Welcome to part 3 of a three-part series on the greatest determining factors of ministry success…
Integrity is often defined as simply “being who you say you are” or “Doing what you say you do!” Integrity involves accountability systems and transparency. Integrity demands that your marketing message match your program/ministry activity. It ensures that when a ministry supporter checks the fine print that they will not be surprised or disappointed.
Integrity demands regular audits and accountability systems in expense accounts. One of the things I learned years ago is that leaders must set the example of integrity. Some leaders that I know think that because of their position they are not accountable. I like to think that because of my position I am more accountable. I have a system in place as CEO that all of my ministry expenses are reviewed by our board chairman. Every expense – large or small. There is no minimum and there are no exceptions. I practice this because I also hold my direct reports to the same level of integrity.
At the program level where we serve children at our church projects in the developing world we maintain the same level of integrity/accountability. In any given year we have some 8,000 to 10,000 supporters who visit their sponsored child. Each visit is like a mini audit. Sponsors get to meet their child and their family, experience the church project and inspect the files. Every Compassion child has a file folder at the project office that contains all of their important data including birth certificates, health records, school records, maps to their house, correspondence with their sponsors, financial records including gifts, and other important information. Each sponsor has access to these files. There is total transparency – total integrity.
A Compassion sponsor. A ministry supporter. A church member should never be surprised or disappointed when the roof is lifted off the ministry house and they see what really happens inside. Our ministries should be above reproach so that God’s name is highly honored. That’s integrity.
My father used to tell me that “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” The work we do in kingdom ministry is far too important to give it our second-best. We must do it well. We must focus, we must plan and we must evaluate. Without these three important components we risk both the blessing of God and the trust of our donors. But most of all we risk not having impact for the kingdom of God.
President & CEO of Compassion Canada