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June 1, 2015

Behind Closed Doors (Part 1/1)

by Matt Ulrich

As leaders we constantly want to be living above reproach so that what we say and do line up (even when no one is looking). So what does that look like? Where do you draw the line when it comes to compromising or upholding your integrity, convictions, and the glory of God?

This month, we are tackling the issue of integrity and why this is one of the most critical things for a leader to not only grasp conceptually, but live out daily both as a leader and especially when you are an “off duty” disciple maker.

When Compromise is Easy (and Dangerous): When You Are “Off-Duty”

Have you ever had a time when someone new comes to the group that has vocalized opposing beliefs and they create that awkward moment where you know you should probably say something? How do you stay true to the word, but love them as well? As a leader in this scenario, you find a way to do this because, well, you are the leader and the defender of your little microchurch flock, right?

Now let’s take this scenario outside of the microchurch setting; would you respond in the same way? Or would you be silent because technically you aren’t “leading microchurch” in that moment?

Or what if while shopping at a store you see clothes that have fallen on the floor, or maybe trash on the floor in a bathroom stall, or a shopping cart out of place. Are you quick to pick it up, or do you turn the other way because technically it’s “not your job” and you might be in a hurry to even go lead microchurch?

Take the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10. The priest and the Levite, the leaders of their community (with leadership titles mind you) totally missed the mark. They were in a rush “to do ministry” and did not see the opportunity to live out their faith right in front of them! We too can be in a rush to do ministry that we miss the ministry opportunity right in front of us.

The real tests of integrity rarely come when it is convenient; it comes when we least expect it and when we think no one is looking. This calls for God’s heart, transparency and consistency. 

Real Integrity Doesn’t Rest

This is a lifestyle, not a façade. We don’t want church leaders who throw good church game… we want the real deal! We want people so affected by the grace of God that they really do offer their bodies as living sacrifices to God when everyone is looking and when no one is looking all the same! When approaching a situation, whether you are behind closed doors or on the platform, the question by which we filter our response remains the same; “will this bring glory to God”?

Here are a few example of everyday integrity:

  • Taking a stance on what is true
  • Speaking the truth in love even when it isn’t cool or convenient
  • Not letting someone else take the blame for something you did, or take credit for something you didn’t do.
  • Spending work hours on work related business and not personal gain
  • Not gossiping and having no slander on your tongue
  • Following through with what you said you would do
  • When you’ve made a mistake, be quick to repent and own up to it
  • Returning or reporting a lost item
  • Living out your own advice
  • Going back and paying for something you forgot to pay for or weren’t charged for
  • Being faithful to your commitments
  • Setting apart Christ as Lord in every situation

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)

Thoughts to Ponder:

  • Why is integrity essential to the Christian life?
  • What are the elements of integrity and how do you measure it?
  • Describe a situation when you showed integrity by doing the right thing even though it was difficult, or when nobody was watching.
  • Is there ever a time when you should bend the rules a little? If so, when?

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