David Melber serves as the chief operating officer, and among his duties is the responsibility of ensuring that all financial resources received through the Cooperative Program and other offerings are gratefully received, responsibility managed and correctly disbursed. Dr. Gerald Harris conducted the interview.
Question: How does your background qualify you to assist in planning budgets, keeping financial records and appropriately disbursing funds?
My professional career includes serving as the vice president of operations and acquisitions for a large national company with over $100 million in annual revenue. The oversight was for approximately 30 locations across the eastern half of the U.S. We started the process of taking the company public through an initial public offering (IPO) but ended up selling the company to another public company for approximately $200 million.
Following that experience, I began to sense that God was calling me into ministry, and I served for 13 years as the CEO of Crossings Ministries (CM), a gospel-focused camping ministry in Kentucky. When CM acquired the Baptist Haiti Mission with a 100-bed hospital, 360 schools, a network of 350 churches, a trade school, camps and a self-help retail operation, I became the chairman of that ministry as well. It was a multifaceted ministry that gave me great experience in managing mission dollars given from the U. S., Canada and the Netherlands. Prior to coming to the GBMB, I served as president of Send Relief with the North American Mission Board for four years. All along the way God has given me the privilege of providing oversight and leadership of budgets of varying sizes and all with certain complexities. I have also dealt with property construction and management, business acquisitions, and budget development and management of various-size entities that were both revenue-generating and donor-supported.
Q: Individuals are to be good stewards of their finances. How important is it for the GBMB to prove itself a good steward of the monies received from our churches?
This cannot be overstated. As an entity that is fully funded by revenue coming through the Cooperative Program and Mission Georgia offerings, the biblical accountability and the accountability to thousands of donors (churches) is top priority. We want to take a step toward a normal audit each year. While an audit is good and necessary, we can demonstrate good stewardship by even going a step further. Transparency is the key; transparency in detail must be our goal. We should always provide more specific detail to our Executive Committee, Administration Committee and Budget Committee than is requested. We are serving in a day and time that skepticism is rampant towards religious entities, and for us to create trust and transparency our systems, reporting and practices have to be above reproach in every way.
Q: What steps, processes and protocol are in place to ensure that the money is properly allocated and distributed?
Audits and the approval of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is commendable; there is more we can do prove our accountability. CapinCrouse is helping us build a system of internal policies and practices which will become a part of our financial department. These practices put in place the appropriate financial controls and reporting that give our Executive Committee members a deeper, comprehensive view into our finances.
This process will demonstrate to our churches a level of visibility that is necessary. Our future process of educating and equipping our Executive Committee members will include educating them on understanding financial statements and internal controls so they are enabled to understand all the information they are receiving through our reports.
Our current plans are to build a new accounting/financial system (software) that will facilitate even greater accountability and hopefully inspire trust. Our target is to have the new system in place and operational during June 2021. The new systems will create simplicity of structure with depth of detail to provide real-time reports at any level required.