by Superintendent Doyle Fulkes - Dec 2014
The last days of the year are the best time to take an evaluation. As I close out the year it is advantageous to check the things that keep us balanced in my relationship with God and in balance with life. The most important part to analyze is the integrity of my heart. Integrity is that quality of my life that is tied to my wholeness with God. There are three things that I want to keep in front of me at all times; Relationships, Money, and Offenses.
Relationships are what all leadership is about. If I don’t steward people in my life I will not get very far. No one is successful that does not have people to thank for helping to get there. Not only will people help me be successful but also, each person, is capable of becoming successful in himself or herself. Great leaders are not born but recognized and allowed to grow to maturity under someone else’s oversight. Recognition and release are the twin pillars of seeing people become successful leaders. Recognize traits; train for the future and then Release them to do a job.
It is within my own control to be secure enough to allow others the opportunity to grow and take responsibility in an organization. When I am feeling insecure about allowing someone to possess the authority to do a task I must decide to do the right thing for his or her growth and success. Some would say, but what if they fail, we always use failure as a teaching moment not a punishment episode. Mistakes will always follow those who are trying to do something. How have I done in allowing others to be trained in mistakes?
The way we each handle money is so important in how well we influence others for good. That is not to say we are Wall Street barons or financiers but we are handling our finances with integrity. We have all heard to see a person’s heart you only have to look as far as their checkbook. Yet there are so many issues that will cloud our judgment when it comes to money and integrity. In fact taxes are part of my integrity in that, am I paying my taxes fairly and on all my income. I cannot take cash under the table and not report and keep my integrity.
My credential renewal is a good example of integrity as I yearly sign a form saying I have paid my tithe properly in accordance with the Bylaws regarding my credential. I violate my integrity before God each time I bypass doing what I say I will do. Pastors must never be guilty of saying one thing and doing another when it comes to money. Pastors who live off the tithe must be faithful to tithe. No pastor would want his people to give only a portion of income and leave people the impression they have fully tithed.
I know this is a tough subject. Some would say “but I don’t agree with how it is being spent.” Would I allow anyone to stay in leadership who refused to give because he or she is in disagreement with the policies or people spending the money? My integrity allows my to give money to God as I have committed to do, releasing it to be used at the leaders discretion.
Integrity frees me from all the issues and responsibility for the outcome of the gift. For the sake of unity, if I continue to have negative feelings, I would want too resolve the issue with leadership.
I know that I will lose my effectiveness as a leader if I don’t pay my debts. My integrity drives me to pay my bills on time.
Jesus says, offenses will come. If I stay in an organization long enough, I can count on being hurt by those I lead or those in leadership. It is always important to evaluate my attitude toward those who may have offended me with actions or words. First, it would be valuable to keep an attitude that gives instant forgiveness for those who do things that offend. Just refuse to carry hurts to others. Second it is scriptural to go one on one with the intent of resolving the offense. Many things that offend are nothing more than misunderstandings within the situation I am involved. Whether intentional or not, it would be appropriate to settle the issue as soon as possible. Some things will need to be handled with “agree to disagree.”
In these last days of the year we should reflect on our lives in leadership asking the Holy Spirit to help us live our lives in the utmost integrity. We must evaluate our leadership asking the honest questions about recognizing and releasing those we are closest to in our organization. Organizations will expand because great leaders are continually recognizing, training, and releasing leaders to do the work of the ministry. Take a few minutes to evaluate how you are accomplishing the task.
Be honest about your financial transactions, be sensitive to the places that are legal but not ethical. When we are unethical we are moving away from our closest relationship with God. Eventually we will be put in a situation to do things that lead us away from people and God.
Keep your heart pure toward others. No matter how bad you may have been hurt it is good to test your heart in praying God’s blessing for the individual. If we cannot sincerely pray for someone we may need to look deep within for the reason and forgive them again.