Jibstay

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ends and Means?

A friend asked me if it's OK to put up with bad ministry practices because the ministry does such good work? This ministry has leadership that is entrenched and powerful, tied to the personalities of the founders, and really rough on its staff. Yet, they do really good work. Is it worth it to tolerate poor organization and the misuse of staf and volunteers for the sake of the mission?
I said "no". The ends do not justify the means. Bad things done for good reasons are still bad. Abusing people to help other people is still abuse. Leadership, especially Christian leadership, needs to be transparent, accountable beyond itself and reflective of Jesus' love. If not, short term gains will collapse over the long haul because toxic personalities and practices will errode any gains (think of Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker and PTL, Jimmy Swgaart and Ted Haggard to name a few). These were good people doing good things in Jeus' name in bad ways...and it all caught up.
The problem with independent ministries with founder-appointed boards is that they are not accountable beyond themselves, a spiritual cul de sac if you will. If a board member questions the leader, that board member leaves and is replaced by a more compliant one. I have seen that happen in small ways in denominational circles. If you raise too many questions, you can be guaranteed for a one-term experience in the denomination. Because nobody wants someone around who asks too many questions. Rather, these types of organizations value loyalty and team-spirit.
To whom are the ministries you support accountable and transparent?

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