Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two Things a Leader MUST Have

My mind is a circus of thoughts today. I read of the recent moral failure of a prominent church planter/pastor/blogger, Gary Lamb, today. His five-year-old church plant, Revolution Church, is in Canton, Georgia in the Atlanta area and you can read about his recent resignation here. Why am I bringing attention to yet another blight on the American church? I am glad you asked.

Next to nurturing an intimate relationship with God, my greatest desire as a minister of the Gospel is to live a life of integrity. This desire is not so that I will be shiny and and stainless and admired, but so that my life will garner little attention and He will get it all. I have no doubt that Gary Lamb had similar desires when he set out to plant Revolution Church. The reality is that not one person on the planet is above the temptation of sexual sin or the sin of pride or any other sin for that matter. We will all fight temptation until we draw our last breath. And those who do think they are immune to such things are in the greatest danger. The only difference between a leader who falls and a leader who does not are boundaries and accountability.

Leader, if you remember nothing else I have written here these past two years, please remember this: you are only as safe from sin as the boundaries you set for yourself and the accountability that keeps you within them. To give you an example, I will share with you some of the boundaries that my husband and I have set for ourselves.

-We never, under any circumstances, allow ourselves to be alone with anyone of the opposite sex. Period.

-If anyone of the opposite sex behaves inappropriately with either of us, we quickly alert the other of the situation and handle it immediately.

-We never counsel someone of the opposite sex alone. We always have someone else sit in or we counsel that person together.

-We are very vocal about our marriage relationship and we publicly affirm that relationship so others see that we are knitted together and will not be an easy target.

-We nurture intimate relationships with close friends and mentors who know where we are in our walks with God...not just our ministry. Many leaders in the church talk freely about their ministries and say very little about their intimacy with Jesus. Open doors and open hearts are much safer.

-When we are struggling with anything, we get help. You cannot wrestle temptation alone. Run, don't walk, to your mentors or co-laborers and get help.

-We prioritize our lives. Ministry responsibilities MUST come after your marriage and then your family time. If you win your entire city for Christ but your children are neglected and hurting and your spouse is a stranger to you, you are a dismal failure.

Please let me clarify. I am writing this NOT to judge a fallen minister, but rather to expose the desperate need in the body of Christ for boundaries and accountability. I do not write these things because I am immune to sin, but rather because I know that I am wretched flesh and, if left to my own devices, I will sin . And so will you. Examine your life and ministry. Shore up the integrity of your own life and ministry by putting careful boundaries in place and then insure these boundaries with faithful people who will love you enough to correct you.

Your life depends on it. And if you lead, so do the lives of so many others.


Rachel June 10, 2009 at 4:34 PM  

Thanks for your straight-forward post. We've always admired your dedication to your marriage. It is a wonderful example!

Joylene Green June 10, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Boundaries and accountability are so important!!! thanks for a great post.

td June 11, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

As usual that was awesome Beth. I hope it goes viral and all leaders see it!