Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In a time when public scrutiny is becoming tighter and more pervasive businesses have learned that they need to be on guard more than ever to ensure they are operating by ethical standards. Though not often mentioned in this discussion, I believe it is especially true of Christian organizations in whom trust is placed by donors. The old adage "heads I win, tails you lose" has a particular bite on this that says ouch. That's not the way it's supposed to be.

John Dalla Costa, in his book The Ethical Imperative, provides numerous examples of businesses that sought to play by this rule. By cutting ethical corners (playing games of delay and dodge when it came to expenses for health and safety requirements) many were "winning" the economic game in the short run, but losing over the long-term through fines, restrictions, and erosion of public confidence. By covering up illegal employee practices and denying basic benefits as a reward for helping to make the company profitable they again "saved money," over the short term only to see the long-term effects of this neglect take an economic toll in the form of low employee morale and employee lawsuits. Many of the business Dalla Costa cites are no longer in existence. For them it was "heads I win temporarily, tails I lose permanently.

What can Christian non-profit organizations learn from this? For one, boards need to be more involved. Many Christian organizations have boards that "trust" the organization's management to operate by ethical standards. They meet and simply listen to the glowing reports of success without asking probing nature. Secondly, Christian organizations need to pay close attention to its employee practices. This is the biggest area of litigation faced by non-profits today. Third, Christian organizations need to exercise care in ensuring donor intentions are adhered to in the application and usage of contributions. Fourth, Christian organizations should put in place appropriate internal control procedures to ensure that financial transactions are handled with care and efficiency.

Many well meaning Christian ministries advertise themselves with lofty Christian ideals, such as-

"We operate at the highest levels of integrity."

"In all our decisions we are guided by the lordship of Christ."

"The worth and value of every individual is given the highest respect."

The list could go on an on. The point is these are all subjective statements that cannot be measured in any rational way. And when perception becomes the guiding instrument through which evaluation of business practices takes place, it makes any challenge to leadership anathema. The landscape of Christian organizations gone sour as a result of focus on short-term gains at the expense long-term effectiveness, and at the expense of honesty and full disclosure, is dotted with embarrassing examples of ministries that have been less than circumspect in their principles of operation.

These kinds of organizations may not have the luxury of changing their business practices based on boards waking up to the realities of what has been happening or leaders realizing they need to be more forthcoming in their standards. New laws brought on by the scandals of Enron and other public corporations are casting their shadows over the private sector as well. When Christian organizations are forced into correction by the public sector rather than by their own policies and governing boards the whole scenario is changed. It is still "heads I win, tails you lose," but the loser becomes the ministry that has allowed itself to sacrifice long-term effectiveness for short-term gain. The other side of the coin, quite literally, is public shame, humiliation, and embarrassment. Trying to beat the odds of the consequences of public scrutiny is a coin toss in which a Christian organization would not want to become a participant.

David J. Moore is Vice President of Research and Development for Compassion Alliance, a humanitarian aid ministry with offices in Nixa, Missouri and Ocala, Florida. He also teaches part-time at a local University. He has years of experience in the non-profit sector, including having served for 8 years as a college president. He holds an MA in Cross-cultural Communication and has completed course work for a PhD in Higher Education Administration. Find out more about his ministry by visiting the web site at http://www.compassionalliance.org

In The News:

Religion news | News, Sports, Jobs  Warren Tribune Chronicle
Chino Valley RELIGION  Chino Champion
Religion briefs, June 7, 2020  New Haven Register

3 Clues To Know Where You Fit In Ministry Part 1

Clue Number 1: You Have TalentYou were born with at... Read More

While the World is on Fire - Part Two

Luke 19:49-19:46 This world is a tender box, of political,... Read More

Top Ten Religion Quotations

Review your religious beliefs with these revealing quotations all about... Read More

The Kabbalah Kraze!

I remember hearing a minister years ago as he quoted... Read More

End of the World | Predictions Prophecies How and When

It's the End of the World as we know it...When... Read More

Lutheran or Catholic Church; Choosing the Religion that is Best for You?

Many cities have large Catholic Church presence and well-established Lutheran... Read More

Christian Unity according to Internet

Following are 30 questions that relate to Christian Unity that... Read More

Keep on Singing

The prisoners of Sing Sing, one of the most repressive,... Read More

Computerized Christians? Get Ready for the New Church!

Isaiah 43;19 declares: "Behold, I will do a new thing,... Read More

What Did I Do To Deserve This?

"You must have done something awful for this to happen... Read More

Reflections After The Tsunami Tragedy

Over the last few months hundreds of thousands of people... Read More

Your Mission Field At Work

One point many Christian Working Moms who have been interviewed... Read More

Rudraksha Beads - For Health, Wealth & Spirituality

The Tears of Lord Shiva that are Rudraksha, are the... Read More

End Time Events and the 2nd Coming of Jesus

In part 1 of this series of end time articles,... Read More

Surviving Eternity

Matthew 24:34-24:35 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall... Read More

Universal Salvation: Gods Love and Grace Will Overwhelm All Men!

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me,... Read More

British B. S.

CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLE: -MacDari was a Mason but his Masonry deplored... Read More

Spring Into Gods Love

Spring is springing here in the Pacific Northwest the plants... Read More

Death of an American,The Death of Decency

John 16:2-3:16The Death of an American, The Death of Decency.... Read More

The Wisdom of this World is Foolishness with God

Once you start to receive the knowledge and wisdom of... Read More

Knowledge Of The Power

For it is written in Proverbs 1:7 it says The... Read More

The New Urban Christian

Who are these new Urban Christians? What's up with the... Read More

Mystery, not Myth: Jesus Christ is real!

In the children's section of any bookstore, books on the... Read More

Harry Potter To Christians: Its Not Good To Hear Voices

That is the popular and, thank God (if you'll pardon... Read More

Why do Humans Need a God?

Many have asked why people need a God to cope... Read More