People are looking for leaders they can trust, leaders who have integrity. A leader who “has integrity” means he or she is honest, and has clear and uncompromised values and clarity about what’s right and wrong. Integrity comes from the same Latin root as “integer.” You may remember integers from math class—they are whole numbers. Integrity means whole, or complete. A leader who leads with integrity is leading completely. We are all called to leadership in some way. To lead means to influence, and we all influence those around us.
Three young ministers of the gospel were bursting onto the ministry scene in the late 1940s. Two of the three had already achieved notable influence. Chuck Templeton and Bron Clifford were preaching dynamos. One university president, after hearing Templeton preach to a crowd of several thousand, called him the most talented and gifted young preacher in the United States. Bron Clifford was also believed to be someone who would greatly impact the church world. Both Templeton and Clifford started out strong. But by 1950, Templeton left the ministry in pursuit of a career as a radio and television commentator. He eventually decided that he no longer believed in orthodox Christianity. Clifford’s story is nothing short of tragic. By 1954, he had left his wife and two children. Alcohol was the vice that destroyed his life. Only nine years after being the most sought-after preacher in the United States, Clifford was found dead in a sleazy motel room.
You may be wondering who the third evangelist was. His name is Billy Graham. While Templeton and Clifford were enjoying their success, Graham was establishing boundaries within his personal life and ministry that would ensure his longevity. He has been a leader that has led with integrity for many, many years.
The bible tells us “let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” Let us follow the example of Billy Graham, and lead with integrity.