A significant part of cell groups is accountability, though that can be a loaded word for most of us. It brings to mind all kinds of connotations – hopes dashed, promises not kept, awkwardness, lack of connection, more failure – so I wanted 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 beat down.
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 Christ has saved us, we walk with our God and one another, confessing our sins as God is just and able to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. And then we get 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 off 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. That’s brotherhood. Resolve to be a reminder to one another of the good that God is doing in our lives.
Reminders are Better Than Rebukes
And as reminders to one another, develop a shared vocabulary for discussing what’s going on in your hearts. This is something we specifically develop together as a national fraternity at our Regional Leadership Trainings.
But here’s a simple way to get started, two questions: “What is God telling you to do?” and “How can we help you walk in obedience to Him?”
A helpful 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 cell group. There are questions in each chapter that you can work through together, learning to practice life-giving accountability.
The core of Christian accountability is a continual conversation with your God and one another. The above resources are helps to 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. Resources and questions can’t change your heart, but they can help us navigate what’s going on in our inner lives.
It takes intentionality to begin going deeper into life-giving accountability. It won’t just happen. It has to be pursued with authenticity and vulnerability… two of the most frightening, freeing concepts you’ll ever encounter.
Freedom to share in your cell group 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.