Church leader planning "integrity" summit

BATON ROUGE, La – With the dizzying series of scandalous sexual, moral, ethical and theological cliff dives by prominent church leaders, a welcome and much needed attempt to address it by Pastor Larry Stockstill of Baton Rouge, LA. From Charisma:

Is the church in crisis? When it comes to integrity among leadership, Larry Stockstill thinks so—and he wants you to do something about it.

Larry Stockstill, pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, La., is calling church leaders to do more than just talk about living right. At the Summit on Integrity, a one-day gathering of ministry leaders, he’s urging them to commit to a lifestyle of integrity that encompasses every area of private and public life.

Amid an increasing number of high-profile church scandals, Stockstill is partnering with Ministry Today magazine and the new Ministry21 Network to invite leaders to a daylong discussion on Nov. 16 in Lake Mary, Fla., on how church leaders can combat the sliding morals found in the ministry world and take a stand for righteousness.

“Isn’t it time we come back to the purity of a Billy Graham, whose ‘Modesto Manifesto’ kept him free from sexual embarrassment, numerical exaggeration, financial impropriety and vicious divisions for more than 60 years?” Stockstill says. “Why is the American population less inclined to follow spiritual leadership than ever in our history? Why does the credibility rating of spiritual leaders rate below ‘used car salesman’ and thousands of leaders drop out of the ministry annually? It’s time we confront the spiritual, moral and ethical decline in the body of Christ.”

No, its way past time. However, there are some things about this that leave me with questions:

The cost to attend the conference is $200 for Ministry Today readers, and $100 for Ministry21 Network members. Lunch is included in the price, and spouses can attend for free. The event is limited to 200 people.

And why only 200 people? Out of the thousands of at risk church leaders?
Stockstill said it himself:”thousands of leaders drop out of the ministry annually”. (our bold). And his church seats 10,000 so I dont understand this. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on why if there are thousands of pastors and leaders with integrity issues (which I believe there is), why with all the abundant resources you have at your disposal would you hold such a conference and limit it to 200 people who have to pay $200 each?

The announcement says the summit will feature “discussions on financial integrity, sexual and relational purity, personal character, and other integrity-related issues that apply to personal, family, corporate and even the national arena. Along with receiving personal ministry time, church leaders will be invited to sign both the Statement on Integrity, which will be released to the public, and a more personal Remnant Covenant. This written oath is based upon Stockstill’s book The Remnant, which has been distributed to more than 150,000 leaders in the U.S. and overseas, and argues that “accountability in standards of church discipline, finances, media, Internet, travel, counseling and appearances can revolutionize the present climate of suspicion and loss of influence presently characterizing ministry leadership.”

Not another “covenant document“. I would suggest that Pastor Stockstill revamp this and send personal invitations to Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Jim Swilley, Bishop TD Jakes, Juanita Bynum, Pastor Jamal Bryant, George Bloomer, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Marvin Sapp, Paul Crouch, Dr. Bobby Jones, Tony Compolo, John Styll, Bishop Charles Blake and others who are responsible for some of the problems with integrity in the church. See if they will accept and come to learn. Additionally, the price should be drastically reduced and open to at a minimum 2,000 pastors and leaders and take away the “club membership” feel to it.

I have mixed feelings on this. What do you think?


14 thoughts on “Church leader planning "integrity" summit

  1. I like the concept, although I do believe that this is something that should be emphasized when you’re discipled. But since discipleship doesn’t seem to rank as a high priority with many churches, I can see how the emphasis on personal integrity can slip through the cracks.

    I’m being factitious. Sorry.

    As for the cost, I don’t totally get it myself, even though I’m totally for pastors, ministry leaders, Christian authors and the like for charging for certain items and/or events. Everyone has to make a living. However, there are some items, events and situations that just don’t seem to warrant a need to charge anyone. I consider this to be in that category. We’re talking about a crisis, right? This pastor believes that the lack of personal integrity among church leadership has created a crisis in the Church. Now, where there’s a crisis, where is there room for profit? Address the crisis and forget about style points.
    The charge for lunch is understandable. After that, though, why the inflated cost? Gather as many leaders as you possibly can (because we’re in a crisis, right?) and exhort, encourage, strengthen, teach and pray with them. Last time I checked, doing all of that costs nothing.
    Actually, and forgive me for being a bit simple, but wouldn’t simply repenting and walking in the Spirit pretty much restore integrity among our leaders?

    As for not inviting more leaders, there could be a number of reasons for that. One may be a circle of comfort – leaders who affiliate with other leaders within a circle of denominations. The Church tends to do that. We’ve got cliques in local congregations, cliques within denominations and cliques within the Body of Christ. How wonderful is that. If tainted leadership is indeed a crisis in the CHURCH, we need to reach across denominational, ethnic and cultural lines and strive to fix this thing.

  2. Unfortunately, this will not help the growing problem of immorality among church leadership. These people have misplaced their faith. Our faith is to be properly placed in Jesus Christ and what He did at Calvary’s Cross. Not only our salvation, but everything lost in the fall was addressed in the atonement, and Christ said “it is finished.” There is nothing we can do to add to what Christ did at Calvary. We place our faith in Christ’s finished work so that the Holy Spirit now can do what our vain works could not- a circumcision made without hands! No matter how sincere or “good” something as a conference might be, God’s way to victory over sin is His Son. Anything outside of Christ as the answer is vain works. It is not Christ and…a conference…a covenant document…an accountibiltiy program. It is Christ and His finished work on Calvary’s Cross and our faith in that, not just for salvation, but for sanctification. The Holy Spirit will not help us add to Christ’s finished work, that is a slap in the face to God. You are telling Him that what He did was nice, but not enough.

    These leaders and laity as well continue to struggle with sin because they sow to the flesh,and what you sow you reap. The bible lists the works of the flesh that are made manifest in beleievers whose faith is improperly placed in man’s efforts to conquer sin. We are just seeing the vices that can’t be missed, but there are many other works of the flesh that are matters of the heart that no man can see. So how can man’s effort solve man’s problems- it can’t. Preach The Gospel, rightly divided, and annointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not annoint anything that points to any answer other than Jesus Christ. As sincere as a covenant document might be (people lie), you can be sincerely wrong.

    One of the many great things about the Word of God is that it is freely given to ALL men. So either they are charging for the Word or they are not offering the Word, both of which is unscriptural. What happened to taking up an offering to accomidate a minister’s travel expenses and time? And I know that a minister and their spouse can eat very well for well under $200. This is a money making effort that will help no man’s soul, but alot of men’s pockets.

    Be Blessed

  3. I agree with GCMWATCH–there are way more than 200 pastors who desperately need this…maybe they need to setup an old-fashioned humble, outdoor big tent revival-style meeting, love offerings only, so it can be taken seriously as an attempt to bring integrity back into the pulpit.
    Expand that list to include the original TV evangelists who started the lack of integrity problems in the 80’s.

  4. I have mixed feelings too.

    Sadly, the ones that need to be there probably won’t participate.

    Even though the subject of integrity among ministry leaders is an important topic, this “summit” seems more about marketing to me. When you go to the website, you are encouraged to join the Ministry 21 Network (which in itself isn’t bad).
    However, more than likely at this summit there will be other “things” to promote, from Strang publications such as books, ministry material, conferences, etc.

    What we are witnessing in the “Church” is a breakdown in an organizational structure that can not (nor was it designed to) sustain the Life that Jesus came to give us.
    Is the “Church” that Jesus said He would build so that the gates of hell would not prevail against it … the beast we see today?

    Really, most church organizations today are run by “CEO’s” and are set up like a pyramid structure that is run from the top down. Orders are given from the top down and no one questions from the bottom up. That is not what Jesus came to establish.

    This the leadership style that Jesus came to establish:
    Matt 20:24
    “But Jesus, having called them to himself, said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great play the tyrant and domineer over them. It is not thus among you.
    But whoever among you desires to become great, he shall be your servant. And whoever among you desires to have the position of preeminence, he shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom in exchange for and instead of many.”

    493 years ago today on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg Germany, which began The Reformation. Personally, I believe the “Church” is on the edge of another Reformation. We are in the midst of transition and the institutional structure as we have known it is changing. Sadly, many within the corporate structure are oblivious or do not want to acknowledge it, because so many have
    built their reputation and “net worth” on the strength of the “organization” to make this “shift” will cost too much.

    The “True Church” will change from an “organizational” concept/structure to a “relational” concept/structure. God began with a family and He will end with a family …because it was all about relationships to begin with.

    Church is people. Life is relationships.
    Anything beyond that is “religion”.

  5. I recently heard Pastor Stockstill speak about intergrity (or the lack thereof) in the church and I think he’s spot on. After hearing him speak I read his book “The Remnant”, which was only $1, and I highly recommend it.

    Now the $200 fee seems a bit high, but I can understand the limited enrollment if there is going to be “personal ministry time.”

    While I too am suspicious of most summits/conferences that charge high registration fees I would do some more research on this one before totally writing it off.

  6. That was well stated Rev. Church is supposed to be about the people. The sheep. Not some sort of business merger and numbers game.

  7. I think Pastor Stockstill has the right idea, but to me it seems maybe targeted at a certain group of Pastors. God has changed my mind a lot about money in ministry, and I really don’t like to see people having to pay for what God has given us freely, but I do understand that there are expenses when you have hotels, meals, etc. I agree with Pastor Foster, that the covenant or signing a document is not much help. Its really like trying to keep a law, which Jesus came to free us from. I do think he has good intentions though.

  8. @ GCMWATCH ~ Thank You.
    Jesus Christ became the Lord of my life 33 years ago. I love Him and I love the “true” church.
    May the Lord continue to use you to awaken His sleeping bride to righteousness, purity and holiness.

  9. I’m sorry…but $200 to learn of holiness, integrity and righteousness? I agree with the concept of the summit, but that’s a bit much.

  10. I would be interested to get a follow up on this story. Does anyone know how the conference went? I did some looking around about Pastor Stockstill on the web and seems like a pretty solid guy. Hopefully he’s different than most of his fellow clergy.

  11. @CB you pose a great question. I would be interested how much of impact the conference actually had on those who attended, and if the attendees took back what they learn from the conference to impact there local church.

  12. I would too. I will attempt to contact the church and follow up on this to see what was accomplished. Many times all we hear is the hoopla announcing it and never hear of what real impact it had.

  13. That’s usually by design, GCM. Case in point: Yolanda Adams & Les Brown hit the speaking/singing circuit in 2007 with their “Black Life Has Value” tour at that time. Saw it here in PHL and after nearly three hours of wasted time of “music,” shout outs, needless pontification, parading local personalities and “celebrities” plugging their wares (Les Brown was the only one with anything of worth for the 10 minutes he spoke) absolutely nothing came of it. (Side note: Les Brown will be on tour again, this time with Tim Storey on the church curcuit with virtually the same thing.)

    I contacted the host “pastor” of the “church” via snail and e-mail to not only express my disappointment in not having any follow up plans but offered some of my own. Of course, I received no response but heard from one of the former members at the time that he was begging for money for at least three services following to cover expenses (was billed as a “free will offering” event). Gee, it would have made sense to budget for such a thing, wouldn’t it?!

    These events are no different than the current trend of selling “secret information,” for without it no one could ever hope to be successful at anything w/o having purchased their books/CDs/DVDs/attend “seminars,” etc…….. It’s another means in which to separate fools from their money. I wonder what will be next in the coming year.

  14. @N’ Catina excellent comment. I hate to admit it but most these folks use “Branding” of these conferences, goal is to sell as much ministry product as they can, and take up as many offerings as they can on top of charging folk a fee for attending the conference. Nonetheless, the people leave financially drained, with no valid Word that would impact them first individually and corporately in local congregation.

    I wonder if Apostle Paul would have had an conference How to Come Out of Paganism at Corinith? And how much he would have charged for the conference? Pearson and Jakes were some the leaders of this in the early 90s to come up with church conferences on ways to make money off the people . Soon after that others started to follow there example. Not that I’m totally against church conferences(if it is done in the right spirit to help impact and empower people spiritually and get closer to God).

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