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Ministries With an “F” Transparency Grade

Warren Cole Smith

MinistryWatch stands for transparency and accountability.  That’s why we think it is important for Christian ministries to be as transparent as possible with donors and with the public.

So MinistryWatch will grade every ministry in its database based on transparency.  Today, we release a list of the ministries who have received a failing or “F” grade — approximately 20 ministries.

Our transparency grade evaluates the ease with which donors can see into the finances of a ministry.  The ministries on this list have failed to comply with the following three requirements:

  1. The completion and public availability of a Form 990. The Form 990 highlights revenue, expenses, fundraising costs, and executive salaries.  Form 990s have a great deal of information of interest to donors, though they are not a “gold standard” because this information is self-reported.
  2. The completion and public release of an audited financial statement. Audited financial statements do not list executive salaries, but they have the advantage of being created by an independent accounting firm, thus giving donors and the public greater assurance that the numbers reported by management are accurate.  (Ministries with annual revenue of less than $1-million may have reviewed financial statements.)
  3. Membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Members of the ECFA publicly commit to live up to the “Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship.”  (Ministries with annual revenue less than $1-million are exempt from this requirement.)

The grading system is simple.

  • If a ministry complies with all three of the standards above, that ministry will receive a Transparency Grade of “A.”
  • If a ministry meets two of the three standards, that ministry will receive a “C.”
  • If a ministry meets only one of these standards, it will receive a “D.”
  • If it fails to meet any of the three standards, that ministry will receive a Transparency Grade of “F.”

Though we have only 20 or so “F” ministries here, you can search our database and see the grade of your favorite ministry by clicking here.

If you would like to report an error or a change in ministry status, please email:  wsmith@ministrywatch.com

SectorOrganization NameCEO/President Revenue ECFA?Transparency Grade
Christian GrowthVictorious FamilyTerence ChatmonNoF
Educational MediaLowell Lundstrom Ministries, Inc.Lowell Lundstrom $2,446,637 NoF
Educational MediaBenny Hinn MinistriesBenny HinnNoF
Educational MediaBreakthrough Ministries / Rod ParsleyRod ParsleyNoF
Educational MediaCreflo Dollar MinistriesCreflo DollarNoF
Educational MediaFred Price/ Crenshaw Christian CenterAngela EvansNoF
Educational MediaGod's News Behind the NewsJoe Van KoeveringNoF
Educational MediaJohn Hagee MinistriesJohn HageeNoF
Educational MediaKenneth Copeland MinistriesKenneth CopelandNoF
Educational MediaKenneth Hagin MinistriesKenneth Hagin Jr.NoF
Educational MediaTD Jakes Ministries / Potters HouseT.D. JakesNoF
EvangelismWisdom Center/Mike MurdockDeborah Johnson $133,650 NoF
EvangelismJoel Osteen / Lakewood ChurchJoel OsteenNoF
EvangelismRevival Ministries International/Rodney Howard-BrowneRodney Howard-BrowneNoF
Fellowship EvangelismTransport for ChristScott Weidner $1,929,525 NoF
Foreign MissionsHigh Adventure Ministries, Inc.Jacqueline Yockey $2,919,611 NoF
Foreign MissionsChrist For the City InternationalDuane "Chip" Anderson $2,189,571 NoF
Foreign MissionsVenture InternationalLeonard Rodgers $158,752 NoF
Foreign MissionsGFA World, pka Gospel for AsiaK.P. YohannanNoF
Radio/ TV StationsThe Christian Network/PRAISE TVDustin Rubeck $4,370,884 NoF
Radio/ TV StationsLesea, Inc./ Lester Sumrall Evangelistic AssociationStephen SumrallNoF
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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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