By David Leavell
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
I’m a list maker. I find that I get much more accomplished when I list the things I need to get done each day. I get great joy when I check something off my list. When I don’t get everything finished (which is usually the case), I transfer my unfinished tasks to the next day. It is my simple way to try to stay organized and efficient. It is a self-imposed plan to keep me accountable. The more I work the plan, the more the plan works for me.
I also find that there are times when I need some reinforcement. Self-imposed structure is not enough. I need someone to come alongside me and help me with some project or goal. Diet and exercise fall into this category. My self-will is just not enough. I need an accountability partner to meet me at the gym and make sure I show up and do what I know I need to do.
Doing what I know I need to do is not just for diet and exercise. I need spiritual accountability as well. I need someone to come alongside me and ask me the hard questions. From thoughts to actions, I need someone, who I know loves me and has my best interest in mind, to ask me spiritual questions about my walk with God.
One way I have this need met in my life is to go visiting with my deacon chairman weekly. One on one, we pray together, we share Jesus together, and we find out about each other’s lives at work and with family.
I also get help in a small group setting. I love my staff. We are more than individuals who minister at the same church, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and friends. One thing we do in our weekly staff meeting, before we ever mention the calendar, is go around the table and ask each other accountability questions. You see, if I don’t submit myself to accountability as the pastor, how can I expect it from others? This one practice speaks volumes to those who follow your leadership, both ministerial and volunteer.
What are the questions? While there can be hundreds of potential questions that would be appropriate, we have narrowed them to five. Here they are:
Accountability: “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17.
• Have you read the Bible daily?
• Who have you shared Christ with this week?
• Who is your visitation partner? (We have a weekly outreach program and we use it to contact guests and train growing leaders in our church).
• Have you been praying for the church and the staff this week?
• Did you contact your Life Group (Sunday School) roll last week? All of our ministers teach a Life Group class.
These questions seek to identify areas of spiritual priority. Life can get so hectic that the urgent can supplant the important. We can get so caught up in what has to happen at work tomorrow (or at church on Sunday) that we neglect cultivating our walk with God. This weekly accountability time causes me to reflect and make sure I’m on the right road for the right reasons.
How does this apply to the 3:16 Challenge? My challenge is for EVERY Tennessee Baptist to share John 3:16, once a week, with a lost person, with the intention of leading them to personal faith in Christ. God made us to be dependent upon Christ, His Word, and each other. What if every church committee meeting began by asking these questions? What if deacons’ meetings began with these questions? You see, we need each other for spiritual synergy. We need each other for accountability related to evangelism. Staff question two, who have you shared Christ with this week, speaks volumes. It speaks to your personal activity in God’s harvest field. Are you engaging lost people for the cause of Christ?
Truthfully, we Baptist folk can silo ourselves in at work and at church. Our routines naturally will only include people who are like us if not monitored closely. While that is natural, it is not the life God has called us to as believers in Jesus Christ! By being accountable to others in evangelism, we break free from the silos and experience the joy found in service to Christ and His kingdom. Join me in the 3:16 Challenge! B&R