5 Aspects to Leading with Integrity

5 Aspects to Leading with Integrity

Integrity means..  Inspired by God’s forgiveness, we live open and honest lives toward God and each other.

  • The DNA of Integrity inspires us to live in honesty with a Father who, without reserve or measure, loves and forgives us.
  • The DNA of Integrity removes the masks of “I am perfect” and “I have it all together” so we can live in humility with our Family.

#1: The Integrous Leader Builds God’s Kingdom Not A Personal Following

“There is a big difference between drawing a crowd and building a church; marketers can draw a crowed, cults can draw a crowd, but only God’s people can build the Kingdom.” – Henry Blackaby

(2 Kings 4:42–44, ESV)  “[During a great time of famine,] a man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord. ”

This story is a model of movement; meeting a man where he was (the city of Baal’s provision) and taking him where he needed to be.  If we are gong to be integrous leaders who build Churches; not personal followings, then here is the approach.  The integrous leader has a Kingdom approach.

  • First, Leaders must recognize that people will come because of some need. In preceding story, the man left behind his city god, “Baal-Shalishah:” not because he had a deep inner need for “God”, but because his life was messed up and he needed help.
  • Second, Leaders must help people move forward past their need. Elisha did this by introducing this man to his God (Elohim) and letting the man know that Elisha’s God could meet his need.
  • Third, Leaders must move forward and recognize that people need role-models. This man did not take a step of faith because he loved God, he moved forward because he saw in Elisha something to be trusted and admired.  There is nothing wrong with being a charismatic leader who draws people to the church.  There is nothing wrong with designing programs that will connect people to the church.  But…
  • Fourth, Leaders must move forward and connect people to their Creator. The man in our story trusted Elisha and experienced a blessing.  Elisha then taught this man not to follow him, but to follow “God” (YHWH).
  • Fifth, Leaders must move forward allow people to enter into God’s Dream. It is great to have a well thought-out Philosophy of Ministry and statement of purpose, but ultimately God’s dream is bigger.

(Hosea 2:13–16, ESV)  “And I [YHWH] will punish [Israel] for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ ”

#2: The Integrous Leader Knows The Way

“The key to dealing with a rapidly changing world, to dealing with this culture addicted to speed, is not to catch up, but to give up on keeping up.” – Erwin McManus

Observations on Culture and Living a Kingdom Worldview

  • Culture is neither our friend, nor is culture our enemy; it is simply the tool we can freely use to spread the Gospel.
  • Methods can change without changing the message.
  • Traditions can go in and out of fashion, and we should not elevate tradition above the person of Christ.
  • Methods/Culture/Tradition are not the Way and effective leaders know how to distinguish each one from both our identity and our mission.

(Ephesians 6:12, ESV)  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ”

#3: The Integrous Leader Is Marked By Humility

“Blessed are the meek, blessed are the failures, blessed are the stupid, for they, unknown to themselves, have a grace which is denied to the haughty, the successful, and the wise” – Arnold Benet from his book “Anna of The Five Towns”

(Proverbs 22:4, ESV)  “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”

Our mission is not to provide an alternative to the world, but to demonstrate the Way of Christ.

Risk #1: The first external risk of humble leadership comes from other leaders who love the pleasure of applause.

Risk #2: The second external risk of humble leadership comes not from other leaders, but from the people whom we serve.

Blessing: When you don’t care who gets the credit, you will accomplish a lot more for the Kingdom.

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. ” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

#4: The Integrous Leader Is Worthy Of Being Followed

I saw this sign from a company called “Legal Sea Foods” and it featured their slogan, “Not Just Selling Fish”

“At Legal Sea Foods, we are not just a restaurant selling fish. Rather we are a fish company in the restaurant business. This philosophy drives everything that we do…”

So what does it mean to be a leader worthy of being followed?

  • First, the integrous leader is developed through brokenness. The story of David is just one example. [see King David]
  • Second, the integrous leader is intentional about developing the inner Man (1 Timothy 4:12-16).
  • Third, the integrous leader will face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be (1 Corinthians 1 cf..).

(Proverbs 11:2–3, ESV)  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. ”

#5: The Integrous Leader Is Rooted In The Gospel

(Ephesians 4:11–16, ESV) “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Why is a leader rooted in the Gospel so important?

  1. First, because a leader rooted in the Gospel knows the doctrine of God, inspired by the Spirit and given through the Apostles, and makes sure these truths are faithfully passed on to the next generation of disciples.  These truths of our faith are crucial to preserving people from deceiving and/or self-deluded leaders.
  2. Second, because a leader rooted in the Gospel lives out his or her doctrine so that others can see the Gospel of Jesus demonstrated in love.
  3. Third, because a leader rooted in the integrity of the Gospel has established Christ as the only head.  A leader who builds his own authority and establishes his own following is not a practicing the Gospel.
  4. Fourth, a leader rooted in the Gospel ensures that every member of the church is given the opportunity to grow together.  Every person is given the opportunity to reach their Spirit-given potential because this is the only way that the Body will fulfill the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Listen to my talk about the DNA of Leadership on my podcast, “Leadership Starts With Integrity“.
Read more articles like this on my regular Column @ ChurchPlanting.Com

Losing Myself

Losing Myself

Losing a piece of myself
Losing a part that’s always been
Shedding a sliver of history
a slice of my heart, bone and skin

What’s left to lose?
Is half as worthy as the whole?
When will it end –
This painful peeling of my soul?

A broken misfit
in a fetal curl
A half-man crawling
in a whole man’s world

I fall, I ache
I break a bit at a time
I search … for strength
For reason and for rhyme

Where is that reason?
Tell me, where is that rhyme?

Photo Credit

Photo by Dave Young

Filled by God’s Holy Spirit

Filled by God’s Holy Spirit

Where some seek after ‘revival’, others seek after ‘renewal’. Different people use these terms to mean different things, but let me explain how I am using them.

Revivals are the moments of dynamic experience with God; Renewal, is the life-long process of growing in Christ. When we try to live from emotional high to emotional high (revivalism), we soon find that we can not live through the emotional lows. Being filled by God’s Spirit is not an emotional high. Being filled is a cotinual openness to God’s Spirit which puts Him at the center of our life. Whether one “feels” it or not, God promises that when we yeild to him, He will fill us. At times God’s renewal of our lives will be accompanied by an emotional high, and many different emotions flow out of these encounters. The emotional high is not the experience itself and our feelings can never really be an end it iteself. When we reduce God’s filling to an emotional feeling, the beauty and power is stripped from the very act.

Christ was filled by God’s Holy Spirit when he prayed in the garden shortly before he hung on the cross. Do we think that this was a moment of emotional high for Jesus? There was turmoil, pain, and suffering in His heart, yet His spirit, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, gave Him the power to overcome his feelings.

We do not need to beg or plead God to fill us. I have seen so many people open their hearts and cry, pleading to God to fill them with His Spirit. I want to go to them and embrace them and share the truth of God’s love. They do not need to beg and plead, God has already filled them with His Spirit. They have only to accept and give thanks.

Each of us must determine in our own lives, will you seek ‘revival’ or ‘renewal’?

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