Jill Rowe is part of Oasis Church in the UK. One of the ministries she works with is a group that takes over failing public schools and helps them realign their values and systems to improve the education, and the outcomes for students.
Her episode on Rob Bell’s Robcast is an excellent example of why the Robcast is worth following, whatever disagreements you might have with Bell. This is EXCELLENT, inspiring stuff.
Oasis’s model is to come alongside or replace existing leadership, and to work with existing personnel. To facilitate the new direction, whenever Oasis begins a new work, she makes a presentation that describes Oasis’ values. This is my summary of her presentation, from the Robcast:
We tell them: we are Christians. You don’t have to be a Christian to be involved in what we’re doing. But because we’re Christians, these are the values we try to follow in everything we do. You don’t have to believe what we believe, but here are the behaviors we want to see.
- God is love, and his love is toward everyone. We have a passion to include EVERYONE. We won’t impose that on anyone, but we expect to see that value acted out in everyone who works here. If you’re part of us, you align to that.
- Everyone is made in God’s image. We treat everyone equally, and we respect differences. This is difficult, because some of us think we deserve more than other people deserve. In reality, it’s the others who should receive more.
- We’re committed to open, healthy relationships. God is trinity, and that’s the example. It demands WE–not just me. We need one another. Relationships are about the good times and the bad times. We need to be good at forgiving one another, listening to each other, respecting each other.
- Death isn’t the end; we believe in resurrection, Jesus rose from the dead and broke death’s power. This gives us a deep sense of hope that every situation can be changed, improved, and transformed.
- We persevere. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” doesn’t happen quickly. It doesn’t happen on a two week mission trip. We’re marathon runners, not sprinters.
We can’t impose beliefs. But these are the behaviors we expect, the values we expect to see, in everything that we do from now on.