Our values are the fundamental principles and realities that we stand for. While our mission is the “what” and “why” of our existence, our values define how we go about our mission.
Thomas Watson, Jr., IBM’s second president, had this to say about the importance of core values:
I firmly believe that any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions. Next, I believe that the most important single factor in corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs….Beliefs must always come before policies, practices, and goals. The latter must always be altered if they are seen to violate fundamental beliefs.
As Jim Collins argues in Built to Last, strategies, tactics, and methodologies are important for any organization, but they are not enough. Truly visionary and lasting organizations are built on something much deeper—namely, purpose and values. These are the things that give ultimate direction and meaning to what you do. Before you can know what to do—and how to do it effectively—you have to know what you stand for. This is a common characteristic of all of organizations that make an enduring, lasting impact.
The core values of What’s Best Next include:
1. The centrality of the gospel
The truth of Christ’s death and resurrection is central to everything we do (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), especially as seen in the doctrine of justification by faith alone (Romans 4:1-8) and the preeminence of Christ (Colossians 1:15-20).
2. The glory of God and the good of others
Everything we do is fueled by the twin motives of love for people and love for God. We don’t simply seek the good of others; we seek the good of others to the glory of God. And neither do we seek the glory of God defined in an abstract sense, but rather we recognize that, as God himself says, to seek his glory requires radical service for the good of others, especially the least of these (Jeremiah 22:15-16; Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Corinthians 10:31-33; Psalm 72:1-4, 12-16).
3. Proactive generosity
We believe in seeking the benefit of others first, not ourselves, and that this biblical call extends to all we do. Hence, we seek to be generous not simply in our money, but in all of the resources God has entrusted to us, including our time and energy and the way we do our policies and the way we treat our employees.
Further, we believe that God has promised to bless and provide for those who seek to be abundantly and radically generous for his sake (Proverbs 11:24-25; 28:27; Luke 6:25-36, 38; 2 Corinthians 8:14; 9:6-12).
4. Servant leadership
We believe that the leaders in an organization are servants (2 Corinthians 4:5). They exist to build up and equip the whole organization, not to be served by the organization.
In other words, the core tenet of our leadership philosophy is that we apply any authority or influence we have for the good of others. We believe in transforming leadership, rather than transactional leadership. Thus, the employees of the organization are never to be treated as “tools” who are simply a means to accomplishing tasks. Instead, our aim is to accomplish the tasks before us in a way that builds people up in the process.
Seeking to serve and build people up—including our employees—in all that we do is not only right in itself, but also results in greater effectiveness as an organization. It leads to practices that unleash the creativity and potential of all employees.
5. Common grace
A gospel-centered approach doesn’t reject or ignore common grace wisdom. Instead, while affirming Scripture as the ultimate authority, it seeks to learn from the best research and thinking in every field. God has revealed much wisdom through non-Christians as well as Christians, and we are to seek to learn from and benefit from secular thinking insofar as it is true and consistent with Scripture.
6. Creative innovation & collaboration
The large challenge of empowering Christians in the world of work cannot be solved through conventional, first-stage thinking. Creativity, initiative, and innovation must be applied. New ways of doing things need to be discovered, harnessed, and sharpened. We need to be creative and even unconventional when necessary. With the explosion of technology, we are at a time in history where this is more possible than ever before.
Our leadership approach is also essential to unleashing this in our organization. The only way to unleash the initiative and creativity necessary to equip the global church and reach the nations is to empower people to be the best that they can be, rather than operating with a command-and-control, top-down, authoritarian model of leadership. Related to this, we believe in not being boring and in contextualization.
7. Large-scale impact
We want to make a large, audacious dent for the gospel, not a small, transient dent (Ephesians 3:20-21; Isaiah 32:7-8; 49:6; 54:1-3). Our aim is to spread the light of the gospel and biblical truth to as many as possible, as often as possible, in all places possible, at all times possible, and to do this passionately and wholeheartedly (Titus 2:14).
Doctrinal Beliefs and Vision for Ministry
We are generally Reformed in our theology, which accords with the Desiring God Affirmation of Faith and Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement. Beneath doctrinal beliefs—and before programs and strategies—comes a middle level, which is the vision for ministry. Even though we are not a ministry per se, this is still an important component. We are in alignment with The Gospel Coalition’s Theological Vision for Ministry, recognizing the importance of contextualization, understanding culture, seeking to change culture through a service mentality (rather than domination mentality), and being missional in all that we do.