Identifying Core Values

Some of you (I hope) will recognize what we’ve referred to as our Purpose/Vision Statement or our Guiding Principles for the NC Synod. To refresh your memory, here it is:

God calls the NC Synod of the ELCA to…

  • Cultivate and Celebrate Vital Congregations
  • Identify, Equip and Nurture Whole & Healthy Leaders
  • Embrace & Engage in Collaboration
  • Proclaim the Promise of the Resurrection with a Prophetic Voice

…all for the sake of the world.

All of the above has been guiding our synod work for nearly two years now, and we remain committed to that calling. In the meantime, we’ve been working for the past year on developing more specific core values and a strategic plan for the NC Synod. Last winter we spent time as a synod staff doing core value exercises. We expanded the participants in those core value exercises to our deans, to a beta group of pastors and lay leaders we considered to be representative of our synod, and then to our Synod Council. At that time this past March, the Synod Council was adamant that we needed broader input, and we took on the monumental task of doing a core value exercise with nearly 500 people on the floor of our Synod Assembly.

So, what are the chances that a manageable number of core values could possibly emerge from exercises involving over 700 individuals and their sticky notes? Virtually impossible, right? That’s what I thought, but amazingly, when we started grouping together all of the various words lifted up as values, we rather easily began to see the following four categories emerge. These are our core values of the synod on which we have, with your help, based our strategic plan:

Christ-Centered
The living Word, Jesus the Christ, is the very center of all we do. In Jesus Christ, we experience God’s grace and are set free to be God’s beloved in this world.

Generosity
There is enough; there is more than enough. We will trust God’s provision for tomorrow. With gratitude for what God first gives us, we live and give generously today.

Relationship
Just as we belong to one body in Christ, we belong to each other. Inspired by the Gospel, we will choose to live and work together for the sake of the world.

Reconciliation
God’s deep desire is to reconcile all relationships – with each other and creation. We will actively strive to experience the fullness of God through radical welcome, diversity, justice, compassion, peacemaking, advocacy, and healing.

These are not empty words. They are, we believe, the essence of who God is calling us to be and the focus of what God is calling us to pursue. We are blessed and privileged to share this ministry with you.

Walking with you,

Tim signature

Bishop Tim Smith