Saturday, November 18, 2006

Integrity in the Ministry

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yesterday, my class at Trinity had an interesting discussion about honesty and integrity in the ministry. I was trying to make the point that their future ministry as church planters will require an honesty that they have not experienced in the many churches. They need to be vulnerable before their people and share the struggle (of the Christian life) with their people not hover above them as a kind of omni-competent spiritual guru who has "his act together." [That's all it is when someone appears this way--an act.]

Anyway, this morning I was reading Leviticus and found a surprising piece of evidence that this is what God has always required of his leaders.

Leviticus 4:22-23 (ESV) 22 "When a leader sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by the commandments of the Lord his God ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 23 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish,

Contrast this with what is said a few verses later.

Leviticus 4:27-28 (ESV) 27 "If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 28 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without
, for his sin which he has committed.

I have added the emphasis. See the difference? Ask yourself, "why?" Why did the leader have to offer something different from the "common people?"

I think the reason was to make it very clear to the observers that the leader was sacrificing a sin offering for HIMSELF. All would be able to see that the priest was sacrificing for himself and not someone else. It amounts to a public confession of solidarity with the people.

God wanted both leader and people to know that leaders were not above sin and wanted an atmosphere of complete integrity and honesty to exist among the covenant people at all levels.

1 comment:

ChosenRebel said...

Dan said...

We had some friends over on Wed who are moving to California, and the conversation eventually turned to what to look for in a new church. One of the things we emphasized was that they look for a place where the pastoral staff was open and genuine. I also advised them that I think they'd be more likely to find this in an economically diverse (aka poor) and less flashy church (aka one that meets in an old elementary school). I've spent a lot of time in big rich churches, and I think it's much easier to get caught up in appearances in places like that.