What the Heck is an Accountability Partner?
March 17, 2019 | Nate Earl
If you grew up in church, you’ve probably heard countless times the importance of having an accountability partner. But if you’re anything like me, finding a good accountability partner and benefiting from regular meetings can be challenging.
Often, it can feel like there is never the right person to partner with, I mean, relationships are hard enough without having to bring up your deepest secrets and struggles. Even if you do manage to find someone that you can be truly honest with, figuring out how to have conversations that help both of you become more Christ-like is not easy. Yes, these two challenges make it hard to have successful accountability relationships, but despite the difficulty, it is worth pushing through the awkwardness because there is life change on the other side.
Now, if you have never heard of accountability partners or don’t have a clear idea of what this type of relationship looks like, here is an incredibly brief summary. An accountability partner is a friend that you regularly meet with to share about the temptations you are struggling with in order to help win the fight over sin. This comes from the idea in Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
As followers of Christ, we are not meant to follow God in isolation, but rather in an intentional community with others who are also striving for holiness. The idea of an accountability partner is to set up a specific relationship in which you spur each other on towards righteousness.
Here are my 4 tips for finding and having successful accountability relationships:
Tip #1: Don’t put too much pressure on it.
When you ask someone to be your accountability partner it does not mean you are signing up for life. Sometimes the best accountability partners are only there for a season. It is also important to realize that they are not going to fix things immediately, but over time, faithfully checking in with each lead to life change. It is worth noting, sometimes your meetings won’t go very deep, but keep meeting and asking each other the tough questions and you will have success!
Tip #2: Look for a partner, not a mentor or mentee.
When you look for someone to be your accountability partner, look for someone who is in a similar walk of life. Make sure they are the same gender as you and if possible, a similar age. This will help protect you and set you up for success! Accountability relationships are meant to be beneficial to both people, not one-sided. Both people in the relationship should listen to each other and give each other suggestions on how to grow.
Tips #3: Keep your meetings simple.
Start by meeting once every other week. I find that it helps to pick a meeting location and keep it consistent so that there are fewer distractions. Try and share the biggest struggle in life right now, it could be a sin, temptation, situation, or stress that you are facing. Ask your accountability partner how they are doing with the areas they have shared about in previous meetings. Typically, just being honest with someone about the stuff you are dealing with begins to bring freedom. Finally, spend most of your time together focused relationship. You do not need to spend your whole meeting time asking each other tough questions.
Tip #4: It’s not just about porn.
Although this is a super important part of accountability relationships, especially for guys, your topics should go beyond the area of pornography and lust. You should be realistic about this issue if it is a struggle for you, but you should also discuss other issues such as relationships, work, or stressors. If you only discuss the struggle of porn, you might miss out on growing in other areas of life.
Nate Earl is the Director of Weekend Celebrations. He oversees all of the production aspects of our weekend services. Nate is also married to his beautiful wife, Anna, and together they live in South Bend.