Justin Taylor has highlighted some great thoughts from R.C. Sproul Jr. on accountability groups and the fact that people routinely ask if he is in a such a group. He responds that what they think a different gorup would offer is handled by his friends.
“Now I have nothing against accountability, nor accountability groups. I am positively in favor of grieving, and have nothing against groups built around that theme. What puzzles me on both counts, however, is how we have lost what is natural, and sought to replace it with programs. What does it say about the culture, both inside and outside the church, that callings normally born by friends now are met by something so artificial, so inorganic. These groups strike me as the emotional equivalent of a multivitamin. Sure enough many of us are not getting enough vitamin D or zinc in our diets. But isn’t eating a few more veggies a better way to solve the problem?”
I think we seek the artificial relationship of “accountability” because we don’t want to do the work or be vulnerable in real authentic community. In the ministry I lead we are rolling out a new structure to include fight clubs. We routinely talk about doing life with “fighting friends,” those people willing to fight for and with us – the fight of faith. The traditional accountability groups are not all bad but maybe it is time to focus more on gaining some friends who fit the bill.