Last night HBC emailed a recorded statement by Rick Korte announcing his resignation, as well as other members, from the Harvest 2020 team. He optimistically announced serval accomplishments, one of which was a financial update. The only news regarding the financial review he offered at that time was that Harvest 2020 turned over the review to an “independent group.”
Recall, Harvest 2020 provided an initial roadmap for the financial review process on 24 February 2019. Almost four weeks ago they stated the following.
In an effort to verify that our church’s finances are and have been ‘above reproach,’ we are hiring an additional independent accounting group to conduct a thorough financial review beginning in the coming weeks. The financial review will determine if there was any information that was not included in our annual audits. This will also include an extensive review of expenses involving our former Senior Pastor’s office.
Then on 10 March 2019 Harvest 2020 had this announcement.
This week, one of our team’s volunteer advisors, Jon Vesely, agreed to lead a team of independent advisors to work with Plante Moran, a certified CPA firm, to conduct a thorough, comprehensive review of the past financial affairs of our church. The focus of this team will be to provide clarity surrounding the general concerns and questions our congregants have expressed. Because of Jon’s independence from Harvest, we believe he is the best person to lead this effort.
In his closing remarks, remember, Rick Korte assured us all that we would cry “enough is enough” with regards to the amount of communication that will be forthcoming from the elders and staff leadership. He also concluded his optimistic remarks by encouraging HBC congregants to “trust in the church leadership team.” Well, not 24 hours after making these remarks I’m crying, “not enough, not enough!’
What HBC “leadership” and Rick Korte did not tell the congregation is that the process for conducting a financial review has stalled. They failed to be transparent with the congregation and inform them that Jon Vesley is no longer part of the process. More importantly, they failed to mention that Plante Moran, the CPA firm, is no longer interested in conducting the review for HBC. Now this raises two main issues: transparency and concern regarding financial integrity.
Let us not forget Dan George’s warning in his elder resignation letter from yesterday. He stated,
If the workings and culture of the Harvest elder board does not radically change, our church will not be able to rid itself of the old sinful, secretive, siloed, controlling culture…The elder board at Harvest continues to be controlled by former executive committee members . . . these men should resign immediately and make room for change.
It appears that Dan George’s foreboding was a potentially more honest assessment than Rick Korte’s rosey-eyed call for trust in the new leadership. Why is it less than 24 hours after Korte’s announcement about HBC’s trustworthy new leadership and commitment to transparent communication is this blog, yet again, telling HBC congregants relevant information with respect to their finances and church life?
Just as important, what does it mean for HBC that Vesley is no longer part of the review process, if he is “the best person to lead this effort?”
- Why is he no longer there to lead the oversight team?
- And, why was there no statement by Rick Korte or John Vesley announcing his departure from the financial review team and his reasoning?
What does it mean that Plante Moran is no longer interested in this review project?
- Did HBC refuse to engage their services because of concern regarding costs?
- Did Plante Moran refuse to engage in this project because of the controversial and electric mainstream and social media attention to this case?
- Did Plante Moran refuse to engage in this project because they did not feel comfortable with the transparency of the HBC leadership and their access to financial data?
- Did Plante Moran refuse to engage in this project because, as can happen, the firm did not want to review an organization that could potentially be under review by a regulatory body?
- Whatever the answer is, why did HBC refuse to be transparent with the congregation as they were announcing a new leadership structure and their deep commitment to transparent communication?
- Rick, we aren’t saying “enough is enough” yet.