Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Problem of Accountability

This is an excerpt out of an interview with Dr Henry Cloud in the Spring 2004 edition of Cutting Edge, a Vineyard church planting magazine. Cloud runs an intensive where he brings in church leaders and makes them focus on developing themselves personally so they are better leaders. When they leave, they need to develop a group around them to help them integrate their journey process.

That requires a lot of maturity from a church. How do you suggest a pastor go about finding those people?

One thing is that they need to have a template of what they are tying to build before they go about it. It is important for them to put some thought into what specific things they want to have happen. If we look at it propositionally, "What areas of God's truth do I need to structure into an ongoing experience in my life?"

The main one you hear about -- and it is kind of sad in the way it is taught and used -- is "accountability." But it's something of a problem, because all ac-count-ability does is count things. I say to people in the business world, "Have you ever had an accountant that solved all your problems?" Of course not. An accountant counts the numbers and tells you that you are "doing well" or "you have a problem." What an accountability group does is count how many times you have been good or bad this week. It's like driving your car when the red light comes on; that's an accountability structure for your oil pressure. Now what do you dod? Accountability doesn't answer those questions! What most people do when their red light is flashing is tell their accountability group, "I'll do better." But the red flashing light is not going to actually fix the oil pressure problem. What you have to do is take the car to a garage, and the mechanic does certain things to the car to make the car itself different.

With a structure for personal growth, there is accountability and correction and confrontation -- but there is also support, modeling, building up of weak areas, and healing. There are a lot of different growth elements that a leader needs to have on their menu other than just somebody keeping score. One of the problems I see in leadership is that everybody is really glad their leader has an accountability group, but when the numbers come up wrong, where's the garage you are sending him or her to? That's the big issue. There are people around the pastor who could do this, but it's not part of the church culture to value this.

The full article is here.

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