Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Minister’s radio show dropped amid accountability questions

March 14, 2007


— Questions about financial accountability at a fast-growing megachurch have prompted a leading Christian radio network to drop Rev. Jerry Johnston's daily show.

Bott Radio Network, which aired Johnston's 30-minute program Monday through Friday on KCCV-AM 760, dropped the program Monday.

The move came a day after it was reported by the Kansas City Star that hundreds of people have left Johnston's First Family Church in Overland Park in recent years because of concerns about a lack of financial accountability.

The church has 4,200 members, a $17 million annual budget and a TV ministry that has gone global, and Johnston has become a leader in speaking out on conservative causes.

Dick Bott, founder and president of the radio network, said he was surprised to learn the First Family Church was not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which sets standards for charities and religious groups.

Bott said his Overland Park-based network airs only programs of members of the financial accountability group and Johnston's program would be discontinued until he joins the EFCA. The network broadcasts on more than 50 radio stations in nine states and is considered a national leader in Christian broadcasting.

"We make no claim as to whether he was right or wrong about anything, but it's just our own policy of major program ministries," Bott said. "We want people to be able to trust what they hear."

The Star found that the church is structured in a way that provides little financial oversight and said Johnston has refused members' requests for information on church finances.

In an earlier interview with the newspaper, Johnston said the church was accountable because it is run by a board of trustees that oversees all of its finances. The church also is audited annually.


Confrontation 11 years ago

It sounds like someone is making money.

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