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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Money and Church. Oh No!

I have found that the area of "church finances" above all others has caused more trouble for the pastor in a small town church. Often there is one person that has the absolute control of this area and will have to be forced to relinquish that control.

Most small town churches don't have a budget, so they have to vote on everything that is needed (of course this causes fights). A good budget will help to eliminate the fussing about what the money is spent on. If it was approved in the budget then it is not necessary to vote on it.

The easiest way to start a church budget is by dividing things in thirds: 33% staff (salaries and benefits), 33% ministries, and 33% buildings and capitol growth. One really good idea is that of separating the missions from the regular church account this is something that can be a great benefit. Then divide the missions just like you did the regular offerings into thirds: 33% foreign missions, 33% home based missions, and 33% projects (conferences, missionary helps, guest speakers). I have found that when I separate the two both will increase. These percentages can be adjusted depending on the particular situations.

In rural areas the Church income is very cyclical. They often have an aversion to church debt – although they think nothing of personal or farm debt. Since their resources are limited, the often have a “make do” mentality. I call it the duct tape syndrome. We will just patch it up and see how much longer we can make it last. If they become passionate about something – they will support it. Somehow, they come up with the money – but only if they feel passionate about it. Some people use money as way of influencing decisions in small churches.

It is amazing how many small town churches exist because 2 or 3 families are paying all the bills to keep the doors open. So often money is used to keep the pastors hands tied. This is "responsibility without control" a recipe for disaster. The pastor is held responsible for how the church operates but is not given control. I think it is very dangerous for the pastor to have access to the monies. The budget will give him the control he needs to run the day to day affairs of the church. I don't think the pastor should be on the accounts "carry the checkbook".

It is my opinion that the area of "Church Finance" will stagnate the growth of the church about as much as any other one thing. I also believe it can be easily taken care of if the parties are will to cooperate and get some guidance.

4 comments:

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bwilber777 said...

I agree, praying for you Pastor!

Pammie said...

Hi Pastor
I go to very small church. We have two treasurer so that everything is correct. I do agree that the Pastor should not take care of the budget because he should focus more on winning the soul. Our small church do have three group as you mention. So I do know that the three group as you mention does work. Oh, one more thing, I love the tittle you put down. It make me think of the movie Wizard of OZ' song...:)

D. Porter said...

Decently and in order, the Bible says. Our Lord is not the Author of confusion. You'd think the sheep would appreciate order in the church.