Weekly Tips for Small Groups
One day we'll all stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 4:13). Human accountability is simply asking each other the questions on earth that God may eventually ask us in heaven. Accountability, though sometimes painful, is vital to our spiritual growth.
However, men, by our nature, despise accountability even though the testimony of Scripture is clear. Whenever men of God were accountable to likeminded peers, they thrived. When they separated themselves from other brothers or were without peer relations, they fell-morally, spiritually, or both. Think of Saul, Solomon, Demas, and so many others. But above all, think of David.
Here was God's anointed: a man "after God's own heart." He was God's choice as well as the people's choice to be king. He had the heart of a warrior and the sensitivity of a poet. Even the priests recognized that God was with David and encouraged him to do all that "God had put on his heart to do." Was David too good to be true? Absolutely not! David had spent years waging war and building the nation, but all the while, he listened to the priests and obeyed the sacred scrolls he studied.
Then one day he withdrew from it all and took a walk on the roof of his palace. There he saw a beautiful woman bathing in the court below. His emotions were inflamed and he "took her to himself." But it didn't stop there. He then contemplated and in cold blood carried out a plot to murder her husband. Watergate was nothing compared to the cover-up that followed. And it continued until the prophet Nathan confronted him. I'll let you read the rest of the story for yourself in the book of 2 Samuel.
The point I'm making, however, is that nobody is immune. Unless we are exhorting one another on a daily basis, we stand a good chance of being hardened by sin's deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:12-13). We need one another. Accountability to other men is always voluntary. We enter into accountability for our benefit, and our gain will be proportional to our honesty.So, what can we do to maintain accountability? Enter into the following covenants:
1. The Covenant of Affirmation: "I will love you and affirm you no matter what you have said or done. I love you as you are for what Christ wants to make of you."
2. The Covenant of Availability: "Anything I have-time, energy, and resources-are all at your disposal. I give these to the group in a unique way."
3. The Covenant of Regularity: "I will give a regular part of my time to this group when it decides to meet. I will give that time priority on my schedule."
4. The Covenant of Prayer: "I promise to pray for you, to uphold you, and to attempt to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit concerning your needs."
5. The Covenant of Openness: "I will let you know who I am and where I am as a person in my hopes and hurts. I will need you!"
6. The Covenant of Honesty: "I will be honest in my feedback to you in what I sense and feel coming from you."
7. The Covenant of Confidentiality: "What goes on in this group stays here. I will say nothing that may be traced back to my covenant partners."
8. The Covenant of Accountability: "You have the right to expect growth from me so that you may benefit from my gifts as I do yours. You have a right to ask me questions in that regard."
1. Accountability is another way of saying: I trust you have my best interests at heart. True or false?
2. The above covenants between men who have know each other for a while probably will not work for everyone. Why do you think that is?
3. Which of the above covenants do you think is most important and why?
4. Which covenants would you add to the above list?
5. How long do you think that it would take to get to this level of trust?