Vision, Objectives, Principles and Values
Whether you are already involved in a Christian Workplace Group (CWG) or setting up a new one, if you are talking to one of our team of ambassadors about developing your group, they will always ask you something along the lines ‘What are your aims and objectives? What is your vision for the group?’ Setting a clear direction for the future is not only vitally important for members of your CWG, but also for your employers who will want to know what the purpose of your group is.
Jesus was absolutely clear about His mission on earth and throughout His ministry took key opportunities to set out His vision, aims and objectives. A key moment is found in Luke Chapter 4: 16-21, sometimes known as ‘The Jesus Manifesto’:
16 Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures 17 and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed
19 and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people.”
This was a vision that was succinct, uncomplicated and straight to the point conveying who Jesus was and what He was about. There were other examples of Jesus setting out His mission in clear and simple terms, for example in Luke 19:10: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” There is a key message here for all CWGs. Make sure that your vision and objectives are brief, to the point and easily understood.
In addition to setting out His vision, Jesus chose other moments to develop the principles and values which underpinned His vision. A good example of this is when He gave His ‘Sermon on the Mount’. If you have time, take a look at Matthew chapters 5-7. In these chapters Jesus sets out and develops further what He is all about, what His values are and how they should impact upon people’s lives. Anyone hearing these words or reading them can be left in little doubt what values were central to His ministry. What, however, is significant here, is that Jesus’ words appear to be directed to His disciples. Jesus knew how important His disciples would be in furthering the Good News and it was vitally important that they understood what His ministry was about. It took three years and His death and Resurrection before they fully understood, but they got there in the end! Is your CWG clear about the values which underpin everything it does?
I believe there are three key lessons here for CWGs:
Clarity of Purpose First of all is the need to be crystal clear about the purpose and aims of the group. It is not only important that managers understand the purpose of your group, but also that the group members themselves understand why they exist. Your CWG will never be effective in transforming the workplace if the group members do not have a shared understanding of its purpose.
Clear Communication Use plain uncomplicated language. Remember that your audience includes both Christians and non-Christians.
Ownership of Principles and Values Be clear about the values and principles which will run through your group activities and make sure that these are understood by group members. It is important to recognise that the time spent teaching His disciples was so that they could effectively take the Good News out into the wider world and it is important too for CWG members to spend time developing and deepening their faith, but always keeping an eye on the purpose of the CWG.
Outward Facing Finally, notice who was the focus of Jesus’ vision – it was not himself. Jesus came to serve not to be served and it is plain both from His words and actions that His focus was on the people He came to save. So it is for CWGs. We need to be careful not to set a vision and objectives that are inward looking, but are focused on what the group can do for the organisation – ‘Here for You’!