This week I have learned of two prominent evangelical leaders who have disqualified themselves as a result of sexual sin. These situations aren't common, but I am alarmed as I look back over the years (and I don't have many years to look back on) and consider all those I know or know of who have taken the bait and shattered their marriages and ministries. The consequences of these downfalls are devastating and far-reaching - I know people who have never returned to church as a result of the behaviour of their leaders.
Of course, sexual sin isn't the only disqualifying sin but it's certainly one of the more obvious to spot and one that breaks many. The significance of this issue is only reinforced as I see that review of accountability software is the #1 or #2 most viewed article most days here on Communicate Jesus.
Accountability is important, and it's encouraging (as the statistics above reveal) that it's something many people are actively pursuing. For accountability to work though, there must be direct asking (not "how are you going?") and honest answering. As the asker, you cannot ensure the answers you receive will be truthful - the heart is deceitful above all things and it is possible to dodge questions you don't want to answer. But one question that is very difficult to dodge is this:
"What are you hoping I won't ask you today?"
It is an important responsibility to help keep a brother or sister accountable. Make sure you ask good questions. I've also appreciated this pastoral accountability form from Bethlehem Baptist Church.