Accountability is essential for any society to function and ministerial accountability is no different. We are all held accountable in one way or another. For example, there are laws to obey and if we fail to be obedient, we may have to suffer the consequences set by the officials who hold us accountable. Accountability is simply being responsible for one’s actions.
In the church, we as ministers are accountable firstly to God and then to our families, congregations, ministerial organization, and even our fields of labor. An important aspect of accountability is maintenance and evaluation. This can be effectively obtained through developing healthy trust relationships with key figures in our life. This could include our spouse, our pastor, mentors and ministry associates. As Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” It is possible and healthy to develop strong relationships multiple people who each hold us accountable in different ways. For example, a pastor can and should offer a high level of spiritual accountability to a minister. A spouse can offer accountability in many areas such as goal achievement, personal and interpersonal interactions. A fellow minister can offer accountability in areas such as ministerial development, purity boundaries, etc. Having a collection of high-trust confidants in our life to whom we can be answerable will help safeguard us from failures in our lives and ministry. Note that “high-trust” is absolutely essential in these relationships, so choose your accountability partners wisely. Many a trial has been compounded by the unethical handling or sharing of private information by someone who was thought to be trustworthy.
E. James Rohn in, Adventures in Achievement, said of accountability,
It is important to know that there are two pains all of us must consider. You cannot escape them both, and you always trade one for the other. The first pain is the pain of Discipline, and the other is the pain of Regret. The pain of Discipline comes first, and the pain of Regret comes after. Here is the best reason for trading the pain of Regret for the pain of Discipline: Discipline weighs ounces, and Regret weighs tons!
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Following are some questions that could be used to help maintain healthy accountability.
1. Are you spending time alone with God?
2. Is your love for God increasing?
3. Is your thought life pure?
4. Are you walking in total obedience to God?
5. Are you continuing to grow?
6. Are you giving more than you’re receiving?
7. Have you been completely truthful with all of your answers?
Be willing to open yourself up to people who are genuinely willing to invest in your survival. Know your limitations and points of failure, and first look to people who can help you overcome them, or at least avoid them. Above all, be cautious when you recognize problem areas in your life that are a secret. Hidden problems can only be dealt with when they are exposed.
What are some areas of accountability that you could recommend others to give attention to? What types of relationships do you feel offer the best avenue of accountability?