10 Major Principles of Leader Accountability

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I came across this in Tim Irwin’s new book Impact: Great Leadership Changes EverythingIt is from an interview he did with Steve Reinemund, former CEO of PepsiCo on how to hold yourself as a leader accountable:

  1. Get commitments from others to challenge me on a regular basis.
  2. Prepare myself in advance for those spontaneous, unexpected challenges to my integrity.
  3. Create a personal board of directors.
  4. Give veto power over contemplated actions to a respected and knowledgeable colleague.
  5. Hit the pause button for important decisions any time there is a lack of clarity.
  6. Conduct the visibility test – ask if whatever I am considering doing was visible to everyone around me, would I still do it?
  7. Be extremely careful about rationalization – have others test our reasons for contemplated actions.
  8. Heed early warning signals, especially any sense of extreme imbalance in our work and personal lives.
  9. Be clear about what you believe about success.
  10. Take the risk to give followers feedback on their personal behavior.

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How to Set Goals and Accomplish Them

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This post originally appeared on The Blog of Manly.

Since we’re now at the end of January and the luster of New Years Resolutions has begun to wear off, I felt like its time to share some ideas on how to set goals and keep them.

Resolutions are just that, goals. They are hopes for the future. In December we look at our lives, the things we don’t like about them and set a goal to change that specific area of our lives.

No one makes a resolution to get into more debt or add 30 pounds (at least not that I have met).

Here are ___ ways to set goals, keep them and accomplish them.

  1. Be realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks isn’t likely or realistic. Possible if you just stop eating but that sounds miserable. The excitement of what could be is easy to get caught up in, but the reality that you will all of a sudden get up at 5am 4 days a week when you have been struggling to get up by 7am isn’t realistic.
  2. Set goals you want to keep. I have had friends set a goal and they are miserable. Now, sometimes our goals will have some pain. When I lost 130 pounds, it wasn’t fun to change my eating habits, but the short term pain was worth it. The same goes for debt. It will require some pain to get out of debt. You have to walk a fine line here. If it is too painful, you will not want to keep it. This is why our goals are often more of a process than a quick fix.
  3. Make them measurable. Don’t make a goal: to lose weight, get out of debt or read my bible more. Those aren’t measurable. How much weight? How much debt? How much more will you read your bible? Make them measurable so you can see how you are doing.
  4. Have a plan. Once you have your goal, you need a plan. If its weight loss, what will you do? If its debt, how will you get there? What are the steps? If its bible reading, what plan are you using? No goal is reached without a plan.
  5. Get some accountability. Equally important is accountability. One of the things I did when I weighed 285 pounds and started mountain biking was I bought some bike shorts that were too small and embarrassing to wear. This gave me accountability to keep riding. Your accountability might be a spouse or a friend, but it needs to be someone that can actually push you. Maybe you need to go public with your goal and invite people to help you stay on track.
  6. Remove barriers to your goals. Your goals have barriers, that’s why you have to set goals in the first place. It might be waking up, food, credit cards, working too late or wasting time on Facebook. Whatever it is that is going to keep you from accomplishing it, remove it. Get rid of the ice cream, credit cards, move your alarm clock so you have to get out of bed. Whatever it is, do it. Life is too short to be miserable and not accomplish your goals.
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Top Blog Posts for December

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In case you missed them, here are the top 10 blog posts from December 2013:

  1. Christmas Music You Should Own
  2. The Best Books I Read in 2013
  3. How to Make Christmas Special with Your Kids
  4. When Pastoring is Hard (And 3 Ways to Survive)
  5. Accountability
  6. The Five Stages of Discipleship
  7. Almost the Best Books of 2013
  8. Christmas is Over, Now What?
  9. You’re One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life
  10. What’s Happening in 2014 at Revolution Church

Top Posts for the Month of November

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If you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of November:

  1. What do Stay-at-Home Mom’s Do All Day?
  2. Accountability
  3. What do you do With Kids in a Missional Community?
  4. Why Doesn’t Revolution Have a Women’s Ministry
  5. Martyrs Read Joel Osteen Tweets!
  6. How to do Crossfit on Your Own
  7. Make Church Memorable
  8. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  9. Interacting with the Opposite Sex as a Pastor
  10. How the Church Should Respond to Homosexuality (and other Sins)

Food, Weight, The Gospel and Stop Being the Victim

If you are addicted to food, overweight or struggling with an eating disorder the good news is that you are not alone. While it may feel that way, in fact, if you attend church it can feel incredibly lonely. You wonder how many other people struggle with it. It has become the sin that we don’t talk about. Make not mistake, it is a sin because we hope to find wholeness, completeness, fulfillment and happiness in food, eating too much, eating too little or working out.

Who Temptations Hurt

We often think of ourselves as the victims when wrestling with temptations. We rationalize why we do what we do. I don’t trust people because my dad broke promises to me. I don’t take charge in my life because my mother always dominated my life so I’ve just learned to sit back and wait for it to be taken care of. I buy things so that I’ll feel like I belong with my neighbor or good friend. I eat like I do because it makes me feel better after a long day.

Our addictions and temptations often start as someone else’s fault. This is why it is so easy for us to live with the addictions and think, “This is just who I am. I can’t do anything about it.” I’m just the guy who gets angry. I’m just the girl who can’t keep her mouth shut. I just need to have the newest gadget.

You may believe that you are overweight because of something your parents did, how they raised you, or what someone said to you in high school. We play this record over and over in our heads. We use those words as reasons to keep us from dealing with what lies underneath.

When we sin, we hurt. We feel guilty, we feel distance from friends and family, but ultimately, we feel distance from God. Our scope when it comes to sin and temptation is almost exclusively bent towards us.

Do You Really Hate Sin?

One of the problems in our culture is that most of us don’t have a biblical view of sin. We talk about sin as guilty pleasures or vices. Many in our culture believe sin is something made up by Christians to make us feel guilty. Many of us approach sin as if it’s something we can live with, something that is true of everyone. So what’s the big deal?

While sin is true of everyone (Romans 3:23), we are told in Scripture that sin is death (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1) and sin is committing adultery against God (James 4:4).

When you sin, do you have that view? When you gossip, are stingy, look at porn, or eat too much, do you think, I am cheating on God?

Scripture teaches this because when we sin, we are living outside the way God designed life to be lived. We are choosing our way over God. In that moment, we believe that sin will be more gratifying and more fulfilling than God.

When it comes to food, eating too much or seeing food as a crutch, the church is silent on whether this is a sin. This allows many to continue living without a worry. It is also why we don’t see food as a spiritual issue – only a health issue.

Lies we Believe 

Tim Keller said, “Every time we sin, we believe a lie.” In that moment of sin, we believe that it will be more gratifying, more enjoyable, more fulfilling than the life Jesus has promised us. When Jesus came to earth, he promised (John 10:10) that He came to give life – life to the fullest. This life is beyond what we can dream or imagine. A life many of us only hope is true. When we sin, we believe this life is not possible for us and that we can find life on our own.

If we’re honest, sin, in the moment we commit it, feels fulfilling. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t do it. When you eat, it feels good, it brings you comfort, and it is a friend in your loneliness. This is why many of us eat like we do. Then something happens after we eat. You know the feeling. The guilt and shame that quickly follow is a different story.

The lie many believe is that they can’t persevere. Often we give into temptation before it even comes. We are defeated people, broken down by life, hopeless to withstand any temptation or trial. We simply acquiesce that we will always be overweight. We shrug our shoulders and eat another scoop of ice cream. I’ll always be the overweight girl that is excluded. I’ll always be the last picked for the game.

Another lie we often believe is that our sin or temptation is not our fault. Maybe you are like me and blame your weight on your upbringing and how your parents didn’t teach you good eating habits. Maybe it is God’s fault that you can’t have the metabolism of a 14-year-old now that you are 35. I don’t know why God created people who could eat Taco Bell 4 times a day and lose a pound in the process when I feel like I gain a pound every time I smell McDonald’s. We rationalize that we aren’t the most sinful person we know. In fact, if you made a list of the 10 most sinful people you know, my guess is that you wouldn’t be on it.

This gets at the fundamental question that gets debated in our culture, “Are people basically good or bad?” According to Scripture, we are sinful and broken. We sin out of our desires. You might be thinking, “I sin because of what happened to me.” On the surface, this may be true, but underneath it is another level that maybe you sin out of protection, to not let people see your brokenness, or have to deal with the brokenness and hurt in your life.

God and our Bodies

When I was at my heaviest, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law that proved to be a life altering conversation. We were at Starbucks and he asked me, “How can you challenge people in sermons to have self-control when you don’t have any in the area of food?”

The reality of being overweight in the Christian community is that until you have a heart attack or some other health issue, no one will say anything to you. It isn’t seen as a sin, so what’s the point of saying anything? If you choose to be overweight, it’s your choice.

Back to Temptation

We’ve all had that conversation with someone we love who has been hurt by our addictions. We utter these hopeful words that often feel empty, “This is the last time.”

Why do they feel empty?

These words are brimming with the opportunity of freedom. But they are empty because they are overused. Men addicted to porn swear to their wives they will never do it again. They will get accountability and this time it will be different. After a mother screams at her children, she tells them she won’t do it again. On the verge of bankruptcy, we tell our loved ones that this is the last time we will spend more than we make. We will stop buying things. We will stop drinking. Stop gambling. Stop gossiping. Stop eating too much.

This is the year that I’ll lose weight. How many times have you uttered those fateful words? How many Januarys have you said or written down, “This is the year I will get healthy?”

The personal issue my brother-in-law pointed out is that pastors are unhealthy and many of them are overweight. Ouch. A 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76% were overweight or obese compared to 61% of the general population at the time of the study. For many, it has to do with a lack of controlling their schedules when it comes to their sleep and exercise habits along with making poor choices at their lunch meetings or laziness.

I think the larger issue for people who say they believe in God is that we compartmentalize the gospel to the point that it is strong enough to save us for eternity, but not transform our eating habits or body image issues.

It’s not just pastors who are overweight. The problem has moved into the pews. A 2006 Purdue study found that fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, and Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%. This study prompted the lead researcher, Ken Ferraro, to say, “America is becoming a nation of gluttony and obesity and churches are a feeding ground for this problem.”

Similarly, a 2011 Northwestern University study tracking 3,433 men and women for 18 years found that young adults who attend church or a Bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese. The Pawtucket Heart Health Program found that people who attended church were more likely than non-church members to be 20 percent overweight and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

There are a few reasons for this reality. One reason is that churches don’t talk about food as an addiction, the need for exercise, or body image issues. It can be awkward. I didn’t realize this until I lost all my weight. I remember standing on stage talking about this, weighing in at 170 pounds, and looking out at my church. I saw some people who were overweight; some were very obviously overweight, while others just slightly. Whenever you bring up weight, body image issues or food as an addiction, immediately everyone thinks you are talking about them. While you are speaking to them, it is beyond each individual, and leaders must see it as a larger issue as well. It isn’t that we as pastors want to shame anyone in our church or any leader wants to bring guilt on someone who works for them. But we know they will feel so much better about themselves and their life if they can gain the freedom that Jesus offers in this area. We want them to experience the life Jesus promised. Too often, we interpret the life described in John 10:10 is simply about heaven. This life, an abundant life, is also about the pace we keep, what we put into our bodies and how we think about our bodies.

A second reason this isn’t talked about has to do with the leaders of churches in America. You can’t preach about something you don’t believe or don’t live out. You can’t talk about believing in the life Jesus promises when it comes to weight and body image issues while eating the way we do at the church potluck. You can’t challenge your church to have self-control in areas you struggle to have self-control in.

The last reason this isn’t discussed in churches and why pastors and those who sit in our churches every week are unhealthier than the culture around them is we don’t believe that Jesus is better than food, work, and our pace in life. Since we don’t believe it there is no sense in living it. For many who attend church, the gospel is simply how one gets to heaven and how we spend eternity. Yet, the gospel, the truth of Jesus, is so much bigger and impacts the here and now of our lives. Until this changes, we won’t see how the gospel can free us from food as an idol or an addiction. In short, we won’t be able to see the glory of how God created us in his image and why this is an amazing truth.

Finding an Accountability Partner as a Pastor

If you are a pastor, you need some kind of accountability. You know it. You stand up in sermons and tell your people they need accountability. The problem is that it can be very difficult for a pastor to find accountability. Who can they turn to? Who can they trust?

For pastors, the people who are most eager to be your friend, be your accountability partner are usually the last people you want filling those roles. They usually have agendas or are expecting things you won’t be able to deliver.

Here is the rub for a pastor. Men can vent about their bosses or someone at work. But, if a pastor opens up in their MC and says, “I’m really frustrated at work right now.” Or he says that to an accountability partner, the game has changed. Who is the pastor talking about? Are there sides to take? Who got on the wrong side of this leader?

The same goes for a pastor when they need accountability for purity, integrity, want to talk about their marriage, their kids or their struggles. Just anybody cannot fit this role.

Here are a few things to look for in an accountability partner as a pastor:

  • Someone you trust. If you can’t trust your accountability partner, you are off to a bad start. You won’t be honest and the relationship won’t bring about the goals it sets forth. You have to trust the person, completely. This is why many pastors don’t have one. They bounce from church to church too quickly and never make deep friendships.
  • Someone who understands your role. Being a pastor is different than being a doctor or a landscaper. The person who holds you accountable has to know this. They have to understand the spiritual and emotional side of ministry. All work is hard work. Ministry work is just different hard work. Not harder, just different. The person who holds you accountable has to understand this. Sometimes, it takes a pastor educating someone because not everyone understands.
  • Someone who loves you. They must love you as a person and want what is best for you. This doesn’t mean telling you what you want to hear, but it does mean wanting to see you succeed and become the person God created you to be. Loving you means saying hard things to you sometimes.
  • Someone who isn’t begging for it. If they want this role in your life, it is usually not a good idea. When people want to get close to a pastor or his wife, there is usually an agenda you want to avoid at all costs. Not always, but usually.
  • Someone who is a big fan of yours, but not too big. They must cheer for you, but can’t be over the top.
  • Someone who might not attend your church. They might be outside of your church. At the very least, you should have another pastor you can vent to and get advice about things you can’t get from someone who attends your church.
  • Someone you are not married to. Your sole accountability partner should not be your wife. Period. You should be open and honest with your wife, keeping no secrets, but someone else should hold you accountable.

What would you add to the list for an accountability partner for a pastor or pastor’s wife?

Top Posts of February

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the last month:

  1. My Journey of Losing Weight
  2. Accountability
  3. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  4. Tuesday Morning Book Review || The Power of Habit
  5. Losing Weight Part 2: The Idol of Food
  6. My Book
  7. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  8. When You Shouldn’t Pray
  9. 30 Days of Being Gluten Free
  10. Being “The Guy”

Top Posts of December 2012

In case you missed them in all the rush of the holidays, here are the top 10 posts for the last month of 2012:

  1. Accountability
  2. My 12 Favorite Books of 2012
  3. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  4. My Top 12 Albums of 2012
  5. Sex Doesn’t Equal Intimacy
  6. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  7. What “Be Still” Means
  8. Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Wife
  9. My Journey of Losing Weight
  10. Planning a Preaching Calendar

Top 12 Posts of 2012

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It’s that time of year again, time to share my top lists of the year. Tomorrow I’ll share my top 12 books of the year and on Thursday, I’ll share my top 12 albums of the year. Today though, it is the top 12 posts I wrote in 2012:

  1. Before You Criticize Your Pastor
  2. Accountability
  3. How a Wife Handles Her Husband’s Sexual Addiction
  4. Kingdom Man
  5. Q: Preaching to Believers & Seekers
  6. What “Be Still” Means
  7. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  8. Responding to the Same-Sex Marriage Debate as a Christian
  9. Letters to a Young Pastor
  10. Meet Nehemiah James Andrew (Updated)
  11. One of the Most Misquoted Bible Verses
  12. Why We Worry
  13. Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Wife (Bonus Post)

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Top Blog Posts for November 2012

In case you missed them, here are the top blog posts for the last month:

  1. Accountability
  2. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  3. My Journey of Losing Weight
  4. The Role of Men in the Family
  5. Why We Sin so Easily
  6. 10 Ways to Know if You’re Putting Your Kids Before Your Spouse
  7. Is Love a Choice or a Feeling (And Why it Matters)
  8. Losing Weight Part 2: The Idol of Food
  9. 10 Gospel Truths about Homosexuality
  10. Why a Pastor Should be in a Missional Community or Small Group