Gospel for Asia’s Legal Battle Is Coming to an End


February 28, 2019

DALLAS — Today, Gospel for Asia announces the soon conclusion of a three-year-long legal challenge that threatened the ministry’s survival.

The class-action lawsuit, which accused the ministry — founded by K.P. Yohannan 40 years ago this year — of racketeering, fraud and financial mismanagement is being resolved via a settlement agreement between the parties according to the “preliminary approval application” filed today. The settlement procedure was ordered by the court in an attempt to satisfy the plaintiff’s concerns about Gospel for Asia before the scheduled trial.

“For three long years, our ministry wondered more often than I’d like to admit if we would survive this ordeal,” said K.P. Yohannan. “We are so incredibly thankful for the prayers and the ongoing support of our many faithful friends and partners. We look today toward the future with optimism in our hearts ‘being confident of this one thing: that He who began a good work in [us] will continue to perfect it.’”

“I’m most proud of the fact that we managed to continue to serve those in need as we fought every day to survive ourselves.” —K.P. Yohannan, Founder of Gospel for Asia

Yohannan continued, “I’m most proud of the fact that we managed to continue to serve those in need even as we fought every day to survive ourselves.”

The settlement is not an acknowledgement of guilt by Gospel for Asia and, in fact, the settlement agreement reads in section 1.6, “[Gospel for Asia’s] position is that the evidence demonstrates (i) all funds designated to the field were sent to the field and used for ministry purposes; and (ii) no Individual Defendant, as defined herein, received any improper personal gain or enrichment from or related to donated funds. Without admitting any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever and expressly denying any such liability or wrongdoing and while maintaining they have substantial factual and legal defenses to all claims and class allegations in the Murphy Litigation and Dickson Litigation...”

Late last year, an article in one Christian publication cited unsubstantiated allegations that as little as 13 percent of the donations given to Gospel for Asia had actually made it to the field making it particularly notable that the settlement agreement explicitly states that all donations given to the ministry did indeed make it to field.

Specifically, section 9.2.2 of the agreement reads, “The Parties also mutually stipulate that all donations designated for use in the field were ultimately sent to the field.”

“The fact of the matter is that Gospel for Asia did not act fraudulently and all the donations they received made it to the field,” said Johnnie Moore, acting as a spokesperson for the ministry, “The agreement to settle was, in part, precipitated by a concern that the ministry could continue to bear the weight of defending itself. Class action lawsuits are enormous burdens for large, for-profit companies. So, one needs just to imagine the weight of an action like this against a not-for-profit organization. The good news is that the lessons learned from this burdensome series of events will make the ministry stronger.”

As stipulated by the settlement agreement, approximately 200,000 Gospel for Asia donors will be eligible to receive a portion of the agreed-upon settlement payment.

“Gospel for Asia is essentially refunding donations,” said Moore. “The ministry hopes that those who receive these funds will simply turn around and donate the same amount of money to another worthwhile ministry. Their desire is only for the Lord’s work to be done.”

As part of the settlement negotiation, Gospel for Asia also proposed offering a seat on its board of directors to the very plaintiff who brought the lawsuit against the ministry.

During the legal proceedings, Gospel for Asia retained one of America’s big four accounting firms to conduct an objective analysis of the flow of Gospel for Asia funds to the field. The ministry also continues to undergo annual audits conducted by Payne, White and Schmutz and those audits have been unqualified (i.e., “clean”).

Gospel for Asia also intends on seeking membership again in various accrediting bodies. The ministry will further set up a subcommittee on its board that will include the plaintiff, for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the settlement agreement and other issues relevant to it.

“We believe with all our hearts that the best days of our ministry are ahead of us,” said Yohannan.“We hope and pray our friends will join us in this vision.”


Frequently Asked Questions about the Gospel for Asia Lawsuit

Did my donation go to the mission field?

Yes, all your donations to Gospel for Asia that were designated for mission field work were sent to the field. The settlement agreement clearly states in section 9.2.2: “The Parties also mutually stipulate that all donations designated for use in the field were ultimately sent to the field.”

Does settling this lawsuit mean that you're guilty?

No, the settlement of this lawsuit does not mean Gospel for Asia is guilty. It simply means that the ministry could not continue down this path. As we said in our press release, a class-action lawsuit is an enormous burden for a for-profit corporation. So, you can imagine the weight this has been for GFA, a non-profit, over three years now. The fact that this is not an acknowledgment of guilt is explicitly stated in the Settlement Agreement in section 1.6, “[Gospel for Asia’s] position is that the evidence demonstrates (i) all funds designated to the field were sent to the field and used for ministry purposes; and (ii) no Individual Defendant…received any improper personal gain or enrichment from or related to donated funds. Without admitting any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever and expressly denying any such liability or wrongdoing and while maintaining they have substantial factual and legal defenses to all claims and class allegations in the Murphy Litigation and Dickson Litigation...”

If Gospel for Asia is innocent, why aren't you 'fighting to the full extent of the law' anymore?

First, the mediation was a court ordered process. The court mandated that we attempt to find a resolution to the case prior to a costly and time-consuming trial. The court appointed a United States Magistrate to manage the mediation. This court ordered process took place after a series of witnesses and experts were deposed by the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ respective lawyers. One of the experts speaking on Gospel for Asia’s behalf was from one of the America’s Big Four accounting firms.

We are especially grateful that the Settlement Agreement acknowledges in Section 9.2.2, “The Parties also mutually stipulate that all donations designated for use in the field were ultimately sent to the field.”

Finally, as we said in our press release, a class-action lawsuit is an enormous burden for major, for-profit corporations. A lawsuit of this kind against a Christian ministry like Gospel for Asia is extraordinarily rare.

So, you can imagine the weight this has been on our ministry for over three years, now. Eventually, it just became nearly unbearable.

Was KP Yohannan or members of his family personally enriched?

No, KP Yohannan and members of his family were not personally enriched in any way. Gospel for Asia has always aggressively denied this. Perhaps, it was put best by Francis Chan in the following excerpt from a March 4, 2019 article at The Christian Post,

“As a result of the ordeal, Chan’s admiration for founder K.P. Yohannan ‘only grew.’
“From the start, it didn’t make sense that he was misappropriating funds,” Chan reasoned. “There was no logical motive. I had spent time in his home and driven with him in his car. He lives very humbly. When I saw his tax returns, I was shocked at how little he made and how much he gave.”

What will happen if there is a surplus from the $37 million settlement?

As we stated in our press statement, “Gospel for Asia is essentially refunding donations. The ministry hopes that those who receive these funds will simply turn around and donate the same amount of money to another worthwhile ministry. Their desire is only for the Lord’s work to be done.” As for any unclaimed funds, the Settlement Agreement states in Section 4.3.8 that any residual funds will be distributed equally among five ministries chosen by the plaintiffs, one of those ministries includes a longtime friend of Gospel for Asia, Franklin Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

How does the settlement affect my missionary or Bridge of Hope child?

The settlement of this lawsuit against Gospel for Asia does not affect your sponsored national missionary or Bridge of Hope child in any way.

Will this be the conclusion of this case?

Yes, this settlement will be the conclusion of this case, upon approval by the Court after a fairness hearing and resolution of any objections to the settlement.

Has K.P. Yohannan commented on the settlement?

Yes, he made this comment upon the announcement of the settlement, “For three long years, our ministry wondered more often than I’d like to admit if we would survive this ordeal. I’m most proud of the fact that we managed to continue to serve those in need even as we fought every day to survive ourselves. We are so incredibly thankful for the prayers and the ongoing support of our many faithful friends and partners. We look today toward the future with optimism in our hearts ‘being confident of this one thing: that He who began a good work in [us] will continue to perfect it.’”

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Gospel for Asia 2018 Annual Report

In 2018, GFA-supported workers in 18 Asian nations worked together with the Body of Christ all over the world—including you—to see lives and communities blessed by the love of Christ.

289,753

women received free healthcare training

61,880

women learned how to read and write through literacy classes

11,000+

women received vocational training

241,732

families helped through income-generating or quality-of-life Christmas gifts

250,000

blankets given away to families

1,132

medical camps conducted in remote or needy communities

360,000

mosquito nets distributed

4,712

Jesus Wells drilled in communities needing clean water

11,451

BioSand water filters given to families and individuals

6,431

toilets installed in needy communities


Letter of Support from George Verwer,
Founder of Operation Mobilization

Dear Friends of Gospel for Asia,

I have known K.P. Yohannan for many decades, all the way back to the time he served in Operation Mobilization, the ministry I founded and directed for more than 46 years.

In fact, K.P. surrendered his life for missions as a young man in one of my meetings in Bangalore in 1967, and he went through training on our OM ship. For the next 8 years he served in Operation Mobilization. I have literally followed his ministry from day one, and even when we had the occasional disagreement, I found him willing to listen and always willing to repent when he had made a mistake.

So, it has been with great joy that I have watched Gospel for Asia become one of the largest, Biblical ministries on the globe, and it has been with great concern that I’ve recently heard of a series of false accusations made against it.

With all my heart, I believe now is the time to stand with this ministry and not to attack it. This is the time to support Gospel for Asia like never before.

If you could take a tour of all of the work they are doing in over a dozen nations in Asia where they are serving, with 15,000 full-time workers, you would be amazed at the numerous churches, seminaries and other ministry facilities they have established. Their TV and radio ministry is also huge and effective. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, no fewer than four times, over the past few years. I’ve stayed with them and ministered among them. They have done all of this good ministry in the middle of a complex environment during a season of significant church growth.

If you could see for yourself what I have seen personally, you would know — as I do — that they have been good stewards of the money you have given and will be good stewards of the money you will provide. In fact, K.P. has always received a modest salary, and their facility in Texas is modest compared with the facilities of many churches and Christian colleges, and certainly so for a ministry of this size and influence.

Of course, Gospel for Asia is not perfect.

No ministry is – and no leader is - but I’ve spent many hours with K.P. over the past year asking him myself about those who’ve opposed him, and he remains very aware of his weaknesses as a person and very willing to correct the inevitable mistakes that all leaders make in dealing with people and learning to grow in grace. He also is the same K.P., pouring his life sacrificially into serving the Church and loving the poor. I have always known K.P. to be a person of integrity, and the same is true today.

I would like to send you a copy of my book Messiology when it comes out in April, which will help you understand what I think and feel so deeply. If you would like a copy, please just ask.

Let us remember the millions in Asia who have been and are continuing to be so deeply impacted by this ministry. I have in many ways written this on their behalf.

George Verwer

Let’s stand with Gospel for Asia.

In His grace and grip for world evangelization,

George Verwer, D.D.

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George Verwer

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