Friday, April 23, 2010

Ability or Integrity 3

Some of these may be ability and some may be integrity, but here are some practical ideas about our behavior (especially if you are in ministry).

1. Call if you say you'll call.

Not calling says that you don't mean what you say.

2. Return calls and reply to emails promptly.

Not responding to someone communicates that they aren't important enough for you.

3. Don't tell secrets or break confidences.

4. Don't use the pulpit to attack individuals.

Jesus said to go them alone first. It comes across as a bullying coward.

5. Follow through with announced plans.

Or explain why you had to change plans. But do this very much and people won't believe you.

6. Control your temper.

(This may be a good place to say that I have failed in all of the areas that I am writing about.

But I have got some better.)

7. Don't get your feelings hurt easily.

Keep a tough hide and a tender heart. Make people work at insulting you. Don't get insulted with just a little joke or someone in a bad mood.

8. Don't steal from the church (or anywhere)

Don't use the excuse that they don't pay you enough. Either ask for a raise or quit.

9. Live what you preach and teach.

Tithe, pray, read your Bible, love your wife.

10. Be easy to talk to and work with.

Don't jump on everyone who asks a question.

Don't always have to have your own way.

"I beseech thee in the bowels of Christ, consider that thou mightest be wrong."

Oliver Cromwell to Scottish Presbyterians.

More to come another day.

Ability and Integrity - let's work on both.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ability or Integrity 2

I don't want someone to perform surgery on me who hasn't been to medical school and doesn't have a clue about what to do. He may have the nicest smile and pay all his bills, but I don't want him touching me. Ability is definitely important.

We need pastors and church planters with ability. They should have some ability on how to teach and preach the Bible. Is there real content in the message? Do they work hard to communicate well? Let's just say the truth - we've all heard a lot of boring sermons. From Charles Spurgeon:
"If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them; but they would soon cry out with Cain, "My punishment is greater than I can bear."

"Don't just throw the seed at the people! Grind it into flour, bake it into bread, and slice it for them. And it wouldn't hurt to put a little honey on it."

A pastor/church planter should have some ability to get along with people. I called a college a few years ago about an associate for our church. The person at the college said, "I have a young man graduating this year who is very intelligent and speaks three languages, but he doesn't work with people very well." While I appreciated his honesty, I told him that we were working with people there in Delaware and needed someone with that skill.

These are both skills that we can work on and improve. But you can be a great communicator and the life of the party and still fail - if you lack integrity.

One example of lack of integrity - being lazy.
I didn't say feeling lazy. I feel that way a lot and I give in some.
Hard work is required to accomplish anything that matters.

I like what Paul Thompson said at the Home Missions Summit a couple of years ago:
"God won't bless a lazy person."

I'm not really a fan of Stephen King's books, but I like this quote by him:
"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

Ability is important. Integrity is essential.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ability or Integrity

Which is more important - ability or integrity?

Let's say that a new person to your church volunteered for several ministries. He had great musical ability and was a real asset to your worship service. He had a charismatic personality and seemed to attract people, especially young people. He always had a smile and complimented you and the church. You would be thanking God for sending him and praying for more people like that.

But after a couple of months, some red flags started appearing. He promised things that he never could quite deliver on. He seemed to show too much attention to the opposite sex and put his hands on the young girls a lot. You noticed that some of the stories he told couldn't possibly match up with other things he had already said.

You finally realize that you have to confront him about some of these things. He either blows up in anger or acts hurt and says he is leaving the church. You hear later on that he is now a part of the church down the road.

Ability is important.

When Moses' father-in-law counseled him on getting leaders to help in the work, he said to seek able men. Ability is important. But they were also to be men of truth, who hated covetousness.

Integrity is essential.

By all means, look for workers who have ability in the area you need. (I think we should look for church planters who have shown some ability in communication, making disciples, and leadership.) But also look for workers who are people of character and integrity -people who have a humble, teachable spirit. These people can grow in their ability.