I recently received a copy of a letter that an alumnus wrote to the Board of Directors. Although the Board knows his identity, for the purposes of the blog, he wishes to remain anonymous as he said, “I do not want any honor coming to me for what I wrote and such – I’d rather see God honored than me.” I thought many of his suggestions to the Board were excellent and he has given permission to share this with the alumni body. He also asks that you kindly “forgive any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.”
The letter is long, but is very much worth reading. You can access the full copy by clicking here. Read it then come back and give us your thoughts.
Here are just a few quick excerpts to whet your appetite:
Simply put: apologize. This is the first step toward change and seeking solutions. The issues being addressed by hurting alumni threaten to tear apart the TM family, to injure the body of Christ and even risks disenfranchising many believers as well as non-believers should this situation become more public. These issues will not simply go away. The Teen Mania family has a responsibility to humbly examine these issues and to be willing to make any changes to correct these problems.
We need to be reminded of how God sees us in relationship to Him. When God calls us as His followers to be part of His family, we are to call him Father. We are not slaves. Nor are we generals. We are reminded that if we are to be first in His Kingdom, then we should seek to be the last. God desires our hearts to be that of servants; not the appearance of legalistic leaders seeking their own interests.
Elitism is another unfortunate poisonous element of the Honor Academy that is blindly supported by all levels of the Teen Mania family….Any part of the Honor Academy that bestows any special title, prestige, or achievement of perfection needs to done away with.
Another issue is the continued strength of commitment and integrity to professional standards in finances and contracts. Both internally and externally Teen Mania’s practices have come under question in recent years. Interns have observed things they believe to be professionally questionable and make them feel like they are lying to vendors and not adhering to the value of integrity. Alumni have made complaints that their and other contracts have not been honored. These issues need to be fully investigated, preferably by outside trustworthy sources to find out the truth and to make proper recommendations on what professional changes need to be made to insure Teen Mania’s professional integrity. This includes leadership being willing to limit the amount of financial compensation they receive from the organization’s treasury. These areas are something where perfectionism is desirable and even potentially, very likely attainable. The guidelines of Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, should just be that, guidelines. The realm of faith and spiritual development is one where judgment and perfectionism should not be practiced. But in the worldly realm of accounting, professional standards and legal contracts is not as forgiving. Here is where an attitude of excellence can make an excellent representation for our faith.