When you make the decision that you need accountability about an issue, one way to find that accountability is to talk to someone you trust and ask them to help you stay on track. But that can be a weird conversation, and if you aren’t clear about what you need from them you might end up with a friend who just occasionally asks you awkward questions.
There are multiple ways of designing an accountability relationship, but here are some suggestions for how to approach it if you’ve never done this before:
Set a regular time to meet
Don’t let this be a random when-you-think-about-it kind of thing. Set up a date, once a week or once a month, and meet specifically to talk about accountability. It can be a face-to-face, a phone call or a Skype session. The point is to make sure that you are prioritizing it and meeting with purpose.
Ask specific questions
Another temptation is to be really vague when we are talking about sin. “So, how is it going with.. stuff?” might not be a great way to help someone overcome their issue, because it is very easy to say, “oh, it’s good. I’m doing okay.” and leave it.
Instead, agree on specific questions that require more detailed answers.
Know what you need
You might not have an addiction type sin that you need someone to really help you kick a habit. But maybe for you the problem is a tendency to overeat, to yell at your kids, or to avoid intimacy with your husband. Forming an accountability relationship can be great for anything you know you need to change, add or remove from your life.
Just having someone that you know is going to ask you about it and encourage you with prayer and a listening ear can help so much.
When you are looking for an accountability partner it is important to find someone that believes the same things that you do about God and sin, at least in the areas that you are struggling. If you feel a deep sense that your gossip is wrong but your partner doesn’t think it’s a big deal, they aren’t going to be on the same page when they try to help.
You also need to think about if you want a close friend as an accountability partner or if it would be better to have someone a little more removed from your life. Neither answer is right or wrong, but look at pros and cons for each option based on the people you know.
Lastly, you are an accountability PARTNER. Find out if the other half of the partnership also needs some accountability help and return the favor!