There is a desperate need for good governance, stewardship, and accountability in the church today.
On the heels of the abuse of funds situation at Oral Roberts University (ORU) the Senate Finance Committee has now requested that the financial records of six large Christian ministries (headed by Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Eddie Long, Benny Hinn, and Paula White). The purpose behind this inquiry is to discover if these ministers are enjoying a lavish lifestyle at the expense of their supporters.
As of now, only Copeland and Meyer have provided to the committee the requested financial information. Two, Dollar and Long, have stated that they are considering not providing their church's financials to the government. They believe that by doing so would be a violation of their constitution rights.
Joyce Meyer should be commended. Not only has she provided the requested information to the committee, but she has for the past several years posted the ministries audited financial statements on its website. Both Dollar and Long could learn a lesson from Meyer.
Here, just like in the Richard Roberts case, is a study of arrogance. First of all, the ministries are more than happy to accept a tax exempt status from the government. This means that the ministries "partners" can deduct their financial contribution from the personal tax liability and the ministries themselves are sheltered from property tax. So apparently, Dollar and Long are willing to accept some government involvement in their ministries.
By why not accountability?
It is interesting that these ministers teach that honesty, accountability, and good stewardship are important attributes of a Christian. What would Jesus do after all, right? So why shouldn't the ministers walk the walk if the talk the talk?
Should not a ministry be held to at least the same level of scrutiny as a business? So what is so wrong with transparency in a church? What is wrong with good governance and public accountability? There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, churches should be held at a higher level of accountability and ethics than the corporate world. Churches should operate at a level beyond right and wrong, they should be governed by a level of the "perception" of right and wrong. Donations given to a church are too be used for Kingdom work and not the lavish life style of "Pastor Steve Stunning". Those that faithfully pay their tithes and sow offering to any church should have the confidence that their sacrifice is not being wasted.