I make bold to say that there is no poor church, there only churches that handled money wrongly and blessings are withheld. It is disheartening that many church leaders fail to have a clear and godly policy of money handling in the church. Poor and improper handling of church monies has become a raging fire that has consumed many ministers and their churches in a nation. Sometimes ago, I read the report of 20 fastest growing churches in a nation. Sixteen of them have cases in court, due to financial scandals! It’s time to address squarely the issue of right and wrong administration of money in church and ministry. Like Our Page to get more articles
A. Biblical Ways of Handling Money – II Chro.24:4-6; II Kings 22:3-9; I Cor. 16:1-3
The scripture is clear about the proper handling of church money. During the time of Moses up to the kings, there was a committee incharge and they report to the king. In the New Testament time, collection was made and report was made to the apostles. Those in charge did not spend the money without approval and they were faithful in keeping it.
NOTE: The church in most nations of the earth is recognized by law as a public property – a non governmental – non-profit organization. Therefore, there must be proper records and accounting of the monies and properties. It does not belong to individuals or families. A proper record of expenditures and yearly returns of account statements by external auditors are legal demands.
B. Biblical ways of spending church money
Both in the Old and New Testament church, we could see how money was judiciously used and what they used it on.
Exo. 35:1-28 – house of God and instruments of worship.
II Chro. 24:4-7 – Repairing of the house of God.
I Chro. 29:3,4 – Providing materials for worship of God.
John 12:6; 13:29 – Taking care of needs and needy
Acts 2:44-45 – Common needs and material needs of members.
Acts 4:32-35 – Distributed to those as they had need.
Acts 6:1 – Taking care of widows, fatherless and downtrodden
Acts 11:29-31 – Providing relief for those in famine, persecution.
Acts 13:1-2 – to send forth (providing financial means to travel)
Acts 15:2 – Appointed to go up to Jerusalem with support of church.
Romans 15:24 – Assistance on travel – pocket expenses
I Cor. 7:10, 12 – funds for ungoing church activities. Like Our Page to get more articles
Yes, there was no building then to spend on, they largely worship in temples. They allocated most of their monies to supporting mission work and missionaries, providing elements of worship, taking care of widows, orphans and Christians in needs. They also took care of Christian workers so as to make their service for the Lord much more bearable.
C. Wrong ways of handling church money today
Allow me to pinpoint some of the ways money is being mishandled and administered in the churches today.
Failure to keep proper record of income and expenditure.
Keeping it in someone’s hand or house
Spending it whimsically without recourse to anyone
Committee and deacons have more say over it than pastor
Borrowing it out among those in charge.
Distributing it among foundation members.
The pastor as the sole signatory to the church account.
Little or nothing goes to the welfare of ministers.
Gross misappropriation and not used for intended purposes.
Extravagant spending and unwise investments.
Remitting 90% or 100% to the headquarter and a fraction in return.
Investing in secular business and non-kingdom purposes.
My experience with various churches of several affiliations have shown that larger percentage of the monies are spent on the pastor, buildings, business ventures, cars, equipments big bank accounts and travels. Little is spent on missions, outreach, needs of members, training resources, relief for brethren, missionaries, widows and ophans. How unlike the Biblical church we have become in money matters! No wonder the government want to tax churches, because we spend majority of money on what the Bible did not ask us to spend it on! Matt. 6:19-21
D. Right and Honest Ways to Handle Church Money
Apostle Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I have none…’. The majority of the church today can no longer say that. There is so much silver and gold coming in, it is only poor handling and administration that is gittering them away to wrong places. When the little that is coming in is not wisely and judiciously handled, the church and the people will be the poorer for it. Below are recommended ways of handling church money:-
- Keep proper record and accounting system
- Separate what belongs to church and pastorate.
- Senior pastor or ministers must be on salary or emolument.
- Faithful and honest people must be in charge of collecting, counting and accounting for the money.
- There must be financial committee reporting directly to the pastor.
- Nobody has the right to remove part or spend the whole money without the express approval of the pastor.
- Budgets and needs must be tabled and discussed and approved before expenditure.
- There must be monitoring and cross-checking of facts and figures.
- The local church must keep 80-90% of her generated revenue.
- The local church should pay levies or assessment fee to headquarter after 2 years.
- The local church must not be such dry of her finances by excessive demand from headquarters.
- The local churche must have account with a credible bank and 2 or 3 people as signatories. The pastor must be one of them.
- Accounting year must be observed and the books perused by external auditors.
- All loopholes must be blocked and those owing must be made to pay.
- The church is not a micro finance bank, therefore borrowing or loaming money to members must be highly discouraged.
- Monies collected must be used for declared purposes and people must see practical evidences of money donated.
- The church must spend her money on what the Bible wants it to be spent on – missions, outreach, trainings and equippings welfare of
workers, widows, ophans, relief for brethren and gospel materials.
- Mismanagement of church funds must be seriously drown at and severely dealth with. Like Our Page to get more articles
‘I have no relation, I roll here and there’
‘If you don’t tie me down, I move away’
‘With me you enjoy, without me you endure’
‘If you don’t handle me well, I will mishandle you’
Francis Bola Akin-John, Empowering Leaders to Grow Healthier Churches and Ministries Started ministry in 1988. Has now been in ministry for 21 years. Pastored 5 denominational churches in the space of 8 years.
Started Church Growth Ministry in 1994 after hearing God said “go and strengthen pastors and support churches to grow and be healthy”. Has held hundreds of conferences across Nigeria, Africa and Europe with combined attendance of over 30, 000 church leaders