This is my accountability partner. I know she is sort of cute and has four legs, but when I do not take her for our daily walk she becomes extremely obnoxious. That is accountability, walk or have an out of control dog on your hands.
Every pastor and every Christian should have an accountability partner or partners. That is how Methodism began, John Wesley had a group of men who held each other accountable for their Christian walk. While I would like to have one group of people who hold me accountable, that is not my present reality. What seems to work best for me are different accountability partners. While my dog helps hold me accountable for our daily physical walk, there are others who hold me accountable for other aspects of life, especially my Christian walk. Accountability is critical for those in leadership positions. This is one way we become better leaders.
Where do we need accountability? Here is a list of four areas that are critical, especially for those who are leading others in our Christian journeys.
1) First and foremost, who is holding you accountable to your daily habits of being in relationship with Jesus? John Wesley called them the Means of Grace; You know them–Reading your Bible, and not just for preparing sermons; prayer; fasting, worship (when you are not leading worship). This is Jesus time. For a pastor, this is the main thing. When a pastor is not connected it effects the entire system that he/she is leading. Your own private time with Jesus should be in the forefront. So who holds you accountable? For me, this is a group of women that I pray with on a weekly basis. We have been praying weekly for maybe 15 years now. My partners are lay people and they let me know when I am out of balance and when I take myself too seriously. Who helps hold you accountable in your Jesus relationship?
2) Who is holding you accountable to your physical health? Here is a quote from the pulpit and pew research team, “Ten percent [of clergy] reported feeling depressed some or most of the time and over 40 percent reported feeling depressed or worn out some of most of the time. What is most troublesome is that seventy-six percent of the clergy are either overweight or obese.” Who is helping hold you accountable for your health? Clearly we are not doing a good job in this area. For a letter to the pastors from that survey look here.
3) Who is holding you accountable in serving in the world? Yes, I am very familiar with the fact that we serve people everyday. I visit the sick and shut in too. I , too, am in the hospital on a regular basis visiting those of congregation who are in need. I am very familiar with the fact that there is already not enough time in the day. But when are you going in the streets? How are you serving the marginalized and the poor? If we are not leading by example then we are not being authentic in the world. My prayer for myself is that God would show me where to be in the 24 hours that God has given me. God alone knows what needs to be accomplished, so I try to hand the reigns over. Who is holding you accountable to serving in the world?
4) Finally, who is holding you accountable to taking your regular Sabbath? Taking a Sabbath day was God’s idea. Who are we to refuse it? Who are we to not take it? The world will not end, you will still finish your work, and more importantly, you will be more fully whole by taking this day of rest.
As a life coach, I have found that using a coach can help me resolve some of the areas that where I need improvement. What one thing can you do today to help get accountability in your area of weakness?
“Therefore, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12: 1-2