I was in a room of leaders from around the country that gathered together to design a process to create church planting centers to recruit, develop, and send more church planters. These church planting centers are to be connected, but have decentralized leadership and become church producing engines.
We got to the place of talking about accountability for new church planters and how to track their progress. After twenty minutes of brainstorming, we came up with so many ways to track their progress that there is no way an unproductive church planter could escape our attention. One guy suggested that the church planter turn in his weekly calendar in order to get feedback on how he used each hour of the day.
There is one problem. There is also no way that a church planter would have time to keep up with the system and still plant the church!
I asked how many of us in the room have that tight of a system for accountability. One guy out of about 15 raised his hand (the weekly calendar guy). Why would people who don’t have tight accountability design a system with such an onerous reporting system for others?
Trust. The guys in the room were pretty seasoned. They all had earned their positions because whomever they worked with trusted them. A detailed system would cause more harm than good because of the productivity time it takes in order to work the system.
The conclusion is that if a church planter needs layers and layers of accountability before he can be trusted to have a church planting assignment, he shouldn’t have the assignment until he earns the trust of those sending him. The responsibility should be on the sender to have enough relationship and communication with the church planter that an accountability/reporting system would not give the organization any new information. See Why an Organization with Tight Policies Usually has Weak Leaders.
Do you have any thoughts on how to handle accountability, reporting, and trust?