Here are seven things pastors must not do if they want to enhance their leadership in church money matters and overall. (See here for seven things they must do.)
- Do too much. Some pastors, especially in smaller churches, take on far too much responsibility for their church’s finances. Some tasks are better not done than to have the pastor do it. You are not the treasurer.
- Do too little. Other pastors want to do as little as possible. Even in larger churches, some clergy think it’s not their job to deal with the money (and some lay leaders are happy to have them stay out of it). In a well-functioning church, the pastor thoughtfully considers what his or her job is in relation to finances, and does it.
- Handle cash. Don’t put yourself in a position where accusations about mishandling money can be made.
- Talk about money only once a year. Instead, make money a year-round topic. You’ll get used to it, and so will they.
- Complain about poorly performing treasurers, administrators or bookkeepers. Complaining about staff or volunteers rarely yields results. It’s an unproductive triangle. If changes need to be made, you will need allies, and a thoughtful conversation with key leaders will be necessary. That’s different from complaining.
- Be afraid of financial matters. Talk about the money, share your perspective, and to ask questions if you need to learn more. If your fear about money comes from your family story (likely), get some coaching to work on it. Any cost will likely come back to you in real dollars as you get a handle on your own anxiety.
- Take money decisions personally. Churches have their own processes for making these decisions, some of which go back to their founding. Chances are it’s not about you (even if the decision is about your salary).
What would you add to this list?
photo Viktor Hanacek