You Can’t Do It Like You Used To Do It
All of us have heard the term more the once, “The good old days.” However, I cannot fathom anyone who would want to go back to the 1940s or 1950s. Yes, those years had some good qualities—the family unit was strong, morality was much higher than today, and families were more church and God-focused. With our superior technology that drives everything we do, including in our homes, places of employment, and even in our modern worship services, it would be difficult for most of us to regress to those “good old days.”
When it involves Church finances and Government regulations, many Pastors and Church Leaders feel as if they are still in those past decades. They somehow think that they can continue operating financially and legally without obeying the mass of Government regulations that have gradually been imposed upon Houses of Worship.
What We Used To Do
Many years ago when tithes and offerings were received during a service, the Treasurer would sometimes take the money to a back room, or sometimes count it at the Communion Table. Little if any records were kept and the bills were paid out of the cash received, including the Pastor’s salary. When Evangelists visited a Church, their offerings would be received each night, stuffed into an envelope and given to the guest speaker. The Church did not report anything and did either the Evangelist or the Pastor.
We filed no forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because we felt that as a Church we were automatically a non-profit and therefore did not have to report anything.
I am not going to debate how right or wrong the saints of years gone by were. What I do want to do is to confront those who think they can continue operating, as did the Churches of yesteryear.
What We Must Do
With hundreds of IRS regulations and thousands of pages in the code that now directly affect Churches and Ministries. There is no way the average Church or Pastor can know every dotted “i,” and every crossed “t,” that has been imposed upon Churches. How then can any Pastor or Church Leader think he or she is qualified to manage Church financial records?
The role of the Church should be doing the ministry to which God has called them—not attempting to be a Certified Public Accountant that knows all of the IRS regulations and codes governing the Church. Who, in their right mind, would allow a mechanic to perform surgery on the physical body? Who would want a dentist to put a new motor in their automobile? The answer to both is no one. However, isn’t that exactly what the Church does? We choose the one we feel is the most honest and the most accurate in math, tell them we feel as if God has spoken to us about the Treasurer position, and then throw them into that place of accountability.
We expect someone without proper insight and knowledge of all of the IRS regulations to properly maintain the Church books and records, and then wonder how so many Pastors and Church Bookkeepers could end up imprisoned by the Department of Justice for major violations.
Every Church that wants to be the example Christ would have them be, should outsource their Church Financial Records and bookkeeping duties. Every large Church, of which I am aware, outsourced their financial records before they moved into mega-Church status and then God began blessing them.
God cannot and will not bless a mess. Yet, that is what many Churches in America are—a mess. There is no viable excuse any Church can offer as to why they continue to operate God’s finances outside of legal requirements. The Bible instructs us in the book of Romans to obey the laws of the land. Jesus said, “give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar. . .” There is no excuse, any of us can make, for violating God’s Word or the laws of the land, which can escape the judgment of God.
How We Can Help
Chitwood & Chitwood has been maintaining Church and Ministry financial records for more than 78 years. As the premier Church Management Institution in the world, we are experts in knowing and understanding the myriad of IRS regulations that affect Churches and non-profits.
Every Pastor and Church Leader should attend the nearest and soonest Church Management and Tax Conference possible. While attending they should make the decision to outsource their Church financial records to the most knowledgeable firm in the industry—Chitwood & Chitwood. Those who cannot attend should immediately call our office to schedule an on-site compliance audit of their Church books and records in order to make them compliant.
Call us today at 800-344-0076 or visit us at www.cmtc.org to register for a conference nearest you. You will be glad you did.
Remember, for us, this is “A Ministry—Not A Job!”