As the business administrator of a religious institution, you don’t need to be an experienced commercial developer to get a construction loan — you just need an expert ministry bank.
Depending on your role at the church, you’ll hear the word “audit” and come to one of two conclusions:
If you’re the finance manager, you understand the need for the substantiation of the integrity of the data — even though an audit can add to your already busy workload.
If you’re the pastor, it comes down to one word: “Why?” The financials are written in what appears to be a foreign language, and they don’t seem to help as you try to make good, mission-critical decisions, anyway.
Now more than ever, all organizations are exposed to risk, including cyber security breaches and internal fraud. Religious institutions — which strive on building a trusting relationship with their members and employees on the foundation of religious beliefs, coupled with tight budgets and limited financial oversight — are even more vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
The statistics on Americans and retirement planning are staggering. More than half of us do not know how much we will need to live a comfortable retirement, and 60 percent have saved less than $25,000. For clergy, the economics of retirement can be even more challenging.
For most of my professional career, I have been anti-performance and payment bond-oriented. To me, they seem like such a waste of money. In short, they’re just an insurance policy (although the Surety industry would say they are not “insurance” but rather a “guarantee” — semantics!) in the unlikely event the general contractor on a job is unable to complete the project (usually due to a bankruptcy or other major catastrophe related to the contractor). In theory, that sounds great. It almost feels like the proverbial “Get Out Of Jail” card. But is it really?
Televangelist Creflo Dollar recently came under fire for asking that 200,000 of his followers donate $300 each to buy a $60-million luxury jet for his use. In the wake of bad publicity associated with the request, it appears that he may have cancelled the campaign before reaching his goal. The problem is: What happens to money already collected?
Banks are in the business of risk management — so, who better to help your ministry manage fraud and the onslaught of cybercrime making news almost every day?
Frankly, many churches have some form of online giving software already in place. So, the point isn’t just about having online giving or donation tools — it’s about maximizing all the benefits online giving can provide.
The Bible has a clear definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 — “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.” As church leaders, we walk every day in faith. So, how do we marry faith and facts? The church has been put in our care, and we must be good stewards of what God has given us. So how do we care for the church?
As March and April roll around each year, a collective sigh can be heard as Americans prepare to file their taxes. Much of the groaning comes in response to the complexity of figuring out what regulations apply. The clergy housing allowance is a perfect example.