Virtually all ministries require some level of finances to operate. Typically, they rely on the donations and gifts that they receive from their members or followers. As a church leader, you have the responsibility to make sure that all donations are recorded accurately and that all church expenses are legitimate and accounted for properly. This is typically a legal mandate, but, more importantly, it is a Biblical expectation as well (Luke 16:11-12)! Managing your church or ministry finances well demonstrates to God, and your membership or followers, that you are trustworthy. The Bible warns us that failure to maintain the highest level of integrity in your finances only leads to ruin and suffering.
Why is managing money well so important? First of all, the Bible says that money can cause many problems. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Poor money management leads to stress and other sins (lying, stealing, coveting, etc.) and will destroy relationships. And it will usually not go uncovered (“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” – Proverbs 10:9). We must remember that money is not the goal. It’s only the means to a goal. It is a resource that we use to achieve a goal and we know that God will provide the resources we need to do His work. We must also be aware that the power of money over people is well documented and often results in bad decisions or even imprisonment. We are also warned that money can become a god or idol of worship (Matthew 6:24) and to pursue money is to pursue a false god. We lose our freedom in Christ by becoming a slave to money.
Secondly, using money inappropriately is cheating God. Treasures given to the church are given to God. Everything we have is His and, we are only His stewards (managers) of what He provides. Misuse of money is the same as stealing it. We rob from the church and we rob from God (Malachi 3:8) when we misuse what He has provided to us.
Thirdly, poor money management is poor stewardship. Poor stewardship is not managing money (God’s resource) wisely. Using God’s gifts wisely by investing them effectively produces fruit for the Kingdom and glorifies God (Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30).
Finally, good money management builds trust with our church members or ministry followers. Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:10-11). So when we manage money well we are demonstrating to others that we are trustworthy.
Here are 8 basic principles of managing money:
There are 4 ways we as leaders can practice good money management in the church. First, teach the Biblical principle of tithing (10%). Deuteronomy 14:22 says, “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” Lead by example – be a tither yourself and encourage first fruits giving (Proverbs 3:9). Second, demonstrate financial integrity by recording ALL income and expenses, paying your debts first and putting procedures in place to audit and review church finances. Third, trust God to provide for your needs. He will give you what you need because God cares for His people (“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” – 1 Timothy 6:17). Fourth, allow members to see church finances. Do not hide your finances from your church members and be open and honest about all receipts and expenses.
If we practice these principles we will experience some great benefits. First, we will build trust with our church members. If they trust us with money, they will trust us with other things and are more likely to follow us. Second, we will avoid potential serious problems and remain a good example to our flock. Third, we will learn what the power of God can do and see first-hand how God provides for our every need.
(taken from chapter 10 of Barry Voss’ Management for Church Leaders™ Volume #1 Training Manual © 2010, read more here and here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
FaithLife Ministries was founded by Barry Voss & Kim Star-Voss in 2001 as a ministry to train and equip Christian leaders in the mission field. In 1996, Barry first heard the call to go to the mission field. On that mission trip to Kazakhstan, he sensed God’s call on his life to serve Him in a mission field ministry. He continued to respond to that call by going on several more mission trips to teach and minister in 1997. In 1998 he felt God’s call to organize and lead mission trips, and so he recruited and led teams to Peru in 1999 & 2000 through Missions International, a Nashville based mission agency. In 2001, God led Barry and Kim to decide to incorporate in order to lead mission teams on their own, and so FaithLife Ministries was born. They led their first mission trip to the Philippines in May of that year. On that trip Barry taught a workshop on Church Administration. Our Philippines host invited Barry to come back the following year and teach on that topic for an entire week at their Bible School. As a result, Barry developed the Management For Church Leaders™ training course. Since then this ministry has continued to grow as God has led us to more mission field contacts and opened up more opportunities for us to train and equip the leaders of His church.
In 2005, Barry was called to work full-time in this ministry. His focus is on church leadership and management training. The Lord has continued to affirm our teaching and has led us to seek more opportunities and foreign trainers.