Kingdom Ethics & Integrity
1 Tim 3:14 ...I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Our conduct in the house of God should be governed by the Word of God and by biblical standards and ethics that are the generally accepted in the Body of Christ. According to John 15, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. We are a like a vineyard with vinedressers who manage, prune, and purge the branches of the vine. These beneficial "cutting" actions provide:
1) The best growing experience for all the branches
2) The removal of dead "branches" and the improvement of fruitful "branches" of our lives
2) More fruitfulness for the vine as a whole
Biblical standards and ethics also provide a basis for excellence and success in the workplace and within the greater, better part of society.
Ethics defined: Rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: Such as medical ethics; Christian ethics.
Integrity Defined: Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
Acts 20:18-35,18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house..28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whichthe Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes. you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
Our growth and development, individually and collectively, is dependent on following Kingdom principles and biblically based ethics. Below are a some ethical recommendations:
1. When you are a stakeholder (one vested and engaged in the ministry or organization): Respect time. Be on time. Apologize for being late. Give advance notice when having to miss or be late.
2. Handle information, events, finances in accordance with policy
II Cor. 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men
Some important New Covenant Church policies of with to be aware:
• New Covenant Church, Inc. and Pastor Bryan Hudson operate under accepted biblical and legal standards. We are also in compliance to requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service as it relates to recognized non-profit organizations under IRS code 501 (c) 3
• No one is permitted to sell goods or conduct fund raisers, without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.
• No one may request money or receive offerings from church members at any time. This is a direct violation of our ByLaws and may violate IRS regulations regarding "inurement" (http://www.nonprofitlawreport.com/guide/private-inurement/)
• New Covenant Church membership information such as telephone numbers, email, and mailing addresses may not be used without prior authorization. Such authorization will only be granted, if at all, for church-related activities. Members may not be contacted without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.
• No one is permitted to distribute or post flyers, literature, invitations, etc. without prior consent of the pastor and eldership.
• Events and meetings held on church premises require approval of pastor and eldership before dates are committed and announcements made. The purpose and agenda of such meetings shall be submitted in writing. Meetings by or for members shall not selectively exclude leaders or members of New Covenant.
• No one is permitted to counsel, prophesy or otherwise "minister" to members or guests of New Covenant Church without knowledge and oversight of the pastor and elders, or other designated leaders. This is essential for accountability and long term success in helping people. Acting outside of spiritual oversight undermines the pastoral ministry, which is committed to the long term spiritual growth, health and development of members and friends of New Covenant Church. The Senior Pastor/Leader of any church must answer to Jesus Christ for the people under His care (Hebrews 13:7,17). Persons engaged in personal ministry/counsel without the knowledge of the pastor, undermine this important function of the Senior Pastor/Leader. The church may also exposed to legal consequences when unauthorized persons take actions which may result in someone feeling injured by such actions. The pastor and elders of New Covenant Church, Inc. are legally protected against such cases. Others acting on their own are not.
3. Always carry the vision of the house of the heart of the senior leader:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
2 Cor. 8:3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive[a] the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
Example: After offering me space in his church facility to use as a photography studio many years ago, my friend and mentor, the late Pastor Jerry Landry, told me, "You're in my boat. You have an ore.Be sure that you are rowing in the same direction and we are." I understood his intent and structured my business to compliment his ministry during the time I was there.
Being on one accord and avoiding division comes from unity without uniformity, and agreement on essential matters. Reading, hearing and embracing the stated mission, vision, writings of the senior leader, helps stakeholders be clear and able to find grace to be supportive. Persons within and organization presenting a different vision create "di"-vision.
4. Do not have respect of persons.
Do not show partiality. Honor recognized leaders and servants in accordance with protocol and proper order.
James 2:2 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
5. Don't complain. It displeases the Lord. Work towards a solution
Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled;
6. Only follow recognized leaders:
III John 1:9 (ESV) I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.
Example: The Tea Party is a faction within the Republican Party. The Tea Party has an agenda. They have their preferred candidates and political positions. The problem is they don't have enough of an organization to stand on their own. They operate inside the GOP and draw their resources from the established organization. The Tea Party throws their weight around without the burden and responsibility of actually having to main a organization, pay all the bills, or be legally responsible for actions taken.
Diotrephes was like big fish is a little pond. If he had to lead his own ministry or organization he would quickly become a little fish is a big pond.
It's alway easier to function and look like spiritual giant or genius when you are only a member of an organization. When you are responsible for leading and bearing all the burdens, it's a much different perspective. Members of an organization should only follow recognized leaders who are properly submitted under spiritual authority and demonstrating a loyal spirit.
7. Recognize and operate appropriately within the sphere organizations and leaders
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's sphere of accomplishment.
Example: When I interact with people who are members of other churches or organization, I acknowledge the following:
1) I came to know persons because of my relationship within the sphere the pastor or organization leader. I did not cultivate that relationship through my own resources.
2) I will not engage this person or seek to bring them into my sphere of activity or influence without the knowledge and permission of their pastor or organization leader. In the corporate world, it's called "poaching," in which people are pulled away from their connection and influence of others and into their another sphere.
Too many ministries and churches were started by poaching, The pastor did not start with people who were evangelized, unchurched, or otherwise lost. They started with people already established in another ministry, or have capitalized on situations where people have become offended. Too many churches do not ask where people have come from or the reasons for leaving another church. In my view, this is an unethical practice, but has become accepted practice because it is effective. This leads to a another, and worse violation of ethics.
8. Never be engaged in "conversion:"
Conversion is a practice by which one converts another's property to his/her own use, which is a fancy way of saying "steals." Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her. (From Websters' Dictionary)
The people, property and resources of a ministry and its leadership cannot be claimed or otherwise converted as belonging to the ministry or personal use of another. I once attended the calling and funeral of Pastor friend who died. Another pastor who attended the calling was passing out business cards inviting people to his church. This is unethical and ugly. Endeavoring to build a ministry inside a ministry, using resources obtained from the ministry, while claiming to be a ministry, is unethical.
Luke 16:10 "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people's things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
Other ethical recommendations:
• Be accountable and follow accepted protocols
• Show strong support for the vision and leadership publicly and privately
• Don't exalt yourself. Let your light shine
• Purpose to pay your own way. Trust God to provide
• Understand vision, purpose and guidelines
• Keep to your assignment. Follow instructions. Operate in your sphere.