Friday, 8 March 2013

Need of the financial administration in the Christian church

Managing the finances of a church often requires trial and error to establish the best practices for a particular church. Small churches may use their normal office personnel to handle finances, while larger congregations often employ accountants or a financial advisory board to oversee the budget, donations and purchases. Generally have high expectations of religious organizations and churches. For the most part, donors and attendees recognize that enormous needs exist that the church is called upon to meet, and they usually want to respond adequately to help the church meet those needs.

However, they also want to be assured that the funds they give, many times sacrificially, are being used effectively and that the church is actively involved in ministering in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. So, there can be no acceptable alternative to financial accountability.
The Treasurer is one of the central leaders of a congregation, with a role that is both macro and micro – monitoring the big picture as well as paying attention to the details. The Treasurer is called upon to explain the church's financial resources, thereby assisting the members of the congregation as they make decisions about the mission and ministry of the church. The Treasurer is also responsible for making sure that all financial de-tails are handled with accuracy, including recording contributions, paying bills, issuing paychecks, and making payroll tax deposits. In addition, the Treasurer establishes procedures for ensuring that funds are adequately safeguarded and files are clearly organized and maintained. It's a big job! [1]
Massachusetts law requires a non-profit corporation to have at least three officers: a President, a Clerk, and a Treasurer. The President is the elected leader of the congregation. The Clerk keeps the official records and minutes. (Note that Massachusetts law requires that the clerk be a resident of Massachusetts, or that a resident agent be appointed.) The Treasurer is legally responsible for all financial aspects of the church for all groups within the church, such as the youth group, women's fellowship, nursery school, and any other groups who handle money or bank accounts. The Treasurer is also responsible for compliance with federal and state requirements for payroll reporting and withholding. Many churches today are finding that the best person for the Treasurer's position does not necessarily have the time or skill available to perform the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks, which can take quite a few hours per week. These churches have either decided to hire a bookkeeper or have incorporated the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks into the job description of the church administrator or other employee. This allows the Treasurer to fill a broader role: signing checks, managing cash flow, and interpreting financial reports.
[2]In all cases, it is essential that the Treasurer and any financial personnel have a basic understanding of non-profit finance and church finance, so that financial recordkeeping and reporting is transparent, accurate, and in compliance with legal requirements. In this way, the church's financial resources can be fully supportive of the congregation's mission and ministry.

Record Keeping
The most important aspect of a church’s financial administration is accurate and detailed record keeping. Churches should keep accurate records of accounts payable and expenses, as well as gifts and donations. Churches should keep receipts detailing all expenses for tax purposes. Many churches use record keeping software, such as QuickBooks or Peachtree Accounting, to make record keeping easier and more efficient.
Proper and thorough budgeting is important for all churches, especially those with smaller congregations that have more financial constraints. A sound church budget is also important due to the unpredictable nature of church finances. While many churches make fairly accurate predictions on the amounts they will receive as donations and gifts throughout the year, these numbers are often unpredictable.
It is wise to discuss budgeting at meetings with church officers and board members to decide where to allocate money. Churches should consider all expenses when creating a budget. Repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the church facilities often take a large portion of the budget; the church board must decide how to divide the remaining funds between programs, functions, groups and activities.[3]
The golden rules of church finance management
Almost every day the news tells of another financial scandal. Corruption in America has become so commonplace that many Americans are now assuming even some of the most trusted institutions are corrupt. The church is not lost in this situation. In today's culture, the church cannot afford to be reactive, but remain proactive in managing its finances above reproach.
The following golden rules will help counterbalance today's atmosphere of mistrust regarding the management of church finances[4].
1)    Financial managers should first be respected as spiritual leaders.
Often, churches ask individuals to serve in these trusted leadership roles because of their positions of leadership in the community and business world. However, their spiritual maturity should be considered first and foremost before asking them to help manage the church's finances. Ask about their personal devotional life and witnessing efforts. Also, a leader should be called by God to serve in these important leadership roles. The future direction of the church often falls on these individuals' shoulders.
2)    Financial managers should maintain the highest possible integrity.
There should be not even a hint that church finances are not being managed properly. Adopt a policy that any purchases over a certain dollar amount must be placed up for competitive bidding. Don't award insurance coverage to a particular company just because the agent is a member. Business owners who belong to your church should welcome competitive bidding as an opportunity to provide the church with the best value. The "good ol' boy" system does not have a place in today's church. With such a lack of integrity in the marketplace, the church needs to stand fast.
3)    Provide detailed financial reports to church members.
Creating detailed financial reports can be difficult. How much information is too much? While the church staff's compensation might need to be kept confidential for various reasons, the other aspects of church finances should be available to members who request it. Provide reports through annual financial reviews or on a monthly basis.
4)    Enforce checks and balances at every level.
The church treasurer should not be involved in the receiving, counting, and depositing of church funds. Traditionally, the role of the church treasurer is to disburse, record, and report how the church is managing its funds. Also, different individuals should carrry out the roles of receiving, counting, and depositing the church's funds. If possible, create a rotation system of unrelated members to serve in these capacities.
5)    Church members must have the final say in financial matters.
While daily church financial management might be delegated to various staff members or committees, these individuals must remain accountable to the church at large. The church should never delegate total responsibility to a select group of individuals. It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Everyone needs accountability in financial management. Financial managers must always remember that church assets are God's. He deserves honor in this important aspect of His work. The world is looking for people they can trust. How will God's church measure up?[5]
Managing the finances and payroll with regard to church employees is another important issue to consider when deciding how to best administer a church’s finances. Even the smallest churches usually have a few hourly or salaried employees that must be paid on a regular basis. Taxes and legal requirements for churches are very different from the laws that apply to most other types of organizations and businesses. It is important for churches to have an accountant familiar with non-profit organizations available to discuss tax and payroll laws.
Churches need to have written, enforceable financial policies in place to prevent budgeting or legal problems. Many churches have loans, credit cards and petty cash accounts that several staff members use. By outlining policies detailing acceptable ways to use the accounts and money, churches are better able to track their funds and expenditures. Churches should have a treasurer or a board of financial advisors in place to track the usage of the money and accounts so that there is an appropriate checks and balances system in place. Having trusted staff members oversee the use of church money can minimize the potential for misuse and make it easier to spot violations of church policy when they occur.
What is financial accountability?
Financial accountability is based on the principle of financial stewardship. A steward is one who occupies the position of manager of the owner's possessions. He or she is required to exercise responsible care over funds and assets entrusted to him or her. Few stewards attain the position of honor and trustworthiness without submitting to a system of accountability, a system where clear explanations of all financial activity are detailed, recorded, and reported to donors, constituents, and/or attendees.[6]
Because Indian tax laws provide special tax treatment of churches and religious organizations, churches are being, at the very least, deficient if not deceptive if they don't fully disclose all financial actions and transactions. Several organizations provide leadership and counsel in the area of financial accountability for churches and Christian nonprofit organizations. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has established standards to regulate proper systems of accounting, board operations, disclosure of finances, and fair treatment of donors.[7]

Accountability by a board
The importance of a church having an active board cannot be over emphasized.
Whereas neglect of financial accountability by a church board can lead to suspicion and mistrust, active involvement protects the integrity of the church, its leadership, and its objectives and ensures adherence of policies mandated by the board.
A church board should meet at least semiannually but preferably monthly. Meetings should be more than listening to the pastor's or board chairperson's reports and rubberstamping his or her recommendations.
ECFA recommends a church board of no less than five people, none of whom are staff members and/or department heads (except for the senior pastor who is generally recognized as a member in standing of the church board and all church committees, departments, and ministries) or related to each other by blood or marriage.
Recording board actions
The actions of the church board should be recorded in detail by written minutes. The minutes are then to be signed and dated by the board secretary and distributed to all members within a week after the meeting concludes. These minutes should be read at the next board meeting and approved as read or as corrected by the board.
The actions, responsibilities, authority, and functions of the church board can be greatly diversified from church to church.
In general, all church boards are responsible for approval and revision of church administrative and/or legislative policy; serving as the church's administrator of financial accountability; authorizing an annual independent audit of the church's financial actions and transactions; authorizing the church's operating budget; authorizing any major church acquisitions (property, equipment, assets); and reviewing, revising, and/or authorizing the senior pastor's compensation package.
Financial Problems in the Church
Churches are often thought of as bastions of faith, places where believers go to worship and fellowship with other believers. Rarely do church members think about the finances of their church. Churches, like individuals, are dependent upon income to operate and must also manage their finances in a responsible fashion. Problems within the church, while often a harsh critique on the leadership of the congregation, can either pull the church apart or bring it closer together. Common problems that plague churches are unmanageable debt levels, declining contributions and taxation issues.
Debt is a major problem facing churches. Debt is most commonly incurred in a church setting as a result of a building project. Building projects are often a needed expense, as the congregation has outgrown its current facility. Churches that are seeking to initiate a building project should try to plan the project so that as little debt as possible is incurred. A direct result of debt and its interest is the decrease in available funds for the ministries of the church.
Declining Contribution Levels
The day-to-day operations of a church are primarily financed through the voluntary contributions of its members. As a direct result of the recession that has gripped the United States economy (2008 to 2010), contributions at churches in America have steadily declined. One of America's most popular churches, The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, filed for bankruptcy in October 2010, citing a 27 percent decrease in revenues, which hindered the church from making its payments on rising debt levels. Without directly pleading for the congregation to increase giving levels, a church can increase revenues with programs such as fundraisers and even more nontraditional techniques such as allowing members to give by way of credit card processing.
Taxation Issues
As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included churches in the list of tax-exempt organizations. However, churches can run afoul of the IRS tax code that governs such organizations. One of the main reasons that a church can lose its tax-exempt status is by dabbling in the political arena. A church may not endorse any political candidate and it may not provide its facilities to be a political forum for any political party. The IRS will strip a church of its tax-exempt status upon an investigation into such matters. The removal of its tax-exempt status can be devastating to a church, as it will add a significant expense to the church's budget.
Best Practices for Church Financial Internal Controls
On a recent trip to Iowa for a few church visits, I spoke at length with Tammy Masson, CFO Diocese of Des Moines, regarding a Manual for Financial Internal Controls she was compiling for her Parishes and Schools.  Tammy, a Certified Fraud Investigator, mentioned the need for a “Best Practices” listing for all churches that would help reduce or eliminate theft in church.  Much of the article below was taken from the Diocese of Des Moines "Finacial Management and Control Manual for Parishes and Schools".
As I watched over my morning cup of coffee, I saw that yet another church lost thousands of dollars over several years from a trusted church secretary. 

Whether your church has a full-time paid staff, or all volunteers, life in a church office can sometimes feel transient.  New finance committee members, church council members, volunteers, ushers and even staff members can come and go, and not know exactly what is expected of them.
Administration of church finances is a sacred trust.  It is very important for the Pastor to establish a strong system of internal control because he/she has the responsibility for overall stewardship of the Church. (Mason, 2009)
Every church should have an outline of Internal Controls that will help you train new staff, volunteers, finance committee members, and clergy on what is expected of them to maintain the integrity of your organization, and the trust of your supporters.  Internal Controls are essential to protect the assets of the church from waste, fraud, and inefficient use. They will also benefit staff and volunteers by showing that you have procedures in place to avoid the appearance of misbehavior, thus protecting their reputation.
We want to believe that those who serve the church are good, honest people.  However, there have been numerous recent reports of improprieties in churches and non-profit organizations.  Good internal controls can minimize loss.
Because each church is different, and each denomination organization may have a unique set of standards, this article is designed to lay the groundwork for further discussion and definitions of proper financial management by your church.
The following system can be completed by fewer persons, depending on the resources of the church.  Use this as a starting off point.  You’ll need to determine how much internal control is necessary for your church.
Contribution Collection, Deposits and Data Entry

1.       Encourage Church Members to use Envelopes
a.        Envelopes protect the member’s offerings until they can be counted, it also assist the contribution entry person making their job faster. Then save the envelopes, and you will have a written record for each offering put into the plate.
b.       Encourage Members to write checks or use CMS Online Giving.  This makes theft much more difficult, and they will have a receipt if verification of the church records is necessary.
2.       Ushers – Provide your ushers with some procedures to follow, in particular how to properly seal collection bags.  Post the procedure and review with new ushers.  Let your ushers know how much you appreciate their cooperation in successfully implementing these procedures.

a.        Let the ushers know ahead of time the number of collections in the service and assign tamper resistant, pre-numbered bags for these collections plus an extra bag in the event of bag defect or closing the bag too soon.  Defective and extra bags should also be submitted with collections.

b.       DO NOT GIVE OUT CHANGE!  The collection should be maintained in its original form, and no change should ever be given from the collected funds.

c.        Bags should be then transported to a secure area for safekeeping prior to delivering to the counting team and if a contribution was missed, place the loose envelope in the pocket of the sealed bag or add to an additional sealed bag and transport to secure area for safekeeping prior to delivering to the counting team.

3.       Counter, Safes and Secured Area

a.        Only a limited number of people should maintain lock combinations and/or custody of keys to church safe(s).
·   Combinations and keys should never be stored in an unlocked desk drawer, hung on a wall, back of a door, or in an unsupervised area where anyone can gain access to them.  The safe should be in good working condition at all times and ensure the safe door is not only shut, but also locked.
b.       Limit the amount of funds secured in the safe to a minimum.
c.        Secure the counting area
·   The count area should be free of distractions with no “through traffic” to access a supply closet or bathroom by individuals other than the counters, and limit the number of people, other than counters, in the room; only the counters, clergy overseeing count, and/or someone from the church staff should be in the room.
d.       Provide Counting Supplies
·   Collection worksheets, Bank Deposit Tickets, Tape calculator, and New tamper resistant bags to secure funds to be deposited after the count is complete.
e.       Counters open the bags
·   Assemble the counters (3 or more unrelated people) then the Pastor or designee should deliver the tamper resistant bags containing the collections.  Also include any other sources of income received by mail or in person to the church office.
·   Counters must examine the bags for tampering, breaches of the seal, or other irregularities and note the condition of the bag and the bag number on a Bag Tracking Form. Notify the Pastor of any irregularities on any bag.

f.         Counters count the contributions

·   Collections are counted, classified, and recorded by alternating count teams, or duties are rotated amount several count team members.  The complete collection is deposited.  Don’t keep any cash at the church as convenience cash.

·   Photocopy loose checks and keep with offering envelopes.

·   Cash should be separated by denomination, counted and banded.  The amount and the counters initials are recorded on the band.  A second counter should open the band, recounts, and records their initials on the band.

·   Run two adding machine tapes to verify the total of the checks, and two adding machine tapes to verify the total of currency and coin.
·   Counters complete the count sheet by documenting currency, coin, and checks.  The adding machine tape should be identified by indicated cash or check; initialed and dated.  One copy of the tape is attached to the collection worksheet, along with each counter’s initials and date, to provide accountability for the amounts.
·   The counters record the currency and checks on a duplicate bank deposit ticket with all information on the ticket completed.  The original bank deposit ticket, along with the adding machine tapes, is sent to the bank and a copy retained at church.
g.        Supporting documentation received at church
·   The empty envelopes and photocopied loose checks are given to contribution entry person who enters data in CMS Contribution System.
·   The count sheet, bank deposit copy, and bag tracking form is retained at church and turned into bookkeeper.  Bookkeeper should receive a deposit receipt from the bank in a couple days.  Match the deposit receipt to the count sheet and attach.  Enter deposit in CMS Ledger & Payables system.
·   If there are overages and shortages between bank count sheet and bank deposit, immediately notify Pastor, and receipt should be reviewed to determine if additional count team members should be recruited or if count duties should be changed.
·   Publish prior week’s collection totals in weekly bulletin/newsletter.
Accounts Payable
1.       Separation of Duties – While oftentimes, those who choose to serve the church think the more they do, the more they serve.  This can oftentimes lead to a lack of separation of duties.  
There are many churches allowing one person to handle all financial elements within the church.  They count the offerings, make the deposit, record the offerings, paid the bills, sign the checks, reconcile the bank account and prepare the financial records.
By allowing one person to perform all of these duties, you are setting them up to conceal wrongdoings.  Even an accusation of wrongdoings can damage the reputation of the staff member/volunteer, and the church.
Instead, split up the duties between several staff members and/or volunteers
a.        Secretary/Receptionist
·   Opens the bills and reviews them, then gives them to the Bookkeeper
·   Gives unopened Bank Statements to Pastor and/or Church Administrator
·   Receives and reviews signed checks from Pastor/Treasurer/Authorized Check Signer and vendor remittance stub, seals envelopes and mail
b.       Bookkeeper
·   Enters the bills in CMS, assigning each bill to the appropriate vendor and account
   A regular schedule, i.e. every Thursday, for issuing checks allows for efficiencies in the business office and helps control the work associated with paying bills.
v  Petty cash should not be used to pay vendors, contractors, or employee.
v  Petty cash disbursements should also be tracked in the CMS Fund Accounting system and periodically reconciled.
v  The use of manually created checks is discouraged.
a.        If a manual check is used, i.e. an authorized check signer takes a check to a retail store; the receipt should be promptly taken to the bookkeeper so the transaction can be reported.
·   Prints the checks in CMS on 3 part check
v  Blank check stock should be kept in a locked location, preferably in a safe or fireproof filing cabinet, and access limited to those who are authorized to prepare checks.  This helps reduce the risk of stolen or forged checks.
·   Staples church copy of stub of a 3-part check to associated bill and gives to Treasurer/Pastor
·   Before January 31st, compiles 1099’s for non-incorporated vendors who were paid over $600 in the calendar year
c.        Pastor/Treasurer/Authorized Check Signer
·   Reviews bill and check for accuracy
·   Signs checks
v  Two people should be required to sign any check over a pre-determined amount.  The amount requiring a second signature can be pre-printed on checks, i.e. “Any check over 2,000 is required to have two signatures”.

v  The signature documentation (signature card) held by the bank should also show this restriction.
v  The Pastor must be included as an authorized signer on all accounts as administrator of the church and its affiliated organizations.  This ensures the Pastor is aware of all accounts in the name of the church.  This also protects the misuse of the parish tax ID number.
v  Individuals with access to record entries in CMS Fund Accounting who receive and process cash receipts should not be authorized signers.  This separates the duties of those with control over cash to insulate the individual from any implication or temptation of wrongdoing.
v  Signature stamps should never be used.  This way, all cash outflow is properly reviewed and authorized.  If you have a signature stamp, it should be kept locked up and used only with authorization from the Pastor for correspondence purposes only.
v  NEVER SIGN A BLANK CHECK!  Blank or partially blank checks should never be signed.  Only sign a check when the payee and dollar amount are filled in and there is supporting documentation.
·   Removes check, vendor copy of stub, vendor remittance stub and provided envelope (unsealed) and hands to secretary for mailing.
v  It’s a good practice to hand the signed checks to a third party, not the person preparing the checks, to review and mail.  This prevents the vendor remittance stub from being swapped out upon mailing, i.e. someone paying their personal electric bill with a church check.
·   Gives church copy of bill back to bookkeeper for filing.
d.       Pastor/Church Administrator/Finance Board
·   Bank reconciliation
v  Bank Statements and cancelled checks should be received directly by the Pastor or Church Administrator, who should:
a.        Open and review to ensure payees are valid and signatures are authentic

b.       Review endorsements and determine if they are genuine

c.        Determine that all transactions have been authorized

d.       Determine the balance appears reasonable.

e.       Then sign and date the bank statement to indicate his/her review.

v  Bank Reconciliations should be performed each month within ten days of receiving the bank statement.  This can help ensure that any errors can be found and corrected quickly by either the bank or the church.

v  Bank Reconciliations should be performed by a third party, one who does not sign the checks, keep the books, or process the receipts. A finance board member, the pastor, or business manager should be reviewing bank reconciliations on a monthly basis, dating and signing off on them.

·   Internet Banking/ACH Transfers/Wire Transfers

v  While Internet Banking can be quite convenient, it can also open the church for a great degree of exposure and should always be monitored by the Pastor and/or Church Administrator.

v  Any individual who has access to these online transactions literally has an open checkbook.

v  It is recommended that only the Pastor and/or Church Administrator that releases the funds and should be the only holder of the administration password.

v  Once a transaction has been completed, he/she should generate a bank report that details the transactions, signs and dates it, and forwarded to the bookkeeper for recording in the CMS Fund Accounting system.

v  If your church uses the CMS Payroll Direct Deposit feature, or if an outside payroll service is used, the Pastor and/or Church Administrator should be signing off and reviewing every report processed by the bookkeeper.

·   Credit Cards
v  Again, another convenience, but can open the church up to more exposure.
v  Use the CMS Ledger & Payables Credit Card feature to track the individual expenditures (including vendor, amount, date and related expense account) and reconcile the credit card statement each month.

2.       Bank Accounts

a.       Number of Bank Accounts – The number of accounts should be kept to a minimum.  This also helps streamline the accounting process. The separation of funds for different activities or programs can be done using the General Ledger rather than having a separate bank account for each.

b.       Other Church Organizations – Any and all checking, savings and investment accounts must be included on the church general ledger.  This helps guarantee that the financial statements are accurate and allows the finance board and the church members to have a complete picture of the finances of the church.  It is the responsibility of Pastor to oversee the finances of the parish and require full disclosure of all accounts.

c.        Name of Bank Account and Investment Accounts – Pastors, clergy, deacons, committee members, staff and volunteers should not hold assets in their own name or purchase in their own name any property that rightly belongs to the church.  Bank deposits must be made in the name of the institution from which these funds originated.

3.       Other Church Organizations

a.       Organizations associated with the church should be recognized by the church council as a matter of written record and should be subject to the ultimate fiscal control by the Pastor.

b.       An itemized record of receipts and expenditures should be filed in the church office periodically (monthly, quarterly, or annually) and made available upon request of the Pastor.

c.        The church office should be reviewing, signing and dating, or completing the bank reconciliation and reviewing the cancelled checks on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, or annually).

d.       Organizations should only have separate bank accounts based on the approval of the Pastor.

e.       The Pastor should be included as an authorized signer on all affiliated organizations that use the church tax ID number.  This ensure the Pastor is aware of all accounts in the name of the church, and prevents an organization from keeping church related assets (bank accounts) out of the control of the Pastor with the ability to close the account or put money in an account the Pastor is not aware or has access to.

4.       Payroll

a.       All church staff should be paid a pre-determined salary and the amounts must be reported on a W-2 annually.

·   Clergy Housing allowance should be voted on in December for the following year.

b.       All Payroll taxes must be paid on time.

5.       Periodic Audits

a.       Internal Audits

·   Every church should have an internal audit committee in place.  They can be church members who have financial, banking and/or business backgrounds.
·   Periodically throughout the year, they should review the financial records for discrepancies and ensure the church is in compliance with the law.
b.       External Audits
·   Every church should hire a CPA firm to review the financial records of the church annually.
6.       Other Best Practices
a.       Create an organizational chart which outlines the role of each staff member/volunteer.  This can clarify the responsibilities of each position, and can eliminate confusion and overlapping of duties.
·   This can also help should a junior member of the staff who may spot a problem, go to the right staff member to voice a concern.
b.       Have a check request form in place that must be filled out each time a check is needed.  This form can be reviewed and approved before the check is written.  This also allows for a paper trail and the check writing procedure would have some internal controls in place to keep everyone honest.
c.        Accounting records should be safeguarded at all times.  It’s important that the financial records remain at the church and not at a member’s home.  This is confidential information and should not be carelessly shared with anyone.  If the financial data (or checks/deposit slips) are taken off site, there is a greater possibility that the information could be destroyed, stolen or lost.
d.       Personnel

·   Most embezzlers are repeat offenders.  Screen potential new employees carefully, and contact personal and professional references, and former supervisors.
·   Remember that all of the checks and balances you implement will always have flaws.  If you hire a skilled embezzler whose sole intent is to steal from the church, you may not find out about it until a large amount of money goes missing.
·   Bond your employees.  Blanket bonds are popular with churches because all employees may be covered.  Check with your church insurance policy for this coverage. (Fifty Internal Control Practices for Every Church)

·   Train new employees and volunteers!

v  Provide them with a copy of your internal controls manual.

v  If the new employee will be working in the CMS People Products or CMS Fund Accounting, utilize the CMS TeleTraining offerings to get them started on the right foot.

Day after day, thousands of church employees and staff personnel work tirelessly and selflessly to fulfill the church's obligations as established by Jesus, only to find many within the community casting suspicions on them due to the highly publicized mismanagement and deceptions of a few.

By establishing and submitting to a system of financial accountability, pastors, staff members, and churches can eliminate unnecessary suspicion of financial mismanagement and mistrust.


1.     Mason, T. (2009). CFO Diocese of Des Moines. Financial Management and Control Manual for Parishes and Schools , 2.

[2] Massachusetts General Laws – Chapter 156, Section 21 
2.     [3] Fifty Internal Control Practices for Every Church. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dicoese of the

3.     [4] Henrickson, K. P. (2006, September). Financial Management in the Church. Retrieved from

4.     [5] Leadership Handbook of Management and Administration: Practical Insight from a Cross Section of Ministry Leaders. Berkley, James D., ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1994.

5.     [6] Primarily meant for ministers, this volume contains articles by a variety of experts and includes chapters on a multitude of management issues and is full of practical advice

6.     [7] Accountable Leadership, A Resource Guide for Sustaining Legal, Financial, and Ethical Integrity in Today's Congregations revised and expanded. Chaffee, Paul. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997.

1.     Mason, T. (2009). CFO Diocese of Des Moines. Financial Management and Control Manual for Parishes and Schools , 2.

2.     Fifty Internal Control Practices for Every Church. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dicoese of the West:

3.     Henrickson, K. P. (2006, September). Financial Management in the Church. Retrieved from
4.     Leadership Handbook of Management and Administration: Practical Insight from a Cross Section of Ministry Leaders. Berkley, James D., ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1994.
5.     Primarily meant for ministers, this volume contains articles by a variety of experts and includes chapters on a multitude of management issues and is full of practical advice

6.     Accountable Leadership, A Resource Guide for Sustaining Legal, Financial, and Ethical Integrity in Today's Congregations revised and expanded. Chaffee, Paul. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997.
7.     Lyle Shaller describes this book as "…a plea for congregational leaders to be competent, informed, accountable, and in touch with contemporary reality." The leaders of any congregation are responsible for the operations and health of the institution as well as the personal safety of members, guests and property. This book exploresthe ethical, legal, and financial responsibilities of lay and clergy leaders in religious congregations. Each chapter is followed by an extensive bibliography. This is a must read book and an invaluable resource.

8.     Churchworks: A Well-Body Book for Congregations. Heller, Anne Odin. Boston, MA: Skinner House Books, 1999.
9.     Anne Odin Heller is District Executive of the UUA Pacific Northwest District. She has served as minister to both small and large congregations, and using the metaphor of the human body, she has created an accessible and ingenious handbook that provdes essential advice for growing and sustaining a healthy church. She included helpful models for developing congregational bylaws, staff manuals, financial policies and procedures and many other mainstays for church administration.

10.            Church Secretary's Communiqué; The Newsletter for Church Office Professionals. Cobble, James F., Jr., ed. Matthews, North Carolina: Christian Ministry Resources. Published monthly.
11.            This monthly publication consists of four pages of practical suggestions and articles on subjects such as stress, computers, goal setting, productivity, filing, volunteers, ethics, security, authority, and the secretary's relationship with the minister and members of the congregation.

12.            Clergy Desk Book. Holck, Manfred, Jr. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1985.
13.            Directed toward the minister as manager, this book includes organization and structure, staff relationships, volunteers, building and grounds, publications, staff compensation, bookkeeping, fund-raising, and membership.

14.            The Church Office Handbook; A Basic Guide to Keeping Order. Shearn, Carol R. Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse Barlow Co., 1986.
15.            Carol Shearn, an experienced church administrator, has written a practical book with step-by-step instructions and reproducible forms for managing the mountains of information flowing through the church office including membership records, filing systems, financial records and taxes, inventory, bulk mailing, and more.

16.            Church Administration Handbook; Resources for Church Leaders. Powers, Bruce P. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985.
17.            This comprehensive treatment of church administration includes a variety of forms, and a chapter on personnel with useful job descriptions. Published in 1985 but the basics are still basic!

18.            The Congregational Handbook: How to Develop and Sustain Your Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Unitarian Universalist Association. Third Edition. Edited by Lawrence X. Peers. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1995.
19.            This broad guide to the resources of the UUA also offers general guidelines on a wealth of subjects such as how to conduct a goal-setting meeting, a long-range planning process, and an annual canvass, as well as describing the various aspects of church life from recruiting volunteers to assimilating new members. A must-have tool for board members and committee chairs.

20.            How to Manage Your Church; a Manual for Pastors and Lay Leaders. Walz, Edgar. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1987.
21.            Clearly presented, this book focuses on the principles of church management, job descriptions, staff relationships, and special problems.


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