In my sophomore year of Bible college, my dorm section Resident Assistant (older student in charge of the dorm section, which included about 20 guys) asked me if he and I could become accountability partners. I had heard of such a thing, but didn’t really know much about it. The Resident Assistant, Chris, was a senior, and I looked up to him, so I was interested in what this accountability partnership would mean. He explained that it came up in one of his classes, or maybe in a book he was reading, and he wanted to try it. Here’s how it worked: we would each write a list of questions that we wanted the other person to ask us weekly. Then when we would meet, we go through the lists and pray together, seeking to encourage one another to be more faithful disciples of Jesus.
At the time, I was newly seeking to know Jesus better and follow his ways in my life, so I was 100% on board. We each wrote out questions on paper, trying to focus on areas of life that are important to all disciples, as well as areas that were unique areas of struggle for each of us. The list included questions about how we were doing with having consistent Bible study, prayer, and how we were doing academically. We added questions about how we were handling our finances and our dating relationships. We asked each other about lust and pornography, and about media like TV. In other words, we were seeking to live a life of purity, flowing with the Fruits of the Spirit. I think each list had 15-20 questions, and we would ask them to each other one by one every week. The listed concluded with the same final question: Did you lie to me about anything? Then we kept the other person’s list in our Bibles as a bookmark reminder to pray for the other each day.
That kind of deep, relational accountability has been so meaningful and formative in my life. In fact, Chris and I continue to meet for accountability and prayer to this day, nearly 30 years later. We don’t meet every week, and we don’t have lists anymore. Instead, the Q & A is incorporated in our discussion. Chris shares his joys and struggles with me, and I share mine with him. Then we pray, right there in the car, usually in the parking lot of the restaurant. We also text frequently between face-to-face meetings, which are now about once every other month.
As you read that story of Chris and me, how does that sound to you? Do you need that kind of accountability in your life? Do you think maybe you don’t need that? This coming week we continue our study of the prophet Ezekiel, and I will attempt to make the case that we all need accountability in our lives. Check out Ezekiel 3:16-27 ahead of time to see for yourself, then I’ll look forward to discussing it with you on the passage next week.