Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Lately I have been a big proponent of accountability. I believe each of us should have someone or a group of someones that we trust with the intimate details of our lives. This person must be someone who will ask the tough questions and who we are willing to be completely honest with. This is not a person we would ever try to impress or pretend with but someone we are willing to be corrected by if we need correction. Not many of us have such a person and we become a law unto ourselves, going unchecked and never developing properly; never being challenged or corrected. As important as accountability is, we need to go further because we need more than this.
Jesus told us to go and make disciples. He told us to teach them to obey what he commanded. Along with accountability we need teachers. We need to be submitted to men and women of greater maturity, who have the anointing to help us learn and grow in spiritual maturity. It doesn't matter if we are 15 years old or 75, each of us still have a lot to learn. It goes beyond answering for your words and actions. We also need to learn what good actions are and to be taught solid doctrine as a foundation for what we say and do. This often requires being part of the life of someone who is a good modeller of a disciple's life.
We often look at the model of Jesus with his twelve disciples but we don't do anything with it. He spent 3 years teaching them the heart of the Father and how to minister to the nation. He taught them their responsibility to love God and to love all people. He helped strip away their prejudices and he propelled them into a life of service. We look at this and consider it great but we are not willing to submit ourselves in the same way. We allow ourselves to have this "club" mentality toward church attendance so that we belong to something but we are not really invested in the whole "discipleship" idea. We don't stop to consider that these 12 disciples of Jesus gave up everything to be trained and from what I understand of Jesus' instructions throughout the gospels he demands the same attitude from everyone who would follow him.
It is the reason that the apostle Paul explained:
It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
"To prepare", to train the people how to be disciples of Jesus, how to serve him, what the foundational teaching is and then beyond. This is important because just as we are to be discipled we are to disciple others. It is how the Body works and we should always be looking for someone of greater maturity who would be willing to be our "trainer". We can't afford to feel we have arrived and no longer need to push forward or to have the accountability. Being a disciple takes work, effort and a desire to be more. Consider apostle Paul's attitude:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
You should read more from this chapter as Paul writes about our maturity and taking a mature view of this matter. We have to stop being satisfied with the little bit we have learned and the little bit that we do and realize that we are meant for so much more. We have an entire world around us that we can impact for Jesus but we need to be equipped; we need to be submitted to someone of greater maturity who would be willing to train us. In turn, you must be open to being a trainer of someone of less maturity, someone you are willing to take under your wing, to become part of your life. This means you cannot remain at a distance; you must be willing to get up close and personal. We were not designed to be an "island" and an "island" mentality will not cut it as a member of the Body of Christ.
My only caution is this: do not try to disciple anyone if you are not being discipled yourself. If you do not understand authority, accountability, the need for a trainer in your life, then you are unfit to qualify as a trainer of others. Check your own heart and be willing to humble yourself so that you can be used by God to bring the Good News to the lost souls of this world, but do it with guidance. Jesus appointed the trainers so submit yourself, trust Jesus and begin to grow in greater maturity so that you can be better used by God. And one last thing, the Sunday preaching is not discipleship. It is anointed preaching that provokes us and moves us to greater things but does not demand accountability from us. We need our pastor but we also need someone in our church who will be involved in the details of our life almost every day. A pastor cannot disciple the entire church but hopefully he has discipled people who can now disciple you. Find these people and ask them to train you. The sooner the better.