I’m on Pete Buttigieg’s email list. A couple weeks ago, he sent out his “Rules of the Road” that outline the values for which his campaign is aspiring. Like most of Mayor Pete’s writings, it is well thought out and articulated. In fact, I thought it would be a great set of values for a faith-based organization to espouse. So, I stole it and re-framed his “Rules of the Road” for a church context.
What would you think about a church who embodied these values?:
In our thoughts, words, and actions we cultivate a sense of respect. We respect one another on this team, we respect the tradition of the United Methodist Church, and we respect every individual we encounter. The better we hold up this value among ourselves, the better it will reflect outside.
We seek to serve and unify a diverse congregation. Let us build a leadership team and a coalition of volunteers that kindly embraces and reflects the increasingly diverse city to which we belong. We will honor this value not just in our makeup but in our practices, as we proactively work to include people of different backgrounds and viewpoints in every major decision, and cultivate a sense of welcome to all.
Honesty is in our nature, and it is one of our greatest means of restoring faith in religious organizations and building a movement rooted in trust and faith in God. Internally and externally, our effort will be characterized by fidelity to the truth.
We are all working to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the sake of the world. In moments of disagreement, the temptations of pride and ego will arise. Rooted in our mission, let our common purpose be a touchstone as we foster a climate of trust and mutual respect.
We will not hesitate to take bold stances and to accept risk in the defense of our values. Our respect is reserved for people, not for conventions. We accept no truisms without questioning. The spirit of originality will create the pressure and permission for us to do things not done before, to stand out from the crowd not by waving our arms for attention but by the fact of being different.
The conduct of a church can be as influential as its programs. Everyone on this team has a responsibility to live up to our values, and every participant, from a first-time volunteer to the senior leadership staff, must model this. When there is a mistake, we take ownership, learn, adjust, and move on. Missteps are inevitable, but they should never be repeated. We own our choices and our work.
There is no point in being merely existing as an organization unless it is one of substance. We have the opportunity to open meaningful conversations. We will wrestle with contemporary questions seriously. We will lay aside the superficial in favor of the meaningful. We embrace complicated challenges, and will work to improve the overall dialogue in how the church relates to our world.
A movement like ours will require enormous discipline. Through energy and determination, we will handle our resources with the stewardship they deserve, mindful that this organization is fueled by the gift of other people’s time, money, relationships, and reputations.
A healthy church is a marvel and gives life to its members and its community. But the standard we should hold ourselves to in every part of our work is not whether it is at the level of a historically great church, but whether it is at the level we would expect of the best church of this time and place.
Amid the great challenge we have accepted, let us be joyful. We are privileged to be in the very center of the most important movement in the world. We are assembling a team of wonderful human beings. Along the way we will all get many opportunities to lift one another up and lift up those we encounter. Being involved with movement of God in our world will shape us but we can shape it too. Let us shape it, partly, by spreading the joy of working for our beliefs.
(Mayor Pete’s origional “Rules of the Road” can be found here: https://go.peteforamerica.com/rules-of-the-road/)
Mayor Pete ends his book with these words:
Please see the introduction to Part 1 for the context of these questions…
Theology of Ministry Statement: Please make a brief statement of your theology of ministry. It should be no more than 1/3 page, typed and single-spaced. Upon a positive BOM recommendation you will read this statement aloud at the upcoming Annual Conference clergy session.
My theology of ministry begins with the notion that God is love. Additionally, the model of Jesus becoming flesh and dwelling among us is the concrete expression of what it means to be a representative of God in the world.
I believe that sometimes the bravest and most important thing a person can do is just show up.
I believe that spiritual values are transferred best through relational environments and is often more about unlearning things than learning things.
I believe that it is more important to change what people care about than to change what they believe.
I believe that ministry is not giving people what they want, but rather it is about changing the wants themselves.
I believe there is no growth without change, no change without loss, and no loss without pain.
I believe that the church does not have a social strategy; the church is a social strategy.
I believe that Jesus meant to start a movement, not an institution.
I believe my calling is about saving people not saving institutions.
I believe that often the greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus is Christianity.
I believe that movements are living things and multiplication is what mature living things naturally do.
I believe that those who change the course of history are usually those who pose a new set of questions rather than those who offer solutions.
I believe that “us” and “them” are illusions. There is no “them.”
I believe that a pastor is as old as their cynicism and as young as their dreams.
I believe that the greatest temptation of a pastor is to be a hireling rather than a leader.
I believe that the Beatles got it wrong. Love isn’t all we need. Love is all there is.
**I am indebted to many people who have shaped my ideas and been “mentors from afar”: Peter Drucker, GK Chesterton, Frederick Buechner, Dave Browning, Stanley Hauerwas, Erwin McManus, Eugene Peterson, Tony Campolo, Gustavo Gutierrez, Patrick Lenceoni, William Willimon, and Brian McLaren.
Please see the introduction to Part 1 for the context of these questions…
o) You have agreed as a candidate for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness of the gospel, and in consideration of their influence as ministers, to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life, and to this end agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God. What is your understanding of this agreement?
Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God more than any other subject. He spoke of it with a sense of urgency: it is already among us in embryonic form and growing all the time. It is like a mustard seed or a bit of yeast in dough. Jesus indicated that when we begin to grasp how amazing this coming Kingdom is, we will sacrifice anything to be a part of it. It is like a man who sold everything he had to buy a plot of land with buried treasure, someone who sacrificed everything for an amazing pearl.
Part of what he taught us to pray was, “…your Kingdom come, your will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus’ plan was that He would form from His followers a community that would model for the world a new way of life in which the Kingdom of God would begin to break into our world.
In order for his Kingdom to come here on Earth, it first needs to break into my world: exercising responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God. This also includes: bad habits, gossip, worry, self-promotion, judgmentalism, avoiding confrontation, bending the truth to get out of trouble, holding a grudge because it feels good, impure thoughts, impure actions, getting cold and withdrawing from others, and getting stubborn or passive/aggressive.
Once the Kingdom has broken into my world, I can be a part of a healthy community that can embody the Kingdom of God here on Earth (where the truth of the Gospel becomes credible). My inability to deal with the shortcoming of my own life short-circuits the larger mission of Jesus.
Therefore, my understanding of this agreement is that I am not an “end user” of this commitment. I agree to dedicate my life to these ideals for the sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.