Former trustees of a U.K.-based charity called The Everlasting Arms Ministries (TEAM) were guilty of “serious…misconduct,” according to a recent report from the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Among the commission’s findings were that the ministry spent money on luxury travel and five-star hotels as it conducted “international outreach.”
“It is clear that the charity was spending significant sums without proper oversight and checks and no clear long-term strategy which put the charity’s funds at risk,” said the Charity Commission in its report published June 14, 2022. “The inquiry also found that the previous trustee board breached their trustee duties and lacked the necessary skills to manage the charity in line with Commission guidance and best practice and/or were not aware of the Commission’s guidance and best practice, especially in relation to governance and financial matters.”
The Everlasting Arms Ministries and the Charity Commission
The Everlasting Arms Ministries website is currently under construction, but an archived webpage from almost four years ago shows that the ministry has six locations: three in the United Kingdom and three in India, China and Nigeria, respectively. According to a different archived capture of TEAM’s website taken June 3, 2019:
The Everlasting Arms Ministries (TEAM) was established to set the captives free, preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to restore back hope. Our primary aim is focused on Redemption, Recovery and Restoration by breaking satanic yokes, restoring destinies and raising leaders. Our leadership development schemes [sic] is to equip people of all age group [sic] with the necessary knowledge and training needed to assume positions of responsibility. This is evident in our involvement in various community and outreach projects.
One of the outreach projects listed on TEAM’s site was fighting hunger.
In its report, the Charity Commission said, “The charity’s objects are the advancement of the Christian religion and the relief of poverty worldwide.”
The commission’s report evaluated a number of areas of concern, including the 2016 sale of one of TEAM’s properties, conflicts of interest among ministry leadership, excessive spending on travel, significant increases in the salaries of the senior pastor and his wife, and poor or absent documentation of finances.
One notable finding was that from FYE (fiscal year end) March 31, 2016, to FYE March 31, 2018, TEAM conducted “international outreach” that included spending £457,665.94 on five-star hotels and traveling business class. The ministry justified these expenditures to the commission by saying its previous trustee board wanted directors and trustees to be comfortable while traveling.
However, during the time in question, the Deputy Senior Pastor, who is also the wife of the Senior Pastor, took a business class flight that cost £2,580, even though she was not a trustee of the charity. A charity employee on the same trip flew economy for £548.
The commission also noted that funds designated “international outreach” were to go to ministry partners in China and India. Yet while TEAM spent £457,665.94 on international outreach, only “£43,707.14 represented money the charity paid to partners in China and India.”
“Insufficient documentation was provided to the inquiry to fully account for funds sent to the charity’s partners abroad,” said the commission.