Key passages: Proverbs 25:12; 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12; Romans 14: 13-23;2 Corinthians 12:19-13:6; Galatians 6: 1-6; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:15-16; Hebrews 3:13
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." -- James 5:15-16
Accountability allows us to be answerable to one another, with the focus on improving our key relationships with people such as our spouse, close friends, colleagues, coworkers, a boss, small group members, or a pastor. Accountability will also enhance our integrity, maturity, character relationships in general, and our growth in Christ. Accountability is sharing, in confidence, our heartfelt Christian sojourn in an atmosphere of trust so we can give an answer for what we do, see where we need help, understand our struggles and where we are weak, and be encouraged to stay on track, seek prayer, care, and support when we fail, and model guideposts for one another to keep us going.
Below are some key Accountability questions you can ask yourself and/or have a mentor ask you. These are designed for small groups and mentoring for those from high school youth to seasoned adults. They are for men's groups, women's groups, and so forth. Because of the number of questions, all you need to do is choose three or four questions for each week. If there is a particular struggle area, add that one, too. Also, incorporate one of the key passages above and spend significant time in prayer:
1. Did you spend significant time with God through His Word, prayer, quiet time, devotions, and other spiritual disciplines? How much; how constant? Is He your driving force?
2. What blocks your growth in Christ? What blocks growth, in your other relationships, from becoming more mature and effectual?
3. How has your time with God been? Did you pray for others? Are you satisfied with the time you spent with our Lord this week? How so? What can you do to improve it? Did you pray for the others in this group?
4. Have you faithfully served the Lord, His people, and the lost?
5. Did you go and participate in church activities and worship this week? How so? Why not?
6. Did you set spiritual goals this week? What were they? Did you achieve your spiritual goals?
7. Have you made your family a priority? What noteworthy activity or deed did you do for your spouse and/or family?
8. How have you struggled with sin? What are the sins that have weighed down your walk with God this week?
9. What did you do to enhance your relationship with your spouse/friends? What can you do to make that relationship better?
10. In what ways has God blessed you this week? How have you shared your blessings?
11. What disappointments did you face? Did they consume your thoughts? What did you do about it? What can you learn?
12. Have you filled the mandates of your call, work and school, practicing excellence, and being the best 100% as you can be for His glory?
13. Have you committed any sexual sin? Did you look at someone lustfully? Have you been alone in a compromising situation? Have you been flirtatious? Have you struggled with pornography or "romance novels?" Have you exposed yourself to any sexually oriented material? Did you put yourself in a situation with a member of the opposite sex that could appear to be compromising, even though it may not have been?
14. Have you shared your faith? In what ways? How can you improve? Have you had an opportunity to share with a non-Christian?
15. How well are you handling your finances right now? Have your financial dealings been questionable?
16. Have you been trustworthy? Have you lied? Stolen? Cheated? Been Dishonest or Manipulative? Have you elevated yourself over another for your own personal agenda? What about your language and attitude?
17. Have you allowed the media and its distortions in TV, music and movies to unduly influence you? What about peer pressure?
18. Have you been prideful? Have you been guilty of Gossip or Anger? Slandered? Shown Indifference? Been Greedy? Not Controlled your tongue? This hinders people from knowing and trusting Christ the most!
19. Have you demonstrated a servant's heart? How so? What have you done for someone else this week?
20. Did you struggle with a disappointment this week? How did you handle it?
21. Have you respected and treated your classmates, co-workers and peers graciously by showing them compassion and the love of God in your words and deeds? What can you do to enhance your relationships here?
22. How is your level of character, according to the comparison of Gal. 5:22-23 versus Gal. 5:19-21?
23. How did you practice joy this week? Have you had a thankful attitude toward God? Have you struggled with anger toward God? How so? What can you do about it?
24. Have you taken care of the temple of the Holy Spirit with rest, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, etc? What about addictions, gluttony, or substance abuse?
25. Has your thoughts been kept pure?
26. Are you giving to the Lord's work with your time, talent, and treasures? What about financially?
27. What do you need to do to improve your relationships with God and with others?
28. What do you see as your number one need or struggle for this next week?
29. Have you compromised your integrity in any way, or lied about the above questions?
30. How can this group help you?
Take it slow and easy. Don't try, or even expect, to immediately delve into the deepest, darkest corners of your life. Begin by having your close friends hold you accountable for things like praying regularly and integrity issues. As you see the benefit and results of this, you will also be building up trust, which is necessary for accountability in more personal and private areas.
If you need further help in this area, seek a qualified and trusted pastor or Christian counselor. Also, seek someone to whom you can be accountable. Do not just trust yourself; have a small group or mentor ask you these questions on a regular basis!
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long" (Psalm 32:3).
If you fall away from these questions, or refuse to have someone hold you to them, then Satan will have a foothold in your life. These questions are not just for the pastor or church leader; they are for all Christians who want to live a life of integrity and significance. The failure to have accountability will produce sin. At that point, it is not a question of if you may fall, but, rather, when you will engage in sin and destroy everything in your life. The relationships and ministry God has given you as well as your family and those around you, for generations to come, will be destroyed. Yes, there can be restitution and restoration, but the cost can never be completely repaid. Just look at King David; his sin had dire consequences with which we still live.
"The highest proof of true friendship is the intimacy that holds nothing back and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets." -- Andrew Murray
The Christian life offers glaring, empirical proof that "all of us make many mistakes," (James 3:2) and we are grateful for the forgiveness offered to us through Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1).
© 1990, 2004, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org