Integrity of Heart

Friday, March 15, 2024

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Dear Pastors

So he (David) shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided (led) them by the skilfulness of his hands”. Psalm 78:72 (NKJV)

Two weeks ago I asked this question? What does it mean to lead with skillful hands? I offered a list of what I deem to be an important skill set for pastoral leaders. Today I want to talk about Integrity as it applies to Spiritual Leadership.

Stating the obvious. Integrity of Heart is non-negotiable especially in Christian leadership. Integrity is what ultimately defines the kind of person you are. It’s about how well developed your character is. You may have off the chart natural talent, you may have a bunch of skills far more than you know what to do with, you may have an amazing personality…..charismatic, warm and magnetic but if you have not integrity you and the organisation you lead are heading for trouble.

"Integrity of heart" in a leadership context refers to the quality of being honest, ethical, and principled in one's actions and decisions. It involves consistency between what a leader says and what they do, as well as a commitment to doing what is right even when it's difficult or unpopular. Leaders with integrity of heart are trustworthy, they prioritize the well-being of their team and organisation over personal gain, and they adhere to moral and ethical principles even when faced with challenges or temptations. This integrity builds trust among followers and fosters a positive organizational culture based on transparency, accountability, and respect.

Consider some of the stories of spectacular crashes of recent years. Leaders who were smart, hardworking, committed, built impressive organisations, gathered huge crowds etc etc but in most all cases gave scant attention to their character (and inner world issues) and before long cracks started to appear.

Here’s the thing. Cracks have appeared in my life from time to time and they probably have in yours. That’s the nature of life particularly when you take on new challenges and responsibilities. What is critical is that when a crack appears it get’s immediate attention. When you fracture a bone in your body it hurts. Your body tells you something is wrong and it needs to be fixed and it will keep hurting until it is fixed. Medically that means a Doctor will first make an assessment. Using X-ray technology the Doctor will be able to see the type, location and severity of the fracture. When a crack appears in our character there inevitably is a ‘fracture in our soul’. As with our bones that fracture needs’ X-ray technology’ to figure out what has gone wrong, how did the fracture occur and how can this be fixed. And here’s the amazing thing when a fracture is properly fixed it can be stronger than before the incident that caused the fracture in the first place. But the key is it needs urgent attention.

What might that ‘attention’ look like? Here are a few thoughts to close with.

  1. STOP what you are doing and go and see the Doctor. That might be a mentor, a supervisor, a counsellor.
  2. It needs you to be honest……..brutally honest. There is no X-ray machine that can look deep into your soul (yet!). The only
  3. X-ray you and I have is telling ourselves the truth. A journal will definitely help at times like this.
  4. Pray and Reflect. God knows! “Search me O God and know my heart” was David’s prayer. Not a bad place to begin. Consider carefully your thought patterns over the last few months even years, assess what is going on ‘on the inside’.
  5. Ask your inner circle people what they see, what they hear, and yes what they ‘feel’. Definitely ask your spouse.
    Do you need to put some measures in place that require you to apply some new ‘disciplines’ in both your personal and public life? It probably will.
  6. I haven’t met a Christian leader yet who doesn’t want to get this right. Let’s then commit to the pursuit of growing in grace, in our gifts and skills, in wisdom and in character.


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