The Church Law & Tax Group asked its Editorial Advisors and church leaders how pastors, business administrators, and executive pastors can lead well amid the changing realities in 2010—and here's what they said. Last week, we shared part of their answers in "Thinking Financially in 2010." This week, we look at strategic areas where church leaders should concentrate:
Use scarcity to find clarity
Decreases in weekly collections at churches across the country received widespread media attention throughout 2009. Though some churches' collections managed to remain flat, or even grow, the majority of congregations felt a financial pinch. LifeWay Research reported in January that more than half of the 1,002 pastors it surveyed said the poor economy hurt their church. In our poll in early January, nearly half of the respondents said their churches entered 2010 financially weaker because of 2009.
With unemployment still above 10 percent, 2010 isn't likely to bring widespread relief, either. That means church leaders will need to "make every penny shine and every dollar crisp. Every expense has got to be justified," says John Throop, the priest-in-charge for Trinity Episcopal Church, a 300-member congregation in Portsmouth, Virginia.
For Throop, the clarity comes when a church uses a "We will … so that …" approach for its mission statement. Filling in the blanks forces leaders to answer the question of where God is taking them.