When it comes to church finances, proper management from church leaders plays a key role for your congregation. With about 73% of churches currently in debt, it’s important to stay on top of your budget and expenses so that your church can avoid financial trouble and focus on fulfilling the church mission. Here are five best practices to help with managing your church finances.
1. Revisit Your Church Budget
Because weekly tithes have a significant impact on church funds, it can be beneficial to revisit how you are creating your budget each year. Keeping your budget organized will help your administration understand how much money your church needs on a monthly and yearly basis, as well as save for the future. The more your administration is collectively involved in setting your church budget, planning and understanding the financial goals of the church, the less likely monthly or yearly spend will fall off balance.
2. Be Honest with Your Congregation About Expenses
If the church is having financial struggles or there is heavy pressure on specific fundraisers to bring in donations, share that information with the church. The church is a spiritual family and should pull together in times of need. Members will be more willing to tithe when there is a genuine need and transparency from leaders, and will also keep the community aware of expenses or opportunities to prosper.
3. Create a Plan to Reduce or Avoid Debt
A church experiencing financial troubles can create tension for both administration and members. With a plan in place, the community can collectively work together to reduce or avoid the issue of debt. A few steps to consider:
- Identify current debt or upcoming financial concerns within the church. Build ideas for how you will eliminate them, such as setting a monthly budget or encouraging members to donate.
- If your church has major debt, do not expand. It’s not the right time to start new building projects until expenses are getting paid off.
- Utilize resources such as payment books to help manage your monthly fees and payment structures, or contribution report forms to keep track of monthly donations.
- Talk to your community about financial concern and accept help from members outside of the administration.
4. Keep Giving Center Focus
Though there are many ways your community can give back to the church, it’s important to keep the practice of tithing a foundation. Work towards building a culture of giving and reinforce the benefits of tithing to your members, from both a financial standpoint and good will.
You may also want to consider incorporating lessons of giving and stewardship into your teachings or membership classes.
5. Remember Today’s Financial Decisions Will Affect Tomorrow
Every decision made from church leaders or members can have an impact on the future of the church. It’s important to remind the congregation of the church’s long-term goals and how the community can work together to execute planning, join in the act of giving and bring the church to a healthy financial state.