Perhaps the number one asset a pastor has is trust. It is something that is developed over time and it is something that is non-transferable to another pastor or from one church to another. It is a precious source and it is why so many people wounds run deep when pastors violate trust.
For reasons that I cannot fully understand a current buzzword in Church leadership is accountability. It is seen that because trust has been violated by some that we need to do what we can to reestablish trust within churches. Accountability measures are thought to be the answer. If we can hold people accountable to their actions then we will re-establish trust.
I wonder if it is the accelerating the erosion of trust in our church and perhaps beyond.
For instance, if I do not trust the people that work under me to do their work, then I may install software on their computer to block sites and monitor their activity. However, if I trust my employees to tend to their tasks, then monitoring their internet usage could potentially hurt my relationship with my employees. While I may feel better so that I can hold my employees accountable, my employees now no longer trust me to trust them. My employees begin to resent that I no longer trust them and will, in turn, begin to ask how is the boss being held accountable to my work. The employees being to wonder if I the boss am wasting company time and will begin to resent that they are not trusted to do their work and the boss is without any accountability. Is it no wonder that one agency found that over 52% of employees do not trust their boss? (If you have access to The Office episode titled "Email Surveillance" then you can see this situation dramatized in a funny way.)
The cry for accountability, in my experience, seems to be an expression of a lack of trust. And because trust is difficult to gain and easy to lose it makes sense that we would want to find a shortcut to get to the place where we can all trust each other. Accountability measures are being pitched as something of a silver bullet to arrive at Trust. If we can hold one another accountable (i.e. exact punishment and rewards on people with data to back up the decision) then we will build trust faster - I know what you are doing and can see you are trustworthy and you know that you are being held accountable to me and thus you work to prove your trustworthiness.
One of the understandings of the word Faith is trust. I have faith that the driver in the other lane will not veer into my lane - I trust the other driver. Christianity is a religion built on faith as trust. God trusts humans with creation care and humans trust God to provide for creation. Can you begin to see how it can be that if we do not trust our neighbor or employee without feeling like we have to hold them accountable then how could we learn to trust anything else?
It just makes me wonder if accountability and trust are on two different sides of the spectrum. The more trust you have the less desire for accountability and the less trust you have the more desire you have for accountability.
Is the Desire for Accountability Accelerating the Erosion of Faith?