Because the church and its members are given the opportunity to be good stewards, it is expected that each one will be guided by Christian values when handling church finances. As pastors, elders and leaders, we are held to a higher standard, so it would behoove us to exercise transparency when dealing with stewardship matters.
When starting a church, there are often questions about the handling of church finances. Here are a few of the most common questions:
How should a church handle tithes and offerings?
There are numerous best practices for handling tithes and offerings but one thing we should remember is to diligently keep track of what is given. Not only does this comply with state laws, but it also gives us the opportunity to properly express our gratitude towards those who have exercised their generosity.
By keeping track of tithes and offerings, we can provide the proper documentation that acknowledges tithes and offerings with gratitude. At the same time, this assures members of the congregation that what they have willingly given will be used to help the church in its mission to spread the Good News of the Jesus.
Who within the church deposits money in the bank?
Churches may choose to have a team of trusted members handle the church’s finances. Many times, churches that have deacons will assign this task to them. They have been vetted, are above reproach and have been found trustworthy.
Keep in mind that this does not excuse church leaders from being ignorant of their organization’s finances. In fact, those who make bank deposits for the church should also be individuals who will work with church leaders in informing them about the financial standing of their congregation.
And by the way – every church needs a solid bookkeeper!
How does a church keep track of donations to provide tax receipts at the end of the year?
Since churches are legally recognized as non-profits, they should have a system can help them properly keep track of donations, whether financial or in-kind. Recording donations does not have to be complex. I have seen churches go the “old school” route of hand written ledgers all the way to a robust platform such as Realm Church Management Software.
There are other options such as Faith Teams which is an “all in one” church management software. This is super affordable at $40 per month and offers so much more than bookkeeping. You can send out mass texts to the church, schedule events, schedule volunteers, children’s ministry check-in, and even the ability to automate guest follow-up.
Important note: Contribution statements should be mailed to the donors no later than January 31st of each year. The receipt must include the Church’s or Nonprofit’s name, the donor’s name, the date(s) of the donation(s), and the amount(s).
If you need help, consider visiting FreeChurchAccounting.com for some valuable resources.
Practice Responsible Stewardship
As church leaders, we should ensure that there are checks and balances within the local church. Making sure these processes are in place will allow for trust to thrive within the congregation and even to those in our community who may have preconceived notions about money and Church.
Find a process that works well in your context and be faithful and consistent.