On a holiday weekend a couple weeks ago, an airline's entire computer system failed. They're calling it the "British Airways Meltdown." This failure wreaked havoc, causing the cancellation of thousands of flights and 75,000 passengers to be delayed. The cost was immense: £100 million ($138 million). What could cause such great chaos? It wasn’t a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, but a basic human error. One guy flipped the wrong switch and shut down the whole system.
Spiritual Leadership Meltdown
When the integrity of a spiritual leader fails, the financial cost may not be millions, but the spiritual cost can hardly be overestimated. The actions of leaders can make or break an organization, advance or destroy a cause, empower or stagnate a movement. They can lead the way or lose the way—either way, those actions take a lot of people with them.
How to Avoid Integrity Meltdown
One decision, one act, one moral slip by the leader can have terrible consequences for the entire organization (check out what happened to Volkswagen). Even in “secular” leadership circles, integrity is a highly-valued leadership trait. As Biblical leaders, we have the added responsibility of representing Christ, whether we lead in the church or in the marketplace. These three simple practices can go a long way to help us avoid losing our integrity and causing damage to a significant number of people.
Commit to Integrity. Integrity is being the same in heart, mind, and action. It is about who you are as a person, the commitments you stand on, and the consistency of how you live your life. Integrity encompasses the attitudes and actions that glorify God, protecting you from stumbling, and encouraging constant growth.
Be Accountable. Trying to maintain integrity alone is a recipe for disaster. The safest way to guard integrity is in community. The leaders we look up to, who maintained integrity and finished well, are usually accountable to God and a small group of peers—intimate friends who know their innermost secrets.
Be Focused. What is the purpose of your life, of your leadership? If it is to glorify God, then let us follow Paul’s example and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, Author and Perfecter of our faith. Our primary calling is not to lead or accomplish things, but to be with God and serve Him forever. If that is the primary focus of your life, the rest will find its place.
Every leader is just one step away from meltdown. On the other hand, God has given us mechanisms, practices, and of course, the teaching of His Word to protect our integrity, our leadership, and our lives. Let’s make sure we embrace His way.