Whether we are planting a church, or leading an established church, we need to be intentional about setting up accountability structures for our teams… and ourselves. While setting up effective accountability structures is never easy, it can be especially challenging to set up accountability for ourselves. If you are an entrepreneurial or independent leader, this can feel like death itself.
A while back, I found myself in a conversation with an incredibly talented church planter whose lack of accountability was stunting the growth of the church he was leading. A lack of follow-through on commitments, a lack of committed lay leadership, and an inability to create sustained momentum were the hallmarks of the church. As I began to probe the situation a little more deeply, I began to realize that the congregation was living out the behaviors modeled by the young pastor who was leading it. While there were no flagrant sin issues on display, there was a subtle pattern of not allowing others to hold him accountable, and explaining it as being OK because it was the way that he is wired.
This pattern resulted in a cycle where every eighteen months or so he would watch as his leadership team turned over. New members would sign on, full of excitement only to slowly lose interest as they witnessed budgets being ignored, a lack of follow through, and inconsistent efforts by the planter. This lack of accountability chased off talented leaders and hurt the church's ability to minister to the world around it.
As leaders, our willingness to be held accountable for our actions will not only define our leadership but will determine the overall effectiveness of the organization that we lead.
How accountable are you willing to be?