We are excited to begin a new series of messages called “Building a Community of Character.”  I thought it would be a good idea to give you some insight to reasons why we are doing a message on something that the schools of our nation are promoting.

How and When Did Character Counts! Start?

CHARACTER COUNTS! got its start as the result of an Ethics Conference at the Aspen Institute in 1992. CHARACTER COUNTS! believes that effective character education is, first and foremost, an obligation of families; it is also an important obligation of faith, communities, schools, youth and other human service organizations. These obligations to develop character are best achieved when these groups work in concert. It has no political agenda and no religious affiliation. They believe that character really counts in personal relationships, in school, at the workplace– in life– who you are makes a difference! Character is not hereditary, nor does it develop automatically. It must be consciously developed by example and demand. There are common ethical values that transcend political, religious, socioeconomic and cultural differences. The six pillars that are taught are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Many classrooms and organizations started to implement these techniques all across the country.

CHARACTER COUNTS! came to Iowa in 1997 by former Governor Robert Ray. Their mission is to recognize, enhance and sustain the positive qualities of Iowans in order to promote civility through character development and their vision is that every Iowan embrace and practice good character by demonstrating the six pillars.

Why are we looking at Character Counts?

It would be easy to conclude that the reason we are doing Character Counts as a message series is because we just want to get people to act right or give our people some easy steps to become a better Christian. (It really isn’t that simple). We recognize that we can not accomplish a better world or community through our own power and strength. 

Through discussions with parents we discovered that they felt a piece was missing in the Character Counts curriculum. They wanted their children to know the true source and example of character that we have comes from Jesus Christ. Long before the 1990’s, Jesus came and lived a perfect life, full of character, to fulfill the law and standards of a perfect God. In his life, death and resurrection we have a righteousness that is ours and there is nothing that we did to deserve it. The Character Counts pillars have their very foundations in Scripture. Listen to the call from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:22-23, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires: to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”

We want to use this opportunity that God has laid before us to take something that has been promoted in the community and teach the Christian foundation for it. We invite you join us as we explore the examples of character that Jesus gives us. As we begin to make the correlation between the pillars of character and the way Jesus interacted with others throughout his ministry, we will see many situations where Jesus exemplifies the pillars of character. Come, delve into scriptures with us as we unfold the character of Christ. What if we became the people of character that God has called us to be?