In most of the world organizational accountability and financial transparency are accepted as best practices. This has become particularly true in not-for-profit endeavors where donors increasingly want assurance that their money is effectively accomplishing the mission. During the past decade organizations have developed sophisticated means to measure effectiveness and are creating more complete reports than they did in the past. This increases credibility in the eyes of donors and other external interests and it enhances internal communication and effectiveness.
How do you apply this standard where an authoritative government is opposed to your work? How do you become transparent in a situation where the government will shut you down if it discovers what you are doing?
This is the challenge Christians face in the Central Asian country I recently visited. In fact, the training program nearly missed being shut down and all of us detained. We were protected due to a last minute venue change. While we were at the alternate venue, armed security forces in jeeps and masks swept into the original venue looking for us. Simultaneously, a group of three youth from one of the churches was detained as they were performing an act of service – cleaning an elderly man’s house. The youths were released after three hours of questioning.
These Christians need to exercise much wisdom as they attempt to build an excellent organization which is appropriately accountable and transparent while living under an oppressive government.