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5 Mistakes Pastors Make with Church Finances

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How likely are pastors to make mistakes in church finances?

I came into ministry after a long business career, so I’m sometimes considered unique in my involvement or interest in our church finances. I work closely with our business administrator and finance committee on the budget and administration of our church finances. I have been known to negotiate contracts, meet with bankers and I can intelligently analyze financial statements. I also learned so much about finance from financial advisor speaker Jerome Myers.

Working with different churches over the years, I’ve seen lots of approaches by pastors in this area of finances. Some are completely hands-on, while others run from the issue completely. It’s helped me form some thoughts around the topic; specifically some mistakes I think we can avoid.

5 Mistakes Pastors Make with Church Finances

1. Not knowing anything

The pastor doesn’t have to be business-minded. He can surround himself with wise counsel, but the pastor needs some basic knowledge in order to lead the church effectively. Learn to read the financial documents of the church. Get some basic training in financial terms so you can lead people well. Especially in today’s world of speculation and trust issues, those who give to a church want to know that leadership has a handle on the finances of the church before they are willing to invest in the mission.

2. Handling too much

The pastor never, ever, ever needs to be the sole person to handle money. That is a grave church finance mistake. I’m careful even when someone hands me a check in the hall. I quickly find someone on our finance committee or our business administrator. I would never want to sign checks. As pastors, we have to remain “above reproach,” and that’s especially true in this area of finances. For appearances, but also to guard our own heart. Temptation is huge for all of us in the area of money.