Our church averaged 100 baptisms each year, and I was losing contact with our people. I followed God's leading to begin an accountability group of six to 10 men. We met before work for one hour weekly, over coffee and donuts.
I taught them how to feed their own souls with a pre-assigned Bible study. I didn't preach or teach, primarily. My goal was to listen to what God had taught them during the week. Eventually, one group grew to five early morning groups. Their hunger for God produced a goldmine of excited, spiritual leadership!
We used only a Bible, a concordance, and four easy questions for inductive study:
- “What does it say?” (summary, paraphrase)
- “What does it say that I don't understand?” (problems, questions)
- “What does it say to me?” (personal, specific application)
- “What does it say elsewhere?” (cross references) 1
Our first assignment was just six verses for the week, beginning with Psalm 1. Next we studied Psalm 23 and 15, followed by short chapters like 1 Thessalonians 1 and 1 John 1.
The guys saw the Bible hit life head-on with answers and standards. We became accountable, praying over the phone during the week. From faithful men in these groups, I carefully choose two to mentor for one year more intensively. Our time together involved five areas:
- principles and promises from the Word
- progress and check-up
- problem solving
- practical ministry together
The main ministry was my taking them with me weekly to witness.
I also duplicated some of the study times, mentoring staff each week. Furthermore, I mentored my family more informally. Nothing I've done in pastorates or interims has paid off with greater dividends than these men's accountability groups.
1 Waylon B. Moore, Building Disciples Notebook (Out of print) (Tampa, FL: Missions Unlimited Publishers, 1991), p. 199-200.