Christian leadership is one of the most vulnerable roles on earth, yet ironically, to lead effectively requires vulnerability.

Accountability to God and to key people with whom you intentionally choose to be transparent is a major foundation to leadership success. Without that, you can so easily lose your influence as well as your ability to lead well.

For any leader to continue growing in a healthy way, transparency with God and His people is a must. To do this, we must allow our ministries to become naked, choosing to live lives of vulnerability with those to whom we look for wisdom and guidance.

It’s so important to choose to be in covenant with the right sort of companions, people who will champion you and encourage you to stick on the narrow path, but let’s be honest, most of us know that already, don’t we?! The worrying thing is that we so often don’t do what we know to do.

Throughout the gospels Jesus talked of how He wanted us to live until His return. He tells us we must watch for Him, work diligently until His return, obey His commands. Such attitudes are right for all believers; all disciples of Jesus are called to accountability, but it’s especially important for leaders to live that way as we are the example-setters for the Christians we lead.

Jesus goes on to say:

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” Luke 12:48b

Leadership is costly and God intended it that way. He looks for women and men who will choose light instead dark, openness rather than shutting down, and vulnerability before comfort.

Much is demanded and entrusted to each of us as leaders and each of us must account for that responsibility, but accountability only works if you invest heavily in relationships that are designed for it. You only get out any relationship what you are prepared to put in.

My growing concern is that too many leaders say they are accountable, but are really not.

It’s too easy to make ‘safe’ choices about what we should tell people, and how much we should let them into our world and leadership. We may even have a “triplet” or some “running buddies” and “mentors” already set up, and even reading this we might think we are sorted in this department but if we are not fully open with them about the issues we struggle with, accountability is just a word.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating these ways of being accountable, each of them is a good idea, but the truth is they mean absolutely nothing unless you’re really honest and truly vulnerable within the accountability structure you have set up. Unless you truly live out your structure, it’s hollow, and if it’s a shell, it’s not of God.

There are buzz words around Christian leadership that are good and wise, words such as accountability, mentorship, intentionality, etc., but it’s vital that we seek Holy Spirit to ask if we have done enough in these areas to give account for the way we hold the position He has given us. We set accountability structures in place because we know we need to, but from that point we need to continue to invest in them.

Operating as an authentic leader involves the ongoing action of being accountable. If it’s truly accountability, it should always cost, always hurt and always challenge.

You can have all the methods in the world but unless you’re real, and I mean really real, then you’ll easily get stuck.

Accountability in its fullness is about holding nothing back, so it’s important that we ‘fess up and live in Christ’s light.

Six Points of Accountability:

  1. Take responsibility for your relationship with God and the leadership He has entrusted to you.
  2. Be strict on yourself. Don’t allow yourself to live below the accountability line by using lines like, “there’s always tomorrow”, “we all mess up”, “we live under grace.”
  3. Surround yourself with a cloud of witnesses – above, beside and below you who will love you, but who will not put up with repeated behaviour that doesn’t edify the Kingdom.
  4. Be safe, be seen.
  5. Rebuke repeated sin in your life, be open about those things with those who can hold you to account, and get help to cultivate grace and new habits
  6. Don’t say you’re accountable if you’re not, ’cause that’s just lying!
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Amy Summerfield

Amy Summerfield is CEO of Kyria, a leadership network to champion empower and release women into their spheres of influence (, and Head of Development at Skylark International, a network of churches, charities and organisations. From 2015-2020 Amy was senior pastor of Connect Church, Paisley, Scotland. Amy is the co-founder of Pulse Children’s and Youth Ministries. She is a regular conference speaker for women's and leadership conferences. Recently married, Amy moved to live in Hitchin with her husband Matt who leads Zeo Church. She enjoys cooking, baking, dog walking and tea drinking! When not travelling for ministry, she loves spending time in Derbyshire where she grew up.

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