Principles are the things that you build upon. They reflect the values of an organisation. The thing about principles is that they are there but when you want to write them out it is not easy to find the words you need.
Start in Jerusalem, then go to Samaria and finally expand out into the whole world
That might be a biblical principle but it is the basis of some highly-regarded business books. This one is a best seller. No wonder when the sales page says
Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.
There is a strange story behind me buying a copy of this book. I was miles away from home at a conference and I walked into a bookshop. I knew that buying yet another book was not a good idea yet I was convinced that there was a book in the business section that I needed to buy. I looked around and this one all but jumped off the shelf. I read and I understood why. It is all about starting small and learning from each new version of what you are trying to do. It even helps the reader work out how to learn what they need to learn from the experience of that iteration of a project.
This is an incredibly important principle. It is possible to hit upon a successful idea first time around. But the problem with that is that as you have no idea of what you did right it is tough to repeat it. Starting small and testing something is far better than spending a fortune and then finding out that your idea will not work. If you had tried a small version you would have found out if you were the right person or this was the right place or that there were enough other people interested to make the idea viable. It means that rather than giving up you look for that one small tweak that will change what you are doing into something that others will value.
Respect for all
There are times when you need to take a deep breadth and wonder if you can say something kind to the person next to you. There are times when people rub you up in the wrong way or suggest that you do things that are against your principles. Things like yoga or having someone contacting “those on the other side” leave me very uncomfortable. For me, things like that come into the category of doing things that run the risk of making people weaker. Yet despite your differences, you can respect each other and treat each other as you would like to be treated. (BTW I much prefer using the term respect rather than tolerance although there is little difference between this and some people’s definition of tolerance.)
Doing things together builds community
In one sense it does not matter what things. You can be in a small team cleaning the toilets and because of your positive attitude build amazing memories.
The values of FX Communities are based on a middle eastern philosophy that had a major update about 2000 years ago. If you had not guessed that most people describe this as have a Judeo-Christian outlook on life. One of the features of this philosophy is that the belief that if they see a need in society or some kind of injustice that they should do something about it. This means that they will find a way to DO something to help and support the poor and needy. The first step is to show people ways of helping themselves to change the way that they think and act.
One of the ways that this can be done is by teaching ways of increasing their material prosperity but this has to go side by side with developing ways to use it wisely. This includes helping them to use it wisely including helping those who are less able than themselves. Another way that this is done is by teaching things that will improve their “emotional” prosperity. just as there are guidelines to material prosperity there are guidelines for emotional prosperity as well. The thing I like about Christianity is that if offers a damage repair system. A way of dealing with the effects of not following the guidelines for prosperity that has a long record of success.
This philosophy places great value upon human life. If a human life is valuable then everyone needs to be offered whatever support they need to be able to see their own value themselves. This we believe produces confident people who are willing to contribute to the well-being of society in a variety of ways. We believe that everyone has different abilities gifts and talents and that it is important that everyone discovers what these are and develops them. In this way, they can find a place in society where they are comfortable and can perform to their best ability. This can only add to their recognition of their own value as they and others see themselves as the best person for that role. This also enables and empowers people and makes it possible to achieve all that they are capable of doing. Here is a list of virtues that we would like to see developed in everyone involved with FX Communities
- hard work
- consideration of others
- merciful towards others
- commitment to excellence
- be good caretakers of all resources
- desire for constant improvement
In addition to these we aim to demonstrate love to others by being patient, kind, not envious, not boasting, not proud, nor rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs, not delighting in wrong-doing but rejoicing in the good, always protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering and never failing. That is a tall order but we all know that if we aim for the stars then we have a chance of reaching the moon. This is why we have no problem subscribing to the Faithworks Charter.
Our community service guidelines
Quite a few years ago now, there was an organisation that aimed to support Christians who wanted to serve their community. They have stepped back from doing that now but these guidelines are based on the ones that they developed.
We will provide an inclusive service to our community by:
- Serving and respecting all people regardless of their gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religion, age, sexual orientation or physical and mental capability. (We believe that everyone was created in the image of God and as such is a human being worthy of respect and dignity.)
- Acknowledging the freedom of people of all faiths or none both to hold and to express their beliefs and convictions respectfully and freely, within the limits of the UK law.
- Never imposing our Christian faith or belief on others. (Remember there is a difference between sharing wise ideas from the bible that help people manage money better and imposing ideas that reflect Christian doctrine or creeds. We welcome enquiries and requests for more information from others that start a conversation but aim to be sensitive enough not to continue those conversations beyond the comfort zone of others.)
- Developing partnerships with other churches, voluntary groups, statutory agencies and local government wherever appropriate in order to create an effective, integrated service for our clients avoiding unnecessary duplication of resources.
- Providing and publicising regular consultation and reporting forums to client groups and the wider community regarding the effective development and delivery of our work and our responsiveness to their actual needs.
We will value all individuals in a way that is consistent with our distinctive Christian ethos by:
- Creating an environment where clients, volunteers and employees are encouraged and enabled to realise their potential.
- Assisting our clients, volunteers and employees to take responsibility for their own learning and development, both through formal and informal training opportunities and ongoing assessment.
- Developing an organisational culture in which individuals learn from any mistakes made and where excellence and innovation are encouraged and rewarded.
- Promoting the value of a balanced, holistic lifestyle as part of each individual’s overall personal development.
- Abiding by the requirements of employment law in the UK and implementing best employment practices and procedures designed to maintain our distinctive ethos and values.
We will develop a professional approach to management, practice and funding by:
- Implementing a management structure, which fosters and encourages participation by staff at all levels in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the project’s goals and visions.
- Setting and reviewing measurable and timed outcomes annually, and regularly to evaluate and monitor our management structure and output, recognising the need for ongoing organisational flexibility, development and good stewardship of resources.
- Doing all we can to ensure that we are not over-dependent on any one source of funding. (We promote business-related strategies for earning money and encourage those who run a business to have a philanthropic outlook. Funding in the sense of looking for grants is a secondary strategy. However, the basic principle of not being overly dependent on a single resource, other than the one God, is a very sensible one.)
- Implementing best practice procedures in terms of Health and Safety and Child Protection in order to protect our staff, volunteers and clients.
- Handling our funding in a transparent and accountable way and to give relevant people from outside our organisation/project reasonable access to our accounts.
Adapted from the Faithworks Charter. (Alterations shown in brackets)