The start of a new year is a time for making resolutions, or at least for taking a fresh look at different parts of our lives and our ministries. This month, we will look at some of the common mistakes made in church finance departments and how these mistakes can be remedied. We will then look at the remedies in more detail throughout the coming months.
Romans 12:4 notes that the body is made up of many parts, and they all have different functions. We use this analogy in many contexts, and it is appropriate when considering the workings of a church. Your church needs ministries such as preaching, discipleship, and worship, but you also need support ministries. These can include IT, accounting, facilities, and office operations.
Finance departments are some of the most significant of these support ministries, as well as being some of the most misunderstood and overlooked. Yet church leaders rely on the information their finance departments provide, and if that information is inaccurate, significant—or even catastrophic—results can occur. In the work performed for ministries at the certified public accountant firm, where I work, we’ve seen personnel layoffs, ministry reductions or discontinuations, and lack of debt compliance as results of improper financial management. Even if a church finds itself in a difficult economic position, options are available through access to accurate and timely information. But the longer the problem continues without proper attention, the worse the consequences will be.