Checking the Vital Signs of Church Financial Health

I have seen many churches in financial distress. It is a sad situation to witness.

They are worried how they will pay their staff. They are worried how they will pay their bills. The ability to do ministry has dwindled.

And they are not sure how they got to this place.

So what happened? As we hear the stories of churches that find themselves scraping the bottom of their checking account, worried if they will financially survive, you tend to uncover some common themes.

  1. Failed to preach and teach stewardship. Maybe the pastor was afraid he would be considered a church leader that abuses his platform for personal financial gain. Maybe the church leaders were afraid of reducing attendance. Whatever the reason, financial stewardship was not taught.
  1. Took on too much debt. The church overextended itself. They built too much or too quickly. And a huge chunk of tithes and offerings were sucked away by the debt payment.
  1. Was not transparent with finances. They hid their finances from church members. Skepticism grew. And giving declined.
  1. Used very few dollars to reach and minister to the community. They focused on themselves. Little went toward outside efforts.
  1. Did not have multiple options for giving. They dismissed online giving and other nontraditional methods of giving, reducing participation from younger generations.
  1. Did not constantly evaluate how funds were spent. The church was not a good steward of the money they received. There was significant waste, preventing forward movement in the budget.
  1. Never took wise steps of financial faith. Budgets were not based on reasonable mathematical projections, but staff wants. And it was just assumed that the money to pay for these wants would be provided.
  1. The church relied on a few big givers. And when these givers either died or left the church, the church’s financial viability died or left with them.

It’s sad to see a church in financial disarray. It’s sad to see the staff struggle. It’s sad to see the ministry struggle.

Especially, when you know it could have been prevented.


To learn more about preventing financial disarray in your church, connect with an Auxano Navigator.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Art Rainer

Art Rainer

Art Rainer serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He has written three books, Raising Dad , Simple Life, and The Minister's Salary, and lives with his wife, Sarah, and two sons in Wake Forest, NC.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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