Accountability Partners in Sunday School

Wednesday 25th August, 2010

Sunday School can impact disciplemaking through its reaching, teaching, and caring. The focus, however, must change from teaching a lesson to making a disciple. Jesus commanded His disciples to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." This post answers question seventeen of a post entitled Questions about Making Disciples Through Sunday School: What might happen if Sunday School classes encouraged accountability partners?

Over the previous sixteen posts, I have dealt with many important disciplemaking issues related to Sunday School. These have included inviting, sharing Jesus, sharing testimonies, fellowships, increasing daily intake of God's Word, learning retention, teaching methods, class size, class arrangement, learner preparation, learner application, increasing session length, expectations, time beyond the session, application reporting, and spiritual disciplines. Wow! That is already some list.

But if we are serious about moving from teaching a lesson to making disciples, these areas all need attention. Another piece of this puzzle is accountability. This was discussed some in Sunday School Attenders Reporting Application of Last Week’s Lesson. But Sunday School class accountability partners takes that post in another direction and can reinforce those efforts. In this context, partners would be two or three class attenders (usually of the same gender) who are committed to pray, care, share, and encourage each other. An absentee, prospect, and/or a lost person might be included--though some contact might be away from class.

What are some possible actions for making disciples from establishing accountability partners? Consider some of these:

  • care for each other and notice when one is missing;
  • pray for each other during class and during the week;
  • contact each other through the week to follow up on the lesson, needs, or prayer concerns;
  • get to know each other and know how best to encourage and pray for each other;
  • can be honest and transparent with each other (even more than in the large group);
  • can challenge each other to keep commitments;
  • practice spiritual disciplines together;
  • challenge each other to keep a daily quiet time;
  • share daily journaling reports;
  • encourage each other to read the Bible through;
  • can help each other apply truth to life settings due to greater knowledge of each other;
  • can ask accountability partners to do group work or prepare specific assignments;
  • can divide the class into accountability groups for discussion and increase involvement of the class (everyone can share in the smaller groups);
  • seek opportunities to apply the truth of the lesson together;
  • can assign partners specific class roles, absentees or prospects to follow up, or tasks;
  • can ask partners to plan learning activities during or between classes to strengthen retention and/or learning application;
  • and many, many more.

How have you used accountability partners in Sunday School? What actions would you suggest be added to the list? Which of these would work best with your class? How could establishing accountability partners help your class take steps toward making disciples? How would you determine who to connect as partners? Would it be random? Would you rotate them after a few months? Pray. Get a leadership group together. Discuss options and pray together. Make some decisions about first steps and a start date. Then do it. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!

For more ideas about accountability, check out these blog posts:

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