Your Battle Buddy: The Case for Accountability
By Victor Barousse
Annual Plans are now due. Like a good soldier, you’ve been careful and conscientious. You’ve put a lot of time into seeking God about what your ministry will look like next year, and how much it will cost. You’ve gone the extra mile, and updated your personal / family budget. And you’ve come to the revelation that you simply need to raise more support. Congratulations!
OR, perhaps you haven’t done any of the above yet (I know what some of you are thinking. “Hmmm, I could just change the date on last years plan, and send it in; maybe no one will notice…”), perhaps because you know deep down that it will force you to arrive at the same conclusion: You need to raise more support.
“The One Thing I Learned in Army Boot Camp was…”
One of the big principles drilled into every recruit’s head (by the drill sargeant) is “always stick with your battle buddy”. Following this principle has saved a lot of lives. This month’s Member Care theme is Mutual Care. The necessity of having a Battle Buddy is no less critical on the missions battlefield than on a natural one. Partnership Development is an ideal setting to advance this model of mutual accountability.
We all know that accountability is a good thing - in principle. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). But how hard it is to actually follow through! In partnership development, having a Battle Buddy (or Accountability Partner, or AP – like the military, we love our acronyms at WHQ!), or even an accountability team, is essential. It certainly helps if your AP truly understands the process and the emotions involved and only a fellow missionary can completely empathize. One caution though, sometimes a missionary colleague can be too lenient with you. My AP and I have commiserated more than once together, but it always ends in prayer and encouragement, and sometimes loving reproof.
You Need a System to Follow
Every support raising ‘system’ strongly recommends some level of accountability. Have a solid weekly accountability partner/plan in place. That’s big #2 on the 14 Point Checklist in The God Ask (page 274). It’s important to find someone with whom you can be completely honest and transparent, and this someone has to be willing to hold your feet to the fire when needed. Some days, he or she will need to really commend you for a job well done; other days, it may be to pick you up off the floor, brush you off and send you out with an encouraging “You can do this!” Sometimes only a kick in the backside will do.
Some key elements:
1. You need to prepare a solid plan, and then submit that plan to your accountability partner.
2. You must have a set, consistent, weekly time to meet. Face to face - eye to eye – is best, but phone or Skype will do in a pinch.
3. Get in the habit of sending your Weekly Accountability Report every week, in advance of your meeting with your partner. This is a log of your goals, and all your activities towards reaching these goals.
A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool (Proverbs 17:10). You are a person of discernment; so don’t wait to seek out your accountability partner(s). You will reap huge dividends in return. And it might even save your life.