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 serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric 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, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
— Linda Speaks
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
— Linda
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree with your 3 must-haves. I would add that the rectors have to call on every member who attends, at least once a year. The existence of a "calling commitee" is just an excuse to avoid making the effort. This is part of #3. If a rector does not like to call on parishioners, then she/he should not be a rector, but should find a different ministry. Carter Kerns, former senior warden, Diocese of Eastern Oregon and lifelong Episcopalian Tel# 541-379-3124
— Carter Kerns

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