More than any other tool, I am becoming convinced that Core Values are the essential navigational tool for this murky time in which we live. Our denomination has produced a book with our core values. Nobody (obvious exaggeration) is reading it. The production of it was very important, but now they must start the process of reproducing it. I would suggest they hire a Director of Reproducing DNA or a Director of Midwivery.
Our group, Midwest Church Planting (which has a beautiful, well thought out website... though it is still only in my head), may take on that task of reproducing core values so that we will have a place to stand. Some see our group as simply tasked -- plant new churches. But the soil is miserable for planting denominational churches. One critical thing that the denomination can provide is a base of Core Values.
Leonard Sweet has written a book (which I have not read) called "11 Genetic Gateways to Spiritual Awakening," which I think is what he would consider the core values of the United Methodist Church. Then they created this website to encourage discussion. An excellent beginning for a denomination that drastically needs a firm foundation.
Here are the final words of Sweet's introduction to his book:
For quite some time I have been arguing that "the postmodernist always rings twice;" that in postmodern culture, in both/and (not either/or) fashion, we must get more ancient and more future at the same time. This book is my attempt to work out this ancientfuture methodology on my own tribe, the Wesleyan movement in general and the United Methodist Church in particular. I shall attempt to analyze the Wesleyan movement both in retrospect and in prospect, looking into the past while launching into the future at the same time, functioning as both historian and futurist.
In short, just call me the "repo man" of Methodism. This book is my attempt to repossess the Wesleyan heritage for the new world, to make its soul fresh and singable again among a rising generation, and in a deeper repossession to harness its energies once more for the day in which we live.