Church Health Includes Transparency

As I’ve made my way through my many experiences of church life I’ve discovered that many church-goers are “conspiracy theorists.” When an announcement is made about a hiring or firing (although church’s rarely say the word “fire”), or the church board explains some matter of policy, vision or strategy I’ve found that people will often conclude, “there’s more going on than they’re telling us.”  These conspiracy theories used to bug me, until I realized that in large part unhealthy church cultures have actually produced people’s suspicions. Of course congregants can and do take their suspicions a bit far, but I think it’s fair to say that church culture often creates “conspiracy theorists” because church culture often avoids transparency.

How many times have I heard people tell me a story about the painful discovery of hidden motives in their church leaders, the wounds of deceptive public communication (telling the people of a church one thing while doing another), and the frustration of asking a church leader an honest question and not getting a straight answer. So as I think about church health, it seems to me that transparency is pretty important. It’s hard to be transparent because it puts everything out in the open, but every church needs transparency in its checks and balances of leadership, its finances and how they’re spent, its decision-making process, its capacity to hear criticism and take it seriously, and its ability to confess mistakes and openly seek to rectify those mistakes. Wouldn’t that kind of church be a great place to pursue the Great Commission? Tell me what you think.

About Andy Lewis

Andy is an author, pastor, and musician who lives in Santa Cruz California. Currently he serves as lead pastor at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz
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4 Responses to Church Health Includes Transparency

  1. Daniel Burns says:

    Conspiracy theorist have been apart of the US culture (or our generation) since the numerous revelation of the 1960’s, Pentagon papers, politicians having affairs, and financial misconduct. With the advent of the television (then computers and the internet) information interchange has out paced the ability to hide “truth”. Much of the “conspiracy” are remnants of knowing.

    Transparency is of the utmost importance in business and all other parts of our social media driven culture. Thomas Friedman (senior columnist of the New York Times) wrote that social media will be larger than the internet or the advent of the computer. Hard to imagine?

    The answer to conspiracy (think urban myths) is knowing that all subjects are multi-dimensional. There is no all good or all bad, just what is. That is why one must be well read and have clear concept of who we are as a society (think urban myths) and how God works in our world. Read before speaking as an authority, and then read the other side of the argument, before you form an opinion, and then read history and the Bible before expressing a rigid opinion, and I will bet that this will humble you enough to not argue a singular point.

    One part of this conspiracy that bothers me is the disrespect that we show our public officials, many who are working hard to get their ideals public. That is the definition of politics. I am particularly offended by the disrespect shown to our presidents. The idea that many are self serving is only relative to the history of our country. Those that held firm in the notion that slavery was acceptable or that women should not be allowed to vote, or a person of Mongoloid descent couldn’t hold deed to property in California until well into the 1950’s should be the barometer to which we hold our elected officials today.

  2. Abby says:

    I believe another word for a conspiracy theory is gossip. I think people of goodwill will crave transparency in order that their seen and unseen intentions would be sifted for Gods greater glory. Likewise those who wish to live according to their own will and refuse to relinquish their rights to the Lord God will either consciously or unconsciously crave secrecy. It’s like what scripture says about light and darkness

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