As I began ministry decades ago, few people were talking about accountability. More are using that language today, but we still have much room for growth. Here’s why every church leader needs accountability:
- It’s biblical. It is through iron sharpening iron that we grow (Prov. 27:17). We are to challenge each other to live in godliness (Heb. 3:12-13), confronting one another when necessary (Matt. 18:15-17, Luke 17:3). We are to carry one another’s burdens, including provoking each other to good works (Heb. 10:24) and picking each other up when we fall (Gal. 6:1-2).
- We are all prone to wander. As soon as we think that we’ve “arrived” in our faithfulness to God, we’ve just fallen far back. The problem is that we often don’t recognize this sin in ourselves.
- We’re in spiritual warfare. The principalities and powers of Ephesians 6:12 particularly aim their arrows at church leaders on the front lines. Satan and his forces find us most vulnerable when we minister alone, with no one genuinely walking beside us and provoking us to good works (Heb. 10:24).
- Leaders often hide their sin. Because we’re leaders, we don’t typically want others to know what’s going on in the depth of our soul – but that’s where the demons lurk when no one has access to our heart.
- We commit flagrant sins of omission. Too many church leaders teach a Bible they seldom read, call others to pray like they seldom do, and preach evangelism they never exhibit. We need somebody who asks these hard questions, too.
- Our congregations need models. We minister to people who are themselves struggling with sin, and we often challenge them to find an accountability partner to help them. To call them to take this step when we don’t lacks integrity.
- It forces us to swallow our pride. Most of us church leaders could use a little more humility, and few things break us like looking a friend in the eye and admitting our sin issues.
- We’re more likely to end well with accountability in place. Having an accountability partner doesn’t guarantee lifelong faithfulness, but it at least makes falling more difficult.
What other reasons would you add to this list? What struggles have you faced trying to find accountability? Let us hear from you.