Listening In preview – Michael Martin

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next, a preview of Listening In

In 2019 WORLD Magazine published an article critical of the ECFA. That’s an initialism that stands for Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The article raised questions about ECFA’s spotty record of accountability. 

Over the last few years, a handful of financial scandals came to light involving ministries that belonged to ECFA. And some of those included a history of complaints that seemed to be ignored. 

ECFA hired Michael Martin as its new president in 2020. Here’s host Warren Smith.

WARREN SMITH: What do you do to police these ministries that are maybe bad operators or don’t comply with your standards any more? 

MARTIN: Sure. That’s a great question. What I would say to that Warren, there really is a very, you know, solid due diligence process that ECFA works through, like I mentioned, anytime that a concern would either be something that we’ve seen internally through our work that we do with the annual membership renewal process and the monitoring that we do of our members, but also in those instances where maybe it is a giver, or someone who’s been on staff at an organization who would share a concern, and they’ve gone through the process of trying to work with the ministry, and they haven’t been resolved. 

So maybe they come to us, or, quite frankly, there’s also some things that off, you know, we’ll see, maybe that have been even reported in media or otherwise, that we’ll follow up on. And ECFA does have a process in place, you know, to work with an organization to go through a formal review process. And we never make assumptions regarding concerns that have been raised, because, you know, 9 times out of 10, it can be a misunderstanding, and that sort of thing. 

But we do take all of those concerns very seriously and follow up on those, as well. And, you know, we also, this is probably something that should be clarified as well, for folks who are kind of watching from the outside with ECFA, we also follow a redemptive, biblical, approach to compliance with the standards. 

And so we’re always looking to, even in those instances where maybe an organization has gone out of compliance with the standards, what we’re trying to do is also to help restore them back into compliance with membership whenever it’s possible to do so. 

And in those situations where either that can’t be done in a timely fashion, or there’s a very egregious violation or an organization that’s not willing to make the changes in those instances. ECFA does, like you mentioned, have the ability under our bylaws and our agreement with our members to either suspend or terminate membership, and we hope that’s not you know, not the case. But ECFA does have latitude to do that to really, like you said protect the integrity of the seal and what ECFA stands for.

EICHER: That’s Michael Martin talking to Warren Smith. To hear the complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.

(Photo/Michael Martin, ECFA) 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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