Tag Archives: integrity

The Culture of Christ is the Culture of the Kingdom of God

“There is no justification for a leadership that has strayed into the profane of its culture!”


Before we start developing today’s  topic, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/12/11/la-cultura-de-cristo-es-la-cultura-del-reino-de-dios/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited.

JOversetreet-valoresReino-ENGJane Overstreet, the author to whom we have referred in previous articles, mentions that after working for more than twenty years with Christian leaders around the world, she has observed that their leadership style is more like the culture in which each leader lives, than really the culture and values ​​of the Kingdom of God.[1]  And she emphatically points out:

“Each culture puts a slightly different mask on those leadership qualities it cherishes, and all our cultures are terribly broken. Perhaps some are significantly worse than others, but none of them accurately reflect God’s values. The values ​​of the kingdom of God are countercultural to every earthly culture. (Overstreet 2011)

Along these lines and for the purposes of this research, we had the opportunity to interview Tope Popoola, a prominent Nigerian leader and author, who regularly gives lectures and consultancies on topics related to leadership, management, marketing, and entrepreneurship in various countries around the world. For Popoola, when asked, what should a Christian leader do so that the culture of Christ prevails in his actions instead of the culture around him. This is what he replied to us:

“The culture of Christ is the culture of the Kingdom of God. Our call is to make Christ known in all spheres of human existence… We are called to bring heaven to earth, not earth to heaven. When we ask ourselves before taking any action, ‘How would Jesus handle this issue?’ and go ahead to do what He would do, regardless of what may be popular or trending, we enforce the culture of Christ. Whoever does it must necessarily die to himself and die towards popular public opinion. The kingdom of God is not a popularity contest! Those who can’t stand something will fall for anything…I’ve had to oppose my culture regarding various traditions. At first it wasn’t easy, but they came to respect me for my decisions.” (Popoola, Interview on Christian Leadership 2020)

Parallel to this important challenge; and in the same way, for the purposes of this research we also carried out a random survey aimed at the Christian public. 118 people participated, from 21 countries, representing the 5 continents.

By asking them, in one of the questions, to rank in priority the characteristics of a “servant leader” that Christian leaders need to put into practice so that they truly reflect the excellence of Christ; the voting system yielded the following results, among 10 proposed characteristics: “practice spiritual disciplines: pray, fast, read the Bible”, in the first place; and, “act with integrity”, in second place. According to the voting system, these were the characteristics with the highest score and consequently those considered to be a priority for those surveyed.

And these results point to the heart of the problem. If Christian leaders do not walk in intimate communion with God, it will be obvious that we are more likely to walk reflecting our own culture, a culture broken by sin, and not the culture of the Kingdom of God.

As Christian leaders, as sons and daughters of God, whom do we represent? Well, the Word has given us the title of “Ambassadors of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefore, our actions must reflect such title; if we represent Christ Jesus, the image of the invisible God, the Creator God of heaven and earth, of the entire universe. What a tremendous privilege! And what an enormous responsibility to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God! Certainly, it would be far from us to act like those ambassadors of the world, who have often been involved in corruption scandals.

It truly causes shame, frustration, and great pain when we see the Church not acting up to Christ; a leadership that has accommodated itself to the culture of its environment, losing sight of the culture of the Kingdom of God.

We live in a postmodern culture, which has sadly compromised its values, has become involved in the profane. As Miguel Núñez says, when we live in a culture like this, if we do not try at all costs to avoid it, its effects will end up contaminating us and then the profane will become normal in our lives.[2]

Today more than ever we need a leadership that turns to the SOURCE, as Popoola says, so that we can recover the values of the Kingdom. This is not evangelical jargon, which is so common at least in Latin America. We think that if we treat ourselves as “brothers”, we say: “Glory to God”, “Amen”, “Hallelujah”, “Blessings”; we are already Christians. But it’s not like that. There is a world that observes and judges us severely and in front of which we have dishonored the Name of excellence of our Triune Creator God, the Name of our Savior.

If indeed one day we have come to Christ, only by turning to His Word and maintaining an intimate communion with Him, we will be confronted and we will achieve that His mark of excellence shines in and through us and allows us to truly be the salt and light that this world needs.

Hands holding Holy Bible over grey background. Sharing the Gospel with youth. Copy space. Christian concept

This is consistent with the Word:

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you…Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5)

And this is complemented by the clear challenge from our God:


“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Only the Word and an intimate communion with Christ, will transform our mind so that consequently we are channels of transformation in our environment.

In closing, we will quote an extraordinary reflection by Dr. Núñez, which will certainly touch the hearts of readers as it has touched the author of this blog:

“…Perhaps one of the highlights of his [Jesus’] life of service, especially considering that He is the Creator of the world, and yet he set out to serve the creature. When one thinks that the God of the universe, the One who sustains everything with the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), was capable of kneeling down to wash the feet of His disciples, this is something that goes beyond what that the human mind and heart can assimilate”. (Núñez, Jesus – the man who challenged the world and confronts your life 2018)

There is no greater example of excellence than this! There is no justification for a leadership that has strayed into the profane of its culture!


[1] Jane Overstreet, UnLeader: The Surprising Qualities of a Valuable Leader (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 3.

[2] Miguel Núñez, Vivir con Integridad y Sabiduría: Persigue los valores que la sociedad ha perdido (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 40.

Tope Popoola, Interview on Leadership, 2020.


The Leader who Promotes the Culture of Christ – Introduction

“More than half (64%) of Christians say integrity is one of the most important traits a leader must have.”

Barna Group & Brad Lomenick

Before today ´ s topic, as always, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/11/06/el-lider-que-promueve-la-cultura-de-cristo-introduccion/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited.

“Ours first!” I remember this phrase with sadness and annoyance. Years ago when I used to work on television as a news anchor; on one occasion, after the news, I was invited to stay to co-host a music program. And one of the first videos to be presented was an Ecuadorian production. Secular music, without any uplifting message, rather the opposite; but when presenting it I did it with so much enthusiasm, trying to promote “ours first.” I was already a Christian. And just a couple of minutes later while behind the scenes I watched the video I had announced myself; I was ashamed and was really convicted by the Lord. I easily promoted my culture, forgetting whom I represent!

In one of the Barna Group publications, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” it is made clear that concern for leadership seems to be everywhere, in the church and in the culture:

“No matter what is happening in the world, leadership takes center stage. Kim Jong Un is bringing his nation to the brink of war. A group of senators is directing their fellow Senate members to adopt new policies on illegal immigration. People speculate where the new Pope and the new Archbishop of Canterbury will take their respective churches.” (Barna Group 2013)

Precisely, according to a survey conducted by the Barna Group in 2013, more than eight in ten (82%) of Christian adults believe that the United States faces a crisis of leadership because there are not enough leaders.[1]

Barna1-engSo too and according to another survey of Christian adults conducted by the same Barna Group in conjunction with Brad Lomenick, President of the Catalyst conference, which asked: What is the most important quality in a leader? The main answer was “integrity.” More than half (64%) of Christians say integrity is one of the most important traits a leader must have.[2]

And the current panorama of the planet, from a few decades ago, is increasingly discouraging in terms of leadership. There is a long history to go in the world of politics, business and, unfortunately, also in the church. So many leaders have fallen hard from their pedestals and platforms; and the worst thing is that many of them have not managed to get up.

Let’s talk, for example, about Fernando Collor de Melo, former president of Brazil, who is said to have built his prestige by promoting himself as someone who firmly fights against corruption. But in 1992, contradictorily, Collor de Melo, in collaboration with his treasurer, had diverted around 350 million dollars for himself and his family, all this due to influence peddling.[3]

At a private level, for example, in 2001 it became known that the large US company Enron, which at that time had about 2,000 employees, declared bankruptcy. They were accused of bribery and influence peddling in Central America, South America, Africa and in two Asian countries, the Philippines and India. The bankruptcy was calculated at around 63.4 billion dollars.[4]

And what about Christian leadership in the different spheres? Has the scenario been different? Unfortunately, not!

Let us now refer to Ríos Montt, who at the end of the seventies takes a turn in his life, leaves Catholicism and becomes a leader of the Pentecostal church El Verbo. On March 23, 1982, Ríos Montt, along with other officers, carried out a coup d’état, through which he became the leader of a three-person military junta. And in 2013 he was sadly convicted of attempts to exterminate the Mayan Ixils. As the story goes, General Ríos Montt used to say:

“…that all true Christians carried the Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.” (Kinz 2018)

And to the peasants he said:

“If they are with us, we will feed them; if not, we will kill them.” (Kinz 2018)

In fact, the author of “Shining like stars”, Lindsay Brown, refers in her book that she had the opportunity to talk with one of the workers from the time of the Ríos Montt government and whom she approached saying that it was surely wonderful to have a Christian president. But to her surprise, the worker replied:

“Lindsay, it is a tragedy that he was chosen since he does not have a Christian mind. The corruption continues and he gives high positions to his relatives. So, his election has turned out to be a scandal for the Government”. (Brown 2007)

Certainly, tragic, and inconceivable, but unfortunately, nothing surprising these days!

Now, what about pastors and church leaders? The situation is not different sadly; and over the last few decades, so many leaders have shamefully fallen from their pulpits.

We will refer then to a dramatic story, “inside doors”, told by Jane Overstreet, in her book “Unleader – The Surprising Qualities of a Valuable Leader,” who in dialogue with one of his students who for days had shown a hostile attitude; while they had a coffee, she managed to penetrate to the intimacy of his heart. To make a long story short, when asked by Jane about his father, the boy replied that he didn’t know him very well because his parents had divorced and added that his father had been a pastor. Having entered confidence, he expounded:

“Well, actually all of my parents are pastors. My mom has been married five times, although she is currently divorcing her last partner. Yes! I have been a pastor’s son in five different churches, with five different dads. I think I’ve broken the record! True?” (Overstreet 2011)

The author then reflects and asks herself some questions, just as we are surely asking ourselves right now, reading this devastatingRight is right story. Overstreet claims that she has met many young people who have grown up in the evangelical church but have no respect for her. Is it because of everything they have seen in the church? Is it because the divorce rate of Christians in the United States is as high as that of non-believers? Or is it due to the loss of integrity? All these questions and even more, which certainly lead us to meditate deeply on the decline of leadership, and not just in the United States, but around the world.

Coming up: The Culture of Christ is the Culture of the Kingdom of God! Very soon!

[1] Research Releases in Culture & Media, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” The Barna Research Group, https://www.barna.com/research/christians-on-leadership-calling-and-career/

[2] Research Releases in Culture & Media, “Christians on Leadership, Calling and Career,” The Barna Research Group, https://www.barna.com/research/christians-on-leadership-calling-and-career/

[3] Miguel Núñez, Vivir con Integridad y Sabiduría: Persigue los valores que la sociedad ha perdido (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 20.

[4] Miguel Núñez, Vivir con Integridad y Sabiduría: Persigue los valores que la sociedad ha perdido (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 23.

The Threat of Mediocrity

“Nobody was called by God to stand idly; nobody was called by God
to be served. God’s calling in our lives is related to what He wishes to do in us and through us, in behalf of those who surround us. We need to do all for the glory of God, as a result of our lives completely turned to Christ.”


Wndell Miranda, Educator, Theologian & Coach

Wendell Miranda –  Educator, Theologian & Coach

Wendell Miranda

Wendell is from Brazil and is 42 years old. He has been married to Jemima 18 years. They have one child, Francisco who is 8. Wendell is educator, theologian and coach. He has been working over 10 years on leadership development projects in the areas of management, strategic planning, human relations, and mentoring. Wendell is also Pastor of the Assemblies of God in Brazil, Director of “Visão de Futuro” Institute and Director of “Libertadora” Radio station.


Below a short interview with Pastor Wendell Miranda. We also share a few excerpts from his book “The Threat of Mediocrity.” (Used by permission from the Author).


You launched recently your newest book named ”The threat of Mediocrity” (“A ameaça da mediocridade” –its original title in Portuguese) . Please, share with us what is it all about?

What we try to communicate is that creating any project, without striving for excellence, it is harmful to organizations and to individuals. It is a real threat when we do something just for doing it, to do something in any way and to consider that as normal. That is what it means.

”Mediocrity …describes the lack of merit due
to the lack of talent. Mediocrity comes from Latin
and it means ”what is in between”, from the word ´medius,´ ”middle”.
The adjective ”mediocre” means median, the one or
what is medium. Mediocrity indicates what is not
fully lower, but it does not get
the highest of excellence either.”

What motivated you to write a book like that and why?

I have been motivated since I joined ”Compassion do Brasil,” to think and to develop actions of excellence. That is a very strong legacy for living / sharing together with my brothers from that beloved

At the book launch - Pastor Francisco Miranda, father of Wendell.

At the book launch – Pastor Francisco Miranda, father of Wendell.


Also, I have been providing suport to some churches, in Brazil, as well as giving lectures and ministering to different audiences. I got bothered for listening and observing many people holding back to some activism, making their schedules and projects by using the ”automatic pilot.” Then, during a conference for leaders, I had the desire to share my vision of being alert and to combat mediocrity.

“God, I am sure that mediocrity
is a sin, and that it must be faced
as a sin, otherwise we will allow it to dominate our minds and our hearts.”

(John Edmund Haggai)

We are living in a post-modern society, especially in Latin America. Other countries / continents are even living in post-post-post modernism. Don’t you think that one of the main features of this kind of society is ”mediocrity”?

The fast food society tends to preserve the quantity in detriment of the volume’s quality, without paying attention at the content. I believe that it is possible to develop the binomial quality#quantity, when we reject the mediocrity and we commit ourselves to make our best. A society that values the disposable relationships, has a strong tendency to follow mediocrity and, then, to transform that in a feature.

”This century has been increasingly showing
the socio-cultural appeal of the ”image overvaluation,”
that it is nothing more than the culture of appearance,
exteriority, superficiality. It is praised when the most important
is what we appear to be instead of what we really are”.


What do you propose in your book, as a measure of overcoming the mediocrity? What is your advice, especially for the young generation, in order not to get involved in mediocre acts?

The Threat of Mediocrity by Wendell Miranda

The Threat of Mediocrity by Wendell Miranda

I speak a lot about dedication, commitment and integrity. These elements are essential vitamins to combat weakness generated from mediocrity. When you commit yourself, there is engagement, you offer your best. Every morning you must give yourself to your mission and your vocation and at the end of the day you must ask yourself: Did I really do my best?

”… in searching for excellence we need to give ourselves to God and
to his work wholly, namely, completely, entirely. Living in integrity
is to live in plenitude. God does not want the remains, God does
not want our wastes, God does not want the leftovers;
but God wants us completely for Him, He wants us fully and not just
half, or just a piece.”

To conclude, you probably wrote some anecdotes in your book, as a way to illustrate that ”cancer” in our society. Please, share some of them with our readers?

Yes! The strong appeal to the ”image worship”! This has generated many unpleasant and fragmented quarrels. This search reflects itself on a daily basis relationship. I can remember about different situations: The leader that was hurt because there was not the expected highlight on his name, on the outdoor advertising, citing his participation at the conference; or the individual that said he would do the task in anyway, because God can understand…Or that one that prepares his report falsifying information, because he understands that the end justifies the means.

“John Mason said:

*Do more than exist – live
* Do more than hear – listen

*Do more than agree – cooperate
* Do more than talk – communicate
* Do more than grow – bloom
* Do more than spend – invest
* Do more than think – create
* Do more than work – excel
* Do more than share – give
* Do more than decide – discern
* Do more than consider – commit
* Do more than forgive – forget
* Do more than help – serve
* Do more than coexist – reconcile
* Do more than sing – worship
* Do more than think – plan
* Do more than dream – do
* Do more than see – perceive
* Do more than read – apply
* Do more than receive – reciprocate
* Do more than choose – focus
* Do more than wish – believe
* Do more than advise – help
* Do more than speak – impart
* Do more than encourage – inspire
* Do more than add – multiply
* Do more than change – improve
* Do more than reach – stretch
* Do more than ponder – pray”