Global Perspective on Financial Accountability and Generosity
At The Outcomes Conference: CLA Dallas 2015, the ECFA hosted the first ever International Accountability Summit. Representatives from twelve nations gathered together to shape a global perspective on financial accountability and generosity.
The conversations were grounded in 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 which reads:
“We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”
The Apostle Paul’s attention to God-honoring financial transparency inspired people around the ancient Mediterranean world to participate in the Jerusalem collection. Summit attendees affirmed the same desire associated with our transparency efforts today.
The IAS presentations varied widely. Some nations reported great progress, others are taking steps as they are able, and some face seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
For instance, colleagues from South Korea (CCFK) and Philippines (CCTA) reported that they had recently established peer accountability groups similar to the ECFA in the United States. The aim of these groups is to help churches and ministries exhibit transparency that glorifies God and encourages generous participation in God’s work. As able, ECFA plans to assist these leaders and the ministries they serve.
Representatives from Kenya (AfCAA) and Australia (CMA) also announced that they have made great strides. At present, God has raised up leaders in both of these settings that are developing standards and forming boards for peer accountability groups. Both Kenya and Australia hope to launch their entities in the near future. Please pray for these newly-formed groups to flourish.
Other nations reported significant hurdles to accountability that greatly hinder generosity. For example, ministry workers from nations such as Guatemala, Uruguay, and Ecuador noted that systemic financial corruption makes it more difficult to rally local support. While ministry is welcome in these nations, people often don’t trust NGO’s because there have been so many instances of fraud.
In places such as Hong Kong, China, Ukraine, and India, cultural dynamics add extra layers of complexity to the task of moving ministries toward financial transparency. Additionally, governments often limit or prohibit the formation and function of ministry groups. In these settings, most giving happens through trust relationships, and research reveals that giving lags in part because of a lack of transparency.
After hearing these reports linked to corruption and opposition, attendees committed to praying for one another to persevere.
In regions such as Europe, though no peer accountability groups are present, the UK representative noted that there is a growing interest among ministry leaders for discussions about financial transparency to glorify God and foster greater giving. In places like this, the ECFA hopes to participate in important conversations and conferences.
The spokespersons for the ECFA could relate to both the positive and challenging aspects of the various reports, because over the past 35 years ECFA has had similar ups and downs. In the spirit of 1 Corinthians 16:9, a “great door of opportunity” appears to be opening globally linked to financial accountability and generosity and yet “there are many opponents.”
The historic event did not really end. It marked a beginning! God appears to have catalyzed a global network committed to encouraging faithful financial administration among all nations. ECFA calls it the Global Network for short. Care to join?
Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D. (New Testament, Trinity College, Bristol, UK), serves as ECFA Press Author and International Liaison as well as Visiting Professor at TEDS and Northern Seminary among other roles. For more information on the Global Network visit or to receive the Global Network Update quarterly, send inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hoag champions financial transparency, in part, because he has dedicated his life to encouraging Christian generosity as the Generosity Monk.
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