Once again its probably easier to say what accountability isn’t before you clarify what it is?
Accountability isn’t, knowing every little detail of some one’s life, checking up on their bank balance, their marriage, what books they are reading or what conferences they are attending, it is not about checking on whether or not they tithe, an opportunity to police their thinking, check on who they are spending time with or check up on meeting attendance or whether or not they are observing quiet times.
It is not submitting to someone up the hierarchical ladder so that somehow you become “safe” or “covered” as if they have some superior insight and relationship with God or so that you can now have a public “ministry”.
It is not being told what to do!
Accountability within the construct is a tool to control. Period.
It is just another face of shepherding, as taught by the Fort Lauderdale five back in the 70′s (incidentally most of this group have publicly renounced their teachings) along with tithing, serving (the leaders) and submitting. In this system you are really only ever accountable to someone “above” you. For example a cell leader or group leader and then there is the next group of leaders to whom they are accountable and so on till you reach the mighty “apostle” at the top of the pyramid (ringing any bells? See previous post here)
It creates a dependency mentality, where even the most mature people get stuck and find it difficult to think and make choices for themselves or to act independently or even feel allowed to do things without permission.
Over the years I’ve clashed with those who have demanded that I be accountable (to them?) because I simply don’t agree with their perspective on it.
They want me to submit, I won’t, especially not to someone who feels they have the right to ask me too. No one has that right except Christ and even he doesn’t demand it from me.
Scripture says submit to one another in love, and that is a mutual command, surely that has to include those who are in “leadership”, as we are all equal in Gods eyes anyway, but that’s not going to happen within the construct.
Personally, I have never asked anyone to submit to me, and I never will, I have no right too.
Often accountability is based in fear, how will this person reflect on me, us, our ministry / reputation / church? or it’s some kind of quality control to the question…”is this person safe?”
It is often used as a tool to show how whiter than white we are, yet for all the structures in place it doesn’t protect anyone, I’m sure we all know people who are in accountable groups or whatever, yet they still make cataclysmic choices effecting themselves and those around them.
In fact if it does anything it creates an air of suspicion, mistrust and fear, a place where people feel intimidated and highly unlikely to share their deepest secrets, fears or insecurities, that’s hardly an environment I want to foster.
Lets be real, if you want to be known as safe, be safe, if you want to known as a person with integrity, show integrity, trust, honesty, etc…etc. No matter how much someone verifies you as a person the only way you’ll really know is by meeting the person.
If it is a protection from financial exploitation I would simply say this…keep your money, I don’t want it! The gospel is free.
So lets step outside the construct for a moment, things start to look very different indeed.
There you will find I am responsible for my own actions.
I cannot and will not blame others for my decisions.
I am accountable to God, so are you!
Does this mean I don’t share my life with others? of course not.
My life has a network of loving relationships that keeps me real.
There is very little I enjoy more than spending time with others, sharing life and swapping stories (especially round the dinner table) and learning from each other from our journeys and on the whole there is very little (I am aware of) that I consciously feel I need to hide from anyone.
And when I need help I try to find the right people to guide me, and it’s amazing how often the right person comes along at the right time.
So does this mean I am a loose cannon….well yes I suppose it does, why is that a problem? Because I’m not a member of the collective?
My real friends know me and know my weaknesses.
They encourage me when I need it and challenge me when I’m out of order, but they do it in the context of friendship and mutuality.
It does mean I think for myself.
It does mean I encourage others to do so too.
It does mean I’m un-controllable.
And it does mean if you want to know how / why I live my life the way I do you are welcome to ask.
Christ came to set me free, not bind me up.
But of course I would say all this as I’m un-accountable. lol.