Lesson 4 - Church Funds: Proper Control and Reporting
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
(1 Peter 4:10)
Leaders of the Church are expected to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to them.
Apostle Peter warns us to be continually watchful against the evil one, Satan, because he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8 Let us heed this warning for Satan sets a trap in every place and cleverly lays a bait that we might fall prey into it. Like a lion, he watches eagerly as we take the bait of temptation, then he devours us. One such temptation that Satan often uses is money. Although Church leaders are to trusted with money, they are not exempt from temptation. Paul warns us to take heed, he who thinks he is strong should be careful, or he may fall. I Corinthians 10:12
It is then imperative for the Church leadership to explore avenues which Satan may utilize to tempt its flock, and try to eliminate them. One such item is Church funds.
It is therefore urgent that the Church leadership set up an adequate accounting system aimed to safeguard Church funds. Regretfully, many congregations have been divided or have been shut down due to cases of mishandled Church funds committed by a Church leader or leaders. More disgraceful is the discouraging effect this incident may cause to the members of the Church as well as to those outside of the Church.
Unlike commercial business concerns the financial transactions of a Church are few and simple. However, it is important that the Church adopt and implement a sound accounting system to ensure that all collections are properly recorded and all disbursements are properly authorized.
The following procedures are recommended. (Click on the links to view the suggested forms to be used and pro-forma reports)
1. All collections should be counted and recorded on the Collection Count Sheet. Collections should be turned over to the Church treasurer who shall deposit the same to the bank, if available.
2. All disbursements should be covered with a Cash Voucher approved by a Church leader, and paid out by the Church treasurer.
3. A Church bookkeeper records the collections and disbursements and prepares a Weekly Statement of Collections and Disbursements which shall be reported to all members every week.
4. The Church bookkeeper should also prepare a Monthly Statement of Collections and Disbursements summarizing transactions for the month and likewise reported to the members during fellowship day.
Almost certainly, there will come a time when the local Church accumulates a sizable fund, and there will be inviting suggestions or recommendations from the leadership or from the membership for the Church to engage in a business activity that will earn more money for the Church. Lest you will be walking into another trap set up by Satan, let the congregation be forewarned of the following:
The main source of revenues of the Church should come from members' offering or giving.
The business of the Church is to win souls. The funds should be used for expenses in spreading the Gospel. In fact, it is more encouraging to see a Church fund at a bare minimum than one with a large cash balance. A large cash balance means that the Church is not doing evangelism work.
A business plan, no matter how noble its purpose may be, will sooner or later cause disagreement among the members, which may create a division in the Church. Besides that, special meetings need to be held and committees need to be formed to oversee and monitor such business activity. The time spent on these meetings is wasted as this time could be used in planning and organizing evangelism work that encourages involvement of all members of the Church for the work of seeking the lost.
You should set up a control system for Church collections and disbursements right now. First, appoint a treasurer who shall receive all collections from offerings or giving. Secondly, look for a qualified bookkeeper to perform the record-keeping function and preparation of financial reports.
Financial reports should be made available to all members on a weekly or a monthly basis. Members are encouraged to give as they should if they are regularly informed as to how the Church funds are being spent.