It’s been about six weeks since I moved to a new town and already I’ve had several long-distance friends remind me that I need an accountability partner. One even went so far as to give me a deadline. I love that they love me enough to gently push me. I’m not even joking.
They also knew that I have several friends in this area so finding someone probably wasn’t going to be as difficult as it would have if been I were in a brand new city. I was thrilled to inform all concerned parties this week that I have indeed secured said accountability partner. I know they were relieved they can now move on to more pressing issues.
Here at SingleRoots, we’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of accountability in the life of the single adult. It’s in our eBook, as well as other posts and comments around the site. We even write about the topic for other sites.
We truly think accountability is that important.
In talking with people, a question that keeps getting raised is: What exactly does an accountability group meeting look like? How does it work? Is it the same as Bible study? And the truth is…
Every accountability partnership is different.
They’re built around the needs and personalities of the people involved. Yours might not look like mine, but that doesn’t mean either one of us are doing anything wrong. The point is to have a transparent relationship with another believer who will sharpen us and push us to follow harder after God.
So, you have acquired an accountability partner (or two)? What’s next?
This week, when my friend and I determined that we were a good fit (translation: we would actually have hard conversations and not just coddle each other), we spent some time talking about our expectations and figuring out what our times together would look like. We discussed each of the following areas:
The biggest topic to address is how you’re going to share your struggles with each other. To begin with, my friend and I looked at lists of accountability questions (like these from John Wesley or the Promise Keepers). Maybe you only want to ask each other 3-5 random questions each week or maybe you spend your entire time together working through all of the questions on one of those lists or maybe you craft your own questions to deal with some of your more specific struggles–the possibilities are endless.
Ultimately, asking tough questions is a primary role of an accountability partner, so figuring out how that process will go is a step in the right direction. Like most things, it will probably evolve over the course of time.
Many people choose to forgo a formal Bible study during accountability time because they are involved in one at church already. For those who are not, though, accountability groups can also be a time of digging into the Word together.
Obviously, as an accountability partner, you’re committing to praying for the other person during the week. But it’s also important to pray together when you meet, too. If you’re meeting in a coffee shop or somewhere public, it might be a bit more difficult to find a way to really spend some time in prayer, but you can get creative. Finish up your meeting by moving to one of your cars for prayer, or if a park is nearby, go there. Regardless, confession and prayer go hand-in-hand.
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with…” (James 5:16, MSG)
I’ve been a part of accountability groups that put a big emphasize Scripture memory simply because it is one area where so many of us are weak. If you want to include memorization as part of your meetings, there are great free resources online to help you with the actual memorization process during the week.
For instance, Desiring God has a 5-year series of Fighter Verses. They have iPhone and Android apps, too, that include cool tools like quizzes and lock screens. Forget old school note card memorization. What better place to put memory verses than the one thing we can’t bear to part with?Carrie Beth, one of our SingleRoots guest writers, for sharing She Reads Truth with me earlier this summer. It’s a community of women who are simply committed to feasting on the Bible daily. They have several different Bible reading plans along with daily discussions. If you’re female and considering doing a Bible study with your accountability partner, you might want to consider She Reads Truth.]
If you can’t find Scripture memory wallpapers that are already made for you, then make them each week in Photoshop or get the app Over that allows you to add text to the photos on your phone. (That’s how I made the one at the top of this post.)
Frequency of Meetings
How often you choose to meet is yet another issue that is up to you and your accountability partner. Leaving things loose instead of setting a firm date might work for some people, but for many of us it ends up being this thing we once had good intentions to do but never really followed through. However often you decide to meet, make your time a priority. Keep your commitment to each other.