When people hear that GTP helps set up or strengthen peer accountability groups around the world, they often ask questions such as these: What is a peer accountability group (or PAG)? Why does GTP want to see PAGs flourishing globally (or why is trust so vital)? How do the Scriptures encourage peer accountability and building trust? Let’s answer them one at a time.
What is a peer accountability group (or PAG)?
A PAG is a group of churches or ministries that holds each other accountable to follow standards of responsible stewardship and verifies compliance to grow trust. ECFA, for example, is the PAG in the USA. So, to maintain ECFA accreditation, a Christ-centered church or ministry must demonstrate compliance with the ECFA's Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ on an annual basis.
While the wording of the standards may vary by country or region, the standards mark the expected practices in areas such as Christian commitment, diligent governance, legal compliance, financial transparency and disclosure, compensation, and gift administration. Faithful work in these areas honors God, and when that effort is verified externally and authenticated with a seal, the PAG members collectively enhance trust.
Why does GTP want to see PAGs flourishing globally?
One of the primary obstructions restricting the flow of resources to organizations who need them is a lack of accountability necessary to support the level of trust required to release those resources. If trust represents the flood gates that allow the flow of resources, then accountability is the mechanism by which the gates remain open.
For organizations to thrive in a sustainable way, they need both internal and external accountability. That’s why healthy businesses and governments alike go to great lengths and expense to establish accountability and protect their reputation as trustworthy and reliable. It’s also why GTP created the Diagnostic Tool and Templates to empower church and ministry workers with tools and templates to build trust.
In my work in the investment management arena, for example, we have layer upon layer of standards, compliance policies, transparency requirements and verification. Without this intentional and systematic accountability, our financial system and markets would be vulnerable to pervasive breaches of trust and the ability to engage in economic transactions would unravel. The same is true for churches and ministries. In God’s Word, we actually find that the level of trust and accountability expected of God’s workers should be greater than what the world expects.
How do the Scriptures encourage peer accountability and building trust?
Jesus established the pattern of peer accountability when He sent the disciples out on mission. In Luke 10:1-12, we read that Jesus sent them out two by two. He gave them explicit instructions on how they were to interact with and engage the communities they served and to depend on God to supply their needs through receptive people. By sending them in pairs, Jesus instilled a mindset of collaborative accountability. He knew that their consistent witness could multiply trust.
The early church followed the pattern with individuals and groups. Mission throughout the book of Acts happened two by two by people. As the movement grew, the Apostle Paul urged churches to reflect a consistent witness. For example, in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, he gave the same directions to the Corinthians that he had given to the churches of Galatia: have trusted people “approved with letters” or with credentials handling the charitable giving. This was the standard for all churches. Then in 2 Corinthians 8:20-21, he explained the importance of this. “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” He wanted churches everywhere to comply with laws and reflect a consistent, higher standard to preserve trust and to honor God. This pattern continues today.
Join the movement!
Working together globally and engaging in peer accountability is an important theme woven into the fabric of God’s design for churches and ministries before a watching world. Whether in our personal lives, business activities, or serving others, those who join the peer accountability movement foster sustainability and positions churches and ministries for growth and impact.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught and promoted peer accountability. It is a biblical pattern followed by the Apostles, which contributed to the expansion of the early church. As we join the movement, we too will set the stage for a significant harvest. A properly functioning system of accountability is the fuel for multiplication and sustainability and a key to unlocking the gates that constrict the flow of resources to much needed areas.
–––––Click here to locate the fellowship of PAGs that aim at growing accountability and trust with standards that are biblically faithful, globally consistent, and locally contextualized.