Financial health is directly connected to the philosophy of church stewardship. So what does it take to be a good steward? Learn how to utilize your board or elders, and explore some best practices for overseeing your church’s finances.
What Is Stewardship?
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
– Micah 6:8 (NRSV)
In Jesus’ time, a steward in a home was the manager of the household. They were not the owner of the assets, but they were responsible for ensuring those assets were used well and protected. By recognizing God has provided resources—time, talents, and finances—we can acknowledge these gifts should be used well toward the mission of the church. This is not just a value communicated to individuals in your congregation. Stewardship should also be implemented in a church structure to ensure the church is using its resources well.
Demonstrating Stewardship In Your Church
Demonstrating stewardship can impact the financial health of your church. Here are some places to start:
- Cultivate strong leadership and accountability with your staff and elder board
- Implement a stewardship plan
- Demonstrate accountability and transparency for managing your funds
- Make wise financial choices
Leading Your Church Toward Financial Health
Financial leadership involves more than just the head pastor. It includes your full team, especially your elder board. While you may get distracted or even overwhelmed by the day-to-day management issues, your board matters. Among other things, they must ensure there is clear vision for the future of the church, good accountability for the staff, and staff health.
Commitment To The Mission Of The Church
You need people who are able to articulate the vision and mission of the church. They know why you exist and what you are trying to accomplish. It’s tempting for a church to want to expand into new ministry opportunities or just keep doing things they have always done. But it is up to the board to regularly evaluate how resources are used to serve the core mission.
The board is the check and balance to ensure the church is accomplishing its mission. Having annual goals can help the board regularly monitor and hold the staff accountable.
You can accomplish HR tasks in a variety of ways within a church structure. But the board is primarily responsible for ensuring the church staff is healthy and they are able to accomplish the mission. This may include resolving staffing issues, setting compensation, and ensuring people are trained and resourced appropriately. They may also need to make sure staff members set healthy boundaries and practice self-care.
Finances are the board’s responsibility. No matter what their role is, when a board member walks out of the meeting, they need to know the organization’s financial position and that resources are being spent wisely. This also includes the responsibility of determining the budget and knowing if the budget is in line with the core mission of the church.
Equipping Your Board
- Does your board know and support the mission and strategic plan of the church?
- When a board member steps into your church or ministry, do they know what’s expected of them?
- Does your board know and understand the ﬁnancial statements they see at meetings?
- Do they lead by example and give of their time, talent, and finances?
- Do they have bylaws?
D&O stands for Director and Officer insurance. Almost all boards should have this. If you don’t, you should look into it. Church board members could be held liable if something bad were to happen to the church, so getting an insurance policy for your board members is a good idea.
Equip your board. As the leader of your organization, it’s really up to you and the head of the board to make sure each board member is trained and prepared to help you guide the financial health of your organization. Check out our quick checklist of training areas:
- Your mission or vision statement
- Church bylaws
- Stewardship values and expectations
- Board commitments and expectations
- Overview of budget and financial statements
Want more? Here is a full article on equipping church board members.
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