From Christian Media Magazine
By Portia Simelane
Transparency can be defined as being non pretentious and it is the ability to see through something with nothing hidden. Being transparent as a local church is one of the virtues that the 21st century church leadership should endeavor to adhere to. This would allow the full operation of the Holy Spirit on the daily church activities.
In addressing the disciples in the book of John 14 Jesus says in my Father’s house are many mansions, if it was not so, I would have told you so. That is Jesus being transparent with the disciples. As a church, it is fundamentally important that the community and as well as the members of the church know exactly the reasons for our existence. Transparency applies to how we go about meeting the daily demands of the work that God has called the church to do as per the book of Matthew where Jesus instructs the disciples to go to all nations of the world and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
By its very nature, the Church is the body of Christ and as such, we are each members of this body. Whatever affects the members of this body automatically affects the whole body. When the Christian within the local church goes through trials and tribulations, the whole church should be affected.
Transparency with the Church Finances
There are quite a number of areas where transparency is a necessity in the church. This includes the church constitution, the vision and the finances, among others. The local church needs to be transparent in terms of the finances received and spent in the church. Being transparent as a local church is being in a position to teach the body of Christ about the Kingdom Principles, the way God operates. A transparent church will report the finances of the church to every church member who is interested in getting informed about how the offering money is being used.
In the book of Malachi, the Bible says bring all the food to the store house so that there can be meat in my house. Who is supposed to benefit from that meat? The Bible is very specific with regard to the beneficiaries of every offering made in the house of the Lord and these are: the local Pastor working in God’s House, Orphans and Widows. How many churches have a plan regarding orphans and widows in their monthly budget?
The Importance of Transparency
The importance of transparency for the church cannot overemphasized. A transparent church is an authentic church which allows people to come before God as they are without being pretentious in pursuit of pleasing the church elders. A transparent church allows people to be who they are and to be as original as people in worshiping God as such that allows support for each other to be strong.
When we are open to each other as church members, that enhances a strong relationship between and among the church members. This instills unity in the church. When the church is transparent, we will not be ashamed to share our daily challenges and daily victories with the church members. When one member of the church is going through the valley of the shadow of death, knowing that there are people who are praying with him during that particular period will surely strengthen and instill hope upon the life of the individual.
Transparency Breeds Unity
Being transparent as a church allows for a strong fellowship within the church members. Because of this fellowship, you are able to encourage each other as the body of Christ, you are able to forgive each other when one has wronged you. It also is easier to comfort others during a difficult situation. It is such a fellowship with other church members that allows us to be sincere with the church regarding the issues going on both in our spiritual and social life.
A transparent church allows God alone to take the glory each time the church members are victorious. As we go through trials and tribulations, knowing that our help comes from no one but God alone brings him all the glory. When Moses hit the rock when God had asked him to speak to the rock, Moses took the glory that belonged to God. The glory that God was to get if Moses spoke to the rock was then lost as people missed the dynamic ways of God’s operation.
Transparency in the local church is very crucial for the daily operation of the church. When the members of the church are transparent with one another, it becomes very easy to TRUST the members of the church. This also instills unity in the Church. Someone who is living a double standard life is very difficult to trust, yet the minute that a church member knows it’s the culture of the church to be transparent with all the members of the church, to cry with each other and to nurture each other, then there would be a smooth flow in terms of activities operated in the church.
Transparency allows for the move and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the church. As people will be free to discuss their challenges with one another and there will be a strong fellowship among the church members, God will fully be operationally through the work of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.
Portia Simelane was born in Swaziland and currently resides in South Africa with her family is pursuing her PhD studies in Demography and Population Studies with Northwest University, South Africa.