What about accountability and covering?

by Ben Taylor on 19/04/2011

 

Do we believe in what the scriptures say about accountability? Yes

Do we believe in the non-scriptural idea of  ‘covering’? No

The scriptures are full of references to accountability and the idea that being a follower of Jesus is essentially worked out in community. Jesus called the disciples to Himself as a group. They followed Him together and worked out their issues and problems with each other. In the New Testament we read about households and families being baptized and saved together. The Church would then grow through this household unit or ‘Oikos’. No where does scripture encourage or affirm people to pursue their discipleship on their own. Indeed even the great commission to go and make disciples is an invitation to community as to be a disciple means to love God and love others. So we whole heartedly believe in scriptural accountability. The idea that we are mutually accountable to one another in the body of Christ and that this is an essential part of being a disciple of Jesus. When people ask the question about accountability what they really mean is whether this way of being Church is OK when there are not leaders standing up the front and where unscriptural hierarchies don’t exist.

We believe that the call to practice more simpler ways of being Church is not a way out. It is not for those wishing to opt-out of community. Most of the people we meet who share a similar heart for God’s Church are not walking this path because they have opted – out. But rather because they have opted – in. You see to be a disciple of Jesus means so much more than going to Church on a Sunday, listening to the Pastor speak for 45 minutes and doing a bible study midweek. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a deep issue that involves sharing your life deeply with others.

We are involved with Simple Church because we believe it is a great way to make disciples – to help people grow in their love for God and their love for others.

So to finish let’s compare two ways of doing things as we think about the issue of accountability and covering.

Scenario 1

John is involved in a simple church with 7 other people. They speak with each other most days as they share a commitment to love one another just as Jesus has loved them. John is working through issues in his life – as are all the members of the Church. They get together at least once a week in someone’s home or even sometimes at a cafe or restaurant. To them it is not so important where they meet but what they do together. When they get together they always bring and share some food. As they all eat together they talk about what is going on in their lives. Sometimes they pray for issues that arise. After the meal they talk about whether they did what God had told them to do last week. Then the group looks at some scriptures together. No-one dominates the conversation with their personal opinion. They ask each other questions and come to a conclusion about the passage as a group. Sometimes the discussion gets quite heated if some people disagree. There are one or two people in the group who ask questions and offer some direction if needed. They are not experts – just people who the group look up to as examples. Then the group share together what God might be saying to them all through the scripture and also what they need to do this week in order to respond to what God is saying. Then they pray for each other and encourage each other in the days ahead. By the end of the night all of the group have been able to share how they are, receive prayer and encouragement, hear and understand the scriptures and also make themselves accountable to each other about how they will obey the scripture. You could sum up the evening by saying that as a group they have all heard, understood and committed to obey the word of God.

Scenario 2

Simon is a member of the local community Church. Mid week he meets with 6/7 people in a homegroup. They are working their way through a book of the bible at the moment and discussing what was shared on Sunday morning. On Sundays Simon goes to the meeting where they spend 40 minutes worshipping, 45 minutes listening to the sermon and then talk to a few people over tea at the end. The Church is made up of lovely people and the Pastor is great. But people have a growing sense that there must be something more. The Pastor is working His way through a “Breakthrough Series” and there have been a few baptisms over the last years. But no-one ever seems to really get on board with the Church and mature. Simon himself has been part of the Church for 10 years now and although He has been involved with some of the youth work on a Friday night – He has that nagging sense that He is stagnating in his own faith.

Scenario 1 is what commonly happens in the life of a simple Church. Scenario 2 is what commonly happens in the life of “Church as we know it”

Jesus asked His Disciples to hear, understand and obey His teachings. They did this in community. There was a clear understanding and agreement about what the Church was and how it would strategically disciple the nations.

Which scenario do you think will lead to discipleship – where people grow in hearing, understanding and obeying God?

Which scenario do you think will lead to people growing and serving one another in love?

Which scenario demonstrates a higher level of scriptural accountability?

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