Since all ministry leaders are imperfect people who are still experiencing the ongoing work of God’s grace in their lives, how do you practically build safeguards and accountability into your life to help you grow in ministerial integrity? Discuss two specific spiritual disciplines that help you in this way.
Integrity is the foundation of leadership. You only lead people if they trust you. If you lose people’s trust, you’ve lost it all. That’s why the right to lead is earned, and it’s earned by being trustworthy. I think that the most damaging sin a leader can commit is to betray his people’s trust. Anyway, I think that mostly practically build safeguards and accountability into our lives to help us grow in ministerial integrity are Financial Integrity and Accountability in Churches and Ministries.
1-Financial Integrity: In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul advises the church at Corinth about the proper handling and distribution of church funds—and the need to do so in an aboveboard and accountable fashion. The Corinthian was collecting a substantial offering to be distributed to the poor in distant Jerusalem. Paul assures them that Titus, whom they knew to be a man of integrity, and another highly regarded man (unnamed in the text) had been “he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering” (2 Corinthians 8:19 NIV)” What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help”
Paul also mentions a third Christian brother, a man with equally impeccable credentials, who would watch over the carrying of the funds. Titus and these two men, who were to join Paul and his group, formed a company to be trusted in handling and distributing the offerings (2 Corinthians 8:22-23). Paul assures the Corinthians that his group would administer the funds “in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.” (2 Corinthians 8:19 NIV). Paul did not resent the direct participation of the other two character-approved men in this process of watching over the funds. On the contrary, he welcomed it. In fact, it is likely he initiated their involvement.
2-Accountability: Paul also says, “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” (2 Corinthians 8:21 NIV). Here are two important safeguards for preserving financial integrity and accountability:
First, we need to take pains to do what is right. A system of financial accountability may seem awkward, time-consuming, or a nuisance. At times it may seem unnecessary. But it is right, and therefore we must take pains to establish proper checks and balances.
Second, it’s not enough for a leader to say, “My conscience is clear before the Lord.” Our actions must be above reproach, “not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” Whatever system of collecting and distributing funds we choose; must involve awareness and accountability, with a plurality of character-approved men or women (preferably not chosen by each other but by a church or constituency). Although two character-qualified family members might appropriately sit together on a board, there’s no place for the sort of nepotism that makes some organizations top-heavy with underqualified relatives and childhood friends who look the other way instead of fostering accountability.
In my opinion, one of the most telling questions to ask in any church or ministry is: Who has the courage and authority to tell the decision-makers that what they are doing is unbiblical?