Ministry Standard 5: Integrity
February 21, 2022
Let's continue going through my list of ministry standards to which people, readers, listeners, clients, friends, and family can hold me accountable. Keep in mind I wrote these when I was on church staff and thus put them in first person plural because I wanted them to apply to all of us, not just me.
5. INTEGRITY – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:25-32).
The Bible is our guide for all business, ministry and interpersonal transactions. The above passage deals with life issues like speaking truth to one another, anger, stealing, working hard, speech, bitterness, compassion, and forgiveness. Just focusing on the speaking aspects of this list, we keep short accounts with people and deal with confusion or offense quickly and directly, whether staff, leaders, volunteers or members. We endeavor to speak to them honestly but with compassion. While we seek forgiveness and reconciliation, we do not do so at the expense of honest dialogue, even if it is painful in the short-term to have those conversations.
There are many ways to interpret and express integrity. For me, it is being forthright and honest with others, not saying one thing in private but another when we are with them. That means we must enter into difficult conversations with others to resolve hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and confront those things we would rather avoid in order to maintain the strength of our relationships in the unity of Christ.