75 and Holding

by DanWolgemuth on November 8, 2022

Integrity. Honesty. Trustworthiness.

Yes, please.

It was a few weeks ago as I was standing in the hallway of our church that my unexpected data collection effort began. I stood watching as one of our pastors counted the number of children who would make up the Children’s Choir for the second Sunday morning service. The count was out loud as each child marched out the door to form a line that proceeded into the sanctuary.

My eye was specifically tuned to see Naomi, our ten-year-old grandchild and choir member. After spotting Naomi I decided to stay and listen to the final count. “75”! An outstanding representation for the waiting choir-loft.

Moments later this group of worshipers led a large congregation in admiration and awe to the King of kings. It was beautiful.

After about 20 minutes of worship, Robert Gelinas, our Senior Pastor, moved to the front of the platform. He rightly commended the young choir and then advanced toward a pronouncement that made me catch my breath. The choir size the night before was 77. I had heard him proclaim it and highlight it as “tied for the largest children’s choir that we had ever had.” Apparently, there had been some slight attrition overnight, and so the question pushed into my head… then my heart… then my soul. What would Robert say? Would he round up? Would he note last night’s number? Would he embellish?

“What a wonderful time of worship we just experienced. Today, we have 75 on the platform. Let’s thank them for their work in leading us in worship.”

He said it. Robert communicated the right number. No padding for effect. No embellishment for the sake of applause. 75. With joy and gratitude.

No big deal. Right?

Yet, as I sat in my seat, I breathed a prayer of deep gratitude. A leader who shares numbers with integrity and accuracy is a rarity. In fact, a gift.

A breach of integrity doesn’t just happen when the numbers are in the millions or billions or trillions, it starts at 75.

What I know is that exaggerating numbers is not just reserved for politicians… it often exists in our pulpits.

Thankfully not with Robert Gelinas.

A few years ago I heard Ajith Fernando, a YFC leader and Bible teacher, confess and convict by saying that he had to come to terms with the fact that if he exaggerated a story, he had no business expecting God to bless his ministry. I’ve never forgotten it, and on a Sunday in October, I saw the blessing of God surrounding the mission of Colorado Community Church because of the number 75.

Honest. Understated. Perhaps unimpressive to some… but not to me. And not to our Heavenly Father.

King Solomon put it this way… “The LORD detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.” (Proverbs 11:1, NLT)

Simply 75.

Invisible integrity.  Now in the light of day.

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