Pastor J. A. Adeyokunnu
The Lord Jesus Christ was the ultimate whistle-blower. The world hated and killed him for blowing whistle on their wrongdoings. Fortunately for us, in killing him, the kingdom of darkness struck its own death blow and hung on its own gallows.
Our local churches, the visible representation of the body of Christ, are called to be places where these kinds of wrongdoings do not operate. We are citizens of the kingdom of light. Cover up of evil is therefore not allowed in our midst, most especially as accountants.
Steps to take for whistle blowing in the mission
When a person observes wrongdoing in the Mission, the first step should be to use the church’s internal whistle blowing mechanism and report the issue to the supervisor. If this does not produce results, however, it is not enough to say, “Well, I did my best.” If the wrongdoing is not being addressed within the church, it is time to move outside to the press. However, before considering this, there are certain things to mull over.
The first thing a potential Whistle Blower in the church should ask is the status of the information itself. Is the information “classified”, “proprietary”, or otherwise “protected?” Is there a system in place which clearly considers the information restricted?
The second consideration is whether the whistle blower has a specific obligation, legal or ethical, to protect the information, or has the information because another person violated his obligation to keep it secret. If so, then it is a much more serious matter to reveal it.
The third consideration is whether it is about the church or private matters. Information about another’s family life has more of a claim to privacy than information about a person’s action as a minister or a worker. The difficult cases, of course, are those where the private lives of the individuals arguably influence their ministerial actions.
A potential whistle blower must assess the good and harm their leak may do. When lives are at stake or funds are being misappropriated, those concerns for the Mission override the harm to personal privacy or secrecy.
On the other hand, a leaker must determine if the conduct he or she is exposing represents actual wrongdoing or if it simply represents a policy disagreement.
Revelations about the Mission’s interest are to be handled with care. Exposure of sensitive information about policy matters or decision may needlessly cause harm to an individual and such issues should remain secret if the problem does not rise to the level of misconduct.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the church is a sacred place where wrongdoing is not condoned. However, its image must be protected from unscrupulous whistle-blowers. The press is not the best place to report your findings. Take advantage of the line of authority put in place to channel your observation to the appropriate authority.