EP 128 – CHARACTERISTICS OF A GODLY LEADER – INTEGRITY
We’ve been talking about the characteristics of a Godly Leader here at the bootcamp-by way of review here’s the list:
In today’s EP the guys talk about the importance of Integrity. Let’s get right down to a definition: Integrity does not just mean telling the truth. Integrity also refers to the strength and reliability of a structure.
Here are the five imperatives of Integrity
- Tells the truth
- Seeks feedback
Quote from Eric Geiger mentioned by Jimbo
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at it again at the bootcamp. Hope you’re ready for the next episode. As we continue into the character of godly leadership, we’ve been walking through the five factors of character, what is one of the many facets, the five facets of the leader, as we jump as we really take a long trudge, piece by piece through the five key factors of the church that you need to focus on, starting with the leader.
We have just on character. We have had Goodwill, empathy, humility, respect, and today we jump into integrity.
Bob Bickford: Jim, I think this has been a really fun series. I’ve I’ve enjoyed it a lot. And, um, I’m hope, I’m hoping that this will be one that the. I go back and listen to, and just kind of walk through it again. either the transcript or just the audio, I think it’s going to be really helpful. And I think especially this series would be helpful for guys that are just starting the replant.
that are, that are just new to the ground. Like if I would’ve had, you know, these five things to [00:01:00] listen to, me and I would’ve probably charted them out and just said, I need to make sure that I’m establishing Goodwill in this season and empathy and so on. So I I’m just thankful. And I’ll also say this it’s not too late for you establish a bootcampers boots on the ground.
If you’ve been ministering. a while seasoned man, just go back and maybe think and evaluate your present leadership through this grid. And, see if, see if there’s some things that’ll help you in your present journey.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, we start with character because I mean, I believe scripture starts with character. You look at the, the qualifications of an elder and we haven’t gotten to preaching yet. We haven’t even really gotten to change leadership or any of those things, just character, and integrity is one of those. seems to end up blowing up in your face.
if you lack integrity and I think about integrity, doesn’t just mean telling the truth. But also like the idea of integrity, like of a structure of architecture, of engineering, [00:02:00] and you know, of, that’s built to handle the load. That’s going to be put on it. And if you think about the difficulties of ministry and you, you put all of these character things, Goodwill, empathy, humility, and respect together with each of their five imperatives that go along with them.
Then you have started to build character that will have the integrity or the strength to bear the load of church revitalization and replanting, and the leadership involved in that.
Bob Bickford: I think so. I really, as your were saying those things, it reminds me that skills can be learned. But integrity has to be resident in somebody’s life. Right? So I’ll, let me, let me take a guy with enthusiasm. Who’s young who may not have experienced in skill, to the degree that, you know, you’d want to see it, but if they have integrity, I think they’re going to get there.
Right. And they’re gonna, they’re going to understand. that they’ve got to, to gain some skills and [00:03:00] develop as a leader, but we’ve all been around leaders who seem to be Uber talented, that just lack integrity in, in some ways. And it undermines the ministry around them. And I think what happens is, is, talent and skill will attract and create a draw at times.
But integrity is what maintenance. that draw that audience. And when you lack that you may have a big church, but you’ll also have a big back door and you’ll see people just rotate in and out. They’ll stay for a couple years. And then they realize, oh, there’s some issues here, right? With the, with the leader, with the organization.
And oftentimes it’s been my experience that the integrity, the lack of integrity and the leader’s life shows up in the organization before it shows up in the leader’s life. Right.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, you’ll see it in the staff members rotating out a lot because that guy’s just really hard to work with.
Bob Bickford: Yes. Yeah, And the people too, like the church people that, the members that come and they come to know [00:04:00] the Lord and they’re super excited about everything. And, and then they get invited into the orbit of ministry leadership, and then they realize, man, there’s a lot of issues here. I don’t think it can, they’ll try to work them out, but if they can’t resolve them and the leader doesn’t possess integrity.
and some of those qualities that we talked about before, particularly empathy and humility, and doesn’t operate a sense of Goodwill. those leaders will, will move. People will move on to a different place.
JimBo Stewart: last week or so we got to be in new Orleans together with our wives and double doc and his wife and had just such a great time at, am I a re planter conference there at no bets? thank you, George Ross for hosting, and your whole team just did a phenomenal job. And one of the guest speakers that we had was, uh, Fred Luder.
Former former SBC president, but most importantly, former replant bootcamp podcast guest. that’s I know it’s on his resume, but he did such a [00:05:00] good job talking about the four pillars of. Church replanting and revitalization preach, pray, love, and stay. And man, I would sell excited to have him come and speak one.
He replanted a dying church and he’s just stayed at that church for 35 years. And, for somebody to stay at one church for 35 years and. A lot of the members that were there initially are still there. A lot of the staff that first came on with him are still there. his son chip, who is on our podcast, works for him again.
Now there, and just as you get to know him here, you’ve never heard scandals about him. You’ve never, I mean, like to have that kind of career and consistency that he has had. I mean, I thought it was just such a blessing to have him speak to that because he, I think he exemplifies.
Bob Bickford: it’s so important for us to look to leaders who have stood the test of time. And do exhibit that character to learn from them, to respect them, to listen to them. [00:06:00] And here’s what I think we’ll find is this may be true. Their humility, is demonstrated in how they talk about what they’ve done.
And most of the time, when you look at a leader, who’s just lasted for a long time. They’re not going to be the flashy person. They’re just going to be the strong and steady, right. They’re just going to, you know, they do the same things. They say the same things. They, they consistently, demonstrate the same kind of character and quality.
Now they’re there. They will obviously have that, that desire to learn some things and change over time and they’ll tweak what they are, but they have a core set of operating principles that guide them that help them be staying. And so what I would say is, man, if, if you’re looking to, if you’re a pastor, a replant or a revitalizer and don’t look at the latest and greatest, the most flashy, look at the person who’s.
Got in and gotten it done. Right. And I think, I think of, a couple of pastors around the St. Louis area, one who’s been who revitalize the church 20 years ago. [00:07:00] Right. And man, he’s just, he’s just strong and steady and has built a, a really healthy church and a good group of elders. And, and I would, I really respect all that he’s done and, and like to spend time with him.
so I, man watch for that. Watch for the strong and steady and the guy who’s got the track record and been there.
JimBo Stewart: that’s the kind of integrity we’ve been talking about. Like, not just integrity of telling the truth, but even the integrity of your character and your leadership that it can withstand, all the difficulties of life in ministry. I was reading an article in preparation for this on tables, cock magazine.com, and it says Eric Geiger illustrates this point.
Well, in his book, how to ruin your life. In which he notes that if you have ever watched a building being demolished, you understand that there are two ways to destroy it. One can, one can demolish a building from the outside with wrecking balls, which is visible to everyone and catches no one by surprise or the building can be demolished from the inside by strategically placed explosives that we can, the [00:08:00] integrity of the structure.
The second type of demolition is not immediately obvious to own lockers, but as the structure weekends, the building eventually will collapse. His point in the book is simple. A leader falls apart internally before the ruin and rebel are ever seen externally, therefore, as Christian leaders, we must diligently destroy our sin before it violently destroys us.
I know there’s a long quote for me to read, but I was just reading. I just thought it’s it’s so well demonstrates w what we mean when we say integrity. this is what Paul exhorts, Timothy, and in turn us in first, Timothy four 16. To keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching, persistent this for by so doing, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Bob Bickford: So good, man. I, as you’re reading that quote, I was thinking about. You know, some of my, and, and seminary, they always told us this, that they would look at the class and they would say most of you will probably not be in ministry in, you know, X number of [00:09:00] years. Like most of you won’t retire from ministry.
And I used to, as a younger guy, I thought really like really, is that the case? And then as we’ve got involved in ministry, and as I’ve been in it for 20 plus years now, and about the 10 year mark. and in the 20 year mark, like every, every decade or so you start looking around and there are fewer of your, your colleagues, your classmates that are in ministry longer.
And some of that is just a natural transition out. But some of that has to do with this issue of integrity. And, also we we’ve all had experienced the pain and I’m sure you have to have of somebody who’s publicly just incredibly popular in dynamic and you’ve been around them and there’ve been some questions of integrity.
And you just see everybody kind of falling all over themselves to try to, you know, snap up what they say and listen to them and be close to them and all that kind of stuff. But you’ve been with them behind the scenes and you’ve had experiences with them where you’ve gone, man. I just, have a different view of them because of my experience with them.
And so that’s the external [00:10:00] internal, right? So I would just say to again, to the audience, particularly our younger guys, and be careful who you choose as your heroes in the faith. Like you, you want a guy who is the same guy that he is on stage as he is in person in the car when you’re driving around. And I think a couple of weeks ago you talked about.
your experience with Louie Giglio, right? And, and how he’s the same. He just cares about you either. He’s like a guy that’s interested in you. And so I think, you know, find that guy, respect those guys. And, and most of the times those guys are not the guys that are on the big stages. rarely do you find one that’s got that public persona and that private persona, that match.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but percentage wise, I’ve just not found it to ring true.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. The five imperatives of integrity that we’re going to walk through today, our authenticity consistency. Tell us the truth, seeks feedback and trustworthiness. as, as I look at these, I think back on a quote from Martin Luther, these are the two causes of [00:11:00] offense to hearers. In life. If a man leads a good life, but preaches bad doctrine, this is a great offense because he should not be believed.
If on the other hand, he teaches good doctrine, but lead to bad life. People say if what he teaches were true, he himself would live it. And so as we look at these, we’ve been doing the whole time, these kind of build on each other and it starts with authenticity, which is an interesting word right now.
And I think it’s, I think it’s the right word to be here, but I think we do have to be careful and understanding what that means when we say authenticity. we don’t mean, That you are comfortable with your sinfulness? Cause I think sometimes that’s how it plays out. People were like, oh, I’m just being authentic, man.
I’m just being real, just being myself. And and so like you’re a jerk to people or you cuss a lot or you, you know, and they just go, this is just me being authentic, man. I’m not going to put on a face for you. And, I think about first John one seven, but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the [00:12:00] blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all sin.
I authenticity, I think that in the art world, when something is authenticated, people have curators have found evidence of the. and they authenticate that this is genuinely a actual Picasso or an actual day guy or whatever artist. And they find there’s ways to find evidence. And it’s they find evidence sometimes in the, there are certain styles that artists there’s certain.
With, when we do X to Jesus, right? And when we look into scripture, we go, well, this is not the way that Paul normally writes or, you know, it seems like the writing style feels more like Luke than it does like Paul or, and there are ways that we find the style. And I think in the same way that when we to be our most authentic selves is to follow Jesus so closely that we exhibit evidence of him as.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
I agree. I think another aspect of this too, is that we have a redefined [00:13:00] authenticity as a bluntness, that lacks discretion in. our culture. Right. and so we’ve got some guys, maybe they’re high D personalities and maybe spiritual gifting. They’re more, little more prophetic and they’re just gonna blast something from the stage and just go, well, I’m just, I’m saying it like it is, I’m just being authentic.
Well, no, you’re being blunt and you’re lacking discretion and wisdom. Right. So I think we’ve gotta be careful to, Rescue that word a little bit more. And our authenticity is not the core to ourselves because Romans teaches us that we’re centers. Right? So like inside of me as a sinful nature, that will persist until Christ fully redeemed.
Me and I am a completely made righteous. Right. So there’s going to be a part of my authentic self that is sinful. And that authenticity doesn’t mean I just give voice to. That in, shades of, like leadership [00:14:00] aggression and like blunt statements and all those sorts of things. And then all the other stuff, you know, that we would talk about being sinful nature.
We need to be authentic to scripture and what God calls us to do. Right. And so that’s what we’re talking about is, is you, you’ve got to, you’ve got to mark yourself by the fruit of the spirit, by the qualities that are. commanded of us as elders, as pastors. And so that’s what, we’re that there’s a mark of on Tencent authenticity that stands outside of us that we go back to.
JimBo Stewart: I think about even, uh, early in ministry, Andre would always call me out on having what she called the preacher voice. and she would say, don’t, don’t do the preacher voice.
It’s just crazy. It’s not real. it’s not who you are. And she would, I mean, she would hammer me hard, about the preacher voice and she would, she would always catch me and go, Hey, I know you’re lying, or I know you’re not, not even the content, but like I know you’re putting a face forward.
I know you’re not being authentic. you’re not being you. You’re, you’re trying to, you’re trying to be somebody you’re trying to [00:15:00] be something. And in that, like, don’t try to be what, whoever your favorite preacher is, or. whatever that your heroes in the faith have yours in the faith and learn principles from them and practices, but don’t try to be them.
you gotta find your own voice and then be consistent. And that, so our second one, consistency, Bob Bumgarner taught me, people learn to trust you to be who you are consistent. if you consistently fail to follow through, then people just trust that you will not follow through.
If people trust you, you just. Train them on what that means, but they trust you to be who you consider, whatever you are consistently. That’s what people will expect and trust you to be. and so consistency by itself isn’t necessarily great, but it’s, I think it’s, don’t always try to swing for the fences, man.
We we’ve been talking a lot at our association, about this idea of, we’ve been talking about the money, uh, [00:16:00] Moneyball and how in Moneyball, if you watch that and it’s naturally an endorsement of the movie, but, they basically it’s about the true story of the Oakland A’s and they had lost some, some all-star players.
And so they didn’t have capital left to really replace that. And so they’re trying to figure out, I mean, how do we try to win games without having a whole lot. Which sounds like a replant. And,
Bob Bickford: Yes.
JimBo Stewart: and so they came up with a stat like this, this Yale graduate guy is basically running numbers, a processor, and he goes, here’s what I realized, man, we don’t have to look cool.
We don’t have to have all stars. The main stat that drives whether we win is if we get people on. So it doesn’t matter if, they can hit it to the fence or if they walk 60% of the time, if it’s just as glorious from an, get a walk and get on base as if they hit it to left field. and so they just started stacking with guys that get on base and we’re able to see some great success through that.
And then, and another strategy in baseball [00:17:00] is just hit. Called small ball. Don’t, don’t try to hit pro offense, just hit singles and edge. Statistically. If everybody got a single you’d win every game because you’d just keep winning. and so, but you just, don’t worry about trying to be grand and grandiose, or be as good as your heroes be authentically who God has called you to be and be consistent in that and consistent in your initial.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
I mean, be present, be who you are, but then also I think be, be committed to, to follow through and execute, you know, I love the, kind of the definition there, uh, that, that you guys are working from, from the association level. if you’re consistently 20 minutes late to every event and the people, the friends who invite you to a meeting are going to start moving up the start time and knowing that you’re going to be late, right.
Or if you consistently Yemen. Email to you or get that document to you and you don’t, then people are going to dis-invite you and [00:18:00] start not relying on you to, to get things done. if you make a promise to call or to pray or to do whatever, I mean, it can be something simple. It can be something big, but we all have the coworker.
how had a coworker in the past? Who, is just unreliable. Right. And Proverbs talks about the, how the unreliable are so frustrating right there, like a cloud without rain and, uh, in there, like an unreliable tooth. And, uh, it’s it’s like, those are bad images. Right.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: so just be consistent.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I mean, as Jesus says, let your yes. Be yes. Let your no be no. Matthew 5 37 is be consistent. Tell the truth. Provers 11 three, the integrity of the upright guides them. But the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. And back to our kind of central passage for all of this Ephesians chapter four.
and you get to verse 15, rather speaking the truth in love. We are to grow up in every way into him, who is the head into Christ. This is probably the [00:19:00] easiest understanding of integrity that people will grab to the most is the idea of telling the truth and integrity is telling the truth. but I think it’s much more than that.
I think part of integrity, Bob is where I want to make sure we get through the other two, is seeking feedback like having integrity is, understanding. That you’re not always right. and that you have blind spots and by the very definition of blind spot, you don’t know what they are. And so you need people to point those things out.
And I was looking at, at Proverbs has some great things. Proverbs 1920, listened to advice and accept instruction that you may gain wisdom in the future. And then this is my favorite one is Proverbs 12 one, because my momma always told me I was not allowed to say the word. But here, I find it in the Bible.
Proverbs 12, one who, whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge that he who hates reproof is stupid. There you go, mama. I got to say stupid. whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof. Like if you [00:20:00] hate it, if you hate the Bible says, if you hate feedback that isn’t easy to hear, then you’re stupid.
And instead don’t be stupid.
Bob Bickford: I think we just need to acknowledge this and this would be helpful for us. there are areas of our life and leadership where we don’t have it all together and where we absolutely need feeding. Right. And just expect that from now until the day you retire or die, like you’re not going to have it all together.
And so the gift that you have is somebody who loves you enough to go ahead. Like, I just want to bring this up a little bit, or maybe you’re not aware of this. And then they explain maybe, uh, something you said in a meeting or a leadership fault, or how people are perceiving this or how you come across when you’re passionate about something or trying to, you know, do whatever they need, need that feedback.
Cause we all, I think we all want to improve as leaders and we suffer greatly under the myth that we have to have everything right. if we’re put in a position of leadership [00:21:00] that we have to have everything that is required and necessary to fulfill that with a hundred percent perfection. Right. But here’s the reality.
Every position we are placed in we’re going to be exposed in some way, because we will never have everything we need that’s required for leading in that position. And so man, just expect that you’re going to learn some things through mistakes and through. reproof or encouragement from others that will help you be better.
And if you have the person who can walk up to you and come up to you and go, man, I’m I’m for you. And I want you to be good. Here’s something I need to help you see. Right. And that’s a gift. Don’t despise it. Embrace that listen to it. it’s going to impact you in a number of ways. Some of you get real discouraged.
Somebody will be emotional. Some of you be upset for a long time, but try to listen to the substance of what they’re saying and not take it so personal. And just remember, none of us are perfect as a leader. We don’t have all of, all the skills we need for our position.
JimBo Stewart: I mean, this is huge. [00:22:00] one more Proverbs 12, 15, the way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. It’s hard, man. It’s not easy to receive feedback. You want to know that what you did is good. So the flip side of that do unto others as you’d have them do unto you when you’re providing feedback.
Thanks. How it’s coming across and, and make sure that you’re saying in a way that it can be heard with, with love and the Ephesians four 15 speak the truth in love. and so if when you provide feedback, people can’t say, you know, I’ve, I know that was hard, but also know that he loves me and that that’s why he did it.
Then you, then you’re not doing it right. It needs to be clear. and I think sometimes out of a desire to show love, we become ambiguous and in our feedback. And so then it’s not helpful, because we want to be soft enough. And so there’s a, there’s a, there’s a tension and a balance there of being able to speak the truth in love.
That’s clear and helpful, but also [00:23:00] loving and can be heard in the spirit that it’s intended.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
I find emotional, like, so let’s, let’s say I had something that, I wanted to give you as a, as a point of feedback to help you be better. If I mad about your deficit and I feel personally attacked about it by through it. I’m probably not going to be able to give you. Piece of information in a helpful way, because I’m suffering with the hurt of that.
Right? It’s the weight of that. Now, if I’ve given myself some space and time and I can boil it down to a Hey, man, I love you. and when this happened, when you said this, or when this came about, this was hard and here’s why, and because I care about you and I want to. You know, fulfill our mission, work together.
Well, et cetera, if I’m able to couch it in that kind of a conversation, it has a lot more impact for the good, rather than the bat. So sometimes I would, I would say we, we get so offended. We just want to offload our burden in our anger and like, but on somebody and then [00:24:00] expect it to change them to change.
Right. And that’s not, they’re never going to change that. It’s just going to entrain to them and divide us and
JimBo Stewart: All right. So the last of the five imperatives is actually an output of this entire process. And so here’s what I mean, this whole thing. If you go back to all the episodes about this are about the character of effective leadership begins with Goodwill, and then it leads to empathy and then humility, respect, integrity, and then all the five imperatives underneath each one of those.
And here’s our, I’ll tell you the output of all of that will be is trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is not something you can do. It’s not something you can declare. It’s like Michael Scott declared bankruptcy in the office. It’s trustworthy is something that happens. Right? And it happens as a result of all of these aspects of character and Proverbs 10, nine, whoever [00:25:00] walks.
Right. And we know that in scripture, walking is talking about our life. Whoever walks in integrity, walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found. Proverbs 1220 to the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights people and people who are trustworthy, trustworthy won’t happen in a.
Trustworthy is a culmination of all of these factors in all their imperatives on your character. We haven’t even gotten to preaching. We haven’t even gotten to change leadership. We haven’t even gotten to all the nuts and bolts of ministry, but I believe it has to start here. It has to start with your character.
You have to have that integrity and trustworthiness in order to leave.
Bob Bickford: I love how you said that trustworthiness is a product of these things. And I think that’s a great insight in a super helpful, because all of us aspire to be trusted with. And we, we think we are, but if we, if we’ve [00:26:00] not examined these other characteristics in our life to see for authentic, consistent, if we are telling the truth and most of us would think that we do tell the truth, but tell the truth is not just like an outright lie, but I want to bring up this fact sometimes operationally, when we say we’re going to do something and we don’t do it, and we required of others, you know, that.
That’s in essence, that’s a lie, right? Cause we’re not doing that. And then when we shun feedback rather than welcome it and seek it, all of those things will undermine trustworthiness. Right. So, I think this is a solid list and it’s a challenging list. And. Just want to encourage our bootcampers man spent some time with us wrestle with this, maybe get with your spouse or a trusted friend, and just kind of work through this list and say, man, if you look at this list, like, are there areas I need to grow in?
Or is there one that I could focus on to really improve my leadership and then, just wrestle with that and lean into it and read scriptures on it and try to see what the Lord wants to do in your [00:27:00]life.
JimBo Stewart: I see you next week.