I'm headed to Atlanta for Catalyst '09 next month... and I'm thrilled that Susan is going with me. Last year's Catalyst Conference was great... and it was good to have Matt Boisvert alongside me to bounce ideas off of. Earlier this year, Ricky Pruitt and I attended the Drive Conference together. You're probably noticing a trend here: I don't attend conferences without Susan or a male traveling companion. There are several reasons for this practice, but right at the top of the list is that I want to remain above reproach.
Many years ago I'd heard how Billy Graham, over the many evangelist campaigns he conducted and the countless miles he journeyed, always traveled with a male companion as an accountability partner. This person was to keep an eye on Graham to ensure he didn't get himself into a compromising situation or do something in which there was even a hint of impropriety.
I am not wanting to imply that integrity requires openness. Some leaders maintain the highest levels of integrity while functioning quite privately in their personal and professional lives. Susan trusts me and I'm confident she would be supportive of me traveling to conferences alone.
But openness does encourage integrity. When Christian leaders subject themselves to visibility and accountability, they dramatically reduce the likelihood of moral or ethical compromises. Leaders whose spouses, ministry assistants or traveling companions know their whereabouts will likely be smart in choosing "where they are about."
Hedging our weaknesses, harnessing our strengths, and wearing a life jacket even though we know how to swim are marks of prudence seasoned with wisdom from the Holy Spirit.