Missional Accountability

Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ is in the midst of a significant transition: Our Board of Trustees is in the final stages of identifying the next Service Coordinator to lead our church body as Mark Vander Tuig retires after ten years in that role. As a part of the transition, leaders from across the association gathered for an assessment guided by Bob Logan of Logan Leadership. In this assessment, several keys for the future of our association were identified.
For me, the most significant takeaway was our need to develop our “missional accountability.” What does this mean? As an association, we have four core values: Free in Christ, Accountable to one another, Rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, and Fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples. While each of the four core values are important, the last identifies our purpose. And what Bob Logan helped us recognize is that while we hold one another accountable to Scripture, theology and morality, we have had little to no accountability for our mission to go and make disciples.
So how can we develop a culture of “missional accountability” among our pastors and churches that does not devolve into a new form of legalism and infringe upon our freedom in Christ? How can we meaningfully spur one another on to actually pursue our primary purpose and mission? In Hebrews 10:23-25 we read, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
While I certainly do not have all the answers, I believe that we need to develop more intentional relationships, meeting together for the purpose of faithful, mutual accountability. Pastors, individual church members, and congregations ought to pursue meaningful relationships with others that desire to provoke and encourage one another as we walk with Jesus, lead others, and shepherd churches to pursue our mission to make disciples.
Brodie Taphorn, Chair of the Board of Trustees, shared that as a football player his individual training paled in comparison to training with teammates. I believe the same is true for us when it comes to our primary purpose of making disciples: we need to individually do our own work, but we also need our teammates to provoke and encourage us as we hold one another accountable to the primary thing Christ is calling us to do.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at www.harvestworkers.net). Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org.
© 2020 Bryce J. Formwalt, All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
June 2020