“Integrity” can be defined as “the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.” It is an essential characteristic of anyone who would claim to be a disciple of Jesus. The necessity of integrity also extends to our shared ministry as churches. Consider these three areas:
1) Message Integrity.
God’s Word as revealed in Scripture must be the core of any church’s message (John 17.17). In the midst of a culture that celebrates unconditional tolerance and subjective personal “truth,” integrity demands that the church resist any temptation to diminish, modify, or ignore God’s truth as revealed in the Bible, even if such integrity results in opposition.
2) Mission Integrity.
Integrity demands that every church intentionally engage its relational circles of influence as God’s salt and light (Matthew 7). It is not enough to “hold on and care for our own.” Jesus makes it clear we are to be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5), disciple multipliers (Matthew 28.18-20), and seekers of the lost (Luke 19.10). Accordingly, a church should engage in intentional efforts to share Jesus’ love in its local community.
3) Organization Integrity.
A third aspect of integrity involves each church’s responsibility to the greater family of churches to which it belongs. Integrity requires that churches fulfill their commitments for reporting, accountability, and financial support. Such actions flow from a desire to honor the requirements that come with being part of a larger community of churches.
Individual churches do not have the option of choosing among the options above; all three are essential to maintaining integrity. May God stir in all our churches a fresh commitment to be people of unquestionable moral principles and standards, “…shining like bright lights in a world full of wicked and perverse people” (Philippians 2.15, NLT).