Who is Watching the Leaders?

  • Published on January 10, 2017
  • James Clark
  • Senior Pastor

Over the years I have increasingly heard more conversation regarding accountability with executive leadership. If you sit in the chair, if you are at the helm, if you hold the position no one else can hold…then who are we accountable to? Who reviews our performance? Who watches out for and over us? This question haunted me enough that I created a structure in our organization where I am accountable to a team of qualified individuals who advise me regularly and review me annually. This process has not been easy because traditionally our organizations never create intentional systems of accountability. Then recently I was reminded of a higher level of accountability that I often forget.


One of my staff stopped by my office to share a story of an incident that happened in our WEE School program (a curriculum based preschool project we run two days a week). Here is her story:


The week before Thanksgiving all our preschoolers were preparing to celebrate. They were going to reenact the events of the first Thanksgiving. Everyone drew names from a jar that would represent a Native American or a Pilgrim. As they went around the room, they came up with names for the kids reflecting the Native American culture of naming based on skills, locations, etc. and several interesting names developed. We had "Stands with Baseball Bat", "Plays with Doll", but then "Pastor James." Trying to guide the little Pre-K boy, the teacher suggested that it was nice to want to name yourself after the pastor but that didn't really fit the theme. The young boy was insistent. "Pastor James" was the name he wanted. Finally a compromise was accomplished and his name became "Pastor James of the Great High Plains". 


Our staff got a laugh out of the incident and life moved on, everyone happy. 


I was quickly reminded that the highest level of accountability may not be formal, structured or institutionalized. There are three generations that separate me from this young boy. I had not recently asked myself what impact I have on his generation. He is in preschool, has limited access to me, will not make a significant financial contribution, cannot be moved into leadership; he is outside of my sphere of influence. Apparently not! I will confess to being highly honored as these events were shared with me and also deeply humbled. The bottom line is we don’t know who is watching the leaders. So, let me lead with integrity, transparency and effectiveness all the time. Who is watching me? 


Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16 (HCSB)


“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” – Jesus, Luke 17:2 (HCSB)

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