Accountability Groups – an update (1)

Ltg-triangle

Just over a year ago I posted an article on this blog about Accountability Group Questions.

The main purpose of the original post was to summarise some of the lists of accountability questions that have been used over the past few hundred years within a small group discipleship setting, because, at the time, I was investigating lists of questions that could be used to foster accountability within my own discipleship group.

The questions that I decided to use were the Church Multiplication Associates ten questions listed on the Life Transformation Group (LTG) ‘red’ card, which are as follows:

1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?

3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honouring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given in to an addictive behaviour this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?

10. Have you been completely honest with me?

The LTG approach focusses on what is catagorised by Neil Cole as the ‘DNA‘ of the gospel – Divine Truth (D), the repeated reading of 20 to 30 chapters of the Bible on a week-to-week basis in order to hear God speak through scripture, Nurturing Relationships (N), accountability with one or two others in a small group setting and Apostolic Mission (A), prayer for others with the deliberate expectation of sharing the good news of Jesus with them through ‘incarnational’ witness.

I will openly admit that adopting this approach has revolutionised my Christian walk, brought me closer to my Lord on a daily basis, and made me much more conscious of my selfishness and sinful motives and actions.  It is actually quite amazing that it does this – and this is not only my experience but also the experience of a number of other people I know who have subsequently started or joined LTGs as a result of our first group a year ago.

One thing, however, that I want to highlight is how, between us, we have ‘developed’ the questions to fit our own use and purpose.  We haven’t changed them, as such.  This was a deliberate decision, mainly because we knew that we would be tempted to change or remove the more challenging ones.  However, we have developed or more specifially, embellished how we ask the questions in order to make them more wide ranging and all-encompassing.

Most of the people who have joined or started our LTGs, so far, are more mature Christians, or at least have been Christians for a number of years.  As such, the feedback is that although the questions are all relevant, most of them seem to have a negative (or at least neutral) rather than a positive slant ie checking to make sure you haven’t done something bad rather than encouraging you to do something good.  This is fine, and certainly from my own experience the questions have become a constant reminder for me to stop and think before I act, making me much more aware of what I do and how I treat others.  But, as I and others with me have realised, they end up acting as a buffer to stop destructive and sinful behaviour rather than a springboard to enourage constructive and compassionate action.

Therefore, for each of the questions we have added a counter-question to spir us on to perform ‘good deeds’ through active forgiveness, mercy and grace, generosity, and deliberate compassion and encouragement etc.

For instance:

1.  Have you shown a spontaneous and/ or unwarranted kindness to someone this week?

2.  Have you valued female contributions in your life, and deliberately shown love, physical affection and care towards your wife this week?

3.  Have you been generous in your financial dealing this week, and given to others as you have seen need?

4.  Have you spent time with people you love, listened to them and valued their company this week?

5.  Have you gone out of your way to encourage someone this week?

6.  Have you celebrated overcoming addictive behaviour this week?

7.  Have you show grace and mercy to another this week?

8.  Have you blessed someone that you find difficult this week?

9.  What did you learn about Jesus this week?

10.  Is there anything we should pray about this week?

These counter-questions are not to replace the accountability questions but to add to them and encourage us to live out a life of incarnational love as well as mission – and although it’s early days, they do seem to add to the overall positive nature of hte LTG format.

What do you think?  Would you consider using similar counter-questions in your accountability groups?

 

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