This blog is written by a great friend of mine and pastor Jeff Manion. Jeff is the senior teaching pastor at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the author of “The Land Between”. Jeff has been extremely blessed with the talent of communication and a huge heart for people who are struggling. His book is a great resource for people who are dealing with junk what ever it may be and being stuck in the middle of that season. I am very excited to have Jeff writing from time to time for the X3 Church site.
– Brian McGinness
“Being Accountable About Your Accountability”
One of the great blessings of an accountability partner (or group) is that you could be asked periodically about areas of your life where you fall routinely. I find this a deterrent to sin. I may be less likely to fall in an area if I know that I will have to fess up to a group of brothers about what I have done. The simple fact that I will be asked may reshape my behavior when I feel weak, vulnerable, or lonely.
A needed question as the group forms is the question: “For what do you want to be held accountable?
“Do you want me to ask you about your spending, or your devotional practices, or your temper, or about your internet viewing or whether you hooked up with a prostitute? Because life is so big, if I am to hold you accountable, can we please narrow it down? What precisely am I to hold you accountable for”
What are the 2 or 3 questions you want me to ask you routinely?
Amazingly, one of the greatest failures of an accountability group is the activity of holding each other accountable. As our behavior begins to shift, group conversation morphs into business, sports, investments, hunting, golfing, — whatever. And gradually— you’ve attended 3 breakfast meetings with your accountability buddy or group and no one has asked you “The Question.”
What you now have is an accountability meeting with no accountability. The mission has morphed to simply hanging out. Over time this happens.
There is a statement I want you to repeat after me: Please read this quote out loud:
“I am accountable,
to hold my accountability partner accountable,
for holding me accountable.”
If he stops asking “The Question”, then I need to close our meeting time by saying “isn’t there something you are supposed to be asking me”. In a perfect world this wouldn’t be needed. I plead you to see this as your responsibility. You are responsible for holding him accountable for holding you accountable.
One additional note: There are times when you will need to make a cell phone call asking for additional, pointed, straightforward questions. “Dude, I’m headed to a convention in Las Vegas for work this week. I’m tired and discouraged and I know I will be looking for “relief”. I will want to do something cheap and dirty. I need you to interrogate me about where I spent my time. In fact a brief phone conversation every night wouldn’t hurt.”
And if no phone call comes? Guess what
“You are accountable,
to hold your accountability partner accountable,
for holding you accountable.”
You make the call. And repeat your request for a call. In the end, you are responsible for your growth.