Commitment. To join you need to commit to six months, to punctuality, to do the homework, to memorize the verses, and to an expense of $20, plus your own coffee. If you are still in after six months, you get your money back. If you opt out or fail at any point, you forfeit your ante and it goes into a pot that pays for a celebration for those who persevered to the end.
If you can’t afford the buy-in, you can ask the group to sponsor you. But if you bow out, they will lose their money.
[You might choose to not do this. I like that it puts skin in the game, and it’s a way to tap into the competitive edge. In my years of doing it, I found that almost everyone makes it to the end and gets their deposit back. I collect the funds in a sealed envelope from each guy and return in it in the same sealed envelope. I tell them if they can’t afford $20, to put whatever they can afford in there, and no one will know unless you forfeit it!]
Conditions. Three strikes and you are out. That means you get two strikes and on the third you are expected to graciously bow out, or you can ante up another $20 for another one strike. This re-buy can only be done once. [I don’t want rich guys buying their way out of accountability. In my experience no one has used this option; if they bow out it is because they realize it’s too much for their schedule at the time.]
A strike is a) if you are more than 5 minutes late, b) if you do not complete an assignment on time, c) if you do not know your memory verse word perfect, d) if you miss a meeting, e) if you lie in accountability time.
If you cannot make a meeting, you can take a strike or ask the whole group to reschedule.
Beware: You can incur multiple strikes in one meeting. E.g., if you are 6 minutes late and also did not read your chapters, and also did not learn your verse, that is 3 strikes, so it will be your last meeting. Whichever meeting you get your 3rd strike for is your last.
The commitment is for six months; one month on, one month off, for a total of 12 group meetings.
An “on” month means we meet weekly as a group.
An “off” month means you meet with one person in the group weekly for accountability, including memory verse checking. Three of these per month can be done over the phone. One must be done in person.
One hour, at an agreed upon day and time that can only be moved by unanimous consent. For example, 5:30-6:30am on Wednesdays.
You will need a dedicated Fight Club journal to record memory verses, prayer requests, goals, and commitments you make. You can use your phone if you absolutely must.
In the journal you will write down biblical goals, motives, and weekly actions to take in the areas of spiritual, family, and finances (you can add physical and career if you like). Each week you will report what you have done with these goals. These do not incur strikes, they are just part of our fight to be more godly in these areas.
You will also write out your memory verses and record your Bible reading.
Each session will follow a rigid schedule. This is not social time, it’s wartime.
1. We will open in prayer at 5:30am.
2. We will report back generally how things are going personally, and specifically with our commitments.
3. We will answer the accountability questions [I’ll share sample questions in next week’s post], including if you have done your reading and assignment from last week.
4. We will recite the memory verses to each other. Memory work is cumulative, so any verse we have memorized is fair game at any point. Stumbling over a verse is not a strike. You can keep trying til you get it right, but if it is evident that you didn’t put in the effort, it’s a strike. The point is to spend a whole week thinking about the verse, studying it, and applying it; not just cram it into short-term memory on the drive to the meeting.
5. We will discuss a particular topic each week, to be announced the week before. We will cover spiritual disciplines, purity, marriage, parenting, financial stewardship, and other topics you ask for.
6. We will share requests that the group will pray for daily until the next week. These should be specific spiritual goals we are working on. If we don’t get to this at the meeting, e-mail the request to the whole group by the next morning.
On the “off” month, you will meet with the same partner for the whole month. Each month we will swap partners. At least one of these meetings must be in person, the others can be in person or on the phone. But each meeting must be done specifically for the purpose of accountability questions, verse testing, and prayer requests. In other words, you can’t double dip social time by tacking on a five minute accountability conversation and check off that you’ve done it.
If you mess up the verse, report that you didn’t do your reading, or go a whole week with no meeting or phone call, you take a strike. It is just like the weekly meeting with the group in every way. Social discussion can be done after the “business” part of the meeting.
Your meeting a can be at any day and time of the week, but as the reading and memory work should take a week, I suggest having at least 4 days between meetings (e.g., you might meet on Friday one week and Tuesday the next, but that would mean you need to do all 14 chapters and the memory verse in only 4 days).
Each session will end with assignments to read the Bible. The load will not be heavy, so the reading should be done carefully. One chapter of the Old Testament and one of the New Testament per day will be the average. Though daily reading is encouraged, you will not incur a strike if you are unable to do the reading daily; as long as all of it is done by the next meeting.
Memory verses will be about one per week, but remember that the quiz will always be cumulative.
We will commit to individually pray for prayer requests of the whole group daily. On “off” months, this will be for your assigned partner only.
Other assignments will include things like date nights with your wife, outings with your kids, asking forgiveness, getting a plan to get out of debt, leading family devotions, or whatever we cover in a meeting that has practical application.
Next Monday I will share examples of assignments, and the list of accountability questions I use. Until then…don’t talk about Fight Club.
This article originally appeared here.