The more I speak with men about discipleship, the more convinced I am of the importance of personal accountability. Recently I came across these thoughts from Johnny Hunt in his book Demolishing Strongholds, which he has given permission for me to share with you.
Steve told me about a study that “Prof” had done regarding 246 ministers of the gospel who had all fallen morally over a period of two years. All of them had lost their ministries, and many had lost their families. Dr. Hendricks did something bold-he contacted each of the 246 ministers, even if he didn’t know them, and asked if he could interview them. They all agreed, and he conducted his interviews either in written form or over the phone. He then compiled and analyzed the responses he had collected.
While Dr. Hendricks noted a host of issues in these men’s lives, he identified four characteristics in particular that all (or nearly all) 246 had in common. As Steve described the study, I immediately reached for my pen. I didn’t want to miss anything.
The one characteristic identified by Dr. Hendricks that especially took away my breath was the first one he had listed: None of these men were involved in a personal accountability group. Either they didn’t see the need, or they thought they were beyond it. It’s a scary day when a supposed man of God says. “I don’t need to be accountable to anyone about how I live. I’m accountable to the Lord alone.”
The other three characteristics all stemmed off the first one. Dr. Hendricks noted that:
- Each of the men had essentially abandoned a time of daily prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
- More than 80 percent of the men had become sexually involved with the “other woman” after spending significant time with her, often in counseling settings.
- Each of the 246 former ministers had felt certain that this sort of fall “would never happen to me.”
Every now and then someone asks me, “Pastor, how do men make it when they don’t live their lives devotionally?” While that’s a good question, I think I have a better one:
Who said they are making it?
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that it’s easy for one to become overpowered (4:12).
It’s good to have someone who can help you.
In fact, it’s imperative.
Do you have someone like that?
Johnny Hunt has served in ministry for almost 40 years. He has been the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., for more than 25 years. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention 2008-2010. He has authored numerous books, including Demolishing Strongholds: Finding Victory Over the Struggles That Hold You Back, published by Harvest House and available at Lifeway.