Integrity, Simplicity, Effectiveness

Here are the final three of my nine statements of organizational values which I tried to apply in my ministry as an active officer. The first two are also values that I try to maintain in my personal life.

#7. Integrity will be the hallmark of our business practices.  We will avoid deception in fund-raising, we will not exploit others for the benefit of The Army, we will be truthful and accurate in all our public communication.

“Integrity – the state of being whole and undivided.” On a personal level this meant that my wife and kids should never see a different person in the home than what they saw in the pulpit. On the organizational level, integrity means that we should always do our work consistent with the image of that work that we present to the public.

In times when resources are scarce and survival seems threatened, the temptation can arise to sacrifice integrity to the urgency of the circumstances. But the testimony of our forebears is that God honors those who maintain their covenant with him even amid trying times.

#8. Simplicity is preferred over ostentation, keeping faith with the needs of those we serve as well as those who support us.

Our culture has a fascination with the best, the fastest, the newest, the prettiest, etc., etc. It’s not enough to have a smart phone that’s great at performing multiple functions if there is a newer device that does it better or faster. A 50” HDTV isn’t good enough when you can fill the wall with an 8K LED UHDTV with maximum image refresh.

So it is counter-cultural to prefer simplicity. But it is eminently consistent with Jesus’ teachings. To illustrate this principle Tony Campolo famously asked the question whether Jesus would wear a Rolex.

It is important for us who follow Jesus to value the stewardship of the resources that He entrusts to our care. There is no subject on which Jesus had more to say than this. 

#9. We will strive for maximum effectiveness in all that we do, seeking an efficiency that turns 85% or more of our resources into direct service to those in need.

The graveyard of evangelical ministries contains the remains of organizations and their leaders who failed in their first purpose and spent their dollars recklessly. The Army has a well-earned reputation for turning the maximum of the donor’s dollar into the services they donate to provide. Let’s keep it that way.

I recognize that this four-week foray into organizational values is not particularly inspiring or uplifting. My hope is that it provides a framework for thinking through those principles that should permeate who we are and what we do.Remaining in prayer for my beloved Salvation Army and those who keep its ministry honest, vigorous and effective. Blessings!

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