Recently, a friend of mine, who applied for a particular Christian ministry position, was asked what he would do in a situation involving wrong-doing within that institution. Before he could respond, this comment was made . . . . “You do realize that we have to protect our ministry; its reputation is always on the line in these kinds of situations.”
Upon hearing that from her, I indicated that my response would have been . . . .
“The best way to protect your ministry and its reputation is to be open and transparent. When you try to cover up what actually took place, the ministry and those in leadership find themselves in a mess! Ask RZIM about how covering-up works out!”
Study the past year’s ministry and church scandals, and you will see a series of actions that appear over and over when real institutional wrong-doing is misaddressed. Those in positions of leadership and power seek to divert attention away from what was actually done.
Midst wrong-doing, the temptation is to . . . . .
- cover-up the wrong-doing
- silence the “critics”
- limit exposure to the facts of the situation
- pull in others to vouch for your story
- reposition people, who are or have been supportive, into roles of greater power/control
- call-up the years of past ministry as a plausible argument against the possibility of misconduct today
- repeatedly claim victimhood
- seek sympathy from those who know little-to-nothing as to what has actually happened 
- publicly create personal sympathy as one who has been unfairly “attacked” – from “Victimology 101”
The best way to protect a ministry from damage,
and to guard one’s personal reputation and integrity,
is to be transparent from the beginning.
Various ministries and churches, that have faced serious problems, would tell you exactly that — NOW — after all the damage was done.
Various ministries and churches, that have faced serious problems, would tell you that because that was their greatest mistake as they sought to control the situation they created for themselves!
Most all ministries and churches would give you that advice long before they themselves were facing such a problem because this is not “hidden wisdom” that can only be learned after failing the transparency test. Most all ministries and churches understand that UNTIL they themselves are clearly engaged in wrong-doing, made some terrible and even indefensible decisions, or were embarrassed about their words and/or actions.
Then — ministries and leaders often begin using the word “transparency” . . . .
- as a newly found badge, proving that they have integrity
- to now bolster their claim that they are committed to honesty and oversight
- after they have failed at being anything but transparent
- after people have jumped-ship because serious questions have again remained unanswered
The best way to protect a ministry, a church, a pastor, deacons, an elder, or administrators, is to be transparent from the beginning, allow those who have a meaningful stake in the organization, ministry, or church to hear what actually happened. Provide a sincere, genuine, and “as long as it rightfully takes” opportunity for God’s people to hear from those of different vantage and to ask any and all questions.
Fail at that, expect questions to linger, stories to be continually told-retold (accurate, inaccurate, most partially true), and the next problem to be worse than the previous one because of an eroding trust that will follow you issue after issue.
The best way to protect a ministry from damage,
and guard one’s personal reputation and integrity,
is to be transparent from the beginning & throughout.
All understand that if you have nothing to hide, then you will be open, above-board, and straightforward; that you will be transparent as to what took place as well as to how it all transpired from the beginning.
1. They don’t know, primarily because they have been denied the opportunity to rightfully know.
The RZIM fiasco illustrates the results of that approach as men and women vouched for RaviZ’s integrity, only to be embarrassed, but not ashamed enough to resign from their positions of trust.
Note: If you want to see how twisted it all gets . . . .
There was little-to-no transparency while it was all taking place, but “now that this trust has been fundamentally compromised, [and] the situation demands transparency. . . . . “We believe that the most God-honoring approach is to pursue transparency.”
There was little love shown to those who were publicly manhandled by those in positions of power, but now let’s talk about “being loving.” It’s hypocrisy or a dismal lack & level of self-awareness.
There was little willingness to show grace, but now . . . . “We pray for God’s grace and mercy for all, and for restoration that brings peace, hope, forgiveness, and change where most needed.”
There was little willingness to get at the truth as to what was said and done, but now . . . . . “our prayer has been that the truth would be known.”