What is a COA?
Circles of Accountability aim at united churches in geographic unity that “owns the lostness” of their specific zip code or five-mile radius to ensure that every man, woman, & child has repeated opportunities to hear, see, and feel the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While we can easily point to the many differences that separate churches, if we join Jesus in his John 17 call for unity so that the world would believe in Him, then we have a mission that is the senior leader in the room!
This differs from Pastors in Covenant (PIC) groups in that its primary purpose is to execute on strategy that leads to gospel saturation of a defined geographic area. PIC groups focus on spiritual health and soul care. BOTH are needed. What we have discovered after years of experience is that COA’s are a natural outgrowth of PIC groups.
Most pastors can agree that everything is predicated on spiritual, relational, and professional trust. Once trust is established through relationships, the natural next step is to partner together in accomplishing the Great Commission.
When pastors meet to ask questions about their geography and demography to understand how to unify around the Great Commission, communities are better served, young churches grow, and new churches can get planted. A recent example is the Lakeway area which began pulling together in 2019. Then March 2020 changed everyone’s plans. Lakeway churches were ready to use their newfound cooperation to launch Lakeway One as a digital hub to serve the community as the crisis unfolded. In Buffalo, New York, 14 churches united across denominational lines to resource the planting of several churches. Every geography is unique. Therefore, the solutions are best driven by those who live and serve there.
Why should I get involved in a COA group?
Ministry is hard and going it alone makes it tougher. An isolated pastor can be easily discouraged or burn out. Additionally, about 10 percent of Greater Austin attends a local church on Sunday mornings (a fluid number while COVID-19 is around). The reality is that the Church of Austin is woefully behind in gospel saturation. This fact should motivate pastors/churches across the city to work together (collaboration vs competition) to reach every man, woman, and child with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ.
So whether you are new to the city or just discovering this reality, our prayer is that you would join the movement of churches that is Christ Together bringing unity to the body of Christ so that our city would know that Jesus is real, alive, and brings transformation to their lives.
How do I get involved in a COA group?
Determine your geography. Scroll over the interactive map and determine if there is a COA in your geography. If you find one in your area, reach out to the contact listed and get the relationship going.
Commonly Asked Questions:
No, they don’t have to be the same, but some groups based on relationship dynamics decide to add strategic conversations to their normally scheduled soul care meetings. While COAs always foster better relationships through networking, they spend most of their time on the topics of executing geographic specific demonstrations of the churches love and desire to effectively share the Gospel. It’s not uncommon to have two or three PIC groups join a quarterly or trimester schedule as a COA of one geography to avoid too many meetings on the calendar.