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Governance Church

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The Church and Governance

What is Corporate Governance – “The system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled? Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of the many stakeholders in a company – these include its shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community”. – Investopedia.

As a child growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I was fortunate to have grown up in a country where the church was a big part of the country’s educational system and provided education and knowledge through mission schools (both Christian and Muslim)all across the country.

Then a lot of emphasis was placed on basic moral instructions and we were made to understand that it was important to give back to the community in order to have a society that we would proudly be a part of as we grew older.

The church was a place where people believed you would find discipline and that your neighbor’s beautiful children were not just an integral part of the community, but future leaders  who needed to be guided  along the right path in order to become reputable leaders in the society..

 Growing into adulthood, though not a very frequent worshiper in the church, I took with me the values that had been instilled in me as a child while attending bible study classes of moral instruction and social studies. Realizing that the fear of God was indeed the beginning of wisdom, that respecting elders (not just parents) was the gateway to securing a successful life and that it was important to do good not just to those that you know but to the community in order to maintain a peaceful environment.

 Advancing in my adult life and gaining more experience and exposure from attending various churches and seminars, it became apparent that the message was changing. Initially, the thought that it was the evolution of the world came to mind, considering that with globalization comes new ideas/philosophies, thus transcending to the churches and how church ministries ought to run. But reflecting on  the good old book called the bible,  the truth reinforces itself,  the tenets of Christianity as well as  the church had not changed  rather it is the individuals who interpret their understanding of the Holy Book.

This brings us to question – what role should our churches and religious organization play in the management of the society, community and the world as a whole.

Over the last two decades we have read of organizations that have being liquidated as a result of the actions of Board and senior management of the organizations  which led to the destruction of such organisations after a few years of being celebrated as successful entities. Causing the organizations to be   the toast of the world at some point and dead and buried after a few years.

What is it that these organizations do wrongly that brings about a state of collapse? Many have gone this way due to the fact that some individuals had become bigger than the sum of the whole organization; individuals have reneged on their moral standings of upholding business ethics and have gone ahead to rob the organizations and the society at large of their due rewards.

Today, the same trend seems to have infected the operations  in religious organizations, where some of the individuals are greater than the sum of the whole, where the Boards and management are more about the individual than the society they should be affecting. Rather than educate the society on the need for good morals and societal improving studies, we are more interested in fighting more supernatural enemies than those that we can see with our two eyes – poverty, illiteracy, moral decadence, corruption etc.

Like Christ said, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. This has proven  to be the case for both the custodians of the faith and the followers of the faith. For the custodians it has become important to start to apply the principles of good governance in every aspect of their organizations – by being more corporately responsible, by ensuring that they create a lasting society for all stakeholders, by going back to the teachings of morals and the importance of creating sustainability not only for the church, but also for the parishioners (customers) of the church who are a major part of the contributions to the welfare of the organization.

These religious organizations can do better by applying the principles of good corporate governance as defined above by making sure that they balance the interest of all stakeholders – Bishops, Pastors, Workers, Parishioners, Society etc. This is because we are all stakeholders within the society and the community and where there is no development, we would one day wake up to find out that we really do not have parishioners (customers) who will help us maintain our resources while ensuring sustainability due to the fact that the community will no longer be in existent.

“Whether you have a Maruti or BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business class, your destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a Titan or a Rolex, the time is still the same. Whether you have an Apple, Samsung or Lava, people who call you remains the same. There is nothing wrong with dreaming a luxurious life. However, it is important that you are in control of your dreams and not vise-versa, allowing NEED become GREED. Because needs can always be met, but greed can never be fulfilled”. – Rajinkanth

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motive. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be Happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. – Mother Teresa

So the question is and in line with what Christ said in the holy book – Has My house become a den of thieves again?

Religious organizations should go back to the basics – good governance structures and balancing the interest of all stakeholders. This is because at the end of the day “what would we gain if we lose our soul and inherit the earth?”

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