When I began my pastoral leadership classes several years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the active role the Missionary Church pushed for a coach in my ministry. I wasn’t crazy about the idea: I lived alone in college and worked from home for almost a decade. I was independent, self-motivated, and self-governed. In short, having an accountability partner was a foreign concept to this introvert.
As I’ve grown in my understanding, I now see the wisdom of being accountable to someone. When I look back over the past decade or so of my life, I can see where there would have been times having an accountability partner would have been helpful.
Here are three reasons why we should all have that person we rely on.
As an only child, I didn’t grow up with siblings. My first real experience with brother and sister interactions was when I stayed at my cousin’s — and it was a surprise to say the least. As a parent, I’m amazed at how my kids can be best friends one minute and worst enemies the next.
Honestly, for most of my life I haven’t had that super close trust factor with another person. But, in 2012 our life got rocked hard and I found out just how badly I needed someone who I could depend on. I eventually opened myself up to a co-worker who didn’t judge or try to fix things. They simply listened to what I had to say, and finally I understood what the author meant in Proverbs 18:24:
It’s through this friendship I finally understood what it meant to have a brother. When you don’t feel like you have anyone in your corner, life can seem almost unbearable. But when you have an accountability partner you can trust, you’ve discovered a genuine friendship that, as the Bible says, “sticks closer than a brother.”
The logical progression is once we trust someone, they can give us the specific encouragement we need. There is a difference between seeing an encouraging post on Facebook and having a friend who actively says “I’m in it with you, for better or for worse.”
By the time you read this, I will have started a six-week food modification plan. My wife is doing it with me and my best friend has been charged with keeping me accountable to my goals. Doing it with them is the embodiment of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
In this case, I have two people to keep me going, and I know there are going to be times I fail. But with their encouragement, I know I can make it through.
By now, you might have noticed a theme emerging. With Trust I talked about our mental state, and Encouragement revolved our physical well being. Accountability partners help our spiritual Growth too.
This is probably the hardest for me. As I said, I learned very early how to be self-sufficient. This includes my spiritual life. I tend to pray and read alone. Doing them with my family is an area I need to grow in, because as the spiritual head of the house, simply put it’s my job.
So I told my accountability partner, and have asked him to push me to be a better spiritual leader. Proverbs 27:17 sums up what we’re doing:
As he and I trust each other to hold each other accountable to our spiritual and physical goals, our health improves, our respective marriages strengthen, and our faith grows deeper.
Sin and our Accountability Partner
I’ll admit it: when I started out with this concept of why we need accountability partners, I fully expected to spend most of my time talking about how having one can keep us in check. “How did you mess up this week” is how I envisioned conversations unfolding. It’s true we sometimes need someone to help restore us. However, our ultimate goal with an accountability partner should be to develop a friendship that can have a deeper impact on our entire life.
Take the first step and start a reading plan with your accountability partner. Even if it takes you 365 weeks, learn the truths of God’s Word together.
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