Church finance

All our possessions as believers are the Lord’s, given to us to be used for his glory. The giving of a proportion of our goods as an act of worship is our acknowledgement of this. Christian churches are required to make financial provision for the support of gospel witness and for charitable ministry to the poor. These needs may be met in two ways: (i) by regular systematic giving (e.g. the principle involved in Old Testament tithes); and (ii) occasional special giving as acts of gratitude or to meet a particular need. The New Testament principle is that each should set aside a portion of his goods for the Lord in proportion as He has prospered him.

1 Cor. 16:2.

The Treasurer

The treasurer will normally be a deacon and not one set apart for the ministry of the Word. He should be chosen from the membership both for his spiritual qualities and for his ability to handle financial matters. He should always remember that he is the servant of the church and not its financial director. It is his duty to keep the church informed of its financial state and to give advice to the best of his ability. Nor must he allow his concern with finance to become an end in itself. The church should have a sound financial policy but not aim at large reserves. Everything must be seen to be honest and it is proper therefore that full accounts be kept and regularly presented to the church, including those of auxiliaries within the church such as Sunday School, Women’s Fellowship, etc. Every collection should, as a matter of wisdom, be counted and checked by others before the treasurer leaves the premises. It is to be desired that contributions to missions and charities from all departments of the church should be sent together by the treasurer so that the total giving of the church to such causes will readily appear in the church accounts.

Financial Responsibility

Elders set apart for the ministry of the Word should, so far as is possible, be maintained adequately in their material needs by the church and thus disentangled from the cares of a secular calling. In practice it is desirable that pastors should live at a level that represents the average of those among whom they work. Stipends should be paid regularly and promptly and be subject to annual review.

Churches should face responsibilities relating to the retirement of ministers such as adequate superannuation arrangements. They should also be alert to the financial requirements of evangelism and of charitable responsibilities. Visiting preachers should receive an adequate remuneration, bearing in mind all costs of travel and pulpit supply.

The church must ensure that its property is maintained in good repair and adequately insured. The minimum risks to be

covered are: fire, burglary, storm damage, voluntary-workers, public and employers’ liability, as required by law. Care must be taken about the church’s legal obligations towards pastors and employees, including national insurance and income tax requirements. Where there is a caretaker or chapel cleaner, the church ought to ensure that extra remuneration is made for the additional work caused by such special occasions as weddings, funerals, etc.

Members, appointed to represent the church at inter-church gatherings and special committees, should have their expenses met by the church. This applies equally to any work done for the church which involves travel, postages or equipment. Members who do not need such repayment should nevertheless accept it, out of thoughtfulness for those who are not able to bear their own expenses, even though they return it privately.