4 minute read

10 Steps to Finding a Great Accountability Partner

Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

When you are using Accountability Software, the most important question to ask is: Who should receive your Accountability Reports?

For some people, the choice of an accountability partner (or an ally as we like to call it) is an obvious one: a parent, a best friend, a spouse. But a lot of people simply don’t know who they should ask.

Here are ten steps to get you started.

1. Understand relational accountability.

Before you can choose a good ally, you have to know what accountability is all about.

Accountability is the ability and willingness to give an account to someone else of your actions and motives.

There are several key aspects of this definition:

  • Ability: This is what Screen Accountability™ gives you. It captures blurred screenshots of how you use your screens and automatically sends a report of any questionable activity to the ally you selected.
  • Willingness: True accountability is not forced. It is chosen.
  • Actions and Motives: Accountability is about being open about what I do and why I do it.

2. Take personal responsibility.

When relational accountability is divorced from personal responsibility, you will be disappointed every time. In the end, it is not an accountability partner’s job to change your life. You must completely own your mistakes, your messes, your weaknesses, your habits, your character.

Many end up looking to accountability partners as scapegoats. “I didn’t meet my goals because my accountability partners fell through.” Wrong. If you are unwilling to own your shortcomings, how can anyone hold you to task on your goals?

3. Take stock of what motivated you to find accountability.

Ask yourself why you signed up for Covenant Eyes in the first place. Were you struggling with porn? Were you venturing into morally “gray areas” online? Were you spending too much time playing online games and neglecting your family? Were you hoping to establish good habits by limiting your time online? Did you choose accountability to serve as a good example to your family or others?

You should be able to state very clearly what your objectives are in very specific words.

4. Formulate two to four questions based on your motivation.

Your ally should know your goals, your weaknesses, and your biggest potential pitfalls.

Get started by writing down two to four questions you want your ally to ask you. Make the questions detailed enough that you can’t answer them with a simple yes or no. This will help you talk about not just your actions but your motives as well.

Here are some examples:

  • “What was the most tempting thing you encountered online since we last spoke?”
  • “Tell me about a choice you made online this week that compromised your desire to be [insert character quality here].”
  • “What on your Accountability Report should draw my attention?”

Having specific questions gives you a place to start and keeps you focused on the goals at hand. Eventually, accountability conversations can evolve from a routine list of questions to richer conversations about transparency, honesty, and character.

5. Find someone trustworthy.

You should choose someone you can trust to keep your Accountability Reports and conversations confidential.

6. Find someone challenging, not condemning.

Pick someone who will be challenging but not condemning. They shouldn’t be timid, but willing to ask you questions. Good accountability partners are not cops who are just looking for you to slip up, or who jump to conclusions about your Report, but more like coaches who are challenging you to live with integrity.

The best accountability partners take their role seriously and responsibly. They are your ally. They want the best for you. They are willing to be accountable for you just as you are willing to be accountable to them.

7. If needed, find more than one person.

One person might not give you all the support you need, so consider asking more than one person to be an ally.

By the way, if you’re married, your spouse should know who your accountability partners are, and your spouse should determine whether he or she wants to receive your reports. It is good to be honest with your wife or husband about your online life. But remember, spouses occasionally can be too close to a sensitive situation to give you constructive feedback. Don’t necessarily lean on your spouse for the same kind of support as you do other allies.

Related: Should my wife be my accountability partner?

8. Customize your Accountability Reports to match your goals.

Talk to your ally about how frequently they should receive your reports and how often you’d like to talk about them.

You should also tell your ally which sensitivity level you’ve chosen for blocking. Will only adult content be blocked? Or are you using the Family level for blocking?

9. Set up times to meet and/or talk.

How often do you want to meet with your partner? What makes sense given your goals? Talk to you partner and suggest a regular day and time to talk.

10. Tell your allies how to challenge you.

Finally—this last step is critical—tell your allies what you expect them to do if something questionable appears on your Report or if you admit to a failure.

Your ally might see something questionable you did, or noticed you were online at a questionable time of day or night. Should they call you? Text you? Talk to you in person?

Setting expectations gives your ally an open door to have conversations with you.

One size does not fit all.

Remember, accountability will look a little different for everybody. What’s important is that you and your ally find what works best for you.

Just like thousands of others, we trust Covenant Eyes will equip you to build an accountability relationship that will impact your life for years to come.

Want to learn more about what it takes to be an effective accountability partner? Read the blogpost “Accountability Partners: How to Leverage Them for Growth.”

  • Comments on: 10 Steps to Finding a Great Accountability Partner
    1. Me on

      I think accountability is a crock of baloney. Why do men call someone a partner when they can just call them “friend”? What good does an accountability partner do when they just keep talking about their problems over and over again? Why can’t the person just go to God’s Word and heed it and be accountable to God? I don’t get the whole accountability movement.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Great question. Accountability, as I see it, is trying to combine a number of Biblical commands into a single concept.
        1. Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
        2. Consider how to motivate one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
        3. Bear one another’s burdens by restoring those caught in sin (Galatians 6:1-2)
        These “one another” commands come together under the umbrella of accountability. Friends meet together with the express purpose of confessing sin, motivating one another to fight sin, and helping to restore each other to a fuller life in Christ.

        You are right: The kind of accountability that expects no change is only going half-way. If it is just a “confession partner,” that is not true accountability. Accountability carries with it both a sense of personal responsibility for one’s sin and a desire to be challenged, equipped, and served by another person to move toward holiness.

      • Mark on

        I’ve found tons of power in real accountability. I struggled with pornography and masturbation for years with only “confession partners” as Luke puts it so well. In the last 9 months though, I started meeting with a group of guys that have been instrumental in helping me find freedom and healing.

        They are so open and honest about their past, their current temptations and failures, and especially their true motivation and desires. While God’s Word provides truth and challenges us to be accountable to it, we all have blind spots and struggles of the flesh that we need other men to call out on and challenge us with.

        We also need to have people to whom we bring our actions and intentions to the light. As my pastor puts it, “If you can’t talk about it, it owns you.” I had an “I only need God” view for a long time and it kept me in darkness, sin and shame, as I could not overcome it under my own will. I had to rely on other men who were also humbly submitting to each other and to God. Some people have the will-power where they feel that on their own they can simply obey and not fall into this sin. I don’t have that, and I know there are thousands out there like me. For us, accountability is vital.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Great statement: “If you can’t talk about it, it owns you.” I’m keeping that statement in my back pocket. Thanks for sharing your testimony about accountability.

      • Mark on

        Oh, and my accountability partners? They are my closest friends.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        As it probably should be. People who choose distant and aloof accountability partners are probably setting themselves up for failure.

      • Jack Gilbert on

        Good question. As per your suggestion, let’s go to God’s word:
        Galatians 6:1-3
        1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
        2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
        3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

        The Christian life is about faith. Faith is about humility. We humble ourselves before God and others, and in humility we help each other, knowing that we too have a sinful nature and must be careful or it will be us caught in sin.

        We are commanded and exhorted over and over to lean on each other, because the gospel’s context is in community. What you are feeling is a frustration at seeing accountability fail. It most often fails because of pride. People don’t want to be caught, the don’t want to be exposed, they want others to do it for them. Honest communication between believers who love and care for each other is the necessary milieu for a successful accountability relationship.

      • Jonathan on

        Prayer is a powerful weapon against the evil one and his Legions. The more people we’re accountable to, the more people we have praying for us in that area of need.

      • Preston on

        Bible says two is better than one if one falls the other can help them up. Its biblical.

    2. Larry Quinnell on

      Good article! Well written!
      In response to the comment above about accountability, it has been my experience that the best accountability happens when it is not “just nagging,” but born out of a true concern for the entagled person’s fall-down. A good accountability partner for me is one who not only wants to know what is going on (because they care about me), but wants to help me in that weak place (iron sharpening iron is not painful for both pieces being sharpened!). An example is if someone is chronically late, a partner would ask, “Can I do something to specifically help you be on time more often (offer a ride, make a phone call, etc.) and step into the area of weakness for that person. A point to remember is that all personal change involves some shame, and some pain, but for the joy one must follow Jesus and”endure the pain, and despise the shame.’
      Thanks again!
      Godspeed!
      Larry Q

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Great thought, Larry. As one pastor I read put it: We shouldn’t just be accountable to one another but accountable for one another.

    3. Scott on

      I’ve discovered after having CE for almost a year now, along with an accountability partner, whom I consider a close friend (besides being my Pastor & he’s my age in our early 30’s), is that it feels kinda like a one way street in that I open myself up and try to be as transparent as possible, confess when convicted by The Lord, I don’t feel engaged by him. I feel even more guilty & a burden. A walking weak willed man with enough baggage to satisfy any psychologist. It’s not his fault. I think he’s unsure how to interact with me & probably struggles with commitments and time to do so. So many other worldly interferences that get in the way of walking closer to Christ. Sigh
      –Walking with self inflicted wounds
      Scott

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        It is sad when I hear stories about this kind of thing. Sadly common. I think a lot of partners either don’t know what to say or approach accountability too timidly.

        I’ve been recommending a new activity for accountability partners recently. I’m asking partners to get together on a weekly basis and watch the videos produced by counselor Brad Hambrick. They are called “False Love” and you can see them on our blog. Here’s what you can do: Get the workbook for the videos (it’s free if you contact Brad’s church), get together with your partner, watch the videos, take notes, and then work through the steps Brad outlines. Very gospel-centered. Very good content. Then talk with your partner about the subject matter. This will educate him on how to talk to you.

        Another possibility for you is to simply get a new partner. Some people only want to opt into passive accountability and there’s little that will change their mind.

      • Scott on

        Luke,

        Thank you for the suggestions. It comforts me to know that this is not unusual simply b/c it reaffirms that I truly am not walking alone, even when I really feel like I have been for a long time. While I don’t believe my pastor/friend/accountability partner chooses to be a passive partner, I cannot say for sure he hasn’t. He is also a man & I’m thankful he’s the most humble person I’ve ever met. With that respect comes a great burden I feel that I might be asking too much of him. His responsibilities as a pastor, husband, & father trump and they should.
        The truth is, however, I haven’t found the strength in me to trust Christ so much to be able to be 100% transparent. I still drive right off the cliff so to speak, pretty consistently, That undoubtedly is a big part of the challenge. We’ve only known each other for 3 years & change. I am not sure he knows me well enough to recognize those frequent times when I am really failing in my resistance to porn to where he sees my disappearance off the ongoing communication grid for what it is. To me, it is a complete feeling of unworthiness of the fellowship that is there. Yeah I not only partake in church activities & whatnot weekly almost, but it is then I wish the congregation was larger than the +or- 200 we have so i could hide easier. I know that is a danger in and of itself & the enemy is essentially making the best of it. I never expected to burn out of trying to keep my walk focused on Christ. Granted, I know I’m essentially a teenager again having received The Lord on 2/04/10. The addict in me truly can see the parallels to any other addiction and their patterns. They’re no different. Just different vice, same result.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        It is important not to hide behind the appearance of accountability. I used to play all kind of games with my accountability partner, basically not divulging the raw truth of what I had done. All I was after was the temporary peace of confessing my fault to someone. Real transparency scared me to death.

        It is great that you can acknowledge that transparency is a need for you.

        I encourage you to come up with some great questions your partner can ask you that help you get to the “real” truth of the matter when you converse.

      • Joe Miller on

        Scott:

        When choosing my accountability partners, I specifically refrained from asking either of my pastors to be one. I had a talk with each during which I confessed my sin with them and outlined my course of action with each, including the use of accountability partners. But I didn’t ask either to be one specifically because of the very nature of their jobs…their plates are full. My thinking was that, by a careful evaluation and selection of who I was going to choose, I would naturally be drawn to someone who was humble, godly, trustworthy, and would love me just as I am (warts and all). The degree of openness I experienced from both of those choices of men blew me away. I found that one had struggled with porn for many years (it was he who recommended the CE program for me) and the other opened up that he too was struggling. It was a win-win for all of us. Our relationships are deep, open, and godly.

    4. Scott on

      I have been struggling with porn since the first year of our marriage. We’re now heading toward divorce due to my obsession with internet pornography. I’ve tried prayer but haven’t given accountability a chance. My desire for freedom fights my desire for porn. I am not able to stop. How can I overcome this? I’ve thought that maybe I don’t honestly want to stop.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Accountability is a critical element. If you can’t talk about something with someone, it owns you. Please look around here and learn more about accountability. See if our software can be a help to you.

    5. Robert on

      Luke:

      I feel compelled to share my story with you. Utlizing CE, I served as an accountability partner to my former church’s youth pastor for about 6 months. At the same time, he was also undergoing counseling for his addiction to internet porn at the seminary where he was a student. In the midst of this effort, the elders of our church asked him to leave due to ongoing problems they’d experienced relative to his performance / attitude. They were oblivious to his addiction to porn.

      He immediately began looking for a new youth ministry position at another church. I strongly recommended he reveal his addiction to his potential future employers out of respect for them and as a means of laying groundwork for honesty within all of his future parochial endeavors. He arrogantly refused claiming that he would only do so if specifically asked about porn use within his life. In other words, he was convinced that doing so would torpedo his future aspirations.

      The straw that broke the camels back for me was when he agreed to accept recommendations from our pastor relative to his future pursuits. It was then that I worked DILIGENTLY to persuade him to go with me to our associate pastor and confess. At the very last minute, he refused. I believe he did this primarily out of fear. So… I went alone.

      Our associate pastor and I had a wonderful chat about the entire situation. He in turn talked to our senior pastor. The following day, they met with my youth pastor friend.

      After that, my friend and I quickly drifted apart despite the fact that we’d both invested heavily in each other.

      I do not regret my actions. I felt compelled to speak up on behalf of the masses. Had this man not been a minister (intent on planting churches), I would have reacted differently.

      Accountability relationships are extremely difficult. I believe only trained individuals should be involved. The CE software reveals too much. People run the risk of getting hurt. In looking back, I believe the best approach is to involve a team of elders sans sentinel software who agree to meet regularly to discuss internet porn use candidly. It’s hard to lie to a group that you respect, especially if the group is older and wiser. If such a group isn’t available, I believe pulling the plug on home / smartphone internet is the best approach.

      When CE was implemented on my youth pastor friend’s devices (laptop / desktop / smartphone), we both sat down and looked for training on how best to be use this tool. We found nothing available on CE’s website at that time. There should have been along with a serious warning regarding the potential consequences of sharing all of this data with another individual.

      When you love a brother, you’ll work hard to help them. CE can quickly complicate things. Those are the facts.

      http://thearchitectsgarage.blogspot.com/2012/06/revealing-your-friends-secret.html

      Rob

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi Robert,

        Thanks for sharing your story. It is heartbreaking to hear how secrecy can cause conflicts like this, both vocationally and in friendships.

        Stories like your are among some of the reasons we started this blog more than 5 years ago. (Just curious: how long ago did this event happen?) Accountability software is not just a technological solution to online temptations: it is a relational solution. People were looking for advice on the relational and personal front, so this blog was one way of getting that information out to others.

        Your story also reminds me of an e-book we published a little over 2 years ago called, Internet Pornography: A Ministry Leader’s Handbook. The whole goal of the book was to talk about how pastors can and should confess their pornography problems to others.

        I agree: Covenant Eyes can quickly complicate things…for the same reason that all accountability complicates things. Transparency of this kind has serious implications for people’s lives, especially when someone has a demonstrative struggle with porn.

        Looking around the blog and our website, do you think we’re providing some decent training now?

    6. Robert on

      Luke:

      I was utilizing CE from October 2011 to March 2012.

      If I were to be asked to participate today (let’s assume I’d never used the services prior), I’d like to see a tutorial video embedded or attached to the kickoff email. Within the video, I’d like to see actual users discussing the pitfalls and risks involved in taking on this role. Seeing others citing specific circumstances relative to their consistent use of the system, I believe, would be extremely helpful. Perhaps you have something like this currently available. I’m not talking about counselors discussing porn use or stats or triggers. I’m referring to laypeople…attorneys, contractors, accountants…people with no formal training in counseling on camera.

      I’d strongly recommend taking a random sample group of 50 to 100 participants and having a third party dialogue with them relative to their experience using the tools offered by CE in order to better gain an understanding of how it’s specifically being used, outcomes, complications, unexpected successes / defeats, etc. I believe this would be a fruitful exercise. Perhaps you already do this.

      CE should be working to educate those INTERESTED in using the sentinel software as aggressively as they push participation itself.

      It is very difficult to watch a brother continually fail. People who agree to monitor a porn users world do so from the heart. CE should work hard to present itself as nothing more than a specific path that two (or more) individuals might choose to venture down. Where it may lead is unknown.

      Thanks for publishing my comments.

      Rob

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Nice thoughts, Robert. We recently did an overhaul to our initial communications to our users and partners, so these ideas can fit in nicely.

        As for the pitfalls, we honestly don’t hear too many “horror stories,” per se. But one of our goals this year is to help give quality education about accountability in all its facets, and that would include the tough-to-handle situations. More times than not we are dealing with the opposite problems with accountability partners: they are too passive and absent. It is great that you were proactive and helpful. Many of our users would love to have a partner like you.

    7. Scott on

      Luke & Rob,

      First I need I clarify that the #4 posted comment from Scott is not me. Thankfully, The Lord has strengthened our marriage through this.

      However, after reading the subsequent responses from Rob, I can honestly say as someone who struggles, Rob hit it right on the head. The friend youth pastor was scared of total transparency. More than scared, petrified. What he needs is to feel that he can completely trust someone who he knows completely understands the viciousness of his battle. Unfortunately, the trust was not just compromised, it was broken. The friendship lingered because I think the man wanted it to recover. When it didn’t, he lost faith, deeply wounded & it yes it is very sad. I empathize with both his friend and Rob. The intentions are heartfelt & also necessary. But the important thing to realize is that the guy not only needed a partner, but a friend, who sees past his faults and loves him for who he is and that is very very hard for anyone to see…unless you’ve been in that position. I am now and I am totally scared out of my mind because I think I’ve met that person I need as a friend…not just an accountability partner, but I am pretty sure he has no idea just how scared to really open up, how in my heart I know I need to, I want to, but something like this is too personal too life impacting were I to let him in my heart & head to “just do it”. I need a friend first, not just a layman probationary officer / acquaintance. Granted, I’ve take. A blind leap lately, and met with him, & he’s agreed to be an accountability partner . I just don’t know if he realizes how close to the edge this could go for me just like Rob’s friend. I think the term accountability partner is too…formal. This needs to be approached very similarly like (I’m assuming) any other friend would get a buddy into rehab for an addiction. If you can’t meet him face to face and he be receptive and realize he needs help, true help. All of this is just a waste of time and efforts for a whole lot of pain.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        There was a day and age when “accountability partner” communicated something both intentional and deeply enriching, and unfortunately for many, this is not the case.

        Accountability, as far as I can see it, is the combination of several Biblical “one anothers.” James 5:16 and Hebrews 10:24-25 give us a great picture of this kind of relationship: meeting together, mutual confession of sin, praying together, and sin-fighting encouragement. Combine this with so many of the other “one anothers” of the New Testament, and we get a picture of the kind of friendships we are meant to have in the body of Christ: relationships of love, respect, encouragement, fighting sin together, infusing one another with hope.

        Of course, secrecy is a safe haven for sin to thrive, which is one of the reasons the sinful heart hates the light of exposure (John 3:20). Sin does not die without a fight.

        Personally, I don’t believe anyone should pledge confidentiality with their accountability partners (as in complete, no-exception confidentiality). We already have the biblical commands not to gossip or slander (which is what most accountability partners are concerned about happening). No partner should ever involve other people unnecessarily. But if you have confessed your sin to me and prove to me time and time again that you are not repentant, then I need to follow the words of Jesus in Matthew 18 and intentionally bring others into the conversation. When I pledge confidentiality, I bind my conscience, and in doing such might actually disobey the Lord Jesus in the process.

        The Lord has given us the community of the church to be a means of sanctification in our lives. If I persist in my secret sin, then I would expect my accountability partner to bring my sin before others so that I could be confronted about it. To do otherwise in the name of “confidentiality” or “consent” would be a very unloving thing to do. Why? Because the best thing for me is not the maintaining of my reputation. The best thing for me is holiness. Yes, this needs to be done with wisdom and love. Yes, there are a thousand good logistical questions about how to best do this or who to involve. But we can’t let those pragmatic questions serve as an excuse for us to disobey Christ.

        I just asked one of our regular authors, Rick Thomas, to comment on this confidentiality question. I just published his reply today. The article is called, “Is Confidentiality Christian? – Should you keep a friend’s sin secret?” I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • ranger schneider on

        I need to find a way to get a accountability partner or two.
        Thanks

    8. Scott on

      Luke,
      Your response is not only correct, but very astute to recall when the term accountability partner meant more. I confess that in my struggle, there is apart that harbors the battle of repentance. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have ever said it but I feel like Paul quite often in my struggle. I don’t do what I want and do what I hate. I admit I’m not as seasoned a follower & believer as I need to be. Only time can help me there. It is a fine fine line between scaring a struggling soul off & bearing their burdens with them. The weight of responsibility of a partner must feel…. The gratitude I would feel for the person who is unashamed and fearless in their desire to help me..there aren’t words. Enabling isn’t helping that is true. How do I keep my faith in Christ to keep hope of deliverance? That’s the 64 million dollar question. Thank you for your reply.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        The apostle Peter said that God’s divine power has already granted to us all things we need for true life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3a). This power comes through “the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” that is, this power comes through really knowing God in all his glory (v.3b). As signposts pointing to His glory and excellence, Peter says, “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises” (v.4a). Through faith in these promises we can become “partakers of the divine nature” (v.4b), living as Christ did.

        As I read this, I see that faith comes as we internalize God’s covenant faithfulness. We are meant to read His great covenant oaths and how in history He has time and time again fulfilled them. There is no greater example of God’s faithfulness than the sending of His own Son. As we fortify our hearts with these stories of God’s ruthless loyalty to His people, the gospel promises come to life for us. We know God is for us, not against us. We know God has adopted us and called us sons. We know God is working all things for good for us. We know the One we are destined to be like, and we know that when we see Him in glory, we will become just like Him. Because the verdict of the judgement seat has been announced to us early (we are justified and totally pardoned), we know that forever God will look on us with the same affection and favor that He sees His only Son.

        That’s the 64 million-dollar answer: we must cling to God’s trustworthiness revealed in his promises and his mighty acts of deliverance. That is how we know God will deliver us.

        And just in case we’re not sure of our own faith, Peter tells us what to do about that too (v.5-11).

    9. Scott on

      ..so many times I’ve allowed myself to forget this. Thank You.

      Reply
      • Joe on

        Luke, well said !

      • Chris on

        Does “Scott” still read and check out these blogs? He sounds like someone great to talk to/with.

    10. JB on

      So I am at a place where I have opened up to over 5 “accountability partners” over the years and have been open and honest to them all. They help me during the initial hard times, but it never became a continual thing for them. Now I have a spiritual authority figure in my life and I am open with him, but a meeting with him always feels like a counselling session of what I am doing wrong. There is no mutual accountability. What this has done is put me in a place where I have not opened up to him like I should in fear that I will be judged or counselled again and again. It’s all one sided. Am I expecting to much from those I confide in? What I am doing now is not working.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hi JB,

        These are some good questions. Let me see if I can address some of your problems.

        1. As far as your past accountability relationships have gone, yes, it sounds like those were not as solid as they should have been. This is the first place most accountability relationships break down: partners just stop meeting, stop talking, or it trickles to a drip. This is only solved by a resolve to meet or talk together on a very regular basis despite the circumstances. The best accountability relationships I’ve seen are those that mark calendars, set appointments, and live up to commitments, regardless of whether there is something demonstrable to confess.

        2. As far as your current relationship is going, I know what you’re talking about. I think there are some mentor-types who can do this very well and others who don’t. I meet weekly with an elder at my church and it is wonderful. While I wouldn’t say we have a “mutual” accountability relationship in the sense that he confesses all his troubles to me, he is also a very open, honest, and humble man who isn’t afraid to tell me about his weaknesses and temptations. That posture helps me to feel safe talking to him.

        What is the fear of “being counseled” for you? In my world, being counseled doesn’t come with a negative stigma—receiving counsel is just part of what it means be under the authority of spiritual leaders, something you do not because you are in trouble but because we all need wisdom. Still, I know when others use that word, it has a more negative tone; as you said, you don’t want to be “judged.” Can you elaborate on your fear some more? What are you afraid will happen if you open up?

        Mutual accountability may not be needed for every accountability relationship. That said, you should be accountable to someone you feel can listen to you and give constructive, grace-filled feedback in a spirit of love and genuine concern. If that’s not the guy you are meeting with, perhaps that is something you can talk with him about. I might open the discussion this way: “Based on my past experiences with others, I am very fearful of opening up and talking about my real problems because I don’t know how others will react. I know I shouldn’t care about what others think of me, but it is an old habit that is dying hard. What I want from you more than anything is the knowledge that you can listen to me and give me feedback in a spirit of love and grace. I’m not saying that because I believe you will be judgmental or harsh with me. I am just confessing my fear to you.” See where the conversation goes from there.

    11. Robbin on

      Luke,

      Great article, really impressed.

      May I ask you?
      I’m looking for an accountability partner to achieve my passive income goal. Could you recommend someone whom I can count on. we both will be helpful to each other.

      Thanks

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        For passive income? Have you ever thought of joining some kind of mastermind group in your area? Other entrepreneurs might be really helpful.

    12. Mavvy on

      I don’t know what “mastermind” means. I tried to look it up but my internet filter blocked it. I am using Lifetick and Goalsontrack. I am down to only 4 self-fulfillments times per week which is a good improvement from three a day. But to get further I wish there was a site where I could find an accountability partner. It has to be private. I don’t want my parents to know.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hi Mavvy – there are some online accountability programs, http://www.bravehearts.org, and others. Would that be helpful for you?

        Chris
        -Covenant Eyes

    13. Torben on

      I agree with most of your points, especially that it is still your own responsibility to work on your goal and not the responsibility of your accountability partner to change your life. I got a bit discouraged, when searching for my own accountability partner, so i set up my own website to help people find their perfect accountability partner. Check out missionmate.com if you like. It’s free!

      Reply
    14. Alfred on

      Hello..
      Pls I want to find out if biblically my accountability partner must be my pastor in the local church I attend..
      What if he is from another ministry.

      I had issues with sexual sins, but there where times where I had to talk to some one other than my pastor who is also a pastor so I can be completely restored and forgiven..
      Is this biblical?

      Sometimes I get afraid of who is the right person to talk to that can help biblically..
      Must it be my local pastor in a church or can it be another pastor who I can trust in the place of full restoration and forgiveness?

      Reply
      • Moriah Dufrin on

        Alfred,

        A pastor can be a great option for an ally (accountability partner). However, we do not believe that a pastor is your sole option. For many of our users, an ally is a best friend, spouse, relative, or other church leader. Did you know that you can actually have multiple allies, if you wish? We encourage users to choose an ally who challenges you to live with integrity, while encouraging conversation about your struggles. You want your ally to be someone who WANTS to hold you accountable – someone who truly cares for you.

        That being said, if that person for you is your pastor, then excellent! But, if you have others in your life whom you believe can hold you truly accountable, do not be afraid to ask them! I do not believe that biblically, this person must only be your pastor.

        I hope this answers your question.
        Blessings,
        Moriah

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