Easy Accountability, Hard Accountability


Iron sharpens ironIn my 35+ years as a Christian, I’ve heard a lot about accountability. In Evangelical ranks, the most common term of use is accountability partner.

An accountability partner is an individual who works with you to keep you on the straight and narrow. Iron sharpens iron and all that. In concept, it’s a nice idea.

It’s an easy one too. Maybe too easy.

The kind of accountability that an accountability partner provides, though, is that same kind of individualistic thinking about the Faith that seems ingrained in the American Church (see “The Church, Corporate Sin, and Christ as Community Savior“).

But there’s a harder accountability. Way hard. And perhaps because it’s hard, I hear about it as often as I hear about adding a Swahili-language service on Tuesday nights.

I’d like to see some accountability for all the prophecies and words of knowledge/wisdom some dole out that never come to pass. And I’d like to see the people who receive those words stop making excuses for their failures or for the people who pronounced them.

I’d like to see some accountability for all the times we go on and on about how radically “touched” our youth were at the retreat/conference/lock-in/whatever only to have those example youth walk away from the Church the second they graduate high school.

I’d like to see some accountability for the fact that so few of our church discipleship programs are effective enough to raise a church’s leadership from within so a church doesn’t have to scout the country for someone to lead it.

I’d like to see some accountability for the fact that we have thousands of Christian conferences around the country each year, and yet for all that wisdom being trotted out before thousands and millions, the trajectory of the general spiritual status of the populace of the United States continues sharply downward.

I’d like to see some accountability for the reality that most people who are on that downward slope only think about Jesus in negative terms because the people who represent Him are doing such a lackluster job of being excited about what they believe and sharing it in a positive way.

Getting an accountability partner for oneself is cake. Finding an accountability partner for the big “C” Church in America? Seemingly impossible.

I say seemingly because I don’t believe for a second that it really is as impossible as we make it.

As a whole, we Christians CAN do a better job. We CAN stop making excuses for the lacks. We CAN get serious about what we believe.

But we have to WANT to. And wanting to means dealing with the mess of the cleanup. We can’t kid ourselves about the job.

Do we want to improve? Or is taking the easy way all we want to be held accountable for?

2 thoughts on “Easy Accountability, Hard Accountability

  1. ccinnova

    Getting an accountability partner for oneself is cake.

    Not necessarily. Broken trust on more than one occasion has made me very wary. In addition, the term “accountability” is itself loaded. I typically hear it directed at men rather than women, who tend to have “support groups” rather than accountability partners or groups. In other words, men = bad, women = good.

    That having been said, you make some excellent points in your post. I simply wish we cold come up with a different term than “accountability.”

    • ccinnova,

      Perhaps the issue is getting a good accountability partner.

      I’d say that 90% of men’s accountability reduces to staying away from porn and making sure you have a regular quiet time. The other 10% is a mishmash.

      As for women’s accountability, I don’t know. I would guess that some of that is dealing with weight issues and being a Evangelical-approved “submissive” spouse. Ladies, please correct me if I’m off-base.

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