Let me tell you a secret.
I hate accountability groups.
Oh, I know I shouldn’t say that.
I know they’re a valued part of many churches and youth groups, a way to keep wayward teens accountable for their actions.
I know that as a youth pastor, I’m supposed to love them.
But I don’t.
Instead, I despise them because of how unhealthy they usually are.
Consider, for a moment, the set of questions that most accountability groups for teenage boys use:
1) How often have you looked at porn this week?
2) How often have you masturbated?
3) When did you lust after someone this week?
4) Have you gone farther than you should have with your girlfriend?
5) How else have you sinned this week?
How can such questions do anything other than make someone feel like a failure?
How can such questions do anything other than make someone feel guilty or inadequate?
Rather than help students turn their eyes to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, such questions instead turn our attention inward, towards ourselves and our sin. Rather than equip us to do God’s kingdom work in community with others, such questions make us retreat into ourselves, paralyzed by guilt and shame.