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Author Topic: The ECFA and Great Commission Churches  (Read 16789 times)
Huldah
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« on: April 05, 2018, 09:58:02 am »

Great Commission Churches is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Accordingly, GCC is responsible to know and follow the standards of the ECFA.

From the ECFA's website at http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Standards:

Quote from: "Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship(TM)"
Standard 2 - Governance

Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.

Further, ECFA standards describe "independent" board members as people from outside the organization and its leadership, http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment2:

Quote from: ECFA Standard 2 - Governance
It is important to note that governance is not management.
...
Rather than manage the organization itself, the board should assure that the organization is managed well.
...
After candidates are approved for board service, the organization should provide orientation and training. Training may include a background or history of the organization, as well as an understanding of the organizationís mission.

Quote from: ECFA Standard 2 - Governance
ECFA defines independent board members as:

1. Persons who are not employees or staff members of the organization.
2. Persons who may not individually dictate the operations of the organization similar to an employee or staff member. A person who is an uncompensated CEO, for instance, is not independent.
...
4. Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, employees or staff members of the organization.
5. Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, other board members.
(Abridged; the complete list is available at http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment2.)

The board members of GCC are listed at http://gccweb.org/about/gcc-board/ (please note the "ECFA Accredited" seal in the top right corner of the page):

Dave Bovenmyer
Mark Brown
Mark Darling (on leave)
Matt Gordon
John Hopler
Brent Knox
John Meyer
Tom Short
Rick Whitney
Dennis Clark - emeritus
Herschel Martindale - emeritus

All of these men are pastors in GCC churches and/or directors of GCC ministries, with the exception of Tom Short, who's described as an itinerant teacher and evangelist for GCC. Could someone please point out even one of these men who could be considered independent, according to ECFA standards?

If there are nine board members, excluding the emeritus members, then at least five of them ought to be independent of GCC. Are they claiming independence on a technicality? GCC claims that, "Each church in our association is self-governing and has final authority over its own affairs." (http://gccweb.org/about/faq/, #7) That seems like a stretch, since their website also says, "By being part of GCC a member church humbly agrees to be accountable and to live by the doctrines and values taught in the Scriptures as described in the GCC Statement of Faith and Core Values Paper." (http://gccweb.org/about/find-a-church/) Surely a pastor who leads a member church which is directly accountable to GCC could hardly be considered an independent board member in any real sense of the word.

In my opinion, this is just one more example of GCC being less than scrupulous in its dealings with outsiders. Thoughts?


« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 10:33:01 am by Huldah » Logged
araignee19
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2018, 10:10:12 am »

Do you know if Great Commision Churches as a whole organization is a member? Or would each individual church apply for membership?
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Huldah
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 10:16:16 am »

GCC itself is a member of ECFA.

I don't know whether or not any individual churches are members of ECFA in their own right.
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Godtrumpsall
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 10:46:55 am »

Great Commission Churches is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Accordingly, GCC is responsible to know and follow the standards of the ECFA.

From the ECFA's website at http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Standards:

Quote from: "Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship(TM)"
Standard 2 - Governance

Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.

Further, ECFA standards describe "independent" board members as people from outside the organization and its leadership, http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment2:

Quote from: ECFA Standard 2 - Governance
It is important to note that governance is not management.
...
Rather than manage the organization itself, the board should assure that the organization is managed well.
...
After candidates are approved for board service, the organization should provide orientation and training. Training may include a background or history of the organization, as well as an understanding of the organizationís mission.

Quote from: ECFA Standard 2 - Governance
ECFA defines independent board members as:

1. Persons who are not employees or staff members of the organization.
2. Persons who may not individually dictate the operations of the organization similar to an employee or staff member. A person who is an uncompensated CEO, for instance, is not independent.
...
4. Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, employees or staff members of the organization.
5. Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, other board members.
(Abridged; the complete list is available at http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment2.)

The board members of GCC are listed at http://gccweb.org/about/gcc-board/ (please note the "ECFA Accredited" seal in the top right corner of the page):

Dave Bovenmyer
Mark Brown
Mark Darling (on leave)
Matt Gordon
John Hopler
Brent Knox
John Meyer
Tom Short
Rick Whitney
Dennis Clark - emeritus
Herschel Martindale - emeritus

All of these men are pastors in GCC churches and/or directors of GCC ministries, with the exception of Tom Short, who's described as an itinerant teacher and evangelist for GCC. Could someone please point out even one of these men who could be considered independent, according to ECFA standards?

If there are nine board members, excluding the emeritus members, then at least five of them ought to be independent of GCC. Are they claiming independence on a technicality? GCC claims that, "Each church in our association is self-governing and has final authority over its own affairs." (http://gccweb.org/about/faq/, #7) That seems like a stretch, since their website also says, "By being part of GCC a member church humbly agrees to be accountable and to live by the doctrines and values taught in the Scriptures as described in the GCC Statement of Faith and Core Values Paper." (http://gccweb.org/about/find-a-church/) Surely a pastor who leads a member church which is directly accountable to GCC could hardly be considered an independent board member in any real sense of the word.

In my opinion, this is just one more example of GCC being less than scrupulous in its dealings with outsiders. Thoughts?




I would assume they are  speaking of the Board members of individual churches.  A national board would not be  appropriate to fulfill the roles described by the ECFA...such as overseeing financials, setting salaries for staff, etc.  A small national board could not possibly be responsible for such duties over the scope of GCx churches as a whole, this would fall onto the board of each individual church, don't you think?? 

ECFA defines independent board members as:

Persons who are not employees or staff members of the organization.
Persons who may not individually dictate the operations of the organization similar to an employee or staff member. A person who is an uncompensated CEO, for instance, is not independent.
Persons who are not related by blood or marriage to staff members or other board members. Blood or marriage relationships are defined for the purposes of the standard as being his or her spouse, ancestors, brothers and sisters (whether whole- or half-blood), children (whether natural or adopted), grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and spouses of brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, employees or staff members of the organization.
Persons who do not report to, or are not subordinate to, other board members.
Persons who do not receive a significant amount for consulting or speaking, or any other remuneration from the organization.
Persons who do not have relationships with firms that have significant financial dealings with the organization, officers, directors or key employees.
Persons who are not the paid legal counsel, related by blood or marriage to the paid legal counsel (see definition of blood or marriage in #3 above), or are employed by the firm that is the paid legal counsel of the organization.
Persons who are not the auditors, related by blood or marriage to the auditors (see definition of blood or marriage in #3 above), or are employed by the auditing firm of the organization.

You are grasping at straws, so to speak, those are my thoughts.  And also, as I have posted before, the financial audits of the ECC churches are available on ECC websites. 

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Godtrumpsall
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 10:55:33 am »

This is also how gossip begins, you started a thread posting information about how GCx is not following the standards set forth by the ECFA, which the church chooses to use for financial accountability, yet what you are saying is not factual.  You are making some false assumptions, and end your post with "just one more example of GCC being less than scrupulous in its dealings with outsiders.".  Bam! gossip thread started, where others can come see it stated that GCx churches are not being complaint with ECFA standards...they must be hiding something, they are all just terrible.  Gossip.   

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Huldah
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 11:01:24 am »

I would assume they are  speaking of the Board members of individual churches.  A national board would not be  appropriate to fulfill the roles described by the ECFA...such as overseeing financials, setting salaries for staff, etc.

Incorrect. I've documented my post thoroughly; please read the sources before posting unfounded assumptions. The ECFA is speaking of the boards of their member organizations; that would be GCC itself. Also, the roles you describe are not part of the ECFA's mandate for member boards. As quoted above, member boards do not manage the organization; they oversee the managers. They do not set staff salaries; they review financial statements, approve the hiring of independent auditors, and similar oversight tasks. You can read http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment3 for further understanding of the board's role in financial considerations.

Also, I must re-emphasize that this thread is about the GCC organization specifically, not about the boards of its member churches. If you'd like to discuss the role of individual church boards, please start another thread for that topic. Thank you.

EDIT TO ADD: Regarding gossip, I've cited my sources: the ECFA and GCC websites. That means that if I'm wrong, then two things are true: first, that one or both of those sources is posting erroneous information, and two, that they are gossiping about themselves.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:16:52 am by Huldah » Logged
araignee19
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 11:15:38 am »

This is also how gossip begins, you started a thread posting information about how GCx is not following the standards set forth by the ECFA, which the church chooses to use for financial accountability, yet what you are saying is not factual.  You are making some false assumptions, and end your post with "just one more example of GCC being less than scrupulous in its dealings with outsiders.".  Bam! gossip thread started, where others can come see it stated that GCx churches are not being complaint with ECFA standards...they must be hiding something, they are all just terrible.  Gossip.   

I disagree that this is in any way gossip. She provided interesting and well documented information and then asked for comment and thoughts. She provided her own opinion, clearly stated as such. Again, the definition of gossip is important, and I think it has been twisted by GCx based on my personal experiences with GCx and on what I have seen you and others argue on this site in recent months. Twisting the meaning of gossip to be what you argue is dangerous and is used to suppress the truth. Sorry, but if you disagree that what she said is correct, provide your own factual and well documented evidence to the contrary. Don't just label it gossip because you disagree.
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Godtrumpsall
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 11:31:19 am »

Quote from: Godtrumpsall link=topic=1777.msg16715#msg16715
I would assume they are  speaking of the Board members of individual churches.  A national board would not be  appropriate to fulfill the roles described by the ECFA...such as overseeing financials, setting salaries for staff, etc.

Incorrect. I've documented my post thoroughly; please read the sources before posting unfounded assumptions. The ECFA is speaking of the boards of their member organizations; that would be GCC itself. Also, the roles you describe are not part of the ECFA's mandate for member boards. As quoted above, member boards do not manage the organization; they oversee the managers. They do not set staff salaries; they review financial statements, approve the hiring of independent auditors, and similar oversight tasks. You can read http://www.ecfa.org/Content/Comment3 for further understanding of the board's role in financial considerations.

Also, I must re-emphasize that this thread is about the GCC organization specifically, not about the boards of its member churches. If you'd like to discuss the role of individual church boards, please start another thread for that topic. Thank you.

EDIT TO ADD: Regarding gossip, I've cited my sources: the ECFA and GCC websites. That means that if I'm wrong, then two things are true: first, that one or both of those sources is posting erroneous information, and two, that they are gossiping about themselves.

This is on GCC website

Each member church in GCC is self-governing and has final authority over its own affairs. The local church (rather than GCC) appoints and oversees its own elders and staff. Also, GCC does not own any church buildings or have any control over church budgets. Each church in GCC is a voluntary member of the association for the purpose of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ with other like-minded churches. By being part of GCC a church is voluntarily agreeing to live by the doctrines and values taught in the Scriptures as described in the GCC Statement of Faith and Core Values Paper.

I read this as GCC is not part of financial decision making issues within each individual church.  ECFA deals in providing a high degree of financial accountability.  I would also assume that churches would choose to be a part of ECFA to provide individual churches with  financial accountability with donations, ministry spending, salaries, benefits and so forth.  I don't see how GCC could have a need for this financial oversight, as GCC in itself is not a "church" with a building, and pastors, and so on.    I don't believe GCC receives any donations/offerings, as again they are not a church.  I believe the men that are listed as board members are employees of their respective church locations, not necessarily employees of the GCC organization itself.  So there are quite a few items that should be clarified first before this statement is made.  You don't know the facts, but you have stated them as facts.  This is bothersome.  
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:34:49 am by Godtrumpsall » Logged
Godtrumpsall
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2018, 11:32:52 am »

This is also how gossip begins, you started a thread posting information about how GCx is not following the standards set forth by the ECFA, which the church chooses to use for financial accountability, yet what you are saying is not factual.  You are making some false assumptions, and end your post with "just one more example of GCC being less than scrupulous in its dealings with outsiders.".  Bam! gossip thread started, where others can come see it stated that GCx churches are not being complaint with ECFA standards...they must be hiding something, they are all just terrible.  Gossip.    

I disagree that this is in any way gossip. She provided interesting and well documented information and then asked for comment and thoughts. She provided her own opinion, clearly stated as such. Again, the definition of gossip is important, and I think it has been twisted by GCx based on my personal experiences with GCx and on what I have seen you and others argue on this site in recent months. Twisting the meaning of gossip to be what you argue is dangerous and is used to suppress the truth. Sorry, but if you disagree that what she said is correct, provide your own factual and well documented evidence to the contrary. Don't just label it gossip because you disagree.

The Webster's definition of gossip is quite different than God's definition.  
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araignee19
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2018, 11:33:59 am »


The Webster's definition of gossip is quite different than God's definition. 

Prove it.
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Digital Lynch Mob
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2018, 11:34:13 am »

You are exactly right on all counts GTA.
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Godtrumpsall
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2018, 11:35:05 am »

You are exactly right on all counts GTA.

thank you
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2018, 11:37:58 am »

God Trumps All, it sounds like you believe Great Commission is following God's definition of gossip, which is different than Webster's definition.  So if I understand you correctly, you feel this thread is breaching God's/GC's definition of gossip, and so we should not be talking about it. 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:43:16 am by AgathaL'Orange » Logged

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araignee19
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2018, 11:38:55 am »

Rather than derailing this thread by distracting from the main topic at hand, may I direct you to this thread already discussing the biblical definition of gossip and slander? Perhaps you would like to chime in and enlighten us horrible gossips how God defines gossip? Otherwise, please address why this information Huldah provided is incorrect.

http://forum.gcmwarning.com/general-discussion/biblical-definition-of-gossip-and-slander/msg11502/#msg11502
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Huldah
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2018, 11:40:48 am »

GTA (and you, too, DLM, since you've joined the discussion) perhaps you could explain which specific members of the GCC board, by name, fit the ECFA definition of "independent," which do not, and what the difference is between the two groups in terms of independence. I put a fair amount of effort into researching my first post and demonstrating why I came to my conclusion. I would appreciate it if you would help me keep this thread on track.
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Huldah
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2018, 12:11:26 pm »


You are assuming some things.  You are assuming the GCC it self as an organization utlizes ECFA. 
No. This is not an assumption. This is a fact. Go to the GCC website and you'll see the ECFA Accreditation seal displayed there. I already stated this in my first post.

I have trouble understanding this because the pastors that are on the board are not employees of GCC directly, but employees of their respective local churches.  So they don't have salaries to set, benefits to decide, etc. 
But they are pastors of churches that are members of GCC. Hence, in my view, not truly independent in a way that satisfies the intent of the ECFA standards.

The churches utilize ECFA because they need financial accountability, the BOT of churches fit the descriptions of the purpose of ECFA, they fall in line with the requirements of of governance. 
As I already stated, this thread is not about the BOTs of individual churches. It's about the board of GCC. Confusing the two will make this discussion impossible. If you want to talk about BOTs of individual churches, please start a different thread for that purpose.

Also there is this from the ECFA website "ECFA Method: In reviewing its members, ECFA utilizes a compliance process that is designed to be responsive and fair. Compliance among all members is confirmed through an Annual Accreditation Renewal."

Do you understand what I am saying?  I would recommend contacting ECFA to clarify what you are assuming, then come back here and provided 100% factual evidence that your statement is true, or retract your statement if you find out that your assumptions are not true. 

I have a better idea. You contact them, and then report on your findings. Since you've never been willing to trust my word up till now, I doubt you'd trust me if I reported back to you. I'm not sure I'm willing to make the effort if I'm only going to be  accused of being mistaken, or misquoting, or cherry-picking their response.

Perhaps, while you're at it, you could contact John Hopler and ask him to answer the questions posed in my previous post:

1. Which specific members of the GCC board, by name, fit the ECFA definition of "independent"
2. which do not,
3. and what the difference is between the two groups in terms of independence.

I, for one, would welcome him to join this board and answer these questions in person.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2018, 12:33:20 pm »

God Trumps All, I know it feels like we're wildly speculating and gossiping here to discuss how GCC runs their non-profit. And I can understand that this is hurtful to you, when you're coming from a good place in your heart.  It probably feels like an attack and to boot, sometimes we're a little too flippant.
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Huldah
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2018, 12:45:39 pm »

2.  Just because GCC has the "seal"....is this maybe to show that ALL GCC churches under the GCC umbrella are obligated to report finances to ECFA, and that the boards of each church follow governance policies set forth by ECFA? YOU DON'T KNOW!
I do know.

Quote from: Great Commission Churches "Relationships and Partnerships" web page
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (www.ecfa.org) Great Commission Churches is part of ECFA, an association which helps Christ-centered organizations maintain high ethical financial standards.
Source: http://gccweb.org/about/relationships-partnerships/

Now you know, too.

GTA, you're welcome to post more in this thread if you wish, but I won't be responding to your posts in this particular thread. The discussion here between you and me is  starting to turn into a circular debate, which isn't helpful for anyone.
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araignee19
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2018, 01:06:22 pm »

3.  If you are so concerned about this issue, maybe you should call them to report your troubled findings rather than speculate here? 

This is a fair point. There may be a good explanation. Or maybe ECFA is not aware of the status of the board of GCC. Would be an interesting conversation either way and I would be interested in the answer.
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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2018, 01:13:55 pm »

It sounds pretty fishy to me, Hulduh, not gonna lie or gossip!

If I was a member of any GC church, I would want to get to the bottom of it and see if everything is above board. (No pun intended.)
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