Editor's note: This blog post, originally published in 2012, was updated in 2019.
A Culture of Life Transformation
One Sunday in 2003, Phil Altmeyer, UGM executive director, was visiting a church where the pastor shared the church’s core values – what they believed, what they were all about. As he sat there, he thought about UGM and how the same idea might apply. UGM had never defined its core values in that way. From that initial motivation, Phil began to meet with the leadership team and have discussions about the organization’s defining beliefs. Together, leadership came up with a set of core values, which were later simplified to the following: God-dependence (Philippians 4:19); Christ-likeness (I John 2:6); Total Accountability (2 Corinthians 5:9-10); Life Transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17); Unified Teamwork (John 17:20-23); Pursuing Excellence (Colossians 3:23-24); Balanced Life (3 John 2); Loving Relationships (Matthew 22:35-40); Thankful & Generous (I Thessalonians 5:18; Matthew 10:8b); and Stewardship (I Corinthians 4:2).
Recently, however, leadership recognized that, while these values are all important, essential even, they are not all equal. They also admitted that very few staff members could list all 10 and it might be unrealistic to expect them to. And so, a re-vamping discussion began.
The diagram below is the end result.
All ten values are still there, but the emphasis has changed.
As a Christian organization, UGM recognizes that DEPENDENCE ON GOD is at the center of our reality. We need God. This is the “Gospel” in our name. He created us. We have life and breath because he grants it. We love the poor and broken because he first loved us and gave his life for ours. We do not deserve or earn his love. He gives it freely. And we can do nothing without him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5
CHRIST-LIKENESS is our North Star – the standard toward which we are all aiming. We want to be like Jesus. This is the standard in our relationships, in our work, in managing our thoughts, feelings and behavior. In fact, for each of the remaining core values, the question upon which we evaluate ourselves is whether or not we are behaving as Christ would.
Much of the time, we cannot answer that question on our own. We do not have an accurate picture of ourselves. We need other people to speak into our lives, to show us where we've been unloving or dishonest or abrasive or inconsiderate or jealous or where we've settled for mediocre and not sought excellence. That's why ACCOUNTABILITY is on the arrow. We are counting on each other to point us toward areas of growth.
As the Body of Christ, we practice TOTAL ACCOUNTABILITY. We admit that we cannot do life alone, and we invite each other to speak into our lives as we daily pursue EXCELLENCE, TEAMWORK, LOVING RELATIONSHIPS, THANKFULNESS, STEWARDSHIP and a BALANCED LIFE.
All of this goes together to create a CULTURE OF LIFE TRANSFORMATION! As Christians, we desire to be changed, day by day, more and more, into men and women who reflect our Creator. Well, that's what we ultimately desire, right? The change can be hard, even painful, but long term, we know he is working within us for our good and his glory.
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6
Read more about each of these values in the links above.
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