Saturday, November 12, 2011

Church Treasurer Basics!!

Basic Treasurer/Church Bookkeeping Information

Protection of His finances is a key ingredient to the health of the Body of Christ. In Luke 16 just before Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and Money” (vs. 13), Jesus states in vs. 11, “if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches”. The word ‘trustworthy’ comes from the word ‘pistos’ which means a person who shows themselves faithful in the transaction of business, worthy of trust, able to be relied on. It is clear that our calling to administer the finances of His church comes with great responsibility. The finances must be handled appropriately and with utmost integrity.

Below are a few basic guidelines to help you in your journey. These are not exhaustive; they are to get you started. As He directs your path you will learn other pieces to help you in your administration of the church’s finances. A few websites you might find helpful are….

Bookkeeping Basics for His Church

  • Separation of Duties

One of the key components to internal controls of His finances is basically this…one set of persons touches the physical money and another person(s) disburses and accounts for the money.

Rotating teams of counters/depositors record and log the offering after worship. There should be a minimum of two unrelated persons counting and logging the income. The offering is then taken to the bank. Offering should NOT be taken to any individual’s home. The deposit/giving report is then given to the Treasurer for entry into the bookkeeping system. The Treasurer (who disburses the funds) should NOT be part of the counting team.

If the Treasurer is tracking donations the donor information should be provided with the deposit information.

At no time should a pastor’s name be on any church account. Pastors may receive as much information as they desire, but must be insulated from access to the funds at all times. This is a protection for the pastor. He/she is called to preach and teach, not count and disburse.

  • Disbursing of Church Funds

Documentation – evidence that any expense is a legitimate ministry expense is very important. The Treasurer is the gatekeeper for accountability in how the church funds are spent. This responsibility is never to be used as a mechanism of control, but as a form of cooperation as we serve one another in love through sound financial principles and procedures. Basically, there needs to be a paper trail of expenses. Most items purchased will generate a receipt or invoice. These should be organized in monthly folders noting the check or electronic funds transfer (eft) receipt on the invoice. It is a good practice to have an invoice approval system in place.

  • Monthly Accounting

Each month the church account(s) should be reconciled with the bank statement.

Each month a report providing account balances for all church accounts, all liabilities incurred, and all expenses should be given to the leadership of the church. A complete monthly accounting of all the funds of the church is necessary to insure sound accountability.

  • Yearly Review

Each year the church bookkeeping should be reviewed either by an internal or external committee. Those on the committee should be qualified to review the accounting of His finances and also provide a written report to the Administrative Council for review.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Your Parents' Offering Plate Seminar

Sponsored by the Eastern Regional Conference....
Not Your Parents' Offering Plate Seminar
Saturday, October 2, 2010
9 AM - 4 PM
Chambersburg First Church of God
Includes Lunch
Registration Now Open!!!
Are you finding it difficult to navigate the slowing economy? Is your Body of Christ struggling to make ends meet? Are you in need of a fresh vision that God will rovide and meet your needs? If you answered in the affirmative to any of these questions, then the seminar on October 2, 2010 is for you!! Bring your leadership to this day of seeking the LORD through stewardship. Our facilitator will be the author of 'Not Your Parents' Offeirng Plate', J. Clif Christopher. You won't want to miss this seminar--the registration form is available on the Eastern Regional Conference website: After saving your registration form to your desktop, click on the form to have your information emailed to the Conference Office. You may either mail your check to the Office or indicate on your registration form that you wish to make an electronic payment. If you have any questions, or if the cost of the seminar would prohibit you from coming, please contact Colleen Gross, Finance Manager @ or 717.652.0255.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Church Business Administration Training Day 8

Stewardship of Self

Our final few hours together were with Dr. Carol Schweitzer, Assoc. Professor of Pastoral Care at Union-PSCE. We explored our 'Pace Quotient' do you relate and pace your time/experiences. We talked about listening to ourselves and others. 95% of all communication is actually non-verbal. Our final explorations were about boundaries.

Church Business Administration Training Day 7

Financial Management: Budgeting

This session was led by Steve Law, a Church Business Administrator at Bon Air Baptist Church,, in Richmond, VA. Steve's heart for ministry was evidenced in the day we spent together. We listened to an audio from Andy Stanley, Northpoint Church, Georgia. Andy started with this: What is the 'value' of your organization...the capital assets of the church. Let's say they total $3,000,000. If an angel came to you tonight with this message "I'm giving you $3,000,000, and I want you to leverage it to the best of your ability for God's Kingdom." If that happened, the question is, would you do what you are currently doing with that asset? This is the fundamental issue of stewardship. It begins with what you have--not what you need, and how do you manage what you have!!! Andy also said that if we're not faithful with what we already have, why should we expect God to bless us with more! He talked about staffing, retaining incompetent staff is bad stewardship. Don't hire people because you feel sorry for them...don't hire a their rent! A question to test yourself is this: "Who, if they resigned, would cause you to internally rejoice?" And remember that dysfunctional people will stay forever, competent people can't work with dysfunction! Northpoint Church through has budgeting tools available. Budgeting needs to be reflective of a church's passion. Where is the church's heart? What is the heartbeat of the church? Is EVERYTHING in your church's budget supporting that heartbeat? Or, does your church have several hearts and each one is competing for limited resources--ouch!!! Every ministry needs to be rowing in the same direction. A deliberate ministry focus when budgeting is essential....this Glorifies God! Vision and ministry must be set by the leadership. The annual budget reveals the intermediate steps toward that vision and ministry. We need to analyze the ministry effectiveness at the end of a year when planning for the next budgeting season. Were the goals of the budget reached? Was the vision seen? Were prudent/accountable financial management processes followed (were there internal/external audits performed). One church has a cash disbursements test taken of expenses each month. This includes the testing of at least 5 checks and documentation. We discussed designated funds. The suggestion was made to check with or a 'community foundation' for possible forms to address a 'sunset clause' when accepting designated funds. A sunset clause would be given to the donor to agree that after a certain amount of time, if the initial designation for the gift were unable to be met, the donor gives permission for the recipient to use the gift for other purposes trying to closely relate the gift to the initial purpose of the gift. We also discussed the management of assets. There was question about the security of having more than $250,000 in one financial institution. Steve educated us on CDARS....this is a banking institution that has the capability of spreading the risk for you. You would be able to invest more than $250,000 with no risk of loss because the CDARS financial institution spreads risk. There is an online budgeting manual @

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Church Business Administration Training Day 6

Financial Management/Accounting

Today's session took us through church accounting 101. We discussed fund accounting, church finance teams, charitable contributions, internal controls, payroll, cash management, audits, records retention, and risk management. One scripture which highlights what we do is found in 2 Corinthians 8:20-21. We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift we are administering. For we intend to do what is right not only in the LORD's eyes, but also in the sight of others. Integrity in handling His finances is our calling!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Church Business Administration Training Day 5

Strategic Planning

We had been asked to bring along a copy of our organization's Strategic Plan. The ERC Strategic Plan is very well structured. Dr. Ken McFayden (whose book, Strategic Leadership for Change: Facing Our Losses, Finding Our Future, is schedule to be out this fall) was our facilitator today. He was very knowledgeable about the whole complex strategic process. It was an amazing amount of information for one day....our brains hurt by the end of the day. In casting a vision, it is imperative that enlisting commitment from those involved is secured, implementation of the vision flows next, and then follow through. If any of these steps are broken....the vision is lost. Interestingly, most churches don't want leadership, they want management! There's a big difference. Leadership needs to be transparent, 'parking lot' meetings need to be brought to the table for transparency. Where there is no vision, people flounder. The Body having ownership is critical. Vision without buy in is like a bridge to nowhere! Goals are 'attainable challenges'....not things we're 'already doing or could easily have accomplished thru things we already do'. Accountability and responsibility go hand in hand. One suggestion was that governing boards receive an evaluation. Similar to employee evaluations, it would stimulate dialogue. There should be deadlines to the goals set. Three sources of energy for planning: Pain...Hope (hope hears the music of the dances to it!)....Vision (how does it align with God's vision). We have to discern God's leading through Scripture, prayer, learning. It should be joy-filled work for the LORD rather than feeling as if we're drowning in the mundane.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Church Business Administration Training Day 4

Christian Perspectives and Theology of Church

Our Christian Education Director, Stan Hargraves, presented today's teaching. It was very well done---informative as well as held our attention through video (awesome video by Dewitt Jones on focusing your vision) and 'Keynote' technologies (Keynote is Apple's version of PowerPoint). In the Church, are we able to appreciate someone elses perspective? One test for behavior at our meetings: If a child were to be here in this meeting today, what would they learn about Christianity? I believe that's a good goal for every meeting we lead or are part of....what would a child learn? Meetings could be always covered in love if this were practiced. Isaiah 55:6-9 (Seek the LORD while He may be upon him while He is near....) God is over all. At our sessions over 2 weeks we come together as The Body of Christ....there are many different perspectives. There are Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Independents, Non-denominationals, and then one lone Church of God! At one point during our session we divided into groups to discuss: To what Christian tradition do you belong? What are the core beliefs? What celebrations and rituals are held? In our group there were 2 Catholic priests, 2 Presbyterians, and me (the lone Church of God!). We found that for the most part our core beliefs were the same! That was fun....there were more beliefs that tied us together than divided....imagine that, we all felt that was refreshing since we'll be spending eternity together!! But then the celebrations and rituals. The Protestant group's traditions weren't too different. Our ordinance of feet washing (which I love) was the most unique. However, the Catholic tradition washes feet on Maundy Thursday only in a different context (the priest washes a select group). One of the Priests was from Uganda...the Spirit of the Lord in him is so sweet. In his home country they have a wonderful tradition when someone is desiring to become part of the Catholic Church. At infancy the parents have the child baptized into the faith. But at Confirmation in Uganda the person desiring Confirmation must stand before the church, hold up the Bible and publicly proclaim that this is what they want. A proclamation that faith is now their own. He was surprised when coming to the US that it is not done here, I encouaraged him to bring it here! It is important to have a public proclaimation of a personal commitment to faith! We discussed the Catholic Eucharist. Even the struggle with understanding why the Protestant faith is not welcome to partake when visiting a Catholic Mass. The priests were so patient with us, and fully explained why. They believe that the sacraments are transformed into the body and blood of Christ....they are not the representation as we Protestant's believe. And since we do not believe this, we should not partake. I can respect that. It was a healthy dialogue. Perspective....can you appreciate another's perspective? God love.....shouldn't we?