ECFA Terminates Gospel for Asia’s Membership Due to Violations Related to Governance and Financial Management

Associated Press/Photo by Donna McWilliam Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan
Associated Press/Photo by Donna McWilliam
Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) terminated the membership of Gospel for Asia Friday for violations of ECFA standards. The termination came after a lengthy review of the church planting ministry’s practices that began on June 10.

Gospel for Asia, founded in 1978 by K.P. Yohannan, operates mostly in India, where it is known as Believers Church. The group says it has planted thousands of churches that now have hundreds of thousands of members. Believers Church also operates dozens of regional Bible colleges and an accredited seminary. It also owns a 2,000-acre rubber plantation and other real estate holdings throughout India.

The ECFA found that Gospel for Asia had violated five of the financial accountability group’s seven standards, touching virtually every aspect of the ministry. The ECFA noted that Gospel for Asia failed to engage in “truthfulness in communications,” did not honor “giver expectations and intent,” and did not have appropriate management and controls for an organization its size, including a “responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent.”

A focus of the investigation was a new Gospel for Asia headquarters campus in Wills Point, Texas. That facility cost about $40 million, with half of the money coming from Gospel for Asia–India, which was likely given by donors to promote the spread of the gospel in India. Gospel for Asia COO David Carroll admitted that the organization “did not disclose in 2013 that gift from our field partner [Gospel for Asia–India].” The lack of disclosure and the use of funds in ways contrary to donor intent were key reasons for the ECFA terminating the ministry’s membership.

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Warren Cole Smith