Accountability groups are made up of two to four individuals of the same gender. Their purpose is to disciple and to be discipled. In a different setting they will be called by different names (Spiritual Guardians, Ministry Partners, Bands [John Wesley accountability groups], Accountability Groups, or Triads) according to their purpose and goals. For the purpose of this article and definition I prefer to call them Triads.
Triads are made up of groups of three, yet because of their mission there may be only two in a Triad or as many as four. One of their missions is to reach out to others. In other words, they not only minister among themselves because true ministry is always reaching out and adding others to their ministry. So if two desire to begin an accountability relationship while they are ministering to each other, they will also seek another to add to their group. Once an individual desires to join them, they then become a group of three, thus a Triad. However, they will continue to minister not only among themselves as a Triad but will continue to reach out to others. Soon they will likely add a fourth person thus becoming a group of four, which is the maximum number for a Triad. Once the four show stability in desiring to continue maturing together and ministering together they will multiply into two groups of two each. Thus the cycle continues to move from two to three to four, repeating itself. The optional size of the group is three. Notice Ecclesiastes 4:12 “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threeforld cord is not quickly broken.” This Scripture points out that temptation is overcome and victory won most easily with a group of three individuals more effectively than even a group of two.
Triads answer the question that Cain asked God in Genesis 4:9 “Am I my brothers keeper?” The answer, of course, is yes; we are responsible for one another. We are to lift up one another, to help each other on our journey towards the Kingdom of God. When Jesus prayed for us as recorded in John 17, His prayer was that we would become one as He and the Father are one. What does that oneness look like? I am not sure but I can imagine that it is much higher, wider, and deeper than my mind can comprehend. Understanding oneness to me is like trying to understand eternity. I can somewhat comprehend that there is life beyond our experience, that one can live for eternity through the power of the living God. But I cannot understand that God has always been, no beginning, which is beyond my comprehension. I must accept it by faith and believe it is so. Oneness is like that in that I have never experienced it to its fullness, and yet Jesus desires that we become so close and responsible for one another that we would even lay down our life for others because we care that much for them and their salvation.
Scripture gives us a small example of what the results of that oneness might look like in Acts the 2nd chapter. In some versions it points out that when the disciples became one, the Holy Spirit was poured out in great power and thousands were converted in one day. That is what I want to see, that is what we are all waiting for, the power of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon all of us, thousands being converted, and Jesus coming soon. Yet that oneness needs to take place first, and that is why I believe Triads are so important because they will bring us to that point as we become one with one another and with Jesus.
Qualifications for one to belong to a TriadThere must be a hungering for a deeper relationship with Jesus. Why would one really wish to belong to such a group if they did not wish to grow spiritually? One would not wish to grow spiritually if one did not have a hungering for a deeper relationship with Jesus. You can see very quickly that a person newly converted to Christianity would want to keep growing in Jesus, and that is one reason we have them team up with what many call Spiritual Guardians. The whole purpose is to grow from a Spiritual Child into a fully Spiritual Mature Christian Adult. After all, Paul points out that there is nothing exciting about remaining as a child Spiritually speaking.
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV
Questions that should be asked for Spiritual Growth and Accountability could include any of the following examples:
- In what ways have you been able to be a witness for Jesus this past week in words, actions, and deeds?
- Share how God has been moving upon your heart this past week?
- How has God’s Spirit been leading you this past week?
- Has there been a struggle, a sin, or a temptation that you need to share that we may pray and work together in supporting you?
- How have you done this past week with your equipping assignment?
- What questions have you come up with concerning the equipping material covered?
“Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV
There must be a willingness and plan to covenant with each other that each will equip (disciple) another as well as be equipped (discipled) by another in order to grow spiritually and in ministry. Plan on meeting together weekly for one hour, sharing, asking questions, praying for one another.
Some examples of equipping:
- Choose a portion of Scripture (two or three chapters of a book in the Bible) to read each day for six days. Each day read the same chapters over. One will find that repeated reading of the same passage opens up more and more to our understanding and what questions to discuss when meeting with the team at the end of the week. At the end of the meeting decide the next section of Scripture to be covered.
- Choose to go through the fundamental teaching of the Scriptures covering one topic each week.
- Choose a book that challenges your growth in Christ. Read a chapter each week and discuss it together when you meet with your partners each week.
- Spend an hour with Jesus each day. Read one of the four gospels and focus on just one story each day. Discover what you can learn about God (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit) in the story. Next discover what the message God wishes for you to receive and what action you need to go forward with. When the Triad meets, share with each other your highlight and or discovery you made.
- Go through the modules and seminars of Growing Adventist Disciples.
There must be a deep desire to reach the lost and those who wish to become deeper committed Christians. Here there must be a strategic plan in reaching friends and neighbors. Each member of the Triad would list three to five individuals that they wish would come to the Lord or perhaps have a greater experience with Jesus. These individuals would be placed on their individual Blessing List or Strategic Prayer Focus. Each day you would pray for God’s Blessings to move upon those you are praying for using the acronym BLESS as shown on the sample sheet. When the Triad meets weekly the team prays for each one on everyone’s list, thus praying for 15 to 20 individuals.
Continue praying for at least 30 days asking for God’s blessings. Come up with ways that those being prayed for could meet the other members of the Tirad. Get involved in activities with each of the interests and build a friendship.
When the interest and timing is right, invite them to become part of the Triad for the purpose of Spiritual Growth, Mentoring, and Personal Evangelism.
“Therefore, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV