Most churches are ill-equipped to handle conflicts of interest. This is one of the most compelling findings from a recent national survey of church governance practices conducted by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).
When asked to describe their governing board’s conflict of interest oversight, nearly half (49%) of churches said they do not have a conflict of interest policy. One in ten churches (12%) indicated they “probably” have a conflict of interest policy but that the board has not reviewed it for a long time.
Only about one in six churches (16%) said they have a conflict of interest policy, refer to it when needed, and require the board and key staff members to annually complete a conflict of interest questionnaire related to the policy.
The Importance of Properly Handling Conflicts of Interest
So, what’s the big deal? Why is it critical for a church to properly handle conflicts of interest?