What happens with the money?
There is no doubt that people are naturally suspicious about what happens with their money. We see it all the time in every sector of society…. Government waste, non-profit exorbitant “administrative costs”, corporate CEO insane salaries, and church leaders with personal yachts and Cayman Island off-shore accounts and houses. The sad fact is there is a lot of misuse of money in this world. So no one blames you the reader for having a suspicious eye with your church offerings.
Leaders Free from Money-Loving
In fact, God Himself gives many standards for the behavior of church leaders with regard to the offerings made by the congregation. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 3 that elders must be “free from the love of money” (v3) and deacons must not be “fond of sordid gain” (v8). He tells us also in Titus 1 that elders must not be “fond of sordid gain” (v7). The love of money is not a character flaw that affects certain income brackets and avoids others. Anyone can be a lover of money. We intentionally seek out men and women for leadership who are generous because you cannot be generous and a hoarder at the same time. Our pastor, elders, and deacons all are considered honorable examples when it comes to money.
Systems to Free Us from Accusation
But God also says in this passage that leaders must be above reproach. To be above reproach means that even an accusation will not stick. The principle we see here is that we handle money, financial records, and the like all out in the open. The checkbook is always available for someone in the congregation to peruse. The church budget is always available for perusal. In fact, both year-end financial statements and the budget are presented annually to the congregation for the membership to approve. Something additional that we have decided as a church is to insulate our pastor from any accusation of mishandling money. Our pastor is honorable with money, but society so mistrusts the office of pastor in general, we want to remove any doubt in people’s minds by removing our pastor from any dealing with income or expenses. He is not a check-signer. He doesn’t count the offerings. He never sees at any time the offering amounts of anyone in the church. If he talks about money in his preaching and teaching, it is not pointed at any individual. We put systems in place to ensure that we remain above reproach.
Where does your gift go?
Rest assured that it does not go into installing multi-million-dollar phone systems. It is wisely and prayerfully used. We have three accounts within our church budget: Property, Operational, and Ministerial. Again, the membership approves the budget annually. The elders oversee the disbursement of income into that budget’s allotments bi-monthly. And finally, the membership approves a financial statement which illustrates how the income did get used in accordance with the approved budget. Everything is above board. Everything is out in the open. God is honored in this and the praise all goes to Him from whom all blessings flow!