Over the last few decades of being in ministry, I have seen first hand the need for accountability for church leaders. There had been recent talk about it, but most pastors and church leaders only pay lip service to it. I have had people who says they submit to accountability group, but who refuses to be held accountable concerning their lifestyle, teachings and practices, even in their marital lives.
Too many ministers have fallen by the wayside without proper accountability today. Many popular, upcoming, wealthy and gifted preachers have made a shipwreck of their promising ministries simply they have no one to hold them accountable to biblical and godly fidelity. Call it mentoring, coaching, son and father relationship or pastor to pastor accountability, there is the need to submit to others and be held accountable in this very dangerous work of ministry. The following are profound reasons for it:
- 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 us 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.
- It saves us from errors. Too many preachers are preaching and postulating doctrines they are scripturally ignorant of simply they never subject their “revelations” to good accountability. Someone just wake up to teach deem able heresies and pronto, others are teaching it without deep scriptural and historical accountabilities.
- It keeps you stable and healthy for the Lord. Having someone that can look you strait in the eye, call you by your first name, spank you on the head if possible and question your motives of doing things in life and ministry helps you to keep on the strait and narrow way.
- 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.
Those who spurn any attempt to hold them accountable to the truth of the gospel and godly lifestyle will always find themselves to blame, now or later.
The fact remains that you can’t do ministry alone. There are too many warfare that wants to derail a minister. So you will always need an accountability team in place over your life and ministry.
This is what has really helped me in ministry. I still have my pastors, who Pastored me when I was their church members, over me in ministry. They watch over me, ask me hard questions and I report myself to them. My wife calls them if need be to correct me, whenever am having some funny ideas or actions. You need it too, no matter who you are.
Francis Bola Akin-John, Empowering Leaders to Grow Healthier Churches and Ministries Started ministry in 1988. Has now been in ministry for 21 years. Pastored 5 denominational churches in the space of 8 years.
Started Church Growth Ministry in 1994 after hearing God said “go and strengthen pastors and support churches to grow and be healthy”. Has held hundreds of conferences across Nigeria, Africa and Europe with combined attendance of over 30, 000 church leaders