Firstly, Happy new year to all. I thought after a nice holiday season we should start afresh and discuss something new. Hopefully we can get some contribution from different people
It has always been my belief that as a christian, we have to handle God's finance with utmost integrity and respect. Good financial practice is a sign of maturity in a christian and the key to greater blessing from God
Most parables Jesus dealt with in the bible often relates to the stewardship of money, because Jesus knew that Money though is neither good nor bad has a powerful effect on people and that everything in this world revolves around the use of money from buying a house, tithing, building a church, having enough food to eat and clothes to wear. Nothing in this world is free, thus money is the key medium in this world.
Because money can be such a powerful "drug" when not properly used. It is imperative that as Christian we need to recognise the importance of proper accountability.
Here are some important tips that we must never forget
1. Ensure a good balance in your church board and allow a good mix of people. Hope Singapore have a very good website which have a varied board to ensure impartiality
2. Keep a good budget and try to stay close to it. If expenses deviates too much, ensure that the board is well informed.
3. Have clear Salary package and guideline. This area have been the biggest headache even in the corporate place. We need to ensure that clear salary package is written in the contract to avoid misunderstanding and especially grey areas
4. All churches should have an agreed guideline for reimbursements, so that all staff will know what can and cannot be reimbursed. Providing ambiguous guideline often causes confusion.
Eg. Can we reimbursed food when Church staff meet up the sheep ? Can Church staff claim reimbursement for Church camp ? What about mobile phone, cars and petrol, which is very much a part of church ministry ?
There is no hard and fast rules, but we do need to make it clear to the people. Hope BKK failed in this area that is why Hope Church was split because of how PN and Dr J used Church money.
5. Try and keep personal cost and church cost as separate as possible. The more we mix it up the more dangerous it becomes to cross the line. If unsure, I believe it is always the responsiblity of the church staff or Pastor to ask the board and account before the money is reimbursed.
6. Have annual audit and ensure transparency in all church accounts, this way members will feel that leaders have nothing to hide. When leaders refuse or fail to be forthcoming when approach about church finance usually more often then not, there is something not quite right.
Finally, dont't be afraid to ask, the leaders owe it to the members to be open and accountable in the church finance. Good financial practice are hard to do, even the corporate failed so many times, as a church we need to set and example and be the light to the the way.
If you think that there is something i miss out feel free to add in the comments. Or if you got something to share or a testimony. That would be good too.