Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches @2015

Evergreen Association

Of America Baptist Churches

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Phone: 253/859 -2226

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409 Third Ave S, Suite A

Kent, WA  98032-5843



EVERGREEN CORE VALUES AND MISSION PRIORITIES


CORE VALUES


UNITY:  Unity is seen most in our decision making process of consensus building. Unity doesn’t mean that we agree exactly the same on everything. It does mean that we are glad to share that we agree on the important things and are willing to live and work with each other because of these things. We believe that God gives us this gift of unity, it is not ours but God’s gift to us.


CULTURAL DIVERSITY:  Cultural Diversity is apparent in our structure, with our caucuses and our quorums which call for representatives of all caucus to be present in order for us to do business. We also are very intentional about making sure that the chair of Evergreen moves from caucus to caucus. It is also apparent because nominations come from the caucuses rather than having a separate nominating committee. It says that we put some power in our cultural diversity. Our challenge is to express this value by lifting up the differences of our cultural diversity. One of our growing edges is to be appreciative of our differences, not just giving lip service to the diversity, but truly listening to the unique-nesses among us and using them to spread the love and grace of God.


ACCEPTANCE: Acceptance means that all people are “accepted”, and all opinions are accepted. The sense that everyone counts is apparent in our work at Evergreen. Our consensus decision making as well as our caucus structure both support this “acceptance” reality. The growing edge again is the need to listen for and affirm the differences among us so that we use these to best do our work. There is a story line that goes with this “core value”, it is the storyline of “Everyperson”, an organizational archetype, that describes how we usually operate. Acceptance is a primary characteristic of this archetype.


LEARNING COMMUNITY:  At Evergreen we are ready and willing to be transformed and we believe we have been called to transform our world, through the love and grace of God. We do hold as a value that we are learning new ways of doing things and we are called to share these learnings outside our doors. It may be that people will tire of hearing of our adventures with caucuses and consensus, but our value is that what we learn can help others. We are a learning organization!


MISSION PRIORITIES


BUILDING BRIDGES: This mission priority is taken directly from our mission statement, “we will build bridges between communities”. And we have strived since our beginning to build bridges, between churches, between caucuses, between various people groups, between ourselves and ABC, between ourselves and the neighborhoods or communities we serve. It is a mission that clearly continues to call us to not only to build bridges, but use them to interact with others and be sure they are two-way bridges, letting others in as we seek to understand and serve others. It is necessary to build bridges with others, it is not a solitary task, but one to do with the other and others.


EQUIPPING MEMBER CHURCHES:  This mission priority, like Building Bridges, comes straight out of our mission statement, “to provide resources to equip member churches to share Christ and teach God’s word.” I remember that the Vision Team spent awhile on this provision of the mission statement, both to have it there (lots of affirmation) and to have it speak correctly of what we were supporting congregations to do. It is no small task for the local congregation or us in our work to help churches in every way we can.


REACHING BEYOND OUR BORDERS:  God is at work in and through Evergreen. This “mission priority” is the call to share what we have learned beyond the boundaries of Evergreen. It is seen and understood in our desire to make a difference in the wider ABC family but also to the community and world at large in terms of justice issues and spreading the good news of God’s love and grace. ABC/USA is the most ethnic diverse denomination in the US. The US will in the next 20-30 years be as diverse as the ABC is today. We must learn to work with that diversity well. If the church does not lead the way in this work, then we will have failed God. If all our work is done within the Evergreen we haven’t done what we have been called to do.


SHARING THE EVERGREEN WAY: Sharing the Evergreen way, is simple and complex. Our consensus and caucus work makes us unique in a lot of cultures. Our determination to work toward making every voice count means we are doing things differently. Our business and our play/work times have a different flavor and sense than whatever was before. We don’t want to say in any way that we have arrived, but we are on a collective journey that is interesting and fun and has the sense of God’s blessing. So we’ve begun to call it “the Evergreen Way.”  “Sharing the Evergreen way” is an expression of our calling. It is one way of witnessing and sharing Christ. We do this because of God’s call, not because of pride or an arrogance that we think we are doing everything right (we know better than that). So we don’t call it “God’s way” although we believe that God is guiding us, but we call it the Evergreen Way, in the hopes that by sharing what we do and who we are, we can make a positive difference for the world.