Why is it important to know your values?

  • Values serve as guide rails for leaders and organizations
  • Values provide guidelines for appropriate behavior
  • Values accelerate personal development

I like to say that values are the things leaders argue for when the values are challenged. Vision, as others suggest is…

Vision is a picture of the preferred future from God’s perspective.

A leader without a clear set of values is like a ship without a rudder. The ship is afloat, but not going anywhere in particular.

Do you know your values?

Take a moment to reflect on those things that are important to you.

Perhaps it is taking a walk or hike, getting to know your neighbors or spending a day at the beach with your immediate family.  Maybe it is reading a good book, making stuff with your hands or cooking.  Whatever those things are – you will find a way to do those activities you value.

During challenging seasons, it is natural to examine and discover what is important to us, often as a function of those things no longer being available or accessible because of extenuating circumstances. Travel, time with friends, sporting events, concerts, creating, connecting and establishing relationships – the list goes on and our priorities are distilled down to the essentials when life twists and turns. If we allow it, our human resilience rises up and we find ways to create opportunities to fulfill our deepest desires and highest priorities.

What are the values of a disciple coach?

Let me suggest that disciple coaches value certain behaviors.  Disciple coaches understand the importance of connecting with pre-Christians, helping new disciples grow in their faith, challenge disciples to move from “consumer” to “contributor” to serve members of their community and reproduce themselves into the lives of other new followers of Christ.

Here are those values again, taken from the Making Disciples Storyboard:

  • GROW

How can you clarify your values?

I was talking with a young, emerging leader recently who stated his desire to identify his values. Those things that are near to his heart, as a part of his maturing process moving into adulthood. This is what we did.

I asked him to take a look back and find the consistent themes that emerged from positive and negative experiences throughout his life:

  • Influential people
  • Circumstances that shaped him
  • Events that encouraged new ways of think and behaving

From that list I asked him to identify lessons he learned. One lesson was – “be true to myself”.

From those lessons, he identified values. For instance – from “be true to myself”, he arrived at Authenticity.

Personal Timeline Exercise

In my final year of seminary I came encountered a class on leadership development and was intrigued by topic. The paradigm was developed by Dr. Robert Clinton in his dissertation entitled “Leadership Emergence Patterns” and identified 6 stages of a leader’s development based on case studies of over 300 biblical and historical leaders from his research.  That course was transformational for me as I learned about the challenges leader’s face as they encounter boundaries that either stifle development or challenge leader’s to move forward.

We were instructed to go through an exhaustive and lengthy recollection of our leadership journey to-date. As I journaled my story the professor, Dr. Gordon Klenck, instructed us to lay-out our life in a timeline, identify the various “process items” Clinton describes in his material and roughly construct the phases of development. To give you an idea how long ago this was, I still have my final paper which was typed on a word processor.

Since then, Clinton has written a more concise explanation of his work in “The Making of a Leader”.  I have taken many individuals and groups through this exercise using a resource that popularized the process in a weekend retreat setting called “Focused Living” by Terry Walling.  A wonderful companion book entitled “STUCK! Navigating the Transition of Life and Leadership” is also available, by Terry Walling, and introduces the timeline in a user-friendly style.

For those that want to explore your values but want a simplified version of the Personal Timeline process, I would suggest a “Symbol Timeline”.  We initially used this exercise as a primer for the more expanded version of the Personal Timeline -see above.  It will serve the purpose of identifying your values. Follow the steps below; but instead of listing the people, events and circumstances – draw them out like in the image at the top of this blog.

Remember, the goal of the Symbol Timeline is to use symbols to illustrate the major milestones in your life and distill the lessons you learned, so that you can identify your values.




Take a look back and find the consistent themes that emerge from positive and negative: influential people in your life, circumstances that shaped you, events that encouraged new ways of think and behaving.  That lightening bolt in my timeline above represents a health issue that altered the trajectory of my life.


Draw symbols to represent the most important items in your development as a leader. See that soccer ball in the image above – guess what my favorite sport was growing up?


Identify lessons learned. One lesson I learned was based on a statemnt my mom made every morning when I left the house with my brothers and sister – “remember who you are and who you represent”.


Identify values. For instance – from “remember who you are and who you represent”, I arrived at Integrity.


To take this to a more pragmatic context, let’s compare and contrast your values to that of a disciple coach. Here is a brief list of those values taken from the Making Disciples Storyboard;

  • GROW


If you would like to participate in a cohort that will be going through this process together please join the Leadership Collective for Missional Discipleship online learning community CLICK HERE.  This will be the first time me and Micah Dodson of Thrive Church Planting have offered this FREE cohort to help you synthesize your values.  The process officially begins October 1 and runs for 4 weeks.  We will be limiting the group to 15 participants; sign-ups are on a first come, first serve basis.

By joining the Leadership Collective for Missional Discipleship online learning community you are NOT obligated to participate in the year-long process we outlined in last week’s blog – CLICK HERE.  However, this serves as a clarifying, stand-alone exercise and can be a tremendous pre-cursor to the Leadership Collective for Missional Discipleship.

If you are interested in participating in the FREE Leadership Collective for Missional Discipleship online learning community CLICK HERE.


Join our mailing list to receive notifications of newly posted blogs. This is the best way to stay up-to-date with InFocus' efforts to keep you moving toward your goals.

You have Successfully Subscribed!