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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Keys To Financial Health In A Church

This blog title is a bit presumptuous as it suggests I’ve got it all figured out.

Well, I don’t.

Yet for a variety of reasons, Good Shepherd has long had financial health as a church. In the worst of the 2008-2009 recession, for example, we had our best of years up to that time in terms of giving and surplus.

So here are five strategies we have adopted around here when it comes to money:

5. Tithe (at least) as a church. From its inception, this church gave away 10% of its offerings to both local and global missions. A few years ago, we increased that to 15%. The leadership has long believed that the church needs to embody what we ask the people to embrace. In 2017, we will give away well over $400,000 to global and local mission partners.

4. Let the people know where the money is going. We do a reasonably good job of this — for example, the people of the church know of the $400,000 in 2013 that went to On Eagles’ Wings Ministries and the $85,000 we spent preparing and delivering 280,000 meals to Ecuador through Stop Hunger Now  (now renamed Rise Against Hunger). Yet I realize we can be much more intentional and transparent in communicating what we do with people’s money. Stay tuned for strategic sharing in 2017.

3. Have someone who is both smart & trustworthy oversee the process. I am much blessed as a pastor in that we have a business manager who is, well, both smart and trustworthy. And he is savvy enough to know that we need external audits every other year. Which we have. In dealing with money, you can’t have too many layers of protection.

2. Don’t speak/teach too often about money, but when it’s time, do so without apology. I don’t preach about money all that often. We’re not high pressure in how we receive the weekly offering. And we don’t beg. Yet when we do preach & teach about what the bible teaches regarding money, we do so with enthusiasm and without hesitation. Perhaps the core realization is that giving has everything to do with our own discipleship. We give not because the church needs it but because our checkbook vividly demonstrates how we really feel about Jesus.

1. Don’t nickel and dime the church. I believe this is the strongest key to Good Shepherd’s relative health. No special offerings. No bake sales. No yard sales. No pumpkin patch. No ministry groups raising their own funds. No fund raisers of any kind. All we do is receive the Sunday offering and then budget accordingly. Because people are not cajoled to give to this effort or that cause, they give freely to the one fund raiser the bible endorses: the offering at worship.

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