Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Okay, so having been a student at Columbia Bible College and having worked with college students attending Indiana University, I’ve decided I’m against accountability groups; at least accountability groups as they are usually set up on college campuses.
The traditional evangelical accountability group looks something like this. Five young men get together in a dorm room once a week and run through a list of besetting sins that they once again fell victim to in the past week. Those sitting around the circle nod their heads in an understanding way and soak in the aura of victimhood.
As the semester passes, those who were not victims of certain sins that have been confessed weekly begin to find themselves stumbling in areas they never thought possible before. Not only have they not helped their brothers avoid sin; they realize they are being corrupted by misplaced confessions.
But confession is essential and we are to meet often, so what should we do? I recommend accountability partners and encouragement groups. Younger men should find an elder in the church, or a godly older man, whom they can confess their sins to and be prayed for by and they should start a group for younger men which does not focus on sin, but on the powerful grace of the gospel.
The elder will likely have fought through most of the issues that the younger man is going through and will be able to rebuke and correct with much wisdom. The elder will know how to pray for the younger man and will have godly council for dealing with sin. The younger man will not come to the meeting with the laxity that he approaches his friends.
On the other hand, when the young men get together, there should be a great deal of stirring one another up to love and good deeds. These groups should be used for those things they are most effective: fanning the flames of faith.
Above: Isaiah (about 5) fanning the flames down on grandpa's farm