7 things pastors must not do in church finance

AbacasHere 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.)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Handle cash. Don’t put yourself in a position where accusations about mishandling money can be made.
  4. Talk about money only once a year. Instead, make money a year-round topic. You’ll get used to it, and so will they.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

6 replies on “7 things pastors must not do in church finance

  • Sandra Coy

    I am only interested in retired pastor involvement in the bookkeeping of the church

  • sandra coy

    How involved should a retired pastor with regard to financial matters, i.e., bookkeeping duties?

  • Shari

    Looking for insight. A pastor rented a building, the land owners put the property up for sale. The church is involved with helping the homeless also. Long story short, a gentleman donated $300,000 of his retirement for the pastor to buy the building. Building was bought by the pastor which included 3 small lots. Pastors daughter learned of the donation and is now riding a brand new Harley motorcycle and new vehicle, going on trips . Pastors daughter is on government assistant programs . I think the pastors daughter is taking advantage. I have known the pastor and daughter for over 20 years. This has been bothering me. Advice ?

  • Earnest Parker

    I am astounded that so many people have fallen into the traditions of men. Pastors are key in managing church finances (Acts 4-5; Eph 4). As a pastor, the Word of God declares that I be actively involved on how finances are allocated and work with others to insure it is distributed properly.

    The article gives some good advice on avoiding places/situations that may compromise a pastors role, but if the church would follow the Word of God, this would not be such a touchy situation where one has to avoid offending the established traditions of men.

  • H

    I think you are on target with your response; the will or the, ‘suggestion’ of the Pastor drives the finances in many churches. Certainly, the godly vision of the pastor and experience should be taken into account and, together, sound stewardship decisions can be made.

  • Eugene Williams

    Most Pastors get their major income from Church offerings, and most Pastors have a deciding role, indirectly or directly, in how these financial offerings are used. The financial and administrative operations are under the control of the pastors. This should not be handled this way for true financial accountability.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *