Being responsible for the church finances can seem like a daunting task. If you are in the red, you may be wondering how to encourage more generous giving. If you’re in the black, you want to assure the church that their money is being managed properly while encouraging them to continue giving.
If you’re wondering how to manage church finances, keep reading. These ten tips will help you get a good idea of how to most effectively handle your church’s finances.
1. Lead By Example
Church finances have to begin from the top down. If the pastoral staff and elder board aren’t tithing, you wouldn’t assume that the congregants are tithing either. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is necessary to cultivate a culture of openness within the leadership of the church.
At your next elder meeting, plan how leadership can verify and best model faithful stewardship in their own personal finances.
2. Preach Scripture About Tithing
Once your leadership is modeling financial stewardship, you can teach your church how to model financial stewardship as well. The senior pastor could preach a sermon series on spiritual disciplines, which includes tithing.
He could also do stand-alone sermons on tithing. The Sermon on the Mount is an excellent way to introduce not only concepts of tithing, but also teach your members about prayer and fasting as well.
3. Help Members Budget Their Own Finances
In addition to preaching through Biblical giving, you may offer special classes one night during the week. There are many good lessons on personal stewardship online.
4. Provide Multiple Ways for Member to Give
Make sure your church can receive tithes through different means. While many people still write checks and carry cash, others may only pay by credit cards and online options.
When a member can tithe through their own preferred method, it makes them more likely to give. Look into having the “text to give” option on your church website.
5. Know Where the Church’s Money Is Going
Money coming in is only half of a church’s financial stewardship. You also need to be aware of money going out.
Make sure you are evaluating the monthly expenses of the church. You could be paying for one subscription for your church’s financial software, another for your church’s membership software, and a third subscription for online giving. Companies such as Icon Church Management provide all this and more for one cost.
6. Set and Scrutinize the Church Budget
Create a budget and stick with it. This is not only good advice for the home, but also for any organization. As you prepare for Vacation Bible School, Back to School giveaways, and other outreach events, have an idea of how much you need to spend for each one.
Once the event is over, have a follow-up meeting looking over all the expenses seeing how much you actually spent on that event. You may be surprised to see how much money you can spend.
7. Get a Credit Card for the Church (And Use It Responsibly)
Get a church credit card. There are many business cards that provide large amounts of cashback as financial incentives.
If your church is disciplined enough to only spend money it has and not accrue any debt, credit cards are a great option. Your church will not only save money on checks and stamps but also make money on cashback rewards.
8. Keep Track of Church Expenses
Know who has a church credit card and audit them. Managing church expenses is hard enough when only one person is spending money. It can be overwhelming if your children’s director, youth pastor, VBS director, and/or kitchen coordinator are all using a church credit card to buy supplies.
Make sure only those who need a credit card or checkbook have one, and that they seek the proper authorization before they spend any money.
9. Attitude of Transparency
As you cultivate an attitude of stewardship, you will also want to cultivate an attitude of transparency. During your church’s business meetings, allow time to go over the budget and inform the congregation of the church’s financial health.
Provide time and openness for members to ask questions about expenses. This is also a good time to explain to members about upcoming costs.
Knowing the church will be spending money for Vacation Bible School and paying an air conditioning bill in August is an important fact your congregation needs to be aware of.
When church members understand the needs of the church, they see that their money is being stewarded wisely. They will feel more confident in the leadership and financially supporting the ministry.
10. Checks and Balances in the Church Finances
Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We always want to believe that everyone has the church’s best interest and that no one would steal from the church. We also understand that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Make sure you have systems of checks and balances in place to ensure that no one person has access to the church’s funds. Always have two people counting the tithe. Make sure that the same person who has access to printing checks isn’t also a check signer as well.
If you have rotating teams of people counting, look at the past several months of giving and who counted. If a certain week of the month is bringing in less money than the other weeks, you may want to change up who is counting. If you see the pattern change significantly, it is possible that someone is stealing from the offering as they count.
Go Forth and Finance
When you know what to expect, you’re better suited for handling the situation. Now that you know more about church finances and church accounting, you can go forth and help your church use its money in the best, honoring way.
If you learned from this article and would like to know more about budgeting and financial management, check out our Business and Economy section.