A question to pastors from a layman...

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Jonathan, Apr 8, 2002.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    ...about accountability: in recent years I have heard more and more about the need to hold and to be held accountable.

    Do any of the pastors who frequent this forum participate in an accountability group or other similar relationship (other than one's spouse)? If you do, do you find it necessary to have these relationships with folks who are not members of the church you pastor?
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

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    Yes, definitely. I think it is very important for pastors to have a group of colleagues with whom they meet regularly and to whom they are held accountable.

    It is very important that these folks not be in the church.

    In addition, though, the pastor of a church is always accountable to the congregation, and at a level that is far more deep than simply an employee-employer relationship.

    Joshua
     
  3. Jonathan

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    Thanks Joshua. I wonder why there have not been more responses.

    I have heard from some pastors who say something like "my wife" or "my church" hold me accountable but I don't think any of these fellows understand the purpose of accountability.

    On the other hand, I would not be surprised to learn that a majority of pastors (and other church leaders) are side stepping this issue out of a fear of actually dealing with their own issues.
     
  4. Rev. Joshua

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    That's one of the reasons I think CPE is an important part of seminary education. Part of the CPE process is learning the importance of accountability.

    In addition, the mainline denominations with an ecclesiatical hierarchy are way ahead of us in this regard (although it's obviously broken down - and with terrible consequences - in the Roman Catholic Church).

    Joshua
     
  5. TomVols

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    If you mean by accountability personal spiritual accountability, yes, I have those relationships with trusted friends not part of my church. Much of it is formally informal :D Ministerially, we must be accountable to our church and to the elders we serve alongside. Churches must be accountable to one another doctrinally. Unfortunately, we have exalted local church autonomy to a level above accountability. Above all, we are accountable to God and His revelation as to how we conduct life this side of glory.
     
  6. Jonathan

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    Thanks Tom. The reason that I asked this question is that it seems to me that while it is crucial to be involved in such a relationship (regarding personal accountability), it is just too dangerous for a pastor to be in such a relationship with a member of his church.

    The point of personal accountability is to be able to enlist another to help you along toward holiness as you share those sins and temptation with which you struggle. I cannot think of a single instance where a pastor would be advised to be in such a relationship with a church member.

    My concern is that this fact may be one of the reasons that many pastors do have the benefit of this type of accountability.
     
  7. changed_like_saul

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    I am an Elder in the Primitive Baptist Church but not a pastor. however, i know our pastor is held accountable, not only in his work in the church but also in his day to day walk. in fact each of us are held accountable to one another!!

    each month we hold conference to handle any business of the church that needs to be handled. including discipline in the church. we are very concerned about the brethren and how we act away from church. i personally am more concerned about what the local body, in which i am a member, sees me do. i do not want to bring reproach upon the church for anything i do, period.

    the pastor answers to the deacons on most matter not pertaining to doctrine and the deacons answer to the church and we all answer to God!!

    God set that up and not man. it works very well!!

    Changed like Saul,

    Elder Chris Folsom

    www.pbsermons.org
    www.pbportal.org
    www.zionpbc.org
     
  8. Jonathan

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    You may have answered this, but precisely how does this relationship work? What I am looking for are the mechanics of these accountability relationships? Is there a specific person to whom the pastor (other than his spouse) confides in and who holds him accountable in his day to day walk?

     
  9. John3v36

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    I do not use an "accountability group". But I have other Pastor friends, and just christian friend friend, and yes my wife. I think this is the best way. :D
     
  10. Pastork

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    Jonathan,

    I too believe that accountability is important, but I have to disagree with the opinion that we should seek our closest, most personal accountabiliity from outside our own congregation. This would also mean that we are seeking our closest friendships from outside our own congregation. I know this is the majority view and is recommended to prospective pastors in college and seminary pastoral theology classes, but I think there is something wrong with avoiding such close personal interaction and mutual trust among the elders of one's own congregation. Is it potentially dangerous? Yes. Should we be careful about who we trust within our congregation? Yes. Should such trust be entered into prematurely? No. But what kind of ministry do we have if it is not being used by God to create such trust among our brothers?

    As for me, my closest personal accountability has been, and always will be, with my wife. I also do have a close pastor friend in another state to whom I confide. However, I also have close personal relationships with such accountability with elders in my congregation and an especially close friendship with one of our deacons.

    Pastork
     
  11. John3v36

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    Amen Pastork [​IMG]
     
  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    [ July 29, 2002, 11:30 AM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
     
  13. Chris Temple

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    Acountability groups/partners is another invasion of secular psychology into the spiritual ministry of the church. Everyone is looking to be accountable to someone except where biblical accountability lies: first with Christ and then with spouse/family.

    I have pastoral friendships which I value for insight, friendship and feedback, but my accountability is Christ.

    I Cor 3:16 ¶ Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
    17 If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.
    18 ¶ Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
    19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness,"
    20 and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."
    21 ¶ So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours,
    22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours;
    23 and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
     
  14. Pastork

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    Chris,

    I agree that we are all ultimately accountable to Christ, but I also believe that we are accountable to our brothers and sisters in Christ as a part of Christ's Body, the Church. This is what I think that Jonathan was asking about. And I do not believe that it is a concept that is unbiblical. If accountability means being responsible to others for our actions, then the Bible quite clearly teaches it. For example, the concept of accountability is at the heart of Jesus' teaching about church discipline in Matt.18:15-20. Another example which is even more to the point with regard to pastors is Paul's teaching about how to deal with an elder who sins. For instance, in 1Tim.5:19-20 Paul says "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear". This command only makes sense if one assumes that elders are accountable to the church as well as to one another. In addition, to re-enforce a point I made in an earlier post, it assumes that elders are accountable to their fellow elders with whom they serve, not to those off somewhere else.

    Pastork
     
  15. Pastor_Bob

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    Another biblical principle that would certainly apply here is:
    Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

    Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"

    A man or woman who has a close friend in whom they can confide and be real and open with has a wonderful avenue of doing right. Positive peer pressure is a wonderful thing.

    A wise man, pastor or not, will make himself accountable to at least one other godly man with whom he can be perfectly honest in all things.

    It almost goes without saying that you make yourself accountable to your wife.

    As far as the question whether or not they should be in your church, I would say it would be far safer and more logical to have this person from outside your church. When a church leader shares intimate details of his life with someone they are over in the Lord (I Thess. 5:12), this gives the devil a place to work. Bitterness, resentment, distrust, and discontentment are a few things I can think that could surface.

    I whole-heartedly agree with the principle of accountability.
     
  16. Chris Temple

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    Pastork:

    I agree that we are accountable to others. But this biblical accountability is vastly different from the neoencounter-group type accountability hyped in most men's ministries and psycho-ministry tanks like Focus on the Family. :rolleyes:

     
  17. Pastork

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    Chris,

    I see where you were going now, and I agree that many Christians today think more in terms of pop-psycho-babble when they refer to "accountability" than they do of a more Biblical approach. For example, the idea of confronting revealed sin as sin may often be lacking, especially with the modern penchant for redefining sin(s) with euphemisms designed to take away the sting. One good example of this kind of thing is the common tendency to call pride by the name "low self-esteem". Am I thinking along the same lines that you intended?

    Pastork
     
  18. Chris Temple

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    Pretty much, yes. But I an also concerned with the checking in once a week with a behavioral checklist, and seeing if I have been naughty or nice this week. It smacks a little bit of protestant confessionalism, IMO (I may be over-sensitive due to my Romna Catholic upbringing).

    I believe there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. Some of this acountability stuff smacks of the priestly, at least to me.
     
  19. Pastork

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    Very good point!
     
  20. TomVols

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    Chris has an interesting insight into this. Stalwart reformed preacher Eric Alexander said that he had a friend who often asked him "What have you been grazing on lately?" which meant 'what have you been reading in your spiritual life and how is it affecting your growth?' I think that is helpful, particularly in a fatherly, mentoring capacity which all ministers need. Obviously, we can go to extremes in anything. One is that we need a "confessor." The other is that we need no one but ourselves.
     

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