I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving time (if you are in the U.S.A.) or enjoyed an extended weekend with family and friends. I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my wife, mother-in-law and friends, and Zoom with my family back in CA – it was a wonderful day filled with much gratitude.

In case you missed it, I released a short Thanksgiving Day podcast that you can find at Rocking Chair Devotions.

Over the past several weeks, I have been a little hit and miss with the podcast…and I feel the tension between delivering quality content in a timely way while juggling new life changes.

I have learned over these last few weeks (with the help of [[Team Treehouse]]) that it is okay to cut myself some slack, and give myself ALOT of GRACE.

For some podcasters, they do this full time and earn a living from it…I do not. I am juggling a new wife, new life, new schedule, new home (and its challenges), and a new role within my company – and frankly, it’s exhausting.

One thing that I have aspired to with this podcast is to real…authentic…about the triumphs and the challenges.

This is real life. We all have challenges in our lives, and I am learning (AGAIN) that God never called us to be perfect, He called us to be excellent.

No one is perfect…only Jesus.

I am not perfect, you are not perfect, and we have to give ourselves the grace to walk through life changes and challenges.

The God of the Universe loves us, and every so often we need a reminder of the grace that exists for us if we will grab hold of it.

As we continue in our Focused Life series, we are going to explore accountability.

You might be asking yourself, what does grace and scheduling have to do with accountability?

Everything!

What Is Accountability?

Webster dictionary defines accountability as:

”the quality or state of being accountable especially  : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions”

If the dictionary defines accountability in these terms, do you agree with this definition? How would you define it?

I agree with the definition of Webster; however, I would add the following:

“Giving permission to others to ask, hold, or challenge your commitments.”

I have to admit that accountability is tough. No one likes to ask for help. We all want it or need it, but giving permission to someone to ask you or challenge you on what you got done is tough.

What Does Accountability Look Like?

Over the years, I have had many different types of accountability groups – they come in all shapes and sizes.

Accountability groups can be:

  • Community groups
  • Social groups
  • Friends
  • Spouses
  • Small groups
  • Work groups
  • One-on-one’s
  • Support groups

The list is nearly endless, but a few things must happen inside of a group to make it an accountability group.

1. Permission

An accountability group thrives when you, me and others give permission to others to ask us how we are doing.

This is scary…take it from me…I know.

I have been a part of several church groups as well as community groups that challenge me to dig deep, and look inside myself to see where I can grow.

One group that does this well is A.A. or Alcoholics Anonymous (or any of the “anonymous” affiliates). They provide resources for people to get themselves back on track when they miss the mark.

When they step through the doors of their meeting, it is a judgement free zone. No one is there to point a finger or tell them how bad they did that day, week or month.

What they do; however, is challenge them to keep moving forward, pressing on, and right the ship when they miss it.

2. Trust

Accountability groups require trust. This is a non-negotiable in my mind. By its nature, accountability groups need to dig in to some of the areas of our lives that need exploring.

If a group does not have trust, then your group is just a group.

When we grant trust to the individuals in our circles, we not only grant them permission, but we tell them we believe they will hold this information close to them and not spread it around like gossip.

The fastest way to take down an accountability group is to have one or more members spread all your secrets or requests to anyone they come in contact with.

3. Challenge

Accountability groups or individuals challenge our assumptions, our words, our thoughts, and our actions.

These individuals whom we have given permission and trust to, also have the power to speak into our lives. We invite them into the conversation that is happening in our lives even when that conversation takes place in our heads or journals.

[[Team Treehouse]] serves as my accountability group each week. I have given them permission to speak into my life. I trust them implicitly with the information I share. And I have given them permission to call me out and challenge me to look at different aspects of my life.

Accountability In The Church

Over the past few years, several high profile leaders have left the pastorate for one reason or another. Some have been public moral failures and others have been the result of burnout, and others have tragically taken their lives.

You might be asking…if this could happen to church leaders, what hope is there for me?

Most of the leaders would say they have some form of accountability. Pastors usually are accountable to a board or other leadership team. Business leaders report to other leaders who report to a board of directors.

The Church needs to lead the way in accountability, not fall victim to not living what they preach. I know I am making it sound simple, but it is anything but simple.

Accountability is hard work – you have to put the time in to reap the rewards.

In the church, we have to make sure that we are accountable to our gender groups – men with men, women with women. When we cross the gender accountability group role, we open ourselves up to potential affairs of the heart.

Men need to share different things then women do and vice versa.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have friends of the opposite gender, it just means we do things in the open for the world to see. Friendships are important and that is why we have couple groups.

Couple groups are great, because you can grow together as couples and then split off men and women to discuss the things that challenge us individually.

Board Members

If you are a board member of a church or non-profit, I encourage you to observe the same tenants of accountability that were shared above:

  1. Permission
  2. Trust
  3. Challenge

These tenants can help you grow the leader, inspire them, and encourage them to think through things in their lives.

Billy Graham, an evangelist, was known for his preaching but also for his stance on never being in a room alone with a woman who was not his wife. He never wanted to give the appearance of wrongdoing or inpropriety.

David and Nathan

In the scriptures, King David went from shepherd boy to the anointed King of Israel over many years. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel where God cautioned all of us to not look at the outward appearance of man, but to look at their hearts.

David had a heart after God’s.

Along the way, he killed Goliath, wreaked havoc on his enemies, and made a spectacle of himself after the Ark of the Covenant1 made its way back to Jerusalem.

Along the way, he had several wives and many children, and then one day it happened. You might know where this story is going.

In 2 Samuel 11, King David chose not to go out to war with his men, and found himself on the roof of the palace when someone attracted his gaze. Her name was [[Bathsheba]].

Bathsheba was a knock out according to scripture, and King David sent someone to find out who she was. She was the wife of Uriah.

Well…that wasn’t good enough…he sent for her, and they slept together. Later, she became pregnant.

Whoops…

The king then sent for Uriah so that he “cover up” the matter, but Uriah didn’t bite, and the king resorted to assassination.

After Uriah was pronounced dead, David married Bathsheba. Bathsheba’s baby died after some time, and then she conceived again and Solomon (the future king of Israel) was born.

Some time later, Samuel had passed away, and Nathan was now the prophet of Israel. At this time, the Lord told Nathan to go and speak to David.

Nathan came to David and told him a story.

There once was a man who had a young sheep that he had raised since its birth. One day, a rich man was throwing a party and instead of killing a sheep from his flock, he took this man’s sheep and killed it for the party.

When David heard this, he was outraged.

He told Nathan that this rich man must repay four lambs to this family to cover their loss.

Nathan replied to David.

You are the rich man.

Suddenly, King David understood what Nathan and the Lord were telling him. He had taken the wife of someone else and then killed the man to cover up his sin.

This story is a reminder for us all that God sees us, and sees the good and bad of our lives. He sends people into our lives to challenge us and to grow us.

However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for our actions.

For David, the baby was lost and his family was thrown into chaos for years to come that eventually would put David on the run from his son.

However, God forgave David, not because it was owed him, but because he asked and repented of his sins.

Encouragement and Challenge

I want to encourage you today that God gives second, third, fourth and beyond chances when we ask, and truly repent and want to turn from our sins.

God uses many different types of situations to get our attention, and if we are paying attention, we can chart a new course.

Also, I want to challenge you to seek out accountability in your life. Look in your circle of friends, and ask one or two to help hold you accountable for something in your life.

Make sure you are asking the right people, not everyone needs permission into your deepest, darkest secrets.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for being a God of second, third, and many chances to right our course of life. Please guide us to the people in our lives who can help us grow and challenge us to be better people. Thank you for loving us. Amen!

Resources

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Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 6 – the Ark returns to Israel ↩︎

Say Thanks

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About

Hi, I'm Dave Anthold. I am a small group leader, short-term missionary, and visual storyteller. You can read my story here.

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