With mature leaders, kingdom leaders should expect consistent, concise, and considered reports.
- “Consistent” means systematic in timing and sequence; weekly but also accumulative reports that build upon one another;
- “Concise” means to the points of reference by which “success” is being measured, thus the points of emphasis are not overwhelmed with distractions;
- “Considered” means the mature leaders writing them have awareness on a systematic basis of their response to their responsibilities.
Reports speak to accountability because in the requested reports – remember the word “accountability” assumes “asked questions” – leaders communicate about the blueprint objectives that fulfill assigned purpose. Reports help refocus leaders upon the shared assignment so they do not substitute for their assignments by turning what you’ve asked them to do into something else.
For example, when reports for a retail business respond to numbers, it is because the measurement of “success” is “sales, sales, sales.” At the same time, reports respond to cost cutting initiatives so that “sales, sales, sales” also means profit. One without the other means the business isn’t going to survive. Both sales and cost controls are required. Selling without profit is pretty easy: start selling flat screen TV’s for $25 and you will have increased sales. On the other hand, providing great service that costs so much great sales numbers still fall short of great profits means the enterprise isn’t going to last long. “We had increased sales but the cost of doing business was so high we lost money.”
In the kingdom, numbers do not often become the starting point of measuring our success. Numbers are not left out, and numbers have significance, but numbers seldom help us measure “success” when the measurement of success gages “purpose.” While God wants everybody, He never starts with everybody; God never measures success by how much of the crowd He can get involved. God measures success by people who produce His purposes.
For example, Abraham was “father of nations” but God didn’t measure his personal success by how many children Abraham produced, and even in the production of children, God only acknowledged Isaac as a measurement of “success.”
Of course, modern churchanity has taken to measuring success by the accumulation of believers instead of the discipling of leaders. (By “leaders” I mean every believer functioning in kingdom since God’s kingdom provides leadership.) So, we celebrate the fastest growing churches as if the numbers denote “success.” They can denote “success” at some level, but the simple accumulation of believers never provides the highest measurement of success in the kingdom of God.
Keeping Leaders Accountable to Purpose
How often do you experience this stunning complication? A trusted leaders is delegated an assignment that will help produce the greater assignment’s blueprint purpose, but the trusted leader begins to redefine the assignment by appropriating toward a very different objective, all the while assuming that their kingdom leaders will be or should be impressed with their performance fruit.
How easily kingdom leaders fall into the modern mantra of numbers!
We ask, “How are things going?” and we get the response, “Well, things are not doing so well since so few people are showing up,” or “Great! We’ve had great increase in attendance.” Neither answer addresses the actual goal of the assignment unless we are actually interested in accumulations. If we are, we will change the non-producing leader’s assignment so that more people show up, or we will reward the producing leader’s assignment so more people will show up. Yet, if the only measurement of success is number of attendees, we may finally degenerate the purpose to nothing more than a party with increased entertainment or relational value to those that attend.
What is your assignment? How does the blueprint delegate a specific assignment to what you are asking that leader to produce? How does the report he or she is giving tell you how well they are producing purpose? If they are immensely successful, what will be the ultimate outcome of that portion of the blueprint, and how does that outcome fit into the blueprint of the entire assignment?
Having applied so many natural man ideas to “church as a business model,” we are often confused about there being any other purpose for church beyond the accumulation of believers, and we see the benefits of preaching the Gospel, teaching the principles of the kingdom, and the baptism of believers as “added benefits.” When we explore how well what we are doing disciples kingdom leaders, we may find people “run screaming into the night” at the insistence that we do more than put rear ends in seats on Sunday mornings. We may work very hard at producing a great show, providing a great fireside chat, example something that appeals to the desperate minds of moderns, but have no concept of kingdom success, let alone a way of measuring that production.
Jesus’ Blueprint Kingdom Life and Ministry
Jesus often addressed this particular aspect of delegated authority because He was living His life and ministry in blueprint response to His assignment, making Himself directly accountable to His Father by only doing what He saw Father doing and saying what He heard Father saying.
That Jesus so often mentioned this aspect of delegated leadership, because He functioned in kingdom, we should visit it just as often. We seldom do, and I am convinced we do not visit this subject very often because we still suffer from a religious spiritual condition filled with superstition, substitution, and situation.
Why would I say that? Because the religious spirit specifically operates to provide substitutes for God’s kingdom realities, and accountability would identify these substitutes.
- Superstition means the artificial conceptualization of spiritual reality that substitutes for revelation of “how things actually work in the spirit” that comes from Holy Spirit;
- Substitution means giving God what we want Him to have instead of finding out what He wants and giving Him what He wants;
- Situation means locating ourselves in the cultural setting comfortably instead of confronting the culture around us with the culture of God’s kingdom.
At some level, the Law communicates God’s expectations to which God makes His people accountable. At no point has God changes His expectations, but through Christ He has made the fulfillment of His expectations attainable through a vastly, eternally improved means. In Christ, we can fulfill God’s expectations.
This runs so contrary to modern thinking that many people will simply continue to assume that we are all supposed to mark time until Jesus comes back and fixes everything, I know. That concept is often applied to personal living as well: “God isn’t finished with me yet. I’m getting ready for after life.” While there is tremendous merit in that concept, there is also a practical denial and avoidance behavior of accountability in the idea that nothing is really going to happen until the distant future. “I’m excused for failure to establish kingdom until Jesus comes back and does it Himself” is the common presupposition.
Yet, Jesus invests His ministry life in the preparation of leaders who will do something radical, immediate, and cultural with their leadership. He seems totally committed to the idea that His kingdom leaders will do something about establishing kingdom here and now! And, to this end, He makes them accountable, not to accumulating believers but discipling leaders with influence to transform cultures.