I really believe that accountability is one of the missing elements in our churches today. If you ask people who they are accountable to a few common answers arise. Christians always say God and that is right of course. We are first and fore most accountable to Him. Where does it go from there? For those who are married their spouses are usually always mentioned next, and then maybe the Pastor of their church. From then on the list becomes small. The reason for this I believe is that most folks don’t completely understand what accountability means. Let us look at the definition in some detail here.
Under the root word of accountability we find accountable. This means, “liable to be called on to render an account of one’s actions”. Once a person has been saved they become accountable to God. Romans 14:12 says, “Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.” Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 “And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgement day of every idle word you speak.” When someone is held accountable there is a responsibility for one’s actions. It involves giving a reason why we did what we did or said what we said. To take it a little further it also involves why we didn’t do or say what we should have.
Now accountability is a little different. It is to allow oneself to be held to something, or permission given to another to insure that something is carried out. It involves giving our permission. By going to work somewhere we automatically know that our supervisor has the responsibility of insuring that we carry out our job responsibilities and assignments if we are not doing them on our own. This is accountability we give to someone automatically by coming to work there. Why do we look at it different in our churches? The Pastor has this responsibility in the church. Any member that comes on staff is automatically giving their permission to the Pastor to hold them responsible for their assigned tasks. If not then they need not consider the position. Every church member has a certain amount of accountability to the Pastor when they chose to join the church. This should also be true at any other positions of leadership within the church. There may be cases where we may not particularly like or even respect the person very much but this has nothing to do with it. This is part of God’s plan. This is one way the Body is able to all go in the same direction. This is one way unity is kept. In this manner great things are accomplished for God! Now any leader that God has placed in the church has an awesome responsibility and should not take it lightly. We are all servants. Leaders should take notice of what Luke said in Luke 12:48, “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” Leaders are given more responsibility and along with that there shall be more required of them. Now Luke also says in 12:47, “The servant will be severely punished for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.”
We need to ask ourselves why are we serving in a particular area of ministry? Is it because we love the Lord, want to advance His kingdom and to reach people? That should be the main reason. Until we reach people there is not much else we can do for them. Do we know what our leaders expect out of us? Do we know how the church expects the ministry we are serving in to operate? Are we doing our own thing? Any leader in the church that we fall under, Sunday School, AWANA, etc. we should automatically give our permission for them to hold us accountable. The sad thing is because some feel that since they (volunteer) that they are not accountable to anyone. It should not make us mad for one of our leaders to lovingly hold us accountable. I say lovingly because no one should be a dictator or harass another brother or sister. Now remember Jesus held the disciples accountable. Once a church has discovered what their primary purpose is then a plan should be established to accomplish this purpose. Accountability is the oil for the engine of the plan. Once the plan has been put into drive it will go for a little while by itself, without any oil. After only a very short time goes by however the engine needs that oil to continue to go forward and run smoothly. In God’s plan He has given leaders the responsibility of holding people accountable. This will not work without us giving our permission. Will you allow yourself to be held accountable in God’s plan?
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Todd, you sound lilke a pastor. My grand-dad was a pastor. I know quite a few. I liked the article and found it true. But I also wish the article had been a two-way street. I wish you had focused as much on the pastor's accountability. That would make the peace sound more balanced instead of like a harangue against church folks who don't behave. Sorry, but that's how it came off. Most pastors are human --only one was divine, the Great Shepherd of our souls-- and they often need to understand their own accountability also.