Integrity In Leadership
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
When you read those verses in Acts, the text tells us that “they gathered together to pray…” When I read that, the question I ask myself is, “Who motivated them to do that?”
Obviously, the Sunday School answer would be: GOD.
But who in the flesh led them? Peter and John.
These two men had been commanded not to speak about Jesus, and yet miracles kept happening so they were released. They returned to the people and continued to lead the way despite adversity, their lives being threatened, and more. Talk about leadership!
Suffice it to say, there’s no way to cover all there is to say about Leadership here. There are plenty of great books on Leadership.
Think about your church. Who’s leading? Is there even a leader? Is there a group of people trying to usurp the power of God’s leader?
In a lot of churches I have had the privilege to be in the last fifteen years, leadership was missing. Sometimes leadership was missing because...
the person in the position of leadership lacked character. General Swartzkoff said, “Leadership is to a great extent character.” Character is who you are not what you do. If you watch a lot of people who are in leadership positions, they may be able to accomplish a lot, but who they are is lacking in some area.
Why in the church we prefer competencies over character sometimes is a mystery to me. Competencies are very important. We need to be qualified and have certain skill sets to accomplish goals related to a certain job. But character is important when It comes to leadership. In fact, it’s a trait we cannot do without. When I begin to think about traits of leadership, I think about three individuals who impacted my life early on. In their lives, we will see some of the other traits that are important to leadership.
Integrity is making sure God has 100% ownership of your heart at all times; It’s making sure there are no other gods on the throne of our heart and that we are singularly focused on Him.
I don’t remember how old I was. I was probably 7 or 8 years old and my mom and I were coming out of a store called K-Mart. My mom was fiddling with her keys and the bag of stuff she purchased, but in the other hand she was shaking the change. She had a puzzled look on her face. We arrived at the car and I was hungry and ready to go grab lunch through my favorite drive-thru. She looked at me and said, “Jack, I have to go back in.”
“Why?”, I asked.
My mom began to explain that the lady at the register had given her too much money back. I can’t remember how much, but I don’t even think it was more than a dollar. I told my mom to forget it and come on because I was hungry.
“No, son, we have to go back in. She may get in trouble if her register comes up short and it’s the right thing to do.”
I didn’t think too much of it at that moment, but as we pulled away from the K-mart and headed to the fast food restaurant, I knew my burger was going to taste better. My mom had done the right thing and I knew it was the right thing. At that moment, my mom had demonstrated integrity. It wasn’t convenient to go back in the store and go back to the register, wait in line, and sort it all out, but- and don’t miss this- it was the God-honoring thing to do. If we only do what is right and God-honoring when it is convenient or doesn’t cost us anything, we will fall short of real integrity.
When I think of leadership and what it takes to be a part of equipping people to be all they can be in Christ, several people to come to mind that have, in my opinion, exemplified true leadership. In fact, early on, these key people were instrumental in forming my vision of what leaders do, how they act, and why they minister. It was to these individuals that I can attribute many of my core convictions and habits when it comes to ministry and leading people.
Someone once said that integrity is who you are when no one else is watching. Webster’s says that integrity is “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” That’s a good start at a definition. Integrity, Webster’s goes on to say, is not being “undivided.”
When I think of that, I think of the question, “Am I sharing my heart with another person or thing?” Christian Recording Artist John Waller writes in his song “As for Me and My House” a line that states, “We will not give our hearts to another; We belong to the Lord”. I think this also helps us understand Integrity.
Who do you know that has modeled integrity? Let me know by commenting below!