Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Blog Post 200! - Accountability groups

I am finishing up a paper and would like a little feedback if any of you readers have a moment.
If you have been in an accountability group or spiritual formation group, what size do you prefer? 2 or 3 or even 4 people?
Have you used specific questions when meeting, like renovare's or some other resource?
Do you meet weekly?
How has/did this experience shape you more into the image of Christ?
What are the landmines?
If you have not been in one is this by choosing or circumstance?

If you do not comment usually, would you mind doing it this time. Or, if you are not registered on blogger, would you mind doing that and just dropping me a comment? Thank you.
I really appreciate this!!!!


Scott said...

I've been in a group for the past 10 years. I think 4 or 5 is a good number. My current group is more about prayer and fellowship than accountability, although I've tried to steer toward accountability and not gotten much response. We used the Emmaus reunion order a few times and also a list I think may have come from Steve Farrar.

Amy said...

I will look forward to these comments, too!

I have been a part of some prayer groups over the years. Each time there were four of us, and we shared a study of some kind. Then we all shared prayer concerns for what was going on in our lives.

The groups were a blessing to us.

Scott said...

I forgot to add--we meet weekly. Biggest benefit to the current group is it helps me stay involved in the communith of believers and keeps me focused on a ministering role. Somewhat ambiguous answer but I can expand if you need.

preacherman said...

I like two.
We talk on the phone regularly.
Holding each other accountable and talking about what we need to do and can do in our ministries. God is so good. It feels so good to have an accountability group. Knowing that someone cares.
Thanks for this wonderful post.

Laurie said...

I would say that I have just kind of started being in one.

There has been 2 of us, and now there is going to be 3.

And pretty much it is based around fellowship....discussing life and concerns, etc.....and prayer together.

We are aiming to do it weekly.

By doing it, I think it strengthens spiritual growth, relationship with each other and with God.

.....Glad I found your blog :)!!!!

la_emi1ia said...

I'm not in a group, by choice... because I have an aversion to structure. The verses that help me are Proverbs 15:1 and 12 and 31, and 17:10, among others. I used to be afraid to speak up when I saw sin, now I know that not speaking up is in itself a sin. Who is brave enough unless God gives it to him?

Arlene Kasselman said...

Comment from Linda

Linda is a non-blogger life long friend and I wanted you all to have a benefit of her perspective. I have copied her email, with permission below.
Hi friend,

As I am not a "blogger" but did want to respond to your request for a reply to your latest blog, I am taking the time to respond via e-mail. It took me a while to find your blog, but I did....

I have been a part of accountability groups in the past and had the honor of starting a few at different congregations. I am in the process of setting one up right now at STC. It has been my experience that the smaller the group (2 - 5) the better the growth of intimacy and trust, both essential to absolute open and honest communication in an accountability group. I try to keep the group at 3 people.

We have an understanding of confidentiality and whatever is said in the group stays with the group. The only exception is, and should be, when a person's soul is in danger because of whatever he/she is involved in, In that instance, we as a group have involved the local elders. Other than that, we make a commitment to keeping our shared conversations to ourselves. That trust is vital, because it frees people to be able to talk openly about the ugliest of sins in their lives without fear of rejection or scorn. Those have been the groups that I have benefited from the most. Those have been the groups where I have felt most rid of my sin and most cleansed afterwards.

The first accountability group I ever was a part of was in good old 52 College Rd, PMB. It was just two of us, your mom and me! I imagine you never knew that...... But she once told me on a day when I was feeling really bad about something that I did not know how to tell my mother about, that I could tell her (your mom) anything and she would always keep it to herself. It took a while for me to really trust her that she would do what she said, but when I finally wised up and sat down and talked to, the release and the sense of peace and calm was beyond understanding. After that, we talked every once in a while, here and there, nothing formal, sometimes it was a stolen few minutes during one of our coffee and tea fellowships after church down in the fellowship hall. Those precious few conversations will be with me forever.

So yes, I am a believer in accountability groups but I do believe they need to be exactly that, a group where the members know they'll be held accountable for every action or word. The land-mine is the sin of gossip. How quickly and easily a conversation can become gossip. Also, a lack of commitment can destroy the group. These groups should not be entered into lightly or be lazily maintained. There needs to be much careful thought given to what the members want and expect from the group, and there needs to be constant and earnest prayer by each member for the group daily.

Hope this helps you some..................

love, Linda

Gena said...

You've been tagged!

preacherman said...

Thanks for your encouraging words.
I hope you have a blessed week!

susan said...

Arlene, I'm not sure if this is what you are talking about, but my BSF leaders circle most certainly holds me accountable, even though it is quite a bit bigger than what you are talking about. Never the less, these ladies are committed on a level that I have never even begun to achieve, they are role-models for me, and....they hold me accountable.

Matt Stead said...

I hope I'm not to late. We moved here a little over three years ago. We started groups a few months later. Our group started as five of us. We meet weekly. We used Renovare material to start, met on our own without material, and now we're back to Renovare material. Our group recently expanded to 8. In my opinion 8 is too many. I'd like to see us break into two smaller groups, but right now the need of the others (they need some mentoring) outweighs my needs. I hope this helps.

Cornelius Crew said...

Hi! Glad to see your comment on my blog. And am glad it led me to yours! To answer your question, I've never been in a group like this. I think it would be wonderful, but circumstnaces have never led me to this.