For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:8-15
Gallup’s study titled, Confidence in Institutions, reports that trust in the church is at an all-time low. The 2022 study revealed that 31% of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the church.
Trust (noun) – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
It’s hard to ignore the reality that prominent leaders in the faith sector have taken some very public falls in recent history. But, make no mistake, the long-term indicators in the Gallup study are calling leaders to wake up to the critical role that integrity holds in the life of a leader and their organizational health.
Integrity refers to the consistency between a leader’s actions and their values and principles. It is an essential quality for leaders to possess as it builds trust and credibility.
Leaders who exhibit integrity inspire trust and confidence in their followers. When leaders act in accordance with the truth of scripture and not their own self-absorbed values and self-serving principles, they create a sense of consistency and reliability that followers can count on. This creates a foundation of trust that is essential for effective leadership.
Integrity also helps leaders to make sound decisions that are aligned with truth. Leaders who possess integrity are more likely to make ethical decisions, even in difficult circumstances. They are guided by sound principles and are less likely to compromise on their values, even when it may be tempting to do so. This helps to build a culture that prioritizes ethics, which can have a positive impact on culture, performance, and outcomes.
Moreover, leaders with integrity are more likely to hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions. They are willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and shortcomings, and to learn from them. This helps to create a culture of accountability and growth within the team or organization. Leaders who are willing to admit their mistakes and take responsibility are more likely to be respected and trusted by their followers.
You may be saying to yourself, “okay, I get it, but how do I begin modeling a culture of integrity?”
Our advice is to bring your team along with you and start your journey by establishing organization-wide values and habits. Making this process a group exercise sets a tone of transparency and the willingness to admit where you’re not living wisely and making the most of the opportunity God has set before you. This sends a strong message that you value the work God has entrusted to the team and you’re willing to be accountable to the outcomes. Our article entitled, Habits of Strong Team, will give you a foundation for your discussion.
Ministry leaders who model integrity inspire trust in their followers, which creates a more resilient team. Building a strong team takes time, effort and intentionality, but the dividends it pays last a lifetime.