This past weekend, I met up with a ‘teen-hood’ friend of mine. I haven’t seen Ayo in 12 long years and here he was spending weekend with my family in Germany (life and its many humours!). We had a fantastic time.
As we prepared for church on Sunday, we got into a conversation about church life and ministry. Then I popped a question: “With recent events in Christian circles in America, what do you believe is the problem with ‘men of God’ who have found themselves with cases of divorce, child abuse, homosexuality or infidelity over them?”
He looked at me, paused for a second and said (in his trademark American accent), “You know, there is every possibility none of these guys started off in ministry with the intention to become what they’ve become today. I don’t think any Pastor intentionally thought to himself, ‘I’ll try homosexuality in 10 years’. I think the problem is when you start to build an empire out of a ministry, then you have a problem. It is not enough to build it, you have to maintain it and it comes at a significant cost (spiritual, physical, psychological, financial and moral). These men clearly lacked strong accountability. And truth is they could have actually been accountable to each other, but the issue is ‘what do they really discuss when they meet up… maybe the latest car they’d drive to church on Sunday and not their current need for grace to deal with their weaknesses…”
That discussion had a significant impact on me. Of course I do have my accountability circle. Thank God for my wife; in her words, she reminds me “I am here to put you in the straight and narrow”. And oh yeah, she means it. She keeps my sanity in every sense. I’m accountable to particular individuals in key aspects of my life (career, ministry and family). Best of all, I’m accountable to the Holy Spirit for my overall development and walk with God. But that’s not enough. That conversation taught me something else; it not about having men or women you’re accountable to on paper, but rather what is the depth of that relationship? What do we talk about? What do we share together? What do we pray about?
Our accountability circle has to be more than coffee and McDonald’s lunch break. Let’s be real with the challenges we face and get talking; seeking the needed grace from God for the journey. Talk to the Holy Spirit first, converse with Him. He’s the Boss! And as He leads you, find faithful men and women (at least one and of same gender I must add!) to share some burdens with for support and prayers. Please, make that choice prayerfully.
And as you do, the Lord will strengthen your faith and resolve. Remember, the point is not to put your trust in or depend on them, but to release yourself to the Holy Spirit to be used by them (as a vessel) to reach out to you and vice versa.
Now I commend you to God, who is able to keep you from falling until you meet Him face to face.
Peace be to you!