Accountability Systems
One basic principle and six simple steps help protect a church's finances.
Accountability Systems

I’m not naturally a systems guy. But I’ve learned that good systems aren’t about stifling creativity or spontaneity; they’re about increasing accountability and stewardship.

I spend several hours each week building and maintaining proper systems. I and my church are better off for it.

To protect yourself, your church, and your integrity, begin with this one basic principle: never be alone with the money.

Here are some simple steps to make that happen:

  • Have two people count every offering;
  • Deposit the money into the bank as soon as possible;
  • Set up a simple, accurate accounting system;
  • Set up a budget;
  • Stick to the budget;
  • Have someone other than you or your family members doing as much of this as possible.

Proper systems will never build a healthy church. But bad systems—or no systems—can kill one.

Karl Vaters is pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in California. He's been a small church pastor for more than 30 years and is the author ofThe Grasshopper Myth.

This article was adapted from Pivot's "5 Principles Small Churches Can Learn From Megachurches"—read about the other principlesthat are highlighted in that article. Used with permission.

For more information on handling church money and offerings, check out the newChurch Financebookand the downloadable resourceInternal Controls for Church Finances.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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