I am a fan of small groups for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that we all need accountability in our lives and small groups provide an excellent avenue for that accountability. Here 5 reasons why I believe churches should build accountability into small groups.
1- We still struggle with the flesh.
We all have sins with which we struggle. Temptation comes our way daily. This spiritual battle is real and requires a battle plan. Godly accountability should be part of that battle plan as it helps us live the life to which God has called us.
2- The Bible teaches that accountability should be present in our lives.
Hebrews 10:24 instructs us to “be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.” In Luke 17:3 Jesus tells his disciples to “pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” James 5:16 instructs the believer to “confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another.” Proverbs 27:17 says that “iron sharpens iron.” Many verses such as I Thessalonians 5:11 instruct Christians to edify one another. Edify not only means to encourage but also to exhort.
While the word “accountability” is not specifically mentioned in any of these verses, it is how these verses are accomplished. If we remove accountability from the Christian life, we fail to do what these verses instruct.
3- Accountability is built into God’s created order.
God has built systems of accountability into all aspects of his creation. Each God-ordained institution is built upon systems of accountability. There is to be accountability in the home, in government, and in the church. Small groups provide a great way for accountability to be present in the lives of believers in the context of the church.
4- The church is presented as a place where accountability takes place.
The very existence of church discipline in Scripture shows there is to be accountability in the church. (Matthew 18; I Corinthians 5). There is certain authority to which church members are to submit (Hebrews 13:17). This all points to the church being a place where accountability takes place.
5- Accountability, when responded to correctly, leads to spiritual growth.
Why do the verses mentioned above teach the need for accountability? What is the purpose? The purpose is spiritual maturity. The goal is Christ-likeness. If we respond correctly to loving, godly accountability it will always lead to spiritual growth.
We all need accountability in our lives. While we may not like it, while it may be uncomfortable, and while we may be tempted to run from it, God has designed us to need it. The presence of spiritual accountability fuels spiritual growth.