The Pastor’s Divine Call and Accountability in Church Government

The Pastor’s Divine Call and Accountability in Church Government

Question: Our pastor is a wonderful person and a great preacher, but there is one thing that bothers me. He says that he has a divine call and is therefore accountable directly to God, not to the congregation or the church board. I don’t think that this is right, but no one seems to want to challenge him on it. What do you think?

Answer: Christian denominations differ widely on how they handle the accountability of the pastor, but one thing is sure for all spiritual leaders: they are accountable to God through the people who employ them.

Even Jesus in His human nature was accountable to God through people. He was accountable to his parents while he was a child, to his rabbis while he was in training and to the Roman authorities when he was an adult. All during his life, he was also directly accountable to His Father in heaven, but that was for his Messianic responsibility.

Pastors and all other human beings are accountable directly to God for fulfilling the basic responsibility of all human beings to love God and to love our neighbors and to do that within the limitations of the Ten Commandments. We will be called to account on Judgement Day.

Furthermore, pastors and all other human beings are also accountable to their employers for the satisfactory performance of their responsibilities. In the case of pastors what may be confusing is that their responsibility is to be the spiritual leader of a congregation. To make matters more complicated, pastors often have to give challenges to improper behavior and words of correction to the very people who pay their salaries.

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Accountability – the Gift We Fail to Give


Here are three very different scenarios, each of them repeated hundreds of times in Christian organizations.  There is a common thread running through them.

1. Imagine that CEO who was extremely successful.  Charismatic beyond what you experienced anywhere else you worked, he was a visionary, a good listener, an effective fundraiser, dependable, honest.  Did he lack anything?  Did he have any flaws at all?  Well, yes, as a matter of fact he did.  He was a humorist, but he had a bad habit of teasing people with humor that was insensitive, that made people feel devalued and embarrassed.  No one ever said anything, of course.   He was successful, and he was the CEO.  Years went by without his ever knowing that he hurt peoples’ feelings with humor.  How could he know?  They always laughed. Read more

How Boards Accumulate Wisdom

Governing Organization Board Wisdom

Imagine that your board is having a discussion about an issue that has come up once before some years ago. Several of the board members remember it, but they can’t quite remember what was decided. They want to follow whatever precedent was set back then. Someone suggests a search of the minutes, but no one can remember the year. It’s just too cumbersome to find the minutes of that meeting. The board decides to make a new decision as best as it can.

This is an example of a managing board struggling to become a governing board. It illustrates the most significant single difference between the two types of boards. Governing boards store principles in policies. That’s how they accumulate wisdom. Read more