Paul sets a standard for all of us involved in the administration and distribution of money. When describing his desire to do well with this generous gift that we are administering, he says “for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21). So, how are we doing in the Lord’s eyes and in the eyes of others?
This week GMP received an audit report into our various policies on the Prevention of Exploitation, Sexual Abuse and Harassment, the Protection of Children, the Protection of Whistle-blowers and Prevention of Bullying. It also looked at how well our staff understands these documents.
GMP came through pretty well. We need to do more work in some areas and ensure that these policies are known and understood by our staff and partners.
The reality is, that we, and all other church institutions, face a greater level of suspicion and scrutiny. We can’t simply say, “Trust us because we do well in the Lord’s sight”. We must also have high standards in the ‘sight of the other’.
GMP, along with all other Christian ministries working in the field of international mission and development, has increasing levels of compliance and related costs. Additionally, some of what we have done in the past is no longer acceptable and must change. Let me give two examples:
- GMP is supportive of the initiatives to end ‘orphanage tourism’ and to have new standards for residential programs for children. One of our staff, Jan Bayliss, is part of a group creating standards for the operation of such activities as well as guidelines about overseas visitors to such programs.
- New guidelines are being put in place that will cover all funds sent to ministries overseas. The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission have prepared new standards to ensure that money is used for the purpose for which it was given. This is a good step and is consistent with our practice.
There are times when these added layers of accountability and complexity are overwhelming, and we can be tempted to say enough is enough!
On the other hand, more often than not, taking time to reflect on the words of Jesus about our responsibility to safeguard children (Luke17:1-2) and the importance of having high integrity as a ministry leads us to a different conclusion.
Yes, we are being given more work to do. Doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of others does protect the vulnerable and affirm the integrity of GMP as a Christian ministry.