Wall Watchers Release Transparency Watch List for Delinquent Ministry Organizations

Nov 12, 2002 03:00 AM EST

CHARLOTTE, NC. -- Wall Watchers, an organization that gathers and analyzes the financial statements of Christian nonprofit organizations in an effort to help donors make wise decisions, has released a list of Christian ministries that have demonstrated poor financial transparency. The new publication, TransparencyWatch, lists the names of large Christian ministries that received a Transparency Grade of D or F from Wall Watchers. Grades ranging from A to F are based on the timeliness and quality of ministries' responses to Wall Watchers' requests for financial documents.

The first list released contains the names of the following 45 ministries:

Alberto Mottesi Evangelistic Association Inc., Amazing Facts, AnGeL Ministries, Awana Clubs International, Benny Hinn Ministries / World Outreach Church, Bible Broadcasting Network, Breakthrough Ministries, Catholic Medical Mission Board, Chinese Christian Mission Inc., Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship, Christian Men¡¯s Network Inc., Christian Research Institute Inc., Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort Inc., Crystal Cathedral Ministries, EAPE/Kingdomworks, East Gates Ministries International, Ever Increasing Faith Ministries, Family Stations Inc., Gideons International, Goad International, Good Shepherd Services, Heaven & Home Hour Inc., Impact Productions, International Students Inc., Joy of Jesus Inc., Jubilee Network/KFUO AM 850, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Lesea Inc., Life in the Word, Inc./ Joyce Meyer, Lifechangers Inc., Ligonier Ministries Inc., Lutheran Hour Ministries, Maranatha Volunteers International, March for Jesus USA, Ministries in Action Inc., Mustard Seed Inc., Quiet Hour, Romanian Missionary Society, Shelter For Life / Shelter Now International, Sports World Ministries Inc., TD Jakes Ministries / Potters House of Dallas Inc., The Rutherford Institute, Trinity Forum Inc., Your Story Hour.

Although the TransparencyWatch list contains a number of well-known ministries, it represents only 9% of the 475 major Christian ministries currently reviewed by Wall Watchers, indicating that most ministries reviewed exhibit a good or excellent degree of financial transparency. The list will be updated periodically and can be accessed on Wall

Watchers' flagship web site, Ministry Watch

Founded in 1998, Wall Watchers aims to help donors become more responsible givers by providing them with information about the largest Christian ministries in the country. Through its MinistryWatch.com service, Wall Watchers provides users with detailed descriptions, financial information, financial efficiency ratings, transparency grades, and commentary about the researched ministries.

"Christian ministries, who accept hard earned money from donors seeking to help the weak, feed the poor and bring the gospel to those who have not yet heard it, have a moral obligation to set a high standard of openness about their finances. They should be setting the example for other nonprofit organizations to follow," said Wall Watchers Founder and Chairman, Rusty Leonard, CFA.

"Providing a useful set of financial statements to anyone that asks should be something that every Christian ministry does automatically. Fortunately, many do just that, but donors need to be made aware of those who fail to meet these basic standards of accountability," he added.

The standards Wall Watchers uses to assign a Transparency Grade consider how difficult it is to obtain financial information and whether or not the information provided is useful for understanding how money is being used by the ministry.

According to Wall Watchers President Chris Hempe, CPA, a ministry receiving a poor Transparency Grade from Wall Watchers is not being accused of embezzlement or any illicit acts, but its refusal to provide useful information about its finances should be considered a red flag to donors.

"Our standards make it easy for any ministry to receive a high grade. They simply need to send quality financial statements in a timely fashion so that we can make this information, and our analysis of it, available to donors. By letting donors know which ministries are not demonstrating openness about their finances, we believe that our work is creating a force for positive change, and ultimately will help those ministries whose already strong commitment to financial transparency has gone unnoticed," Hempe said.

Wall Watchers has scheduled a telephone news conference for Wednesday, November 13 at 11:00 a.m. EST to answer questions about its release of the TransparencyWatch publication. Interested members of the media are encouraged to call in using 1-800-967-7141 at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the news conference.

About Wall Watchers

Wall Watchers is a donor-supported nonprofit Christian ministry located in Matthews, North Carolina. Its mission is to educate and empower the Christian community to practice Biblical stewardship. Through MinistryWatch.com, its flagship information service, Wall Watchers empowers Christians to give more generously and wisely to Christian ministries. To learn more about Wall Watchers, visit the ministry's web site Wall Watchers or one of its program web sites, Ministry Watch and The Good Steward

By Albert H. Lee
[email protected]