Enron and Your Church

The Enron scandal is perhaps the most documented case of corporate greed, cover-up, and dishonesty. The lack of integrity displayed by Enron executives robbed people of millions of dollars and led, at that time, the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history.

In the midst of the scandal, proudly displayed in the lobby at Enron were these stated values:

  • Integrity
  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Excellence

As Enron shows us, stating a set of values or priorities is one thing, but living them is another thing entirely. The vast majority of churches, by God’s grace, won’t endure a scandal of Enron proportions. But a massive disconnect between the stated and the actual does exist often in our churches.

Stephen attended worship services at your church during the Christmas season. While he was there he heard a message that the reality of Jesus, the God of all things who came to earth to rescue us, is the absolute most important news in this world. He heard that this news of Jesus changes everything. The message was liberating, filled with grace. During the Christmas season, Stephen decided he wanted to know more about how Jesus impacts everything. So he is coming to your church now.

What will Stephen discover? Will Stephen discover that the message of the gospel, the message he heard is so transformational and so important, is impacting the total life of your church? Will the messages he hears be rooted in the Jesus he heard heralded over Christmas? Will the teaching in the kid’s ministry, the prayers that are prayed, the invitations to get further connected align with the message Stephen heard of Immanuel? Or will there be a disconnect between what was stated as first importance and what actually is?

Even as church leaders, our hearts are prone to wander from the gospel. Couple that with the reality that hanging a set of values on the wall or printing a doctrinal statement in the bulletin does not ensure those values are in the culture of the church, and we realize that we must continually bring our churches back to the grace of God as the foundation for everything we do. The message of Christmas, the message that Jesus is our salvation, must not be placed in the file folder until next December. It must continually form us.

Over Christmas Stephen heard what is most important. Will he find that what is most important is impacting the day-to-day life of your church? If not, he will struggle to learn that it should impact his day-to-day life.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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