Finances–The Pastor’s Biggest Headache
I am sure there are some, but I do not know of any Pastor that is in ministry for any reason, other than he or she was called by God. Most of us do what we do to further the Kingdom of God on this earth. We preach to see people accept Christ and see lives changed. But, most never stop and consider the financial responsibilities that are connected to ministry.
A Pastor in a recent Church Management Tax Conference spoke to me of the financial problems his Church was facing. His largest donors left his ministry because they felt as if he was focusing too much on the gifts of the Spirit, rather than following a pre-set time schedule for praise and worship, a 20 minute sermon, a brief altar call, and service dismissal.
This Pastor began several outreach ministries solely on the additional income these families had afforded the Church. Now, not only are the new ministries in jeopardy, but the Pastor is faced with this dilemma: Close the Church, or become bi-vocational and keep pastoring without a salary, and ceasing all outreach ministry.
The Fallacy of Church Growth Seminars
Many Pastors attend, at least one, if not several, Church Growth Seminars in the course of their ministry. Most of them leave excited, only to face frustration in the following days or weeks.
Every Church will not be a mega Church. The average Church in the USA is 70 people or less. With a few exceptions, most Pastors will never get more than 70 – 100 people in their congregations. Yet, they mistakenly operate out of emotion that is generated at the Church Growth Conference they attend.
(Most of those teaching these conferences cannot remember the last time their Church was less than 100. They should have been teaching during their growing process–not after they became a mega Church.)
The excited Pastor leaves the conference with hopes of implementing everything he or she has heard. When they discover the amount of money needed to do what the mega Church Pastor has done, they get frustrated with their Church, their members, their cities, etc. When the money does not materialize, their frustration turns to anger and then desperation. In their desperation they mistakenly think if they do the program on borrowed money it will increase attendance which will in turn generate income. That is flawed thinking. They usually do not get more members–they get more debt.
If it is God, he will provide the money before we start it. If the money doesn’t proceed it, don’t do it. If the money doesn’t come for what we feel God has told us to do, the onus is on God, not us.
No Money, No Ministry
Contrary to the belief of some, ministry does not happen without money. The wisest man, other than Christ, to walk this earth stated that money answers all things (Ecc. 10:19). God will show us where it is and how to get it, but He is not going to drop money from the sky to support what Pastors feel He has told them to do. Even Jesus had to send Peter fishing to get money to pay their taxes.
Many mistakenly think when they hear from God that it means they are to quickly act–money or no money. That is not how God expects us to operate. Jesus instructed that we are to count the cost before engaging in the project (Lk. 14:28).
Neither Jesus, nor the disciples took out loans to fund ministry. Why do we think we should? Just because we think God told us to do it, does not mean that it is to be done now, or that we alone are to do it. Noah worked on the Ark for about 120 years. Joseph suffered tremendous persecution for more than 13 years, before what God told him actually manifested.
Don’t do it without the money in hand (pledges and vows do not count as cash in hand).
Unfortunately, many will do it anyway. Then, they begin to let their books get out of order or adhere to bookkeeping practices that are not pleasing to God and not legal with the Government.
Why You Need Us
Chitwood & Chitwood has been guiding Pastors and Churches for more than 78 years. Not only does our experienced staff keep Churches compliant with the IRS, we also know how to bring in finances to do ministry. But, God does not bless a mess. Before He will send finances your way, you must first be a good steward of what you already have.
At our Church Management and Tax Conferences we instruct the attendees as to how to get their books in order, and we provide some practical education on where to get the money for ministry. You owe it to yourself to avoid the frustration, anger, and depression that accompany insufficient Church finances. Visit us at www.cmtc.org or call 800-344-0076 to register for a conference nearest you.
For us this is “A Ministry – Not A Job!”