People and churches respond to accountability in one of two ways. Either they pull back from the prospect of increased attention or they embrace the opportunity to reach their potential and achieve better outcomes.
Many of us don’t have effective mechanisms for accountability in our personal and ministry lives. For one thing, accountability is difficult. We would rather not push people and staff—paid or volunteer—to go further, do more and be more strategic. Most people don’t naturally seek to do more than standard operating procedure requires.
It’s also true that accountability requires hard decisions and choices that many church leaders don’t want to make. It’s easier to kick the can down the road and hope for the best. But it usually doesn’t work out for the best.
A real culture of accountability can’t skip over any of the truly important things. It has to be practiced regularly and cover vital parts of Christian life and witness. Churches need staff ministers who are accountable for:
- Personal Spiritual Growth & Family Time
- Professional Growth & Development
- Organizational & Ministry Objectives
Consider whether ministry leaders in your church are held accountable for those things. If not, it may be time to consider a few adjustments.
How can you build traction for a culture of accountability? Start with:
- Clear Vision and Values – Each staff member knows who you are and who you want to be. There’s no substitute for being on the same page. Accountability begins with clear vision.
- Global Objectives – Each team member knows what you’re trying to accomplish and how you plan to get it done. With clear global objectives, the team is rowing in the same direction.
- Ministry Objectives – Proper accountability can’t happen unless departments harmonize their plans with “big picture” vision, values and strategy.
- Realistic Goals – Ministry goals should be achievable with available resources. It’s futile to expect outsized outcomes from insufficient resources.
- Regular Interface – Ministry staff and volunteers need honest feedback and coaching. A coaching discussion with accountability should happen at regular intervals.
- The Freedom to Make Adjustments – Ministry plans are written in pencil not pen. Because plans are adjustable, fear and anxiety about accountability is reduced.
- The Freedom to Fail (and Succeed) – New initiatives and ideas are encouraged, even when they might not succeed. Expect that a certain percentage of new plans won’t go as planned.
So what’s the Big Idea?
Church leaders should be accountable for personal spiritual growth, family time and professional development, as well as church and ministry objectives. Build a culture of accountability in each of these areas with clear vision, realistic goals and regular interface.