Wikipedia kind of stretched out the definition: "Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes." It's about being consistent. And it is the hardest thing to build and the easiest thing to lose.
See, with integrity comes trust, and with trust comes the ability to develop a relationship. If you don't have trust, you don't have an audience, and if you don't have an audience, you don't have a ministry. All of these things go hand and hand- they're in a delicate balance, and when one gets thrown off, the rest do, too.
Everything rides on your integrity, which is why it's so important to have an accountability system set up around you. Is it fun to get called out for being wrong? No, nobody likes that, but the thing is, you have to remember it's not personal. As a leader, you've been given a huge gift by God to lead His people towards the cross. Where you lead, they follow, good or bad. It's an incredible responsibility and honor to be trusted with God's most prized possession.
The kids and I read through Isaiah last year during Fuel, and over and over, the prophet talks about the importance of integrity and accountability for leaders. He's blunt about it, too.
So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; the elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. -Isaiah 9:14-16, NIVIt's easy to want to sidestep accountability in ministry, but it can be so damaging to the integrity of the ministry. So, with all of this, we need to ask ourselves:
1. Who is holding us accountable? Who has the ability to call us out when we're slacking and celebrate with us when we're getting it right?
2. How do we respond to constructive criticism? Are we open to it or do we brush it off?
3. Are we able to discern the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism?
4. Have we protected the integrity of our ministries through our words and actions? How can we build/continue to build into this idea?