Mutual accountability relationships: at the heart of champion coaching

In Monday’s champion blueprint post, there’s a great line on organizational/champion relationships from Dare2Share‘s Spencer Cowan:

We are not pastors, friends or simply fundraisers to our adult Champions. A friendship can develop along the way but that is not our primary focus.

Transformational Giving (TG) principle #5 puts it this way:

A Transformational Giving relationship between a champion and an organization is primarily a peer-level accountability relationship, not merely a friendship or a mutual admiration society.

Ah, accountability! Other than sanctification, it may be the most nearly extinct of the core components of Christian discipleship.

Generous Mind Jon Hirst offers a great post on accountability and why it may be so scarce in contemporary Christianity.

Jon describes accountability as “our ultimate act of generosity”:

We are sharing with God, or with people in our lives, the account of what God is up to in our world and how we have responded. This type of generosity is the deepest and most significant because we are sharing about our eternal purpose.

It is one thing to share about your favorite movie (and that can be very significant if you share lessons you learned). But it is quite another to share your account of how God is using you and providing for you.

So why so scarce these days? Jon daisy chains six reasons:

Accountability is scarce because:
it requires that we give up freedom
giving up freedom requires trust
trust only grows in relationship
relationships take time
our time is doled out based on our priorities
our priorities need redeemed to be in line with God’s focus
  • it requires that we give up freedom
  • giving up freedom requires trust
  • trust only grows in relationship
  • relationships take time
  • our time is doled out based on our priorities
  • our priorities need redeemed to be in line with God’s focus
The last one, indeed, proves to be the kicker from a champion development standpoint:
So why am I not generous with the account of my life and my actions? It starts with the fact that on most days I do not truly value the act of sharing what I know. My priorities are focused on entertainment, pleasure, accomplishment, and so on.

Why don’t we enter into mutual accountability relationships with our champions? Because we don’t value the act of sharing what we know. We value what we know. We want others to give money so we can keep doing it.

But sharing it to equip others to do likewise?

That’s a core component to discipleship…and it’s largely absent from the way we interact with individuals showing interest in our ministry. They’re likely showing interest in us because the cause is of interest to them. We’re likely to return that interest because we’re interested in their support as we impact the cause.

But mutual accountability changes the equation.

We build a support relationship with them, alright–a relationship where we support them as we equip them, by the grace of God, to impact the cause we both love. That’s what Ephesians 4:11-13 is all about.

“So when do they give me money?” is the most common rejoinder to that TG approach to relationship.


They don’t give money to you. They give money through you as a part of the comprehensive discipleship process through which you guide them, in which you show them how to use all of their resources to impact the cause–including their money.

And let’s be clear: Getting them to give is not an act of carnival chicanery, where you shuck and jive in order to get them to write a support check , at which point you assure them, “Whoa! You really impacted the cause there! Thanks!”

That’s where mutual accountability comes in:

You need to ensure that their gift is not a substitute for them growing in relation to the cause but rather a result of that growth. In other words, they’re not responding to your financial need. Instead, they’re giving that particular gift because the experience, education, and equipping you’ve given them in relation to the cause has led them to discern, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (not the persuasion of your fundraising letter) that this is the way they’re called to impact the cause.

As Jon notes in his post, that kind of relationship takes time….and it goes far deeper than friendship. You’ll know that you’re in track building that kind of relationship if the champion you’re coaching begins relatively early on in the process to coach champions of their own in relation to the cause…instead of just bringing them to you to coach, too.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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