RELATIONAL LEADERSHIplesson 6-Influencing with Accountability
INFLUENCING with ACCOUNTABILITY
“They are… wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Jude v13
LEADERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE
The last picture Jude gives us of bad leadership is the shooting star. With a burst of energy they shine only for themselves and attract bright attention for just a few moments. But darkness is “reserved” for them. Leaders are accountable and will be judged by stricter standards than their followers. James 3:1 Our decisions affect our lives and the lives of our followers.
PAUL and PHILEMON: Relationship of ACCOUNTABILITY
Paul is not a “wandering star.” He is accountable. Two thousand years after his death he still shines. He also holds his followers accountable. Paul is in prison for preaching the gospel. He has written to a slave owner named Philemon about a runaway slave. Paul expects Philemon to practice his faith. He believes Philemon will do this but just for added assurance he says, “Prepare a guest room for me.” Philemon v22 He is holding Philemon accountable for his treatment of Onesimus.
THE VULNERABILITY OF LEADING
Leaders occupy a risky position. Why would anyone want the responsibility of leading? The possibility of failure is high and often beyond our control. Why accept such vulnerability?
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD
Accountability to God is about personal renewal and dependence. Dependence is shown when we take time to listen to God. Anybody can lead when things are good. But what do you do when you don’t know what to do? You PRAY! A spiritual leader’s success rests upon his relationship with God. We must have God’s help. We need devotional times to allow our soul to catch up with our body.
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CHURCH
SELF-ASSESSMENT: Continued learning and growth is important for leaders. It is difficult to lead when you are not growing. We must not make the mistake of becoming so busy at serving that we do not take the necessary time for renewal.
CHURCH BOARDS: Leaders need accountability to keep them focused. A strong leader and a strong church board working together make a strong church. Leaders without accountability are in danger of abusing power for their own benefit.
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO OURSELVES
There are two crucial areas of personal accountability.
The first is UNDERSTANDING TIME. Every leader struggles with time management. There are two main views of time:
Linear Time – the focus is on goals. Time is seen as recourse needed to get things done. We must build disciplines into our schedule.
Layered Time – the focus is on relationships. Time is valued because we are with those we love. Make commitments to those you love.
Both views of time are important to the Christian leader. Linear time helps us get things done and layered time helps us develop good relationships.
The second is developing a BALANCED LIFE. Any organization can consume a leader. There is more to be done that any leader can do. Leaders must develop a life outside the organization if they are going to avoid burn- out. We need FAMILY relationships. Too many pastor’s families fall apart because they are so busy serving God they neglect them. This is inexcusable. If we cannot minister effectively at home, how can we minister anywhere? We need FRIENDS. Friends add to the maturity of the leader. Friendships should be a priority for any leader.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND FORGIVENESS
Leaders hold followers accountable to live out their faith. Church boards hold leaders accountable in the same way. Leadership is an interdependent relationship of accountability, grounded in a relationship in Christ. Because relational leadership is vulnerable, it is impossible without forgiveness. Leaders are expected to lead without mistakes, but since no one is perfect; errorless leadership is impossible. Leaders learn from their mistakes and they train others by giving them the space to fail and learn. Forgiveness may be the most important gift a church can give.
THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS
Followers must be able to forgive their leaders. If we are controlled by the fear of making mistakes it is impossible to lead. Leadership requires forgiveness; forgiveness nurtures leadership.
Leaders must be able to forgive themselves. The biggest question for a leader is not, “What did I do wrong?” The biggest question is, “What did I learn?” Failure is not final unless we fail to try again. Failure must be forgiven and learned from. The gift of forgiveness is GRACE!
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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton
Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry.
He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.