Friday, June 13, 2008

Integrity Issues

The second paper (see yesterday!) that I have to prepare addresses a joint meeting of the Ethics Commission and the Worship & Spirituality Commission of the Baptist World Alliance (- the annual Baptist world get-together!) It's called: "Issues of Integrity facing proclaimers of the gospel."

I wonder what particular issues register most urgently with preachers - personal integrity (sex, money, accountability), truthfulness, quality of relationships with God and others? What areas of integrity are the toughest, and what can be done to help? And do congregations perceive issues that might be painful for preachers to hear?

And, besides all this, does "proclaimers of the gospel" only mean preachers? Don't congregations themselves have responsibility to proclaim the gospel with integrity? What does this mean about us matching gospel claims with gospel practice? Do we show moral discernment with the "mind of Christ"? (1 Cor. 2:16).

There's so much to go at. As always any insights from you will be invaluable.

4 comments:

Scott Cheatham said...

Michael,

I'm currently in a discussion with other pastors about the issue of video messages replacing the actual preacher during worship. I wonder about the implications. Not necessarily from an ethics standpoint but perhaps a correlation could be made with the lack of men willing to enter ministry now versus just replacing them with a video feed. I used a quote from your leadership book in making a point and would appreciate your take on this when you have time!

Blessings
Scott

Scott Cheatham said...

Okay..I apologize. For some reason, my blog link didn't work. Here it is:

www.scottcheatham.com

Thanks!

dawneen said...

I am sure that I am blessed because, of the preachers and pastors that I have known, I believe that preacher/pastors strive with God's help to present the gospel with integrity faithfully. No one is perfect, but I believe they do desire and try to live their faith. You've listed the major issues of integrity today. Which issues are most prevalent, who knows but God? I don't know what preacher/pastors struggle with personally (I would imagine pastors as all mankind are hesitant to declare their particular issues publically Michael), although I am not naive enough to think that they do not have personal struggles. I hope that they can develop friendships, accountability partners of sorts, where they can confide their struggles and seek God's strength together. I feel blessed not to have been in a congregation where my pastor has fallen and been forced from the pastorate like so many televangelists.

Yes, all believers should know that we are equally accountable to God to uphold his name and reputation before the world for His glory alone as we present the gospel. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom!

Pastor Cheatham,
I would hate to have my pastor replaced by a video feed. Although the preaching might be great, there would be no relationship. The community would be lacking the depth that God intended I think.

wsuriano said...

From my experience, accountability is the key to integrity, both for pastors and the rest of us. Of course, that assumes one is willing to be honest and transparent and that those to whom one is accountable are strong believers with enough gravitas to stand up for what is right, especially in the face of a strong, charismatic preacher. I also belive that integrity sometimes gets watered down by the practical concerns of the church. Some matters of integrity can be compromised because of the potential adverse implications of dealing with them. Leaders must be able to deal with issues of integrity giving high regard for doing God's will and low regard for the immediate practical consequences.