A Good Leader Always Takes the Blame

Accepting Responsibility

It is inherent in human nature to blame other people for our problems. All too often, we as pastors wish to blame the maintenance man, the staff member, the deacon, the Sunday school teachers, or others for the failures and difficulties in our church. This human tendency should be avoided.

The Concept

Accept responsibility. No matter what the situation is, take the blame. You are ultimately responsible, you are in charge; God holds you and no other earthly individuals accountable for the church.

Avoid blaming the followers. Do not say “The janitor forgot, the assistant pastor should not have, I didn’t…” Instead, make statements such as, “Folks, I apologize that the heat wasn’t set right. I promise we’ll have it right by tonight.” Or, “I accept responsibility for the behavior of our staff members. If they do well, please feel free to compliment them. If they do poorly, please come to me and I will deal with the situation.”

The Conduct

Accept responsibility for everything:

  • Accept responsibility when a staff member fails to accomplish their task.
  • Accept responsibility when a staff member does wrong.
  • Accept responsibility when the church is struggling.
  • Accept responsibility when the members fail.

I heard of a preacher who conducted the funeral of a lady who had fallen into sin and then committed suicide. He shocked the congregation by standing up and saying, “Well, whose fault is it? Maybe it’s my fault,” he said, and proceeded to show how he might have prayed, preached, and pastored better to avoid these difficulties. He then went down the list of all who might have been responsible, but he started by accepting responsibility himself.

The Consequences

There are three primary results of accepting responsibility:

1. People see you as one accepting responsibility, rather than one casting blame.

2. You feel more able to deal with the problem. If the entire problem is someone else’s fault, then there is “nothing I can do about it.” If instead, I am responsible, then I can correct the areas where I have failed. Since, I am always at least partly responsible, I find it always helpful to take the blame.

3. You are given less blame than you take. It is a strange, but clearly observable phenomenon that the more blame we accept, the less blame we are given. The less blame we accept, the more blame we are given. That is, others do not feel the need to tell you what you ought to be doing since you have already accepted the responsibility.

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