Accountability Groups

The purpose of an accountability group is to create an environment for encouragement and growth in the faith. This generally involves scripture readings, confession of sin, and prayer for others. At its root, however, it is time for intimate and honest prayer and conversation with an individual who can hold you accountable for areas you want or need to grow in spiritually. Our individual spiritual growth is tied to others in a natural bond (Ephesians 4:11-16).

 

To form an accountability group, find one or two other people (perhaps from your church, community, or small group), preferably of the same gender, who can meet regularly with you for an extended period of time. The purpose of finding a partner of the same gender is so that sins of a more in-depth nature can be honestly and openly communicated without any social barriers, and because it will be more likely that you both will have struggled with or experienced the same things.

If you are branching off from a small group, try getting to know your partner. Here some examples of starter questions appropriate for a college group.

What is their name? Major/minors? What year are they?

Where are they from?

What is their favorite food?

What kind of music do they listen to?

What do they want to do after college?

How did they become involved in the discipleship group?

What are some of the challenges or risks they face with this group?

What do they hope to get out of this group?

What are some struggles they’ve recently dealt with?

What do they need to be held accountable for? (Spending time with God? Drinking/Partying?)

Pray for each other.

 

Here are some questions for following meetings that can help guide your conversation. These come from Neil Cole's 1999 book Cultivating a Life for God: Multiplying Disciples Through Life Transformation Groups.

1. Sin is Confessed

1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate sexual thoughts about another person this week?

3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honoring, understanding, and generous in your important relationships this past week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind his/her back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?

10. Have you been completely honest with me?

 

Another way to ask these is:

1. How has God made His presence known to you this week?

2. What is God teaching you?

3. How are you responding to His prompting?

4. Is there someone you need to share Christ with this next week?

5. Do you have a need to confess any sin?

 

2. Scripture is Planted

Agree to a Bible reading plan. Become consistent in regularly reading the Bible. At the next meeting discuss what was read. Continue reading the same passages until everyone has actually completed the reading. It is not a failure to not complete the reading. Sometimes getting to re-read a section allows for new insights.

 

3. Souls are Strategically Prayed For

Each partner should identify someone they feel God has laid on their heart to pray for and maybe reach out to. Write these names down and every time the Bible is opened, pray for one of those names.

1. I pray, Lord, that You draw ____ to Yourself (John 6:44).

2. I pray that ____ seeks to know You (Acts 17:27).

3. I pray that ____ hears and believes the Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).

4. I ask You to prevent Satan from blinding ____ to the truth (2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26).

5. Holy Spirit, I ask You to convict ____ of his/her sin and reveal his/her need for Christ’s redemption.

6. I ask You to send someone who will share the Gospel with ____ (Matt. 9:37-38).

7. I also ask that You give me (and/or my fellow disciple) the opportunity, the courage, and the right words to share the truth with ____ (Col. 4:3-6; Eph. 6:19-20).

8. Lord, I pray that ____ turns from his/her sin (Acts 17:30-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10).

9. Lord, I pray that ____ would put all of his/her trust in Christ (John 1:12; 5:24).

10. Lord, I pray that ____ will confess Christ as Lord of his/her life, take root and grow in his/her faith, and bear much fruit for Your glory (Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 2:6-7; Luke 8:15).

 

The book summarizes this with these three tasks to be accomplished:

1) Sin is confessed to one another in mutual accountability.

2) Scripture is read repetitively, in context, and in community.

3) Souls are prayed for strategically, specifically, and continuously.

 

To maintain an accountability group, set a regular meeting time with an agenda and hold to regular check-ins. Check-ins can be as simple as sending your partner a text to see how they are doing with everyday life and in their faith, to see if there are prayer needs that need to be addressed before the next meeting, and if they are living up to what they said they would work (the accountability part). You may want to try to meet up over a meal or go on a trip with your partner outside of the accountability group meeting. You will get out of this what you put into it. And of course, WHAT IS SAID IN THE GROUP STAYS IN THE GROUP.

 

Hebrews 10:24- 25:

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”