I have not followed the turmoil surrounding Greg Mortenson and his book, Three Cups of Tea. I have no idea whether the information in the report by 60 Minutes is correct or perhaps even understated. Perhaps, just maybe, they left out so much of the other side of the story that there really is not any story. I do not know.
However, there is a lesson to be learned for all of us, regardless of whether story has substance or the reports are totally hollow:
Guard the reputation of your ministry.
Paul Nelson is a member of the World Vision board of directors. He has an article up on the issue that reminds all of us in the non-profit world to be attentive to the integrity and reputation of our ministries. I commend the article to you: Lessons from “Three Cups of Tea” controversy.
There is a frightening danger for leaders and ministries when you start to really have an impact and see some momentum build. Mr. Nelson says:
A charity’s credibility is a currency that simply cannot be wasted. Leaders who are inextricably linked to their organizations (such as CAI and Mr. Mortenson) must be especially vigilant. Why? Because those leaders — like the rest of us — are human, fallible and subject to temptation. Public adulation, meetings in high places, access to private jets, or a bestselling book can lead to a CEO’s sense of privilege and celebrity far beyond what donors would expect, let alone tolerate.
There is danger here. For all of us. Beware.
Hat hip: Cory Trenda