I have been working on ways to provide people on our church community some direction as they get together in “spiritual friendships.” (for us, spiritual friendships are intentional relationships that are focused on encouraging and challanging each other as we live the Story of God…

I have traditionally hated the idea of “accountability” because in my experience, i have always dreaded it each meeting because more often than not felt like total crap after each “accountability meeting”. The questions were usually aimed at behavioral issues and are focused on “how i can do better things” rather than how can I a be someone who naturally does better things.

With this in mind, i have put together a list of conversation provoking questions that I hope will encourage and stimulate deeper spiritual friendships. These questions, in my mind, direct us into things much deeper…that is, our hearts.

Well, here they are. Please, I would love it if you would let me know what you think:

? What was your ?high? since our last conversation?
? What was your ?low? since our last conversation?
? How is your heart?
? How has the Enemy been attacking your heart this week? Have you (in dependence on the Holy Spirit) been effective at battling these attacks? (Have you been effective at guarding your heart?)
? How is your rhythm? (i.e. are you finding ?Sabbath? time in your life?)
? How has the Story of God controlled the way you life your life since we last met?
? What does your prayer-life look like?
? What does your time in the Scriptures look like?
? How have you been managing your time commitments (work, job, family, ministry)?
? How have you faithfully been managing the finances God has given you since we last met?
? 3, 2, 1 ? Have you intentionally placing yourself in these relationships?
? Have you been depending on the Holy Spirit in your spiritual journey or have you been doing it yourself?
? How has God?s grace been evidenced in your life this week?
? How can I encourage you towards love and good works?
? Is there anything else on your heart you need to talk about?
? Is there anything you know you need to talk about but just can?t right now that I should ask you about later?

Other thoughts:
– I define ?spiritual friendships? as safe, one-on-one friendships where two people can honestly search, struggle and be encouraged in their spiritual journey.
– I define ?Kingdom Groups? as groups of 3 or 4 people who meet together on a regular basis to encourage each other to live out the mission of Jesus Christ.
– I define a ?Safe? relationship is not only a place where you can share your life without the worry of gossip, but also, and more importantly, it is a place where you don?t fear judgment.

3 responses to “Guiding Spiritual Friendships”

  1. Dan says:

    Those are great questions to ponder, Todd. And I like the idea of “kingdom groups” of close knit friends and the idea of a “safe” relationship where you can feel free to talk about whatever without fear of judgment.

    As I said in an e-mail to you, I have never liked accountability groups/partners. Maybe I don’t fully understand the concept, but the emphasis seems to be on negative behavior. That’s good to a point, but I think spiritual growth is achieved by concentrating on strengths/gifts and in improving our walk with God, not by trying to muscle it out on our own by changing less than desirable behaviors.

    The 3,2,1 relationships. I assume these reflect Jesus’ friendship with James, John and Peter.

  2. Dan, this is what we mean by 3,2,1…

    3 – 3 Meaningful Relationships with other Christians (spiritual friendships, kingdom groups, etc)
    2 – 2 Redemptive Relationships where you are sharing the gospel
    1 – 1 Servant Relationship in which you are simply ?washing feet? (ministry relationships like the Girls Home, soup kitchen, etc.)

  3. Oh, OK. Thanks. Interesting.

    I was thinking along the lines of the hierarchy or our relationships as reflected in Jesus:

    Multitude — People we don’t know.

    Disciples — Dozens of friendly and supportive people with whom we have a nodding acquaintance.

    The Twelve — Friends with whom we are open but perhaps selective in how much we share.

    The three — James, John and Peter. Getting closer.

    The two — John and Peter. Closer.

    The one — Peter. Our best friend.

    Some research I read years and years ago found that Jesus’s relationships reflect what is generally the case for most people. The numbers might be slightly larger to include the women who followed him.