Whether pastors should know what their members give is a touchy subject. In a past post, Doug Roller of Grace Church of Orange, Brian Kluth, former senior pastor of First Evangelical Free Church of Colorado Springs, CO, and Joe Ward of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX weighed in.
To recap, Roller believed that the contributions made by a member is between them and God. Kluth believes a pastor shouldn’t be completely in the dark about giving patterns and suggests that a more appropriate question is, “What should a pastor know about people’s giving?” And Ward suggests periodically evaluating giving practices and notifying senior leadership when appropriate.
Recently, in a Your Church blog by North Coast Church Senior Pastor Larry Osborne, A Pastor’s Thoughts on Knowing What People Give, Osborne took a pretty strong position in favor of knowing what people give. He says it’s better to know instead of making assumptions about a person’s giving.
What are your thoughts about Osborne’s views?
I like to scour the Web for posts or articles that might help ministry leaders make wise decisions. Since I work for a credit union, I usually find myself on finance-oriented websites or blogs. But this week I found something compelling on Paul Clark’s blog that I thought churches (I know, I owe non-church ministries a post, too) might want to read.
In his post Church Giving – Rules Have Changed, Paul piggybacks off Ben Stoup’s Spring 2010 NACBA Ledger article, which presented a shift in how church attendees assess the effectiveness of how their tithes are being utilized. According to Stoup, church attendees want to see the results that are being produced through their giving. They want to see ministry impact.
Paul uses this insight to springboard into a “scorecard” that may help churches determine whether or not their church is healthy. It also provides a means of showing congregations what their dollars are doing. Paul’s metrics are insightful, and sure to provoke conversation among church leaders.
So…why does a financial institution like ECCU care? Because our goal is the same as yours—to produce Kingdom impact. Item #10 in Paul Clark’s list is “[Church] budgetary needs are being met.” We work with ministries to ensure that their finances are sound, whether that relates to an upcoming loan renewal or ensuring a ministry has an appropriate level of cash reserves.
At ECCU, it has never been about profit. It’s about making ministries more effective. We play a small role in that, and we’re glad men (like Paul) and women across the world are looking at the bigger picture, because we love serving alongside those ministries.
What do you think of Paul Clark’s list? Is your church measuring any of these items? Are you planning to?
This one is for all the churches out there. We just read a great blog post over at blog.yourchurch.net (a great resource for church leaders). Having experienced two consecutive years of financial upheaval, many churches (and other ministries) are thinking ahead to 2011. But what does 2011 hold?
In the excerpt, “Should Churches Increase 2011 Budgets?” currently posted at the Your Church Blog (the full article can be found on the Christianity Today website), it looks like several financial thought leaders are hesitant. And, while it’s impossible to predict the future, there are steps your church can take to prepare for next year.
One way, as you may have read in our previous post, is to set a liquidity target. Mark Jones emphasizes the need for ministries to start thinking about liquidity and cash reserves. That way you’re prepared for the future, even if giving continues to dip.
In the meantime, as our good friend Dan Busby stated in the Your Church Blog post, we’ll attempt to retain our “cautious optimism.”