What Are the Goals of Financial Management?

by Paul Clark
(Originally published as a post within ECCU’s former e-publication, The Buzz.)

The changing financial environment is prompting those who manage the financial resources of ministries to clarify the primary goals of their work. One who has given this issue considerable thought is Paul Clark, executive pastor of Fairhaven Church in Centerville, Ohio. The following short list of goals, from his blog, “Where church vision meets organizational reality,” gives any ministry financial decision maker plenty to think about.

Avoid Fraud
There are many ways to destroy the trust between the congregation and the leadership of the church—but financial mismanagement is a big one. Many churches do not give this area of ministry the appropriate attention by:

  • Using volunteers who do not have the appropriate training
  • Holding the misperception that the government will never pay any attention
  • Mimicking the practices of other churches without proper verification of their correctness

Fulfill Our Fiduciary Responsibility
As leaders in the church, we have a fiduciary responsibility (the highest standard of care imposed at either equity or law) to handle finances appropriately.

Effective Management
Ensure that the congregation has confidence in church management.

Effective Communication
When done well, this gives the congregation a greater understanding of the financial position of the church, the link between finances and ministry, and their own role in the ministry.

Shared Vision
Be sure that congregants understand and can support our vision and our direction.

The Guiding Principle: Being Above Reproach
“What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” (2 Cor. 8:19—21)

For ideas on how to ensure the financial integrity of your ministry, check out the white paper Handling Cash: A Common-Sense Approach to Securing Your Ministry’s Most Liquid Asset.

 

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