Accountability in the Church
Presented by Luke Gilkerson, April 7, 2021
Accountability can often become a buzzword. The problem with buzzwords is they can lose their meaning over time. We cannot tell people how to be accountable or hold someone accountable until we know what it is and how to do it.
Guilt and shame are often used together, but they are different. Guilt is a violation of conscience. Shame is relational–it’s a sense of disgrace among ourselves as we relate to others, which includes God, our spouse, and our community.
In a job setting, if you as an employee disobey, you may be fired. In our relationship with God, when we disobey, we get loved. God disciplines those who He loves. It is for our good that we may share in His holiness.
We need to stay away from two ineffective forms of accountability.
- Shameless accountability: This superficial form of accountability ignores the shame involved in sin.
- Shame-based: This asks the question, “Are we keeping the rules?” This is legalistic and gives no room for grace.
The gospel solves both ineffective forms of accountability.
- Accountability is not calling someone out, but calling someone up to God.
- Godly accountability needs to be Godly in focus.
- Accountability needs to include confrontation.
Question: What about if someone wants to break free, but the environment in their church is not set up to help facilitate this?
Answer: We should all take the spiritual temperature of our church and whether there is grace provided for those struggling. I wouldn’t say to automatically leave a church that doesn’t include grace, but we should all consider whether we are at a local assembly where God wants us to be. I’d consider including those outside our local assembly to hold us accountable in addition to those inside.
Luke Gilkerson is the author of several books for parents and families, including The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. He is also the author of many e-books for Covenant Eyes, including Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability. He and his wife blog at intoxicatedonlife.com.