The Importance of Accountability By Crystal Schmalz
Both women and men need accountability in their life, and should be submitted to God and leaders who will help encourage, instruct, and hold them accountable in their walk as a Christian. Leaders who grow into great leaders have accountability.
As a younger female in ministry I have often thought about the importance of accountability, and have tried to intentionally have people in my life which can hold me accountable during the different seasons of life. I work in a profession as a hospital chaplain outside of my denominational context. I work with a lot of people who hold different beliefs. I have to be strong in my foundation and beliefs to work with so many different beliefs. I have a strong commitment to my relationship with God, and I always want to be holding myself accountable to the standards and values I believe in.
I once was sitting in a seminary class listening to a lecture, and remember a professor talking about young people who were changing doctrines and standards. We were encouraged to think about accountability, and to think about the reason for change. I do not believe we should change for the sake of change. We need to inspect and reflect upon our experiences, doctrines, and teaching in our lives. Change should always come with purposeful questions. We should not be afraid to question, because when we honestly ask questions we can find the answers we are looking for.
I have seen several of my friends leave the Church and sometimes join other movements, but most often be swayed into beliefs they never would have believed years earlier. I believe one of the reasons for this is the lack of accountability and maybe even structure in their experiences of religion and spirituality. I do not believe these people felt supported and encouraged in their ministry, and most of them probably did not have circles of leaders who were holding them accountable and checking on them to make sure everything was okay. There was probably lack of discipleship as a leader. They experienced discipleship up to the point of leadership, and then might have been thrown into the raging wind of life. There are many winds of doctrine which we are surrounded by in culture. There are a lot of belief systems and ways of thinking, and not every way of thinking is truth. It is important as leaders that we have accountability in our lives and that we have a discipline of self-introspection which allows us to question the changes in our lives.
I want to make sure every change in my life is founded in the Word of God. I want to make sure that when something changes it is not propelling me in a different direction than I originally intended. I heard a preacher once talk about roads and the roads we chose in our life. Sometimes we can make choices that will spin us in a direction we never intended. Sometimes we will end up in a city we never dreamed of going to. Jonah never thought he would be in the belly of a whale, but his decisions and choices landed him in a rather unpleasant place.
I’ve been in the Church my whole life, so I have seen a lot of people come and go. I have seen a lot of people in different situations and circumstances. While I am young in age to some, I have been filled with the Spirit for twenty-three years. I believe there is spiritual maturity which comes with being filled with the Spirit over time. God teaches you lessons and helps you in life. I have learned a lot about walking with God. I know about the race, and sometimes God does allow we to run with the wind of revival, but I also know about the season of walking where God gently walks with me through the paths of life. A mentor once described their experience of the Holy Spirit as a faucet. Sometimes it feels like a lot of water running through, and other times it is a drip here and there. I am grateful for the life sustaining power of the drip, and also the refreshing of the steady flow of God’s presence.
We desperately need to be accountable to God. We need to measure our life to the values and standards we see in the Word. God’s story must be the most important voice and story in our life. God must be number one priority. Relationships come with norms and expectations. It is the same with a relationship with God. There are things which should be a part of our normal walk with the Lord and expectations placed upon our life. There are certain behaviors which are and are not appropriate as Christians. One question I ask myself is: Is this a wise choice? Is this something I would be comfortable doing in front of God and or a leader I respect and look to as a mentor? If I have a behavior in my life which I want to “hide,” then I need to have a discussion with God about this behavior. Is my behavior pleasing to God? There are some things in life which are not sinful, but they may be unwise. Leaders need to run from sin, and also think about the things in life which take up space. My husband is a minimalist, I learn a lot from him because he is not attached to “stuff.” I have a problem with stuff, and to be honest I am probably a packrat. I realize now that in my walk with God I have at times carried “stuff,” and God wants to lighten the load. I am grateful because God is strong, and when we give the burden back, the shoulder pack doesn’t feel so heavy. Accountability helps us lighten the load, keep our priorities, stay true to our beliefs, and helps support us in every season in life.
We need to be accountable to people in our life, because accountability is one of the primary missions of the Church. The Body of Christ has been and is designed to serve as a support, encouragement, and strength. We need each other. We are not islands on our own. We each need leaders in our life who can help guide and keep us accountable. I remember hearing the general superintended talk about accountability, and talk about how he has people in his life who he goes to for leadership and accountability. It does not matter what level of leadership we are in, we all need accountability. I know that one person I am accountable to is my husband. We both have to be accountable to each other. This type of accountability builds trust. I am also accountable to the pastoral leadership placed in my life. We all need to be accountable to pastoral leadership in our life. This sometimes take the form of local leadership in a congregation, and other times it takes intentionally putting a network of people together in our life to help keep us accountable. I think this can be tricky at times for younger leaders, because we need to be better about creating a culture of mentoring. There are a lot of times when younger leaders are forgotten, because they have not yet established the networks needed to help support them in their calling.
Without accountability, any of us are a step away from going down the wrong path. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. When we do not have accountability in our life it can lead us to paths of sin, paths of unwise decisions, and roads we never expected. Without accountability we can be robbed of our dreams and hopes, and never fulfill our God-given calling. Without accountability we can feel lost, abandoned, hopeless, and burnt out. We need accountability. We need Godly counsel, and people to pour into our lives as we pour into the lives of others. Let’s check and reflect our lives today, and see if we are being accountable to who God has made us to be. Do a deep soul search and think about your life. Who is there for you? Who can you call when you have a problem? Who can you turn to when things are rough and when you need to celebrate a God-given miracle? If you cannot think of people, get started today, and ask someone to be your mentor and friend. If you are a female in leadership, get connected through MentorConnect. We have mentors available today to help you!
Copyright 2015 Crystal Schmalz Ministries