Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TLC – Accountability Groups

When a wife holds her husband accountable for “taking out the garbage” it is called nagging. When a friend checks in to see if I have been reading my Bible and spending time in prayer it is called accountability.

Making a commitment to Christ and being a growing disciple is easy—following through is the hard part. Recently, the sign out in front of a local church read, “May your life’s troubles be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.” It is easy to make a New Year’s resolution—following through is the hard part. A commitment to follow Christ and being a growing disciple is SIGNIFICANTLY different than a New Year’s resolution. The commitment is to our God! The commitment is to our Savior!

Accountability is something that we need and something that we dislike (fear). No one likes to fail; yet, we all fail at times. I like to keep my failures as quiet as possible (vanity?). I have a sneaking hunch that other people are just like me in this area. Honest accountability means that we open ourselves to examination by other people. They will see our successes (we like that); they will see our failures (we don’t like that). Fear!

We need accountability in our Christian walk! We need a small group of folks who will provide support, encouragement, praise, hugs, tears and a “swift kick in the butt” when we need it. We need an accountability group.

This year at Evergreen we are encouraging people to form accountability groups to assist them in their spiritual growth commitments. Our requirements for the groups are:

  • No more than three of four persons per group;
  • There needs to be at least one person that you do not know well in the group;
  • Everyone in a particular group will be of the same gender;
  • The groups will meet at least once every two weeks;
  • What is said in the groups is confidential.

The members of a group will share their Total Life Commitment (TLC) goals for 2007. The members will pray daily for each other. The members will support and encourage one another. The group members will “be there” for each other 24 hours a day.

At the YMCA there is a staff person/trainer who holds me accountable for my fitness goals. I log each workout in their Fitlinxx system. My trainer regularly checks my workout log and sends me comments. We also have regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings. Most long-time gym members recognize that the gym is crowded in January and February. People join the gym with good intentions. Unfortunately, within a month or two most new members stop going to the gym and working out. They need someone to hold them accountable for striving to reach their goals.

One of the things that I really liked about the New Wineskins “stuff” was their accountably groups for pastors and churches. I have been ordained in the PCUSA for twenty years. In that time I have NEVER had anyone from the Presbytery (Executive/General Presbyter, Committee on Ministry, or any other group) meet with me or the church I was serving. Period! No one has asked me (or the church) what our goals for the coming year are and how we are planning on meeting those goals. Our annual report to denomination has shown large declines in each of the past two years. No one has called to find out what was going on (we have been clearing our rolls and will have one more large drop this year for the same reason). New Wineskins would require small groupings of churches and pastors for accountability purposes. I need it. My church needs it. All of our churches need it.

For 2007 Evergreen Presbyterian Church is encouraging its people to form accountability groups. Will they work? Who knows! But this I do know—the only way to find out is to try.


At 1:03 PM , Blogger Dave Moody said...

THe last three posts have been very helpful. Just common sense whole person stuff. Thanks for the postings. Now, need to go to the gym...


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