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Accountability and Transparency in the Ministry

President Obama (boy I love typing that) is requiring more accountability from all institutions in the United States. One major change in the non profit sector is the new 990 requirements enacted in late 2007. The changes in the new 990 were a sweeping change from the past. An excellent overview of these changes can be read at http://non-profitconsulting.services.officelive.com/Documents/Are%20You%20Ready%20for%20the%20New%20IRS%20990%20Reporting%20Requirements.pdf.

The subject of this blog is not the regulation itself, but the reaction from religious non profits. It is “that doesn’t apply to us”. While true I find it strange that churches and ministries would neglect this opportunity to get your financial records in order. Even if, at this point, the government is not requiring ministries to file; wouldn’t it be nice to be ready if they ever did. I cringe every time I witness the lack of accountability and transparency in our ministries. We are to be light and salt in this world. I applauded Benny Hinn Ministries last year when they were requested to turn over their financial records to Senator Grassley. He was very open because he said in an interview that he had nothing to hide. Just think what would have happened if he did not have his financial paperwork in order because he was not required to turn the records over to Sen. Grassley? Please do not ignore this trend towards transparency and accountability. In other words, do not make this issue your organization a crisis for the future. When I was a camp director my desire was that all of our activities reflected the accreditation standards simply to know that we were running based upon the best standards. As leaders you should want the same for your organization. Again, a proactive stance will avoid a reactive crisis in the future. Sources: Benny Hinn Ministries (2008). Benny Hinn Ministries Submits Fourth Set of Documentation to Senator Grassley's Committee as retrieved on February 6, 2009 from http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS251207+09-May-2008+PRN20080509 Sorrentino, J. (2007). Are You Ready for the New IRS 990 Reporting Requirements? Retrieved on February 6, 2009 from http://non-profit-consulting.services.officelive.com/Documents/Are%20You%20Ready%20for%20the%20New%20IRS%20990%20Reporting%20Requirements.pdf