In my experience, only a small percentage of adults maintains a high level of spiritual discipline on their own. And the number of adults who drop out of church and yet are highly disciplined would be near zero. We need connection with the body of Christ. Our Lord himself said, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6-7, NIV).
When an individual removes himself/herself from the body of Christ, they no longer remain in Him. I believe Sunday School and small groups serve a vital role in assimilating and in developing discipline and disciples. The group often serves as a more personal expression of the body of Christ than large-group worship.
Classes are often confused about this role. It amazes me how many teachers and classes talk about wanting to go deeper in studying God’s Word while at the same avoiding any discussion about accountability. They often argue that accountability is best left between the individual and God. When they do so, they fail to see the benefit of the class as an encourager, challenger, and supporter of spiritual growth, application, and obedience.
Here are a few questions about simple adult class accountability actions:
- What if the leader asked the group to pair off each week to ask each other how they are doing spiritually? How are they growing? How are they struggling? How can they encourage and pray for one another then and through the week?
- What if the above questions were given on a card that attenders were asked to complete which would be reviewed by an Encourager who would respond through the week?
- What if the leader asked at the beginning of every session how attenders had done at applying last week’s truth–and expected responses?
- What if care group leaders also became concerned about the spiritual progress of group members?
- What if women and men were divided in the class into accountability groups?
- What if those involved in the group were encouraged to meet with a prayer partner twice a month at a time that was convenient for them to check on personal practices of Bible study, prayer, obedience, and sharing Jesus?
Could this be accomplished in a group that would remain open to new members? I believe a group that took accountability seriously would become attractive to others. Current participants would realize they are making spiritual progress and would be excited and would tell others about the group. Current participants would be more likely to be living lives that reflect our Lord and Savior and would be more attractive to the world.
What do you think? Is accountability really possible in Sunday School and small groups? Have you used another method to practice accountability? How could one or more of these actions help your group to grow as disciples? Press the comments button below to share your thoughts. Pray. Encourage. Check on progress. Be revolutionary!