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“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.” — Malachi 3:1

God's Mission Matters

Ask and tell!

Building mutual accountability into your partnership

By Sherron George
Each of us will be accountable to God” (Romans 14:12).

God created human beings to live in community in relationships of mutual care and respect. God calls us to be active participants in God´s mission in partnerships with one another. We need and seek Christian communities. We do mission in partnership because it is God´s way and because we do mission better together.

However, at the same time, we all know that our human nature has a tendency toward selfishness, control, imposition, insensitivity and individualism. In the recent global financial crisis we discovered that the free market does not succeed in self-regulation. In all areas of human existence we need others to help us see and correct our mistakes. We need others to keep us honest, to keep us from falling into temptations.

In every human relationship we assume certain mutual commitments. Partnerships in mission, like other social contracts, depend on mutuality and interdependence. This includes mutual nurture, mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual correction and mutual accountability. In all relationships we must hold each other accountable.

Partnership calls for open dialogue and transparency. This means we are open about our plans, intentions, gifts and priorities. Both givers and receivers are transparent in all financial matters. We honor requests, limits, budgets and proper channels. All partners are open to questions, evaluations and corrections. Partners must “speak the truth in love” and tell us when we are incoherent, dishonest, offensive or culturally insensitive. We need each other because self-deceit is stronger than self-regulation and self-evaluation.

Listen to this episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Hunter Farrell, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission worker in Congo for five years, in Peru for 10 years and currently the director of Presbyterian World Mission, and by Mary Jane Winter, PC(USA)  participant in the Guatemalan CEDEPCA mission network.

Ask and tell episode toolkit

Use these resources to equip your congregation, network, youth group and other groups in your church for mission involvement. You may use any of these for activities in the context of Bible studies, Sunday Bible class, Sunday worship service, and committee or session meetings.

  • God’s Mission Matters: Ask and tell!
    Prefer printed? Download and read this ready-to-print booklet  including the text of the podcast, a study guide for group leaders and a reflection on popular culture. This is a great tool for a learning session in your congregation or mission group context.
  • Case Study #1
  • Scenario description for skits
  • Matters from Pop CultureThree Cups of Tea
    Reflections on the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It tells the story of an American man who worked with the people of a Pakistani village and realized they knew what they needed more than he did.
  • Matters of Worship 
    • Prayer:
      Loving God, you are the Creator of love and our relationships reflect You in us. Help us to show respect and kindness toward those from other cultures. Help us to ask what their needs may be before we offer empty gifts that reflect our own agendas. In Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

    • Hymn suggestions:
      “From You I Receive,” words & music © 1969 by Joseph and Nathan Segal:
      “From you I receive, to you I give, together we share and from this, we live.” The music and lyrics can be found in the Unitarian Universalist Association songbook, Singing the Living Tradition, song number 402.

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