How Can Church Leaders Remain Accountable?
We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to know we are honorable – 2 Corinthians 8:21 (NLT)
And now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful – 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
Time and again we hear of pastors who feel they are above accountability, and/or experience a highly public failure due to a lack of accountability. Why? Submission to one another, let alone to authority, is a completely unnatural behavior for most leaders. They arrive on the earth hard-wired with the presumption that they are to lead and that their way is best. Yet, Holy Scripture is clear…..Christian leaders are to be accountable, not just to themselves, but to others as well.
Are You Open To Being Questioned?
I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear I was running or had run my race in vain – Galatians – 2:2 (NIV)
In Galatians, Paul provides an amazing example of accountability for church leaders. After 14 years of effective ministry, Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with men who could examine his preaching. Paul recognized the authority of the Jerusalem church leaders and was willing to submit himself in private to their critique of his ministry.
We usually don’t consider Paul a fearful person, but in this instance Paul was introspective and vulnerable enough to admit he was fearful he had gotten off track and that his ministry might be in vain. Imagine how difficult it must have been for someone of Paul’s success and prominence to humbly submit his life calling to others for evaluation. How prepared are you to privately place your life and ministry before others for their questioning?
The Six C’s Of A Leader Accountability Process
Unfortunately, accountability has received a bad rap, mostly due to its abuse and misuse by ill equipped managers, supervisors, and committees. But, accountability doesn’t have to be a negative experience if the right people are involved and if the right process is followed.
The first key to effective accountability is to, like Paul, find and submit to persons who meet the biblical qualifications of leadership. Secondly, instill the following six components into the accountability process.
Care – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is a truism to incorporate into every accountability relationship. Praying, sharing scripture, empathizing, sympathizing, encouraging, affirming, listening, and simply being present are tangible ways to demonstrate that you care.
Celebrate – When a person is doing what God made and called them to do, they are usually good at it. Accountability should then include celebrating, recognizing, and rewarding good work. For ideas read: 40 Easy To Use Employee Recognition Ideas and How Great Supervisors Use Employee Recognition To Improve Performance.
Coach – Coaching goes beyond just providing objective feedback. Coaching focuses on the self-discovery, growth, and development of the person. To learn more about using coaching in an accountability context read: Mentor-Coaching In A Supervisory Relationship and Powerful Coaching Questions For A Staff Supervisor
Check-up – A periodic check-up provides an opportunity for the person to hear how they are doing and for the supervisor or accountability team to receive a status report. For ideas on how to structure an effective accountability check-up read: 10 Buckets for Powerful Staff Performance Conversations
Correct – At times, all of us need a course correction. Corrective action is really coaching around a mistake to insure it doesn’t recur. To learn more about using correcting in an accountability relationship read: Six Practical Ways To Help Poor Performing Staff and Using Mentor-Coaching In Behavior Conversations
Consistency – To be effective, accountability must be consistently applied. People find security in a known process with known people. Making accountability into a regular, predictable, and repetitive process with the same people lessens anxiety and increases the likelihood of open and honest dialogue.
God wants to continually remold us in his image. Accountability is one of the means He uses. Are you ready to climb onto the Heavenly Father’s potter’s wheel and submit to His remaking?
Posted on June 18, 2019