If you are a pastor, you need some kind of accountability. You know it. You stand up in sermons and tell your people they need accountability. The problem is that it can be very difficult for a pastor to find accountability. Who can they turn to? Who can they trust?
For pastors, the people who are most eager to be your friend, be your accountability partner are usually the last people you want filling those roles. They usually have agendas or are expecting things you won’t be able to deliver.
Here is the rub for a pastor. Men can vent about their bosses or someone at work. But, if a pastor opens up in their MC and says, “I’m really frustrated at work right now.” Or he says that to an accountability partner, the game has changed. Who is the pastor talking about? Are there sides to take? Who got on the wrong side of this leader?
The same goes for a pastor when they need accountability for purity, integrity, want to talk about their marriage, their kids or their struggles. Just anybody cannot fit this role.
Here are a few things to look for in an accountability partner as a pastor:
- Someone you trust. If you can’t trust your accountability partner, you are off to a bad start. You won’t be honest and the relationship won’t bring about the goals it sets forth. You have to trust the person, completely. This is why many pastors don’t have one. They bounce from church to church too quickly and never make deep friendships.
- Someone who understands your role. Being a pastor is different than being a doctor or a landscaper. The person who holds you accountable has to know this. They have to understand the spiritual and emotional side of ministry. All work is hard work. Ministry work is just different hard work. Not harder, just different. The person who holds you accountable has to understand this. Sometimes, it takes a pastor educating someone because not everyone understands.
- Someone who loves you. They must love you as a person and want what is best for you. This doesn’t mean telling you what you want to hear, but it does mean wanting to see you succeed and become the person God created you to be. Loving you means saying hard things to you sometimes.
- Someone who isn’t begging for it. If they want this role in your life, it is usually not a good idea. When people want to get close to a pastor or his wife, there is usually an agenda you want to avoid at all costs. Not always, but usually.
- Someone who is a big fan of yours, but not too big. They must cheer for you, but can’t be over the top.
- Someone who might not attend your church. They might be outside of your church. At the very least, you should have another pastor you can vent to and get advice about things you can’t get from someone who attends your church.
- Someone you are not married to. Your sole accountability partner should not be your wife. Period. You should be open and honest with your wife, keeping no secrets, but someone else should hold you accountable.