When I was nine years old, my pastor gave me his pocketknife as a gift. I still have it to this day, and it makes me smile when I think of his kindness to me. My Dad taught me how to sharpen the knife with a sharpening stone. What makes a knife sharper is the combination of friction, heat, and very close contact.
In Proverbs 27:17, Solomon said, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
When believers form a close relationship for "sharpening" one another, we call this accountability.
God intended for us to share our lives in the context of community. The natural result is spiritual growth. Today, accountability is the missing discipleship component in most Christian's lives. No one is watching out for their soul. They are not open, honest, and vulnerable with anyone.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus only had 12 disciples? Why so few? We know Jesus spoke to thousands of people at a time. It seems as if crowds followed Jesus everywhere He went. Why didn't He have hundreds of disciples or even thousands? Jesus intentionally invested himself in the lives of a few men. He ministered to large crowds but went deep with a small group. This idea goes against our Western philosophy that everything bigger is better. Jesus understood the exponential impact of twelve men on the world. Limited on earth by time, Jesus could not train crowds of people, but He could impact the lives of a few who would then disciple others.
Would it work? Did He get it right? After all, He's starting with an eclectic group of men who were not educated and were not likely to be influential. Would this grand discipleship experiment actually work?