You’ve heard the stories. Accountability can mean the difference between success and disaster for even the most gifted pastor. No ministry is safe without accountable leadership.

What does it mean to practice accountable leadership? Certainly, as a ministry leader you are accountable to those you lead. You are accountable for leading the ministry well and in good directions. You are accountable for stewarding well the resources God has given you. 

Ultimately, we will be accountable to God, of course, when we stand before him. 

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21

But what about for now? How can we remain consistently accountable in our day-to-day leadership and life? I’ll boil that answer down to three key points. 

3 Keys to Accountable Leadership

3 keys to accountable leadership

#1 Safe and Trusted colleagues

The first is the people we surround ourselves with. I don’t mean the whole congregation. I mean our close colleagues, safe and trusted friends, the people who will give it to us straight and aren’t afraid of standing in our way. Who are those people in your life? If we don’t have them, we’re in trouble. We all need trusted, strong people who have permission and ability to speak into our lives with regularity and call us out when they have concerns. 

#2 Vulnerable and Authentic Q & A

The next is the kinds of questions we let ourselves discuss with these friends. If our questions stay safe and on the surface, our relationships will stay on the surface, and so will our growth. Here are some questions that should be on the table periodically: 

  • How are you more like Jesus?
  • What do you sense God calling you to focus on next?
  • How are you investing in your growth as a leader?
  • What’s next in your personal development?
  • In what areas have your efforts resulted in change? 
  • What might you need to start doing differently?
  • How are you growing in character?
  • Where have you been wrong? 
  • How have you behaved ethically in concert with biblical principles?

#3 Concrete Action

The third key element of accountable leadership—after having the right people in our lives, and being willing and open to discussing the right kinds of questions, is what we choose to do with the fruits of those conversations. It’s one thing to talk about changing something. It’s another thing entirely to take concrete steps to change something. That won’t necessarily be easy, and change won’t necessarily come quickly, but is the willingness to take action there? Are you willing to do something about it, even if you might fail? 

This last element is what I consider a step of faith. Knowledge is one thing. Acting on that knowledge in loving obedience is another thing entirely. 

Safeguard your ministry

  • Which of these key elements of accountable leadership are in place in your life?
  • Which are not?
  • What steps can you take to move forward in improving this area? 

Barnabas Ministry Training

Coaching is an excellent way to build accountable leadership into your ministry. Keep your ministry safe and on mission by equipping leaders to listen well, ask good questions, and come alongside others as they develop their gifts and leadership skills. Barnabas Ministry Training is a turnkey kit that provides basic coach training for church staff and lay leaders. LEARN MORE HERE.

Photo by George Becker