Think you own the new website that you just paid a vendor to create? Consider the following scenario. First Baptist Church hires a Web developer to create a new website. The developer designs a website with a new contemporary look that the church is proud of, complete with great graphics and content. A few months later, the church sees that the new website of Trinity Christian Church in the next town over has much of the same graphics, artwork, and even some of the same text and other content. First Baptist discovers that Trinity hired the same developer to create its website, and the developer simply re-used much of the same stock material. Was the developer permitted to do so? If First Baptist did not enter into a contract giving ownership of the website content to First Baptist, the developer was fully within his rights to re-use the same materials.
First Baptist of Orlando is a role model of the strategy Becoming Christ-Centered, which senior pastor David Uth summarizes in a statement he routinely makes to his 6,000 congregants:
The Willow Creek MOVE study follows on from the REVEAL survey in finding
When church administrators work at building their team or merely conduct a meeting they must “compel the process,” says management consultant
Patrick Lencioni, and when it doesn’t happen it is more often because “they have a misplaced sense of humility.”
Lencioni, president of The Table Group that specializes in organizational health and executive team development, is a favorite speaker at church conferences. He has authored nine books with more than three million copies sold, and the latest one is The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business (Jossey-Bass, 2012). Church Executive asked Lencioni to apply the advice in his book to pastors and executive pastors of churches as well as to companies: We don’t hear much about humility in business? Being humble is one of the most critical things a great leader must be. But being humble means that leaders know that they are not more important than the people they lead. They are servant leaders. However, even servant leaders need to understand that their words and actions are, in fact, more impactful than those of others.
While a church’s ministry often refers to its worship services, activities and community outreach programs, protecting your financial resources also is an important part of the organization’s mission. Financial collections are vital to keeping the various programs running. Unfortunately, it is all too common to have a trusted church member admit to embezzling from the funds they were asked to safeguard. Recently, the treasurer for a church in Connecticut was charged with embezzling nearly $300,000 over a five-year period. This church member had access to all of the church’s accounts and engaged in more than 100 thefts of church funds during this time period. Sadly, this type of theft happens far too often, as churches are naturally trusting. However, every church has the stewardship responsibility of protecting the money that is given by its members. The best way to ensure your finances are secure is to have a financial policy in place. The policy should address procedures for handling funds from the time collections are taken until the money is disbursed. Having such a policy is likely to help deter individuals from embezzling.
James Emery White has been both a seminary student and a seminary president (Gordon Conwell-Theological Seminary)