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Good accounting

By Ron Keener

Dick Capin on church fraud: “The church’s misuse of resources breaks our hearts and impairs our message.” Accountability is God’s idea, not man’s, he says on memoir’s publication.

Say “Church Executive” and we hope you will think business. Say “CapinCrouse” and you will likely recall the public accounting firm that has served Christian congregations and ministries in fiscal and management matters over the years. The founder of that firm 40 years ago is Dick Capin, 88, who, looking back at church financial management, tells Church Executive:

“While there has been significant progress in awareness about the need for accountability and financial integrity, and many churches are maintaining their operations within the highest standards and best practices, it is unfortunate that too often this awareness does not translate into sound policies and procedures that protect the church and the people involved from financial impropriety.”

Capin urges churches to “be relentless and vigilant in their administration of the generous gifts of God’s people.” Dick Capin has released a memoir of his personal and business life titled Giving Account (as told to Bob Kelly of WordCrafters.info).

He has been engaged not only in what the accounting profession calls “back-office work,” but also “up front” in organizations that have impacted the larger business sides of the faith. He was involved in the formation days of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and in expanding the breadth and depth of ministry support of the Christian Management Association (today the Christian Leadership Alliance).

Now in “retirement” from the firm, Capin is consultant to leadership, staff and boards of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan’s Purse — and “especially focused on identifying and responding to risks that could impact the ministry” of these groups. When Franklin Graham asked Dick and Jeanne to move to Charlotte to advise him on the operations of BGEA, the Capins were there within weeks, so strong was their desire to serve wherever they are called.

Says one colleague, “The first question Dick asked was not what’s in it for me, or what’s the business reason to respond, but what is God doing and asking me to do?” That’s a key motivation for Dick Capin over the years, as he has looked to serve the church and Christ. Says Dan Busby, who heads up ECFA, “One of the key reasons I became associated with ECFA nearly 25 years ago is because of how God used Dick Capin.” Capin has been that sort of example and mentor to many people.

Today the firm has 16 partners and more than 100 associates serving more than 1,000 not-for-profit organizations that include 300 churches, 100 international organizations, 70 employee benefit plans, and 60 colleges, universities and seminaries—making a huge impact for the faith.

Says Capin: “Our prayer for every church is that it will be a beacon of light to needy souls just as the church was for Jeanne and me. The church was the source of our hearing the Word of God and receiving his abundant and eternal life by grace through personal faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s a good accounting we can all strive for.

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post

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