I just had lunch with a guy in our small groups ministry, and we talked about the importance of accountability.  We talked about the fact that we all need to have those people in our lives who know everything about us, and are not afraid to ask us difficult, awkward, yet ultimately Christ-honoring, sin-defeating questions.  We need those people who know all of our junk, yet love us still the same.  They don’t love our junk, but they love the chance to help point out the sinful habits and blind spots that we have, and those things (whether good or bad) that ensnare us.  They’re not satisfied with letting us continue in our sin because they “know that he (Jesus) appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:5-6).  We are sinful creatures, and our sin loses its power when it’s confessed, and brought into the light.

How do you make sure you’re held accountable?  Are you accountable to anyone other than God?  Are you accountable to anyone other than your spouse?

How can you, as a group leader, help those in your group be accountable to each other?

1. Foster an environment of authenticity and vulnerability.  Be real with your struggles, failings, and sinful tendencies.  You’re not perfect, and your group members know that.  When you mess up, confess it!

2. Divide your group based on gender for times of prayer.  I don’t like to air out my dirty laundry in front of another man’s wife, and I’m sure that you feel similarly.  Guys can be more openly honest when it’s just guys in the room.  We understand each other better, know how we think and operate, and often know how to minister to each other and hold each other accountable better than you do.  The same holds true for girls.

3.  If you’re the leader, meet with group members (who share the same gender with you) outside of the normal group meeting.  These times are great for building relationship, and opening up with areas of your lives that are not as easy to bring up in a larger group setting.

4.  Choose curriculum, and ask questions in the group, that cover a wide variety of Scriptures and topics.  You won’t know what areas people in your group struggle with until you ask.

5.  Encourage group members to find somebody that can hold them accountable.  It can be another person in the group, or a believer outside of the group, but it does not have to be you, the leader.  Your role as the leader is to encourage others to put themselves into relationships full of confession, love, and vulnerability.

Accountability, just like spiritual growth, doesn’t just happen.  You have to desire it, and you have to seek it.  Accountability is crucial to your growth in Christlikeness.  How much do you care about your growth?