Ministry Apologizes

The Christian Community Development Association has a “vision for restored communities” and now it has an opportunity to restore its own community. Its leader of ten years stepped down this past November, amid allegations of mismanagement by several former employees. The board commissioned a “Reconciliation Task Force” to help them assess their past, including “instances where we have fallen short of living out our stated Biblical value of reconciliation.” The result is a “Statement of Repentance” that identifies four key areas where leadership failed.

An organizational apology is a difficult thing to manage. As anyone who has tried to draft a statement by committee knows, it’s tough to get everyone to agree on wording. When it’s done in the midst of controversy or crisis, it’s even harder to speak clearly and meaningfully. I think the CCDA’s Statement of Repentance is well-done, for an organizational apology. It has a sincere tone, like the leaders understand that significant pain has been caused, and significant change needs to occur.  It doesn’t specifically state what the leaders did wrong, which may be appropriate in a public, organizational apology. Hopefully they expressed that in private to the individuals directly affected. It acknowledges the fall-out, including dedicated employees who departed, and pain all around. It identifies goals for the future, without specifically explaining how they intend to achieve them. They posted it on their web-site–they didn’t try to hide it.

This Statement could be a model for other organizations that need to make a public “act of contrition.”