Accountability and Relationships in Discipleship

I read a great post by Jim Putman, senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, entitled 3 Key Components of an Effective Discipleship Small Group. There he shares that components of an effective discipleship group are shepherding, teaching, and authenticity and accountability. These components depend upon Jim’s first sentence:

The best vehicle for discipleship is relationship.

All three components fail without good relationships. On the other hand, Sunday School classes and small groups thrive through accountability in relationships. Such relationships encourage and challenge in an environment of trust and care, and as a result leaders and members are open and honest.

Discipleship is so much more than simply a Bible study. When a group gathers for relationships and discipleship, real life change can result, but these two must be practiced intentionally. What are actions which help this to occur?

Accountability Key Actions

For relational discipleship accountability in groups, some key actions can help:

  1. The group discusses and implements a group covenant leading to common expectations.
  2. Group members invest in caring relationships with each other.
  3. The group leader is transparent and honest about his/her own imperfection and open to the group’s help and support.
  4. A group member shares a sin or problem and asks for help, and the group responds.
  5. Group members check on, encourage, and challenge each other during group time and between group meetings.
  6. God’s Word is searched for practical understanding in how to live and respond to sin and life’s problems.

Transparency and accountability are two great reasons for keeping your class or group size under a dozen. Just remember to keep starting groups with this DNA because more people need the benefits of a relational discipleship group. For an additional take on accountability, check out The Leader Is the Lesson. Make disciples!

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