How to Incorporate Accountability into Your Discipleship Approach

  • 9 August 2017
  • Randy Wollf

two women talking and listeningReggie McNeal has said, "Genuine spirituality lives and flourishes only in cultures and relationships of accountability" [1]. If this is true, and I believe it is, then accountability must be an essential element of our disciple-making strategies.

According to Dr. Dave Currie, accountability is "the volunteer surrender of your life to the regular and frequent scrutiny and encouragement of another person for the purpose of ongoing life transformation that brings glory to God" [2]. 

Currie believes that this kind of accountability helps people get perspective on current problems. It paves the way for support in tough times. It provides a consistent challenge to grow. It helps keep us focused on the future and to take necessary next steps in our personal growth. In the words of Bob Proctor, "Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result." 

Now, it's important to realize that the most effective forms of accountability combine loving graciousness with tenacious and consistent support. Accountability should not be legalistic or brutal. It's meant to provide just enough pressure to initiate and sustain growth at an optimal pace.

So, what does accountability look like? It's simply discussing what's going on in your life. What are your current struggles? What are the possibilities that excite you? It's talking about the emotions that you experience, particularly those that are recurring emotions. Accountability provides an opportunity to explore our primary relationships. It's a place to ask hard questions.

In his book entitled Cultivating a Life for God, Neil Cole shares a number of accountability questions that people can ask each other in what he calls "Life Transformation Groups"—groups of two or three Christians that meet weekly to help each other grow in their relationship with God. Cole includes the following questions from James Bryan Smith and Richard Foster: 

5 Ways that Leaders Can Foster a Growth Mindset in their Churches

  • 27 March 2017
  • Randy Wollf

vine climbing up tree trunk How do we cultivate a church culture where people actually want to grow in their affection for Christ and in their capacity to serve Him more effectively? Without a growth mindset, people will likely be satisfied with a mediocre distortion of biblical Christianity—"a standard churchy spirituality that doesn't require any real action, courage, or sacrifice" (Allan Hirsch).

A deep, disciple-making movement is possible when people grow in their relationship with God, develop godly character, pursue their God-given calling, love others, and hone and use their gifts/abilities in tandem with others (see Seven Dimensions of Christian leadership).

Let me share five ways that leaders can foster a growth mindset in their churches:

1. Share what you're learning

Growing leaders inspire others to grow. I would encourage leaders to humbly share what they’re learning from Scripture, what is helping them from their other reading and watching, and the lessons God is trying to teach them through their mistakes and successes. Be open and transparent about your journey.

2. Facilitate learning experiences

If you’re a ministry leader, you must facilitate learning experiences for your ministry team. Regularly debrief with team members one-on-one and as a team to catch key lessons that will strengthen people and the ministry. Do training activities with your team whether it’s 15 minutes at the start of a meeting or at an annual retreat.

Note: MinistryLift is available to help you with your training needs. Feel free to contact us for live training options or check out our Video Training Resources.

3. Provide appropriate resources that build capacity 

Four Strategies for Growing Your Small Group

  • 9 January 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Small group Bible study
A study on small groups entitled, Small Groups - Big Impact: Connecting People to God and One Another in Thriving Groups (2011) by Jim Egli and Dwight Marable, discovered that groups that see people accept Christ, increase in size, and multiply into additional groups have four things in common. These groups have small group leaders who model and facilitate prayer, outreach, care and the empowerment of group members.


The study found that 83% of groups that had a leader who modelled and facilitated prayer saw someone come to Christ in the past nine months (versus 19% of groups that did not have a praying leader). Praying leaders spend time with God. They actively pray for group members and group meetings. They pray for unsaved people in their lives and in the lives of others within the group. As the leader and others in the group engage in a lifestyle of prayer, people sense God’s presence in the group. Life change happens. People get saved. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of group?


When group leaders and their groups have an outreach focus, they are much more likely to see people come to Christ. The study found that 90% of groups with this kind of focus saw someone come to Christ in the last six months (versus 11% of groups without this outreach emphasis). In the book, Egli and Marable talk about the five I’s of reaching out: 

    • Investment - Members spend time with friends in order to share Christ
    • Invitation – Leaders encourage members to invite others
    • Intention - Outreach is a stated purpose of the group
    • Intercession – Group members pray during their meetings for unsaved friend 
    • Imitation - Leaders model relational outreach

If we want to grow our small groups, outreach needs to be an important part of group life.


A strong caring orientation is another key strategy for growing our small groups. The study showed that 44% of caring groups added at least four new members since starting (versus 18% without this emphasis). Caring groups spend time with one another outside of group meetings. They pray for each other, support each other and have fun together. Group members function like a family.