"Going to the source" may be a losing porposition. Leaders are likely to simply deny everything and become punitive.
There are some simple common sense questions that can be asked to determine if a church group might be potentially unsafe.
1. Is the church governed democratically according to its bylaws? That is, are there regular elections by secret ballot mandated by the bylaws to elect a board to fixed terms? Once elected by the congregation does this board have the power to fire and hire staff, such as the pastor? Does the board control the budget and church spending?
2. Is there an indpendently audited annually distributed church budget that discloses in detail all the salaries, compensation and expenses paid out from church funds? Is that budget distributed to all contributors?
If the answer to these questions is yes without exceptions than the church leaders have meaningful accountability to the cogregation and contributors have meaningful transparency regarding monies given to the church. If not the church may be little more than a dictatorship.
The overwhelming majority of Protestant churches have these safeguards in place.
Most of the complaints and bad press Calvary Chapel has received historically revolves around the problem of accountability.
Jesus warned that many would come in his name, but he would not know them. Paul rebuked bad leaders in Galations.
Thankfully the overwhelming majority of churches don't have these problems.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2012 09:04PM by rrmoderator.