“Accountability breeds response-ability.”

Stephen Covey

Covey expands on this concept by explaining, “Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.”  In his book, Winning on Purpose, Jon Edmund Kaiser defines accountability as the marrying of responsibility and authority. 

In Mission Possible: A Simplified Structure for Missional Effectiveness, Blake Bradford and I emphasize accountability.  Whether a church structure is simplified or traditional, there is a need (might we even say requirement) for accountable leadership.  More often than note, accountable leadership is not standard operating procedure in the life of the church.  In past blog posts, I have cited the reasons for this absence such as grace confused with accountability, never modeled so therefore never practiced, and accountability as a misunderstood concept.  Nevertheless, Bradford and I continue to advocate for all churches adopting the leadership model of accountability.

The accountable leadership model is powerful.  It is life-giving to leadership and to the mission.  Leadership with accountability is empowering in a healthy way.  It promotes both team work and personal commitment to the team.  Accountability is often frowned upon as a secular practice and therefore seen as not a grace-filled practice to be embraced by the church.  I beg to differ!  Accountability is THE most grace-filled leadership model.  Accountable leadership undeniable makes the mission of disciple-making disciples the focus and priority without excuses.  It provides permission and authority for individuals to carry out their ministries without micro-managing while also holding them accountable to the missionally-aligned outcome.  Accountable leadership assists other leaders find solutions when they are stuck.  They offer encouragement, equipping, and problem-solving solutions.  Leaders who work in an accountable leadership model feel more supported and encouraged than they do in other leadership models such as bureaucratic or autocratic models.  They also have a much more defined job expectation and can therefore be more focused in carrying out those duties and responsibilities while being provided the authority to do so.  It is a win-win for the leaders and the church!

Let’s circle back around to the opening quote by Covey, “Accountability breeds response-ability.”  When one is held accountable, a person has the ability to choose her/his response.  When accountability is present, people are called to their best.  If the church is not where we are called to offer our best, then I question where it is that we are.  As leaders of the church, we are ultimately accountable to Christ for leading the church in the Great Commission of making disciples who transform the world.  Is your church holding one another accountable for Christ’s Commission for your church?

If your church is not currently practicing accountable leadership, I urge you to consider adopting it.  To sample a Leadership Board meeting practicing accountable leadership, check out this video demo.  I hope you find it encouraging and it provides just the nudge your leadership might need to move into accountable leadership.  For more information on accountable leadership, check out Mission Possible.

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