David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church, was convicted recently for embezzling twelve million dollars. Evidence was presented, witnesses were heard, and disagreements were voiced about court room procedure. I am disheartened that I am subjected to only the opinions of the various news media and their biases.
Several well-known pastors have focused on just the greed aspect of this case in articles they’ve written or in their blogs. I believe that they have left out an important aspect of this case: ACCOUNTABILITY, as in the ethics of our actions and behaviors within the ministry and all the relationships within that ministry. The past is littered with these types of cases where a minister goes astray, becomes unaccountable to his ministry, and destroys many relationships.
Accountability is not only required of all ministers in the financial aspect of the church, but in what is viewed on the internet, the choices of where to eat dinner, and the company we keep. Ethics is defined as: “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture. Many Christians would argue, and maybe rightfully so, that the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament make up the ethics and moral fiber of how ministers should conduct themselves. However, one thing that I have personally learned from over 30 years of ministry, and watching too many ministers fall in shame, is that IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ETHICS AND ACCOUNTABILITY BECOME ESSENTIAL TO THE CHRISTIAN WALK.
To whom does scripture say we are accountable? I believe we are accountable four essential people to maintain an ethical view of life and practice
1) God: This is a no brainer. I have to maintain a clear understanding of His scripture, and spend daily time in prayer and Bible reading focusing on what is right and ethical in His view.
2) Family: We see many ministers fall prey to the attacks of the enemy and fail ethically in their ministry because they forget they are accountable to their wife and children. God has called us to not neglect our family and for our families to exist as examples of His love for the world.
3) Pastor: I have had the privilege of serving the majority of my ministry as an Associate Pastor under some awesome men of God. I have found both in my personal life and ministry that when I become accountable to their vision and ethically submit to help them accomplish it, God’s blessings are amazing.
4) Accountability Partner: Every man and especially pastor should have an ACCOUNTIBILTY PARTNER. IF we want to avoid trouble or the perception of infidelity, accountability partners should be of the same gender. A good partner will be mature in their Christian walk and should share your interest in being ethical and accountable to each other and God. A friend of mine shared that his accountability partner (fellow pastor) has permission to tell him straight up, “You’re really stuck on stupid with this one,” meaning his friend can be honest, no matter what.
Friends, the question is really simple: who are you accountable to? Who do you explain your actions to and get valuable feedback? If you currently don’t have someone in your life that you’re accountable to, now is the time to find someone.
It is time for pastors and minister to stop going it alone, and failing ethically. Ladies and gentleman, not only must you be ethical in your thinking and behavior, but you must be accountable for your reputation, family, ministry, and relationship with God. Are they not worth more than your ego?