Practicing life-giving accountability
By Jared Musgrove
BYX Board Member
A significant part of cell groups is accountability, though that can be a loaded word for most of you. It brings to mind all kinds of connotations, so I wanted to take a few moments to share some ideas about how you can pursue life-giving accountability in the context of your local chapter’s cell groups.
First, know that mutual accountability doesn’t have to be a beating.
It should be an encouraging time, that is, it should be a time that gives you courage to walk with the LORD more deeply today than you did yesterday. The idea is not a focus on sin but a focus on Christ. That changes the game for Christian accountability.
We are not holier because we feel guiltier. We are holier the more openly we walk with our God and with each other, confessing our sins as God is just and able to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. And then we get a tangible encouragement from those we walk with as they pray over us, speak truth to the lies we too easily believe and are for us in our walk with Christ.
So in seeking, setting up and walking in accountability in cell groups, have Christ as your focus. A fantastic question I’ve been asked by some good brothers as I ramble on and on about my failures is, “Where is Jesus in what you’re telling me?” This is the point of Christian accountability: to get the focus of MY sin, MY failure or MY inability to fix someone. And get all our eyes back on Jesus. We need constant reminders. That’s what Christian accountability is all about. Resolve to be a reminder.
And as reminders to one another, develop a shared vocabulary for discussing what’s going in in your hearts.
A solid book to go through together as a cell group is Tim Chester’s “You Can Change,” a great volume on walking through your junk honestly, redemptively and ultimately with Christ at the center of your community. There are questions in each chapter that you can work through together, learning to practice life-giving accountability. Another good resource is Matt Chandler’s “Recovering Redemption”, which also has an accompanying sermon series online.
There are also some articles you can find online that are helpful, one by Tullian Tchividjian called “Reminders Are More Effective Than Rebukes” and one by Ed Stetzer called “48 Accountability Questions” that simply gives you a framework of questions to pepper into your conversations with one another.
And that is what Christian accountability is all about. It is continual conversation with those who are in your community. The above resources are just to get you guys started and give you a shared vocabulary to begin discussing the deeper things that are going on in your heart. Because the heart of your problem is the problem of your heart.
It takes intentionality to begin going deeper into life-giving accountability. It won’t just happen. It has to be pursued.
And it starts with cultivating honesty and authenticity by your own example. If you are vague and gloss over your fears and failures, others will take your lead. But if you share with appropriate specifics and a heart that is truly moved to be open, to be reminded by other brothers and then to be obedient to what God is saying in His Word, you’ll find your leadership inspires others to share openly the areas they need more of Christ. And that’s when we start seeing holiness pursued with abandon.
Remember it is Christ that we always turn to in Christian accountability. We remind each other to remember the gospel, remember the pleasure it is to walk closely with God and that He will never fail us.