God, through prayer and through learning from each other in the issues of discipleship. In this manner, we will grow in our faith and mature to be like our Lord in character and deed.
A commitment to pray
Prayer is the wonderful privilege that every believer has, to talk to God as his loving Heavenly Father (Phil 4:6). In prayer, we confess our sins and give God our thanksgivings, praises, and petitions. Through regular prayer, we build up our personal and corporate relationship with God who makes Himself accessible (Dt 4:7). We are therefore committed to pray unceasingly (1 Thess 5:17), to pray with faith (Jas 1:6) and perseverance (Lk 18:1) and to pray in the will of God (Mt 6:10; 1 Jn 5:14). We shall intercede for the extension of God’s kingdom on earth, for the church, and for the needs of others and self (Mt 7:8).
A commitment to worship God
The reason God made us in His image is that we may know Him, love Him, praise Him and honour Him (Ps 100:1-3). The natural outcome of truly knowing God will be the desire for worship, individually and corporately (Ps 84:1-2). We worship God when we gather together for baptism, holy communion, prayer, praise, thanksgiving, singing and fellowship (Heb 10:25). We continue our worship of God individually by walking in His presence daily and honouring God by our lifestyle, deeds (Mi 6:8; Phil 2:14-16) and giving (Pr 3:9-10). The corporate and the individual Christian’s life of devotion are however only acts of true worship insofar as they proceed from a sincerely worshipful heart that comes from knowing and enjoying the Living God (Jn 4:23, Ps 100:4-5).
A commitment to build godly families
Godly relationships in a family are important for Christian living. We are committed to cultivating a family culture that is characterized by the loving relationships with our parents (Eph 6:1-3), spouses (Eph 5:21-33), siblings and children (Col 3:20,21). We affirm that it is primarily the responsibility of the parents to bring their children to physical, spiritual and psychological wholesomeness (Dt 11:18-21), although other members of the church can help in this task. In having healthy family relationships and godly families, we bear a good Christian witness to the world (Mt 5:16).
A commitment to strengthen biblical communities
Believers have been saved to become part of a redeemed community, the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), and are being built into a spiritual house (1 Pet 2:5). We are therefore committed to building community and strengthening relationships based on love which includes acceptance, availability, mutual care, accountability and discipline (Gal 6:1,2,9,10). We are committed to living out the values of the kingdom even when they are counter to those of modern culture (Rom 12:2). Through our body life, therefore, we will bear witness to the redeeming power of God’s love and to the coming glory of the kingdom of God.
A commitment to serve
Members of Christ’s church are called to serve God and other people with faithfulness and love (Mk 10:43-45, Gal 5:13-14), and not to be spectators. For this reason, God has endowed each and every member of the church with spiritual gifts, and He has mandated that the church provides training and instruction to equip all her members for works of ministry (Eph 4:11-16). Each member of the church should regard himself as accountable for the exercise of his gifts. In this way, the church may fully manifest the reality of God’s love both within the community of faith, and to the world at large. As part of our commitment to serve, we also affirm that God calls and prepares leaders to lead the community with character and competence (1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:6-9; 1 Pet 5:1-4), in wisdom and grace of the Lord. In this regard the church must continually nurture, pray for, support and encourage godly leadership among her members.
A commitment to share the Gospel
We are committed to look beyond ourselves and our needs to proclaim the Gospel of Christ with sincerity, integrity and relevance (2 Cor 4:1,2), through godly living, evangelism, social outreach and sending and supporting Christians for overseas missions. The scope of our outreach is our family, our workplace, our neighbourhood, our nation and the peoples in other lands and cultures, and we will do this out of our love for Christ as well as concern for the spiritual and material needs of others. We will thus fulfil the Great Commission to make disciples and teach them to observe Christ’s commands (Mt 28:19,20; Acts 1:8).
Our core values explain why, as a church, we do what we do.