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Are you “Leading with Integrity?” 4 good questions for growth.

A Leader of Integrity

Some believe that personal character has little to do with leadership. Do you agree? If so, then ask yourself these questions:

Do people of low character influence you and inspire you to action?

Do you have good relationships with people of low character?

Do you admire people of low character?

Would you welcome them leading you?

Like it or not, agree or disagree, character counts in leadership. Warren Bennis, who has studied and written extensively on leadership, says, “Leadership is character in action.” “Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.” (General Norman Schwarzkopf)

The greatest character quality is integrity. Integrity is what people will remember about you more than your brilliance, ingenuity, competency, and energy. Integrity (or lack of it) is your legacy, what people remember about you.

Daniel, an Older Testament leader, incarnated integrity. As a Jewish teenager, he was exiled to Babylon. In Daniel 6, at the age of 80, he’s a leading official in the godless Persian system. Darius the Persian king appointed 120 managers (satraps) to run his kingdom and over the managers were 3 administrators (or, Vice Presidents). Daniel was a VP, a top-level position, just under the king. Power was at his disposal. He had respect and elite status. The king could trust Daniel. Over the years, he never lost his integrity in this God-hating Persian system.

Several things stand out. First, Daniel had a fabulous work ethic. “Daniel distinguished himself among the administrators and managers BY HIS EXCEPTIONAL QUALITIES and the king planned to promote him over the whole kingdom.” (Daniel 6:3) “Exceptional qualities” is literally “an extraordinary spirit.” Daniel stood out. He wasn’t like everyone else. He did his work well because he saw it well. His perspective shaped his work performance. Daniel excelled. When review time came, he was promoted.

How’s your work? Do you do it well? Are you the best leader you can be?

How’s your attitude? Granted we all have bad days, but is every day a bad day? Is the problem a bad day or a bad life?

Are you easy to work for or with? How would others rate your leadership performance? Are you a tough guy, the boss, control freak, or a servant leader who is considerate and respectful of others and their ideas?

How’s your spiritual perspective toward your leadership? Does God fit into your leadership role every day?

A MARK OF INTEGRITY IS EXCELLENCE ON THE JOB, BOTH IN PERFORMANCE AND ATTITUDE.

(To be continued)

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site is www.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com.

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What is your “Sunday Best?” With Karen Milioto

Last Sunday, while feeding my horses before church, I set the buckets down, and glanced at my shoes. Laughing at the sight of my ‘Sunday Best’ atop a pile of muck. I attempted to dust them off, then hopped into the car with the notion of ‘Sunday Best’ still circulating in my mind.

What exactly is ‘Sunday Best’? I wondered.

Is it the clothing we put on that morning? Is it our accumulation of knowledge or our ability to use certain language with ease? Is it how much we give of ourselves? Is it the behavior of children? Or perfectly coifed hair, approving smiles and nodded heads as the message is delivered?

Is that our ‘best’?

I have always struggled with the notion of bringing my ‘best’. Failing to live up to whatever I believed that ‘best’ was.

First, I was a little girl who was fairly disruptive. I sang a bit too loud and I loved to use wild hand gestures for all of the songs. Often landing me on the receiving end of a few disapproving glares.

Then, as a youth, I lacked sound decision-making skills and for a while I failed to live up to the expectations of myself and the people around me. By then, the notion of ‘Sunday Best’ paired with those disapproving glares resided within me, and urged me to believe I wasn’t good enough for God or the church.

Nowadays, as I look around at the faces of the people I encounter, I can’t help but notice signs of this ongoing plight. I see weary expressions. People struggling day after day to bring their ‘best’ to those around them. Who seem exhausted from trying to live up to the arbitrary marks set for them by other human beings. I see slouched frames, heads hung low, creases and sometimes tears forming in the corner of tired eyes. Evidence of defeat is visible everywhere. From our church pews, to the streets outside and all of the other pockets and corners of our lives in-between.

And it’s strange, because the Message we have been given to carry out from our Sundays into the world, is not a message of defeat, but a message of provision. And unearned, undeserved love. Not because of what our best looks like. But because of Who we belong to.

We have the message of grace.

And as, a recipient of this audacious and underserved gift, I feel compelled to reframe what ‘Sunday Best’ represents. Repositioning it from an outward appearance and anchoring it as a constant posture of my heart.

The best I can bring on behalf of God in this world is humble gratitude of what has been done for me. And to be a living illustration of what it looks like to receive God’s love. Standing alongside all of the muck and mud of my lift and somehow still set apart and chosen as His treasured possession. And made holy not because of who I am or what I do, but because of Who lives through me.

The best of me is Jesus.

Karen is a former Bostonian who now resides on a small farm just north of Baton Rouge.

She loves scripture and her garden and often weaves both into her work as a writer. In 2017, Publisher’s Weekly described her debut memoir, Mustard Seeds and Water Lines as an ‘emotional and finely crafted’ account of her personal journey towards healing after The Great Flood of 2016, in their annual Book Life Prize review. And, as her story has made its way across the country, readers have consistently embraced her as an authentic voice with a message of hope in the wake of a disaster.

Karen is a wife, mother and weekly co-host of The Back Porch Book Club, a podcast designed to build community and conversation surrounding books about Spiritual Formation and the Bible.

You can find her on Instagram @karenmilioto or online at www.karenmilioto.com