Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 4

II. IDENTIFYING OUR MISSION (understanding “Formal” and Animating” Values)

Formal” Values (Values stated in the approved standards of the church)

The values that frame our mission are both formal and animating. The formal values are found in the standards approved by the church in its legislative processes. These documents interpret the church’s understanding of its Scriptural obligations and have varying levels of authority. Together these documents serve to identify the values that the church has officially agreed will guide its beliefs and practices.

A. The Westminster Confession of Faith (with Larger and Shorter Catechisms)

B. The Book of Church Order

C. Historic Motto:

Faithful to Scripture

True to Reformed Faith

Obedient to Great Commission

D. 2006 Strategic Plan Statement: “A healthy denomination is characterized


1. Preeminence of Christ

2. Increasing numbers of healthy churches

3. Presbyteries involved in cooperative ministry

4. General Assembly contributing to health of denomination (coordinating resources for effective fulfillment of Great Commission, serving judicatories through committee/agency work, fulfilling appropriate review and oversight functions)

5. Committees and Agencies effectively carrying out work of GA

“Animating” Values

(The concerns and goals that “get us up and going” each morning) Though the formal documents that identify our formal values are developed with meticulous care, they are in many ways the broadest expression of our church’s mission priorities. Beyond the formal values that establish the general nature and commitments of the denomination are the “animating values” that stimulate the daily activities of individuals, local churches or groups within the denomination.

Summary: Defining “formal” (the church’s purpose and work as expressed in its standards) and “animating” (the understanding of the church’s purpose and work that serve to motivate people in the church) values.

Commentary: This section is straightforward. The primary difficulty is that the “motto” of the church and the 2006 Strategic Plan have somehow been elevated to “formal” values, in essence raising them almost to constitutional status. I don’t remember that such a move has ever been formally taken. If anyone knows, please let me know. In some sense, I don’t have any objection to the “motto” and the 2006 Strategic Plan, but they ought to fall under “animating” rather than “formal” values.

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