This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

1 Corinthians 4:1–2

In the end, we must all give an accounting of our lives before God, of the resources and opportunities we used, abused, or simply let go to waste. But Scripture has also called Christians to be accountable in this life to one another in the body of Christ.

Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, different structures and offices have been built up in the various churches and denominations in order to provide guidance and exercise discipline: boards of deacons or elders, pastors, bishops, councils. These structures in organizations with any history at all help to keep us honest.

But young parachurch ministries, particularly those with all the opportunity for excess and privacy that television affords, need special help. A few items from the news would suffice to make that help urgent: sexual escapades, lavish lifestyles, cover-up, dishonest reporting, financial mismanagement, and unconscionable fund-raising techniques. Perhaps the bad news of the past year may be God’s providential way of calling ministries to greater accountability.

The Need For Accountability

Accountability has become the key word wherever the bad news about teleministries is being discussed. The lavish entrepreneurial lifestyle endemic to some of these ministries must go. The mass television market must now pay the price of radical asceticism in order to show repentance for the previous sins of excess.

Consider the ministry of Mother Teresa. Her ascetic ways may not be a practical model for television ministries, but some serious corrective is needed—something that ...

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