People Over Policy

Nick MartineauBlog

Have you ever been a part of a club, organization, or community and said to yourself, “I just love being a part of this group of people because of their policies!” Yeah, me neither…Generally, you love being a part of the organizations and clubs because of the people, not the policies.

Don’t get me wrong: policies are important. They can set healthy boundaries and help properly direct our energy and efforts towards our mission. But you’ll notice that the mission of Hope Community Church is not bringing our policies closer to Jesus. Our mission is bringing people closer to Jesus. While policies can be helpful, we always understand that people are more important than policy.

With that being said, very recently our Leadership Team agreed to add a new core value for our church. We currently have twelve core values, and you can read each of them at Our core values are not created to steer us in new directions, but instead to represent what we already believe and live out as a community. By putting a new core value in writing, we are stating what is already taking place among us and hoping it will now serve as a reminder to us, and future Hopesters, that we see this as valuable.

Our new core value reads: Showing others the love of Jesus must always take precedence over man-made policies.  (Mark 2:27, John 5:9-11, Luke 13:14-15, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Pastor Steve helped in writing this new core value, and in the process of doing so, he wrote out a brief explanation for this new value:

In the life of Jesus, obedience to the Father and love always came first. Man-made policies, which are acceptable, should always be for the purpose of honoring the Father as they help, protect, and love others. Whenever they fail to do so, whenever they harm others or hinder relationships, the relationship and love of the person should take priority. Loving the individual must always take precedence over the man-made policy. God’s eternal, absolute truth always outweighs our temporary, man-made guidelines. Relationship outweighs policy.   (Mark 2:27, John 5:9-11, Luke 13:14-15, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Did you know that Hope has a policy manual? It’s not a very exciting read, but on the first page there is this quote by Brennan Manning: “The Pharisees were so busy refining and finessing the formulas of religion that they lost interest in the content.  They were so assiduous in studying their beliefs that they forgot the reality their beliefs signified. They had believed for so long that their faith had dulled. They had awaited the Messiah for so long, their expectancy was blunted.”

May our policies be honoring to Jesus and helpful in accomplishing our mission, and may our policies never become so important that we forget that relationships and love of others should take priority!