Church Planting Essentials – Personal Accountability Relationships

There are two kinds of accountability – organizational and personal.  Organizational accountability deals with what we do in order to fulfill the expectations of those who hire us and pay us, or what we do to fulfill our obligations to teams to whom we voluntarily relate.  Personal accountability deals with relationships we choose to enter in order to be better in six areas of our lives.  In either case, accountability is a forward looking system that promotes improvement in the organization or individual.
 
In personal accountability there are six areas of relationship that need to be addressed.  These six areas are prioritized.  If we get them out of order, problems arise.  If we neglect any one of the six, problems arise.  The six areas do not require the same amount of time, but each area will from time to time require us to spend extra time on that area in order to stay healthy.  We must choose people to whom we will be accountable in these six areas.  In some relationships I choose to have accountability in all six areas.  In other relationships I may choose to be accountable in some or only one of these six areas.  But, I make sure I have someone to whom I report regularly in each of the six areas.  My wife is my main accountability partner, but I also have several men in my life I relate/report to in all these areas.  I would caution you to be very careful about building deep accountability relationships with persons of the opposite gender. Good accountability relationships require openness, vulnerability, and a level of intimacy that may not be appropriate or healthy in cross-gender situations other than with one’s spouse.
 
The six areas are:

  1.  My relationship to God.
  2.  My relationship to Family.
  3.  My relationship to Community.
  4.  My relationship to those I serve in my Call from God.
  5.  My relationship to those I serve in my Job.
  6.  My relationship to Self in order to stay physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.

Each of these areas requires time on a daily basis, but they do not require equal time, but appropriate time.  For example, most of us have to work 40+ hours a week in order to fulfill our obligations to our jobs.  We probably don’t have to pray 40+ hours a week or exercise 40+ hours a week to fulfill our responsibilities to God or ourselves.  Time is a factor, but it is not the only factor, nor is it the majority factor.  The issue is appropriate time to keep the relationship healthy.  For example, small children need our attention daily.  Teenagers may not need as much attention on a daily basis, but will actually require more overall time as they deal with crisis, character building, and skill set building that lead to being productive adults.
 
I am often asked why I put the accountability relationships in this particular order.  Failure in any one of these causes failure in all of them eventually.  Balance is the issue.  We have to keep all of the relationships in balance.  Even if we focus only on our relationship to God and don’t attend to the other relationships, we have failed in our relationship to God because He commands us in the rest of these relationships.
 
I hope number one is obvious.  If we don’t have a right relationship with God, then nothing else will work.
 
Good relationships in numbers two and three, Family and Community, are required to qualify for number four, Call.  See 1 Timothy 3:1-7.  We all know that if we have problems caused by neglect in our families or with our communities, we will not be able to serve the Lord, fulfill our calls, do our jobs, or stay healthy.
 
Number five, our Job, is addressed in Colossians 3:23-24.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (NIV)  If we don’t take care of our Jobs we are not working for the Lord as we should, we cannot take care of our families as we should, and we will not have the resources to stay healthy.
 
And, if we don’t take care of Ourselves, there is no way to accomplish the other responsibilities of our lives. Loving ourselves is required in order to love others.
 
It requires balance in all these six areas of relationships in order to stay productive and healthy.  We need people in our lives to help us in these six areas.  Following is a suggested planning guide to help us in these six areas.  You are welcome to suggest improvements to this guide.
 
What I am going to do to improve my…
 
(You may want to substitute “How will I serve…” for “What I will do…” in the following questions.  “Special Events” in the following include training/seminars/education.)  

1.  Relationship to God 

  • What will I do daily to build/improve this relationship?  
  • What will I do weekly to build/improve this relationship?
  • What special events will I participate in order to improve this relationship?
  • How will I involve my family and community in this relationship?  

2.  Relationship to Family/Family Members

  • What will I do daily to build/improve my relationships with each family member?  
  • What will I do weekly to build/improve these relationships?
  •  What special events will I participate in order to improve these relationship?
  •  How will I involve other family members in improving our relationships with one another?

3.  Relationship to Church and Community

  • What will I do daily to build/improve these relationships?
  • What will I do weekly to build/improve these relationships?
  • What special events will I participate in order to improve these relationships?
  • How will I involve my family in these relationships?

4.  Relationship to Call/Ministry

  • What will I do daily to fulfill my call from God?
  • What will I do weekly to fulfill my call from God?
  • What special events will I participate in order to improve my fulfillment of my call from God?
  • How will I involve my family in my call?

5.  Relationship to Job/Work

  • What will I do daily to build/improve my job related relationships (boss and those I lead)?
  • What will I do weekly to build/improve these relationships?
  • What special events will I participate in order to improve these relationships?
  • How will I involve my family in these relationships?

 6.  Relationship to Self

  • What will I do daily/weekly to improve/maintain my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health?
  • What will I do daily/weekly to improve my general knowledge?
  • What will I do regularly for recreation and down time?
  • How will I involve my family in these events?

 
I pray that this is helpful to you as you strive to have a balanced and productive life.

 
Blessings!

 
David Watson
Irving, TX

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