Welcome to church life. You have attended church for some time now and everyone seems to have an accountability partner, right? If you are really serious about killing your sin, shouldn’t you also have one?
Determined, you find someone who agrees to meet you for coffee. The Hallelujah Chorus is playing in the background as you finalize your plans.
As you sip your coffee meeting with the one you hope to become your accountability partner, you ask, “I hate to interrupt, but would you be my accountability partner?” You feel this strong sense of spirituality overcome you by even asking such a question.
He responds with, “I am sorry, I already have one. I hope you understand.”
You finish your conversation after finishing your coffee and you leave disappointed.
Are They Good
Accountability Partners can be both bad and good. The goal of an accountability partner is to point each other to the Gospel, to Jesus. When you sin, they are there to urge you to fight and overcome your struggle through Christ. One of the goals of accountability partners is to challenge you with the truth.
However, typical conversations go like this:
Person 1: How are you doing this week?
Person 2: Pretty good, I just looked at porn twice.
Person 1: Okay, I did it 3 times this week.
Person 2: I’m sorry, make sure to do better this week.
Person 1: Yeah, you too.
Obviously, this is a drawn out example. Yet, this is what I have seen and experienced. What should it look like?
What Accountability Should Look Like
There is not a one size fits all. This will even look different on gender, age, stage of life, etc. Accountability should happen in everyday life. Having two guys meet at a coffee shop typically does not work. It may work for some. As the guys on the Happy Rant Podcast said, it often feels forced. It is not natural.
This may seem like an out of this world idea, but what about just Christians who spend time together? Instead of being forced to sit across from someone over a cup of coffee to confess your sins, spend time as you normally would with your friend (Please don’t say you normally spend time over coffee listening to sins being confessed!).
What this looks like for me personally is hanging out with a close-knit group of guys, maybe playing sports or playing Xbox. As we are going about talking and spending time with one another, one of us may ask or tell each other something we are struggling with.
This happened not too long ago. Two of my friends were over, we were eating outside. My wife took my daughter upstairs (She wanted to give me some guy time). Before one of them left, we all opened up. I shared some struggles I was having and I was blown away with encouragement. What followed in the next few days were texts from my friends regarding what I shared. Most texts were encouraging, yet one was filled with hard truths but it was done in a way that I knew he loved me as a dear brother.
Bringing This Home
What I am getting at is this, accountability partners should just be two or more friends doing what they naturally do when spending time together. A few of my friends genuinely are Proverbs 27:17 to me and I to them (Iron sharpening Iron).
The purpose of accountability is to help each other fight sin (Romans 8:13). We need help in glorifying Jesus (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31). However, it is not near as effective when it is forced or when you meet in a way that is not natural to one or both parties.
So, why not just hang out as you normally do and let your conversations come more naturally?