Top Ten Financial Mistakes A Church Makes - Part Two

Continuing from yesterday’s post..

6.  Making Too Many Financial Asks

Some churches provide the opportunity to give to 15 to 20 different initiatives each year.  While all of these represent a great aspect of the ministry, it prevents maximum giving and limits ongoing giving to the general fund.  Why not consolidate all of the ministry initiatives into a single major offering?  This prevents “donor-fatigue” and leads to a more fully funded vision.

7.  Breaching Trust

A breach of trust is created when money has been collected for an initiative, but then the money is used for something entirely different without that reason being clearly communicated to the church.  Some churches have had multiple collections for the same project, yet there is no money in that account because it has been used for something different.  Without trust, nothing can stand for long.  If this has happened in your church ,be certain to clearly communicate WHY it happened.  Apologize as necessary and move forward to establish a new foundation of trust.

8.  Failing To Have A Regular Financial Review/Audit

Obviously, embezzlement is not helpful toward ensuring a fully funded vision!  A regular financial review or audit can ensure that your church finances are being managed well and with full integrity.

9.  Acquiring Unmanageable Debt

Over the past several years, many churches made the mistake of borrowing everything a bank was willing to lend them.  As a result, many ministries are facing the strangling hold of lenders and interest payments.  Seek to restructure the debt to obtain the lowest interest rates possible and resolve to never again borrow an amount of money that would jeopardize the ministry.

10. Allowing the biggest giver to dictate what will and will not be funded

Sometimes a large donor will attempt to abscond with the vision by threatening to withhold their giving unless their “pet project” is funded – event when the leader knows that the project is not part of the vision.  When a leader has a clear vision from God, it will give them the confidence to “offend man rather than offend God.”

BONUS: Asking for equal giving instead of equal sacrifice

Some leaders have looked at a major project – say it costs $1,000,000 – and then looked at their 500 members and did the math.  “If every family would give $2,000, we would have a fully funded project,” the leader will proclaim.  The math is correct, but the approach is not.  The leader is asking for equal giving, not equal sacrifice.  Consider the individual who possesses the gift of giving who would willingly give $50,000.  If they were asked to give only $2,000, they might make the decision to only give $2,000.  Be sure to ask for equal sacrifice, not equal giving.

(This was a guest blog post written by Joe Sangl and this is the type of teaching and equipping that will take place at the FREE 1-day Funded & Free Conference in the Charlotte area on April 19, 2012.  I will be speaking at this conference and would love to see you there.  REGISTER HERE.)