Many mission agencies place a big priority on reporting, however, I believe we should emphasize accountability instead.  If you think accountability and reporting are the same thing – sorry it’s not.

Most mission organizations use a monthly or bi-monthly report form that their workers are required to fill out.  In querying a score of mission workers I found all simply took last month’s form, changed the date and maybe 1 or 2 other things and emailed it in.  What is learned by such an exercise?  And we do this month after month.  Reports should be a teaching tool, and if you’re not learning something new from every report why are we doing it?  Surely this is not accountability.

In business most reporting is done verbally, face to face.  Bosses meet or communicate with their direct reports daily.  In business we want to both hear and see that the work is done.  In business people don’t write up reports about themselves.  Whether we are Christian or not, when we write up reports about ourselves we are telling only what we want to tell.  And if we are honest,  most of us view ourselves and our work better than it really is.  This is why reporting is not accountability.

We need to hold our people truthfully accountable for what’s going on in their marriage, their family, their team, their employees, their business, their evangelism—every area of their lives and work.

Keeping people accountable for the things God would have them do is an essential component of what we’re striving to do in the OPEN Network.  We provide mentors for people who will hold them accountable to what they say they are doing.  It’s relational, personal, accountability.  It’s not gathering data.  It’s what we need.  It’s what Jesus did – life-on-life accountability.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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