The church in the United States is in love with “influence.” Every year there are magazines covers that celebrate the “Top 100 Most Influential Pastors.” But what does it really mean to be a pastor of influence?

  • Is “influence” based on size of congregation?
  • Book sales?
  • Drawing power at conferences?

I really don’t know, but I am certain it is a combination of all these things that make someone a celebrated man or woman of influence.

In contrast to Influence, I want to consider the word “Accountability.”

Influence is persuading someone to share your viewpoint, but accountability is having the relationship that insures meaningful transformation. To be certain, influence is important, but accountability is even more so.

I strive to be a leader that does not just inform the mind, (influence) but also helps to transform the life of those around me (accountability).

Certainly these two ideas are not exclusive to one another, but deciding which one is your #1 priority will determine the shape of your ministry to the church.

  • If your #1 priority is Influence, you will make decisions that enhance your public profile, and limit the number of people you mentor.
  • If your #1 priority is Accountability, you will limit your “Influence factor” on larger groups of people, and take more time to develop deep and meaningful relationships.

So the question is this, which do you put as your #1 priority? Influence or Accountability?

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Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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