They abide in me

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me (John 6:56-57)

Churches have core values. Sometimes these values are spelled out and woven into congregational literature.

Core values and aspirational values are two different things, a wise one once emphasized. Core values aren’t what you want to be known for. Your core values are what you actually value, based on what you do with what you have.

I was once a part of a group of church folk tasked with naming that community’s core values and let me just say, it was either an exercise in self-deception or a true airing of how differently we regarded our fellowship.

In the same way that individuals are sometimes reluctant to do the math with regard to how much of what is “theirs” is given away—preferring instead to maintain the idea that surely, they are generous—organizations can conflate core values with aspirational ones.

I may not know them from Adam. However, I can tell you that JOY is a non-denominational church with campuses in New Jersey and New York. I stumbled upon it online while looking for images in keeping with the theme of spiritual intimacy. Yes, that was what I was looking for and yes, I found next to nothing.       

"Values" - JOY Christian Fellowship

"Values" - JOY Christian Fellowship

These are those bold enough to name intimacy (!) as a congregational value. I cannot comment on whether this is core or aspirational, as I am busy tending to a community vis-à-vis which I would not welcome an observer’s casual scrutiny.

“Intimacy – To love the Lord with all our hearts is our highest calling and the spiritual spring from which everything flows.”

Go ahead with your true-to-John-6-selves, JOY Church. I’d likely feel a bit out of place there, but I can figuratively salute the folks willing to claim the thing Jesus offers (at so steep a cost), right?

To abide in another is intimate (v.56). For all the ways we get intimacy wrong, it belongs. It belongs in our vocabulary of faith. 


Rachel May

Drew Willson