A North Carolina organization is trying to help Christians make wise choices when it comes to donating to ministries.
Six years ago, Rusty Leonard, a successful North Carolina businessman, was looking for ministries to support. Preferring to examine organizations' financial accountability before giving to them, Leonard and his wife asked a number of ministries for financial statements. However, the couple were told repeatedly by these Christian organizations that such statements were not available.
Because he encountered so few ministries that were willing or able to be forthcoming with their financial information, Leonard founded Wall Watchers, a service that today employs seven full-time professionals to monitor hundreds of the largest church and para-church ministries in the United States.
Wall Watchers’ Michael Barrick says the monitoring organization was founded by Leonard and his wife after prayerful consideration and Bible study. In their scripture reading, he says, the couple came to a passage in Ezekiel 33 “about being a wall watcher and alerting the innocent and the unsuspecting of what's going on,” and when the ministry was founded that passage became the basis for its mission.
“That's what Wall Watchers exists to do,” Barrick says. “We're an independent advocate for donors so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be furthered.” Currently the agency monitors more than 500 ministries around the nation for financial accountability, providing high-quality research and ratings.
Wall Watchers hopes its work will serve to stimulate the adoption of “best practices” and encourage progress and innovation throughout the Christian ministry marketplace as donors become interested in the efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness of organizations. And where problems are found, the professional ministry monitors seek to let donors know as much as they can about the areas of concern.
For instance, Wall Watchers recently issued a “Donor Alert” concerning the Trinity Broadcast Network, calling for that network's founders to step aside while a panel of Christian leaders investigates its finances. TBN is watched by more than five million American households each week, many of them faithful supporters of the Christian broadcast ministry.
Barrick says Wall Watchers is continuing to develop resources and services to keep donors informed. “Very soon,” he points out, “we'll be introducing a new product in which we highlight Christian ministries that are exemplary that are models of not only financial efficiency and program effectiveness, but also theology and transparency.”
Barrick says this listing of organizations exhibiting “all around” exemplary oversight will be available within the next few weeks. He notes that the first such ministry listed will be World Help, which is based in Forest, Virginia, near Lynchburg.
(This article courtesy of Agape Press).