Balancing Accountability

Posted by: DVULI | April 29, 2021

DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative

by Gerald Bell (Kansas City 2003)

“You can only juggle so much before you drop something,” quips Amber Booth (Kansas City 2015). In her role as Director of Community Programming at YouthFront, she has come to this realization more than once. So much so, she is often reminded of The Cat in the Hat, which is referenced in the core values presentation on balance at DVULI’s First National Conference (NC1).

Amber admits to keeping several proverbial plates spinning at YouthFront. She is responsible for organizing summer programming, mission trips (both domestic and international), a food packaging program, neighborhood day camps, and a community snack program. Her own list is even longer.

“To this day, I often struggle with taking on too much as different programs, and things like COVID-19, just happen and cause the ministry workload to shift,” she observes. “I am now more aware of what is happening and am able to take a step back and realize [such shifts]. Then, I reassess how to create a better life and ministry balance.”

Stepping back to reassess is something Amber never does in isolation. In fact, she’s come to lean heavily on her system of accountability and allowing select individuals to speak into her life. This practice means facing tough realities but proves beneficial in the end. 

“I don’t just have one source of accountability but a variety,” explains Amber. “I talk to my friend network, which is actually two fellow DVULI alumni. If it’s work-related, I’ll talk it through with a team member or my supervisor. I try to regularly seek advice, bounce ideas off others, and be vulnerable with where I am.” She continues, “Being open to constructive criticism, listening to hard things, and being receptive to change is how accountability works for me.”

With 15 years of service at YouthFront on her resume, the hard conversations with trusted and honest individuals are bearing positive fruit.

“Accountability has led me to make better decisions,” she said. “It has led me to be confident and at peace with the decisions and changes I have made in my life. Ministry life was my life and my identity. It came first when I would make a decision about almost anything, and it was all-consuming, leaving little time for myself.”

While the number of plates spinning under Amber’s leadership hasn’t changed, she has a support staff, interns, and community partners who help share the load. This has led to both freedom and peace that were not her reality before DVULI.

Inside the pages of her breakthrough plan, Amber journals, “I need more accountability…At the start of the DVULI, I did not have anyone keeping me accountable. Accountability partners are so important as they speak truth into your life.”  

This month, Amber celebrates six years as a DVULI graduate. Reflecting upon where she was before entering the DVULI training, she can clearly see breakthrough being achieved in the area of accountability which has led to a place of personal balance.

“Going back and looking through the materials is a great reminder of what I've learned and how it has slowly impacted my life and ministry,” she shares. “Breakthrough and change are a lifelong journey, but I now have the tools to help me to continue to make the journey successful.”