Shine the Light, Build Trust
January 22, 2020
Northwest Baptists, I am grateful to report that in 2019 our churches saw many more people come to Jesus and follow him in baptism than in the prior year. We won’t know the total number of baptisms for a few months, but we already know that we’ll surpass 2,700, maybe reaching 3,000. Also, for the sixth consecutive year the Cooperative Program Mission (CP) giving of our churches has exceeded the prior year, with total CP mission giving of $2,861,490.
The number of affiliated churches surpassed 500 for the first time, totaling 508. This is largely the result of 20 new churches being birthed. We do not take these Great Commission advances for granted. As servants of our Lord and his churches, trustworthiness is essential if we are to enjoy God’s blessing.
So how do we build and maintain trust? We do so through transparency and accountability. In the NWBC, our structure and processes are designed to facilitate trust.
The NWBC is governed by an Executive Board, established by messengers from NWBC-affiliated churches at our annual meeting. I am accountable to our churches through the Board they have established. Executive Board members understand their primary job is to hold the executive director and staff accountable to do what we have determined as a convention of churches. While I’m called to provide leadership to our convention ministries, I am accountable to the churches for how I lead.
Moreover, the NWBC maintains transparency on the ministry budget. The Executive Board helps write the budget and meets corporately to discuss and recommend the budget to NWBC messengers at the annual meeting. The budget is then discussed, possibly amended, and adopted by messengers.
Also, the Executive Board receives monthly finance reports from the NWBC Business Manager. Salary structures for each NWBC staff position are adopted by the Board. The CP contributions of every participating church are reported in the Witness, and, importantly, budget information is available to any participating NWBC church upon request.
The NWBC also has policies regarding sexual harassment and abuse. We do not use nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) to hide wrongdoing. No employee or former employee has signed any agreement that prevents them from speaking. Personally, I have never asked a staff member to sign an NDA in 36 years of ministry, nor have I ever signed one. NDAs can damage trust because they prevent transparency.
Performance reports are provided and available. Ministries like to promote good news. Of course we do! But organizations funded by God’s people must be open to examination. Baptists believe we must advance the Great Commission, but how we best do that, and how well we are doing that, requires continual discussion.
Secrecy erodes trust, and trust is essential for an organization to thrive. This has always been true, but in a scandal-plagued world, where ministry leaders fail and fall frequently, it is essential that we go the extra mile, and then some, to protect our ministries, reputations, and, most importantly, the name of Christ. It is a good day to serve the Lord in the Northwest!