Maintaining Financial Stability in Tough Times
Rev. Aubrey L. Jayroe – Forest City, Arkansas – To help maintain financial stability in our church we operate on a close budget. This has been a necessary step for us because our area is currently experiencing a substantial economic slump, resulting in a steady drop of both tithe and offerings.
A couple of things that seem to have helped, though, has been some solid teaching on the benefits of tithing and giving of offerings. I also teach a seminar on budgeting, tax planning and personal finance. I show the church how to keep from experiencing a financial crisis that will effect their giving. The Bible contains some clear advice on finance. If people will obey the scriptures, it will work for them.
I have also set up a system where all church purchases have to be approved by me or by a board member. This way, all expenditures go through a simple review process to insure we don’t spend money unwisely.
We have all the church finances on computer. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a system that I developed myself called Church Management Services. It includes a complete general ledger, payables, receivables, and contribution records. It gives me excellent financial reports and statements of contribution. It’s easy to use and allows me to know instantly our financial position.
Rev. Emile Atwood – Stockton, California – The first thing we do is pray. If the Lord does not build the financial house then all other labor is in vain.
Secondly, I believe the temptation to borrow is one of Satan’s ways of breaking down our dependence on God. When we borrow we depend on the bank, not God. So we operate strictly on a cash basis.
When you experience a slow down in giving you have to have a slow down in spending. You will probably have to review your budget and make some tough choices. It’s important to make a budget and stick with it. We recently had to make a 30% reduction in our spending. All the church ministries shared this cut equally.
It’s also important that you budget for emergencies. You can’t spend everything you take in. A good figure is to keep at least 10% of your annual income in reserve for emergency use only.
We teach a financial seminar to the church once a year. You can’t wait until the saint is facing a financial crisis to teach them what should be a part of their daily lives.
Finally, we have the church finances on computer. We use a program called Church Pro that we designed ourselves. It shows our budget, actual spending, and the percentage of difference between the two.
Rev. C. M. Becton – St. Louis, Missouri – When I pastored I was careful to never put the church in a place they could not afford to be in. We always counted the cost. Also, missions giving was an important part of our financial stability. Our church pledged itself out of debt this way. I also insisted that anyone who was in leadership had to be faithful in their giving.
Rev. T. L. Craft – Jackson, Mississippi – How? A lot of praying! Plus, we have never stopped supporting missions. I receive the tithe and offerings in my church and I usually give a thirty second mini-sermon on giving. Then I really pray over the offering. Finally, I teach a series of lessons on stewardship and money / time management each year.
Rev. Jay R. Stirnemann – Fall Rivers, Massachusetts – I train my church in the scriptural aspects of giving. I also show them how the money is spent so they have no reservations about giving. I’m not bashful when it comes to taking an offering. You must challenge people to give.
Rev. Stan Wachstetter – Clinton, Mississippi – What tough times? The economy is not in trouble! That’s a lie cooked up by the liberal media. If anything is in trouble it’s consumer confidence. With recovery in full swing there should be no decline in giving now.
Rev. James Larson – San Diego, California – The Bible is clear on the subject of giving. God required of Israel a 10% tithe and at least a 5% offering. Bro. Gray has taught this for years. If God required it back then, how much more today? You must teach the blessings of giving. If you cast your bread upon the water, when it comes back it will have peanut butter and jelly on it.
Rev. Ron Libby – Gaithersburg, Maryland – The best way to increase finances is revival. More people, more money. I also preach the benefits, not the obligation, of giving. Next, I put a tithing envelope in the Sunday bulletin. Also, our ushers hand out tithing envelopes. Finally, we don’t pass a basket, they bring it. I feel this accounts for at least a 10% increase in offerings.