Friday night I taught the small group leaders of our church about accountability partnerships.
Accountability partnerships typically go stale inside a year when the persons involved don't take responsibility for their own healing, growth, and creating forward momentum. Here are a few principles to be the kind of accountability partner others want to meet with... but with you in mind, not how you respond to the other person...
• Confessing sin is the "what." To be a good accountability partner, you should then share the "why" behind the sinful action to get to the root of the problem. Just sharing the "what" may make you feel like you unloaded a pile of guilt, but your partner needs to know and see that you are working on the root issue and seeking deep healing.
... confessing sin week after week gets old for your partner and it means you are stuck! Go deeper. Get to the root of the issue and find freedom. Freedom is good for you and it makes your accountability partner want to dig deeper as well.
• Discuss important things you need or want to get done in life, ministry, work, for your family, and around the house. Just like the first point, the important thing to get done is the "what." Go further by sharing your step by step action plan for accomplishment with times or calendar dates. In other words, become accountable to get the project done by next wednesday at noon by working on it on Monday morning until it's done as a main priority.
... sharing how you don't get things accomplished gets old for your partner and means you are stuck! Sound familiar? Share the particulars of how you plan to get that thing done and invite your partner to call you on it if he or she doesn't receive a phone call with a praise report!
• If the Lord gives you a word of knowledge for your partner, share it with them. But don't confuse this with man-made advice given when it was not requested. My accountability partner does a great job of asking me questions to bring me to the same advice he might give. This way, it was my idea and I am to blame if what I decided to do didn't work.
• Pray hard for your accountability partner between meetings and again when you meet, pray together. Oddly enough, Christians get together for accountability all over the world and don't pray for one another or with one another.
Accountability partnerships are all about taking responsibility for your future actions as well as the past and the present. With a strong focus on your future, you will find yourself too busy being a productive person and believer to become stuck confessing sin week after week. Give it a try, and work on the "why" and the "how" instead of just talking about the "what."