When I look across the struggle that is the church today, the greatest need I see is a church that is willing to hold each other accountable. We stand by and watch folks struggle with life, with faith, with depression, with … God help us. Jason Sansbury shares with us how to invite accountability into our life which is of the utmost importance so that we can follow Christ and live healthy lives. I want to share how we can invite accountability into our workplace so that we can accomplish all that God desires.
The lack of accountability in the workplace, especially in the church, has lead to a variety of issues from a lack of trust among staff to a lack of direction to a stagnant mission. Accountability in the workplace needs to look very different from accountability in our personal life, but if we do not invite accountability into our workplace, we will not accomplish all that God desires. Here are four ways to invite accountability into your workspace:
1. Vision & Mission
Does your church have a vision or mission statement? Does your youth ministry? If your church or ministry has gone through the process of deciding who they are and what God is calling them to do, then as a leader, pastor, or staff member the mission becomes your first line of accountability. Everything that you do or are asked to do should support the mission. When you are in meetings, you have a responsibility of holding others accountable for staying focused on the mission. You must also create an environment where others can hold you accountable to the mission as well. Many churches have vision or mission statements that do not impact anything they do because no one is holding each other accountable to the mission.
To accomplish your vision and mission you need to develop goals and strategies that accomplish your purposes. Goals can be effective accountability partners and should function as priority setters. We should set goals that, when accomplished, will move us closer to living out our mission. Your ministry team should hold you and each other accountable for reaching your goals. Your ministry team’s agenda and energy should be focused on meeting the benchmarks that will help you reach your goals. If we are working on things that do not move us towards our goals, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t get where we were trying to go. Developing goals and benchmarks to hold everyone accountable to the mission becomes a part of your ministry action plan (MAP).
As a parent, I am learning about creating clear expectations. I would love for my children to simply read my mind and live up to my and my wife’s expectations. But with my children as with youth volunteers, they can only be held accountable for what they have been clearly told. You don’t like it when someone tries to hold you responsible for something that you did not know was your job, so don’t do that to someone else. Setting clear expectations for volunteers and employees is essential for good accountability. When asking someone to volunteer, be sure to develop job descriptions that clearly and completely outline what you expect them to do. Regular review of your job description with your supervisor is important so that you are clear of their expectations for you. Clear expectations invite accountability only when someone holds another to the expectation. If it is someone’s responsibility, then hold them accountable to it under grace. Do not do it for them. If you are having trouble meeting your responsibilities, then invite someone at work to hold you accountable under grace so that you can grow.
How sad it is that many church staffs and congregations do not trust each other. In every one of those churches, there is a good reason for lack of trust: someone has broken it. Our professional relationships must differ greatly from our personal relationships and it is dangerous to cross those lines. We cannot share our deepest pain with just anyone. Although we work in the church and seek to help others develop that kind of space in our ministry, it is extraordinarily difficult to do so ourselves which is why Jason’s advice on inviting accountability into our lives is so important.
Our professional relationships are very important and require a different kind of accountability. Someone at your church is responsible for your job performance and you should be accountable to that person. You must develop open lines of communication so that they are aware of what is happening in your area of the ministry. You should share the celebrations and the challenges, your goals and failings, your dreams and needs. You are accountable to them and they should be accountable to you. If they are responsible for your performance, then they have a vested interest in your success. You should hold them accountable for supporting, encouraging, and advocating for yourself and your ministry. Likewise, you need to be accountable for supporting, encouraging, and equipping those who are under you. You need to work to create space for mutual accountability.
Seek accountability in your life and in your work. Those who hide from and shy away from accountability are weak leaders at best. Accountability calls us to own our actions and inactions. Be trustworthy in your relationships so that folks will allow you to speak into their lives and model accountability for them by letting others speak into yours. Do all of it under grace and we can all grow together.