by Jac La Tour
Besides someone who attended a past Financial Forum for Ministries, presenters for the upcoming forum are in the best position to tell you what to expect. So I asked them. Actually, I emailed three questions to each presenter for the 2012 forum. We’ll publish their responses over the next few weeks.
First up is John Thornton, professor and Leung Chair of Accounting Ethics at Azusa Pacific University. He will speak at each of the four 2012 forums about the impact of ethics on accounting. Here are John’s responses.
Jac: How will your presentation help attendees better serve their ministries?
John: In Christian ministries, where trust is a premium, it is easy to drop your professional skepticism and become lax about accountability. Even the best organizations with the best leaders are susceptible to deception related to wealth. Consider Judas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples and overseer of their funds. He not only liked to dip into the bag for his own benefit, but ultimately chose money over God, selling out Jesus for financial gain. We will look honestly at the challenges and importance of accountability.
Jac: What are three important takeaways attendees will learn during your presentation?
John: Attendees will gain a historical perspective on the financial misdeeds done in God’s name. We will look at how to recognize potential ethical dilemmas in your own organization, learn basic approaches to resolve them, and discern how to choose the best alternative. Finally, attendees will learn how our faith in a just God gives us the moral courage to do the right thing, even at great personal cost.
Jac: How will the format of the forum make it an even more valuable learning experience?
John: In this interactive presentation, we will learn together from the experiences of our peers as we consider best practices in financial accountability. This rich context and interaction goes beyond what you learn by reading a textbook.
Next up will be John Butler, attorney and tax counsel with CapinCrouse LLP, who will be presenting on current legislative and tax issues affecting ministries.