The study of values is called axiology. Within this field of study there is a foundational proposition that states, “You do what you value and you value what you do.”

     Many times church leaders make a huge mistake in ministering to the church. They try to change behavior without ever addressing the real issue-the value system that under-girds the behavior. For example, church leaders try to motivate disciples to give their money, energy, time, devotion, and commitment to a cause that they may not truly value (or that they do not value as much as they value the other demands of their lives). The result is a complex array of “programs” that look good on a flow chart but are, in fact, impotent. Without the consistent commitment of zealous workers these programs die on the vine and have very little impact on the real world.

     Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). The heart is a well-known metaphor for the center of a person’s inner being and thus the center of a person’s attention, commitment, and affection. One of the striking points Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Mount is that the heart is where behavior originates. Therefore, Jesus agrees with the foundational proposition of axiology: your heart (i.e., your attention, commitment, affection and ultimately your behavior) follows those things that you value (i.e., your treasure).

     If we want to permanently change our behavior we must first change the underlying value that produces that behavior. If we want to become a church that militantly lives out the Great Commission then we must first become a church that deeply values obedience to the Lord’s commandments. We must love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. When these become our core values it seems to me that we will automatically (1) go into the entire world, (2) make disciples of every creature, (3) baptize them, and (4) teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

     Perhaps I am missing something but it seems to me that we don’t need more outreach programs in the Lord’s church. What we need is a church that is passionately in love with its God, that obeys Him no matter what the personal cost, and that values human beings (even sinful ones) the way that He does.