Converge ECFA Membership Suspended Pending Review
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) suspended the membership of Converge, a church planting and missions organization, on October 6, 2022. It has been a member since 1980.
According to the ECFA’s membership changes report, Converge is under review for compliance with Standard 3. Jake Lapp, ECFA’s vice president of member accountability, confirmed Converge’s suspended status.
Standard 3, which relates to financial oversight, reads: “Every organization shall prepare complete and accurate financial statements. The board or a committee consisting of a majority of independent members shall approve the engagement of an independent certified public accountant, review the annual financial statements, and maintain appropriate communication with the independent certified public accountant. The board shall be apprised of any material weaknesses in internal control or other significant risks.”
ECFA conducts a formal compliance review when a serious concern related to noncompliance arises. In that situation, the ECFA staff investigates “the necessary details to help determine whether the member is in compliance with the standards.”
As a result of the review, the ECFA Board may “suspend or terminate an organization’s membership for unresolved compliance issues.”
In response to a MinistryWatch inquiry, Converge acknowledged the suspension of its accreditation.
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“The suspension allows Converge to reestablish and demonstrate full ECFA compliance in the relatively near term. Converge continues to strengthen its business practices and accountability procedures and is working closely with ECFA to ensure it fulfills the requirements to have its accreditation restored,” the organization said in an email reply.
Located in Orlando, Florida, Converge traces its roots to a Swedish church planter in Illinois 170 years ago. It was formerly called the Baptist General Conference then became Converge Worldwide in 2008 and finally Converge in 2015.
Converge offers a variety of services to its members, such as strategizing about church planting, training church leaders, equipping churches to “champion biblical diversity,” and providing investment opportunities and retirement planning.
Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, formerly led by John Piper, is probably the most well-known member of Converge.
Lapp did not reply to MinistryWatch inquiries about the length of the review process nor how the possible compliance issue came to ECFA’s attention.