A while ago I was talking with a pastor friend of mine, and as our conversation progressed, the issue of accountability came up. For some time now, he has been leading his church, with a fully intact elder board and leadership team, with absolutely no accountability, personally or professionally. As a pastor myself, I could not understand his decision. As a leader, in church or otherwise, it is an imperative to have multiple levels of accountability, not just for your sake, but for the sake of those you are leading.
I had a mentor in college who showed me an approach to accountability I think we all can learn from today. Basically, there are three levels of accountability relationships every person needs in their life, all Biblical examples.
First, everyone needs to have a Paul in their life, someone they are ACCOUNTABLE TO. They also need a Barnabas, someone they are ACCOUNTABLE WITH. Last, everyone needs a Timothy, someone THEY HOLD ACCOUNTABLE. There is a balance that we all need to have with these three relationships, and take one of the pieces away, there is a massive hole in our accountability, leaving us vulnerable, as are those we lead.
Back to the conversation with my pastor friend. I guess when it comes down to it, it’s an issue of control. If you are in a position of leadership and believe you are beyond temptation, you’re already in trouble, and resisting accountability relationships just shines a massive light on it. Even more so, it shows your true character.
Galatians 6:1-2 shares this message for us- “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.” – The Message
As followers of Jesus, leaders of His church, we have been called to a higher standard. This standard is upheld through not only the Spirit, but also between us as men and women of the faith. So as you read this, know I am going to that friend, and doing what I can to hold them to the highest of all standards. Why? Because that’s what I have been called to, and as a body of believers, that’s what we’ve been called to do.