Imagine pouring a bottle of oil over the top of your head. Then let the oil run down your face and clothing. (Never mind the greasy residue.) Do you see the big picture? What starts at the top runs downward.
In any organization, including the church, whatever is happening at the top will affect the entire body. As a church leader, that means you have a huge responsibility to your team and your congregation!
The Bible illustrates this responsibility through the practice of pouring anointing oil onto the head. The oil then runs down through the beard and onto the body and clothing below. Leviticus 8:10 describes Moses anointing Aaron this way, as God has commanded him.
Old Testament kings were also anointed with oil as a symbol of God’s Spirit being poured out onto the new leader. As the oil was poured onto the head and ran down through the beard and onto the robes, the message was clear: As goes the king, so goes the kingdom.
As a leader in your church, your strengths lift your team and congregation, and your weaknesses hold them back from realizing their potential. That’s why accountability is so important. When we’re accountable, we’re willing to accept responsibility for our actions, for better or for worse. That encourages us to rise to challenges, address our shortcomings, and live our own lives according to the same godly wisdom we preach from the pulpit.
Put differently, accountability requires us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
This couldn’t be truer than when we talk about stewardship. If pastors are calling on their congregations to be good stewards in every area of their lives—because God owns it all and we’re just managing it for His glory—then they should be measuring themselves by those same standards.
With accountability, that’s possible.
Without it, a pastor could be preaching Luke 14:28—“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (NIV)—yet be in over his head on a mortgage he could never afford. That’s a situation no pastor wants to be in, but if he is, here’s the thing: his team and congregation can probably sense that something’s up.
That’s because accountability starts with the heart, and it’s difficult to hide what’s in our hearts. As a pastor, you must set a standard of consistently checking your own heart and behavior. Are you faithfully giving? Are you living above your means or handling your after-tithe 90% in a God-honoring way?
A congregation will know when your heart is in the right place. And making yourself accountable to your team and your church members will promote reciprocal behavior. Why? Because the anointing oil of a leader flows from top to bottom.
Want to be accountable in your personal finances when you preach what the Bible has to say about money? FPU Online allows pastors to go through the same Financial Peace University they offer to their congregations. Except, because you have a busy, irregular schedule, you can take all nine classes online, on your own time. But make sure you have an accountability partner—someone to help keep you on track. Learn more here, and never worry about your accountability in personal finance again.