Back in late 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley wrote to six media-based ministries asking for responses to questions about ministry governance, expenses, and executive compensation. Interestingly, only two of the six ministries agreed to participate. While I’m sure the four ministries that didn’t respond believed it was the best decision, as someone “in the business” it troubles me that they may lack the transparency critical to operating a healthy ministry.
In the press release published by Senator Grassley on January 6, 2011, he provided detailed reviews of all six ministries. The reviews outlined the responses (or no responses) from the ministries, along with detailed investigative work on each of the ministries—especially those that had not responded. What was interesting to me was that even though these four ministries chose not to respond, much public information was available and gathered, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.
So what’s the lesson learned? The importance of transparency in the work of ministry. Its not that we have to share every piece of information, like how much the custodian makes, but it is important that we operate in an environment where we show our stakeholders (as well as the world) how we are using the resources entrusted to us.
None of us got into ministry because we thought we would get rich or famous, but rather to impact the world for Christ. In the end, while God is certainly the only judge of our actions and motivations whose opinion we should care about, I do think we have a duty to operate with nothing to hide. I want my ministry practices to bring glory to God and not do anything to detract from that. What do you think?