In the previous post, Man Alone-The Need for Accountability Groups, we talked about the gradual decline of “pack mentality” of Christian men today. Again, it is critical Christian men do not continue to go at it alone thinking that is their only option.
In this post we are going to look at some critical characteristics of a christian men’s accountability group.
Trait 1: Confidentiality
This is one of the most critical aspects of the group’s character. If you do not have a group of men who respect confidentiality, you will never move past having the traditional, superficial groups where men continue to wear their masks. It is crucial to a group’s survival and essence that men are able to take off the masks and be open, honest, and real with the other men in the group. Some of the burdens we carry can be not only overwhelming but embarrassing. In the early church, members would openly confess their sin and ask for not only prayers, but accountability. With this in mind, look back at what happened to the early church: EXPLOSION. Bearing your soul to other men allows you not only to release the burden, but also allows you to ask for accountability. You cannot have this without true adherence to confidentiality.
Trait #2:- Confirmation
When one of the members of any sort of group shares something from their soul, they need confirmation. I don’t care how uncomfortable or awkward it is, the worst that could happen for this individual is to hear crickets in the audience. You don’t have to be able relate or empathize with him, simply confirm he said something for starters. I have been part of groups where I have shared something to the welcoming sound of crickets in the room and I can tell you, it took me a while before I shared anything else. This scar not only affected the group I was in, but other groups I participated in going forward. This does not spark growth. Confirmation of someone taking the leap to throw themselves out there is key for continued growth within the accountability group.
Trait #3- Consistency
If you decide to join one of the accountability groups in your church or area, be sure it is one which meets consistently and frequently. Remember, the lion goes after the ones not close to the herd. As a pack, we have to stick closely to our fellow warriors and can only do this if the group we are involved in meets consistently. Sure, there will be times around holidays when meeting can be almost impossible, but don’t forget most everyone has a phone or email. Sending a text message of encouragement can be all someone needs to get through the mini battle they are facing at the moment. In addition to consistent meetings, there should always be consistent conversations/encouragement/relationship among the members.
Trait #4 – Code Words
Let’s face it, no one would feel comfortable with their accountability partner coming up to them and in the midst of the conversation ask, “So how’s your struggle with pornography going this week?” Um yeah, just thinking about that kind of a situation sends most men into shut down mode. One group I was a part of had the brilliant idea to come up with code words that only we knew. One of the members in my group had the code word peeps. So I’d occasionally text him and ask, “How’s the peeps doing?” We’d have conversations among a group of people using our commonly used code words and be able to check each other on accountability, without anyone else knowing what was truly going on. One guy’s wife asked him why everyone always asked him about his peeps? Of course the guy shrugged it off, and we all got a good laugh about it. Let’s face it, we’re all still five year old boys at heart and who doesn’t relish the idea of using code words as a spy?
In biblical times, to go into covenant, or contract, with someone was pretty serious. Unfortunately, in today’s realm, a lot of that has been diminished. I would encourage you to talk to your group and devise a brief contract or covenant that everyone signs embracing the traits above. This way, everyone is bound and everyone knows the rules of the group. This is the one trait that is optional.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas on what to look for in a group, or if you’re in a group, how to take it to the next level. I encourage you to find a group of guys, open up, pray together and always, always, take care of the peeps in the group!
In the next post, we talk about what you should expect out of an accountability group.
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About the Writer:
Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.
As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses. This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.