by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith PhD

One of the key secrets to great growth – individually and corporately – is the issue of accountability and the change that comes from it. In fact, when we evaluate based on  the core values, vision and mission statement we have created a simple and effective means of ensuring focus on the things that really matter.

Effective accountability is always mutual – always for the benefit of all involved. In a church, pastors and leaders (paid, elected and volunteer) interact and seek to bring out the best in each other. In a ministry where the mission of Jesus Christ is held as primary, effectiveness and faithfulness are accomplished through mutual accountability.

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

Accountability is just part of the life in Christ. Discipleship and leadership development involve intimate relationship – one that is constantly in action. “… but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13 NKJV). Those who choose to refuse evaluation have something to hide. Two-way mutual responsibility through a caring, empowering and mission-vision focused relationship is what the Bible teaches.

Evaluation or Evaluations?

Transparency breeds trust and secrecy breeds suspicion. No where does this speak louder than with a leader who does not allow others to investigate their lives through constant evaluation.

Over the years I have had allowed people into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul. Asking questions and allowing questions to be asked are all part of our weekly life lives together.

Questions that Beg Transparency

Meeting with leaders is always a great time for me. It is a time to discover and hope, correct and plan, pray and trust. Developing a ‘meeting checklist’ is central to a profitable meeting. Below is one that I like to hand out before we meet one-to-one each month, asking the leader to fill one out for me and assuring them that I will fill one out for them. When we meet, we discuss the responses to the following questions …

  • What has been your past month’s devotional routine? (I.e., reading schedule, prayer times, etc.)
  • What new insights in God’s Word have you discovered over the past month?
  • What specific answers to prayer have you enjoyed over the past month?
  • What has been the biggest joys for you personally over the past month?
  • What has brought the greatest drains upon you personally over the past month?
  • What are you planning for this coming month that you are anticipating with excitement?
  • What are you planning for this contemplating in this coming month that you are dreading?
  • How have I been a hindrance to you this past month?
  • How have I been a help to you over the past month?
  • How can I can be the most help to you in the coming month?
  • Over the past three months, what ministry objectives have you accomplished?
  • Over the past three months, what ministry objectives have you not accomplished?
  • In order to be a success in the next months, I will need the following from you …

A Daily Process

Yes, we are all being evaluated each and every day by each and every person we come in contact with. People measure their effectiveness to take evaluation and change by the number of friends they have. Organizations and churches measure their effectiveness at making change from their evaluations by the number of people who remain faithful.

Evaluation is the substance of life. Change is the purpose of evaluation and Jesus’ mission is the motivation for being evaluated. Here’s to a sharper edge!