Church Stewardship Prime Directive
Most Pastors fervently preach the need to be good stewards of what God has provided. The problem, however, is that many of those same preachers do not practice what they preach. They will exhort the members to faithfully manage their money so that God may be first via tithes and offerings. Unfortunately, they will push a Church vision that may be more than God has currently provided them to implement.
Financial Principle that Should Trump all Others
In regards to financial stewardship, one principle stands high above the rest. There is no financial principle more important for a Church to observe than this one: “Do not spend more money than you bring in!”
This is a commonsense, basic principle. However, it is one which is often ignored or taken for granted. When Churches violate this principle it will always prove to be a problem for that ministry.
When Pastors feel they have been given a grand vision they mostly assume (albeit wrongly) that it means they should immediately implement it and that God will fund it regardless of their current financial status. In attempts to fund that vision they will get the membership all hyped with high-energy, “faith inducing” phrases such as:
- “Where God guides, He will provide.”
- “Empty yourself so that God can fill you back up.”
- “A generous heart will never want for anything.”
- “Hey, the Church across town is videoing their sermons. We should too.”
We all have heard these or other soundbites used to motivate and play on emotions to induce giving. Maybe some of you reading this have used them. Although some of these are true, we still have a responsibility to keep spending within income boundaries. Apostle Paul instructed us to give according to what we have – not what we do not have.
We must understand that overspending is not generosity – it is ignorance.
For a Church to spend money it does not take in, and expecting God to provide, is no different from a Church Member writing the Church a bad check for an offering and expecting God to supernaturally place the money in the bank before it clears.
The First Step to Solving Financial Issues
For those who really want to be good stewards and solve their Church’s financial issues, demands that they begin with a prayerful, honest look at their Church’s budget. Spending what you do not have is not faith – it is bad stewardship.
For the Faithful, but Struggling
Just because a Church is struggling financially may not mean it is improperly managing its money. Not every problem in a Church is caused by spending more that is taken in. It could be something as simple as a sudden change in the employment market in your city. It could be because those who promised faithfulness to the vision, left the Church after the vision was implemented.
Look for areas where savings could be realized. Fix the leaks in your finances. Even after all the leaks are fixed, does not necessarily mean the problem will be fully solved. Even a non-leaking bucket requires a steady stream of income.
If your bucket has holes in it, more money will not solve your financial problem. Fix the leaks first. If your bucket is not leaking and you are not spending more than you take in, but are still struggling, join the club – many Pastors know the feeling.
Do not spend what you do not have. Faithfulness begins with discipline.
How We Can Help
The Certified Accountants that we employ at Chitwood & Chitwood are the best in the world for Church management. Our expertise that has been developed over the past 78 years has provided us knowledge that others do not know.
Visiting our Church and Clergy Conferences will demonstrate our commitment to protect your ministry from those forces that seek to destroy it. Visit us at www.cmtc.org or call us at 800-344-0076 to attend a conference in the city nearest you.
We can do what others cannot. Remember, for us it is “A Ministry – Not A Job!”