For any organization to run efficient and effectively; there must be a system that must be set-up or put in place for the smooth running of the business. This means that, there must be people; who should be put in place in taking care of the money and property once bought. This is not different from the church. Taking care of the financial resources is very important for the Christian leader; and also for management in the church as well as personal life. As a church stewards are to ensure the money and the property of the church are protected from theft. In this Blog’s post, we are going to discuss on the stewardship of money and property of the church; and also how administrators have to handle the steward properties/ money of the church under the following
Definitions of Stewardship
Stewardship as ‘the act of taking care of or handling something; as an instance, an organization, property, cash or valuable objects’. Traditionally, stewardship became the duty given to family servants to carry food and drinks to a citadel eating hall.
The term turned into expanded to suggest a family worker’s responsibility for managing household or domestic affairs. The term is likewise used in a more trendy way to refer to a obligation to take care some thing one does not personal.
The word money is a “current medium of trade within the form of cash and financial institution notes collectively.”Which means that cash can include all the bodily denominations of coins and financial institution notes which needs deposits; or may also higher be used for price.
In brief we are able to say, cash is a medium of trade that someone can use to alternate for what he/she wishes. And this medium of exchange is anything of value that is generally accepted as a means of financial exchange or as a legal tender for repayment in the exchange in transactions. In other words, money is not just a paper but a means of exchange that facilitates trade.
On the other hand, the word property is “a thing or things belonging to someone; possessions collectively.” Or it may mean an attribute or quality that has the characteristic of something. In this case the property can be defined as the principle of right which gives someone legal power to the fact of a thing.
This means that a property can be anything that is the owner can either lets or lend for use to another or may just come to an individual as an heir into possession after the death of someone.
Stewardship of Money in the Church
a) Stewardship of money
Proudly owning money isn’t wrong in itself. God has regularly entrusted his children with wealth, allowing them to be companions in his paintings of taking the gospel to the world, and in relieving the ones in misery. All that we’ve got from God and belongs to him. So, we are required to be excellent stewards of that with which he has entrusted us.
Many Christians give a tithe of their profits to God for the support of their church; and the numerous outreach ministries of the church and missionary organizations. Many provide much more as God gives. It’s also our obligation to proportion with the ones less fortunate. Our money and possessions are to be use prayerfully and accurately as God leads.
Christian stewardship must keep step with the collective shape and the growing ‘organization’ of modern society. Technology raises the standard of living, and also technology has a built-in principle of organization. Technology is division of labour and necessary interdependence creates more and more association: associated work, management, marketing, entertainment, policing, and government associated everything. Prosperity and organization go together.
b) Financial Responsibilities
The need to face realistically at the very outset of the work all the responsibilities and implications of raising the necessary finances for the church seems to apparent that a mere reference to it should suffice. There is a biblical principle upon which all the financial programs of the church must be based. That means of raising funds must always be the reception of gifts (i.e., tithes and offerings), given in response to God’s gifts of grace, love and provision for the Christian. Financial resources are significant as a tool in the fulfilment of the purposes and objectives of the church.
Most church leaders recognize the importance of allocating funds through budgeting and expenditure under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, the responsibility for the distribution of funds by way of the budget is the responsibility of the deacons. It is obvious that while they oversee the ministry of teaching, others may and should share in this privilege and so the deacons can and should allow others to have authority and responsibility for budgeting and expenditures under their overall direction. In order that workers, in the body, may improve their effectiveness in the area of financial responsibility, a budget based on the needs of the congregation should be established.
Financial Responsibilities of the Congregation
The system for maintaining the records of a church should include measures to give assurance that all expenditures have complied with the wishes of the congregation as expressed in the budget.
1. Expenditures should not made without authorization from the board of trustees.
2. All expenditures should made with pre-numbered check.
3. A consistent pattern should developed for paying bills.
In every church, money or property must be taken care of effectively by everyone. Stewards should have a good understanding of how the money comes in the church and how it’s spent as they are the ones who help in the interpretation of the budget to the congregants. And concerning the property a property register must be kept for all assets.
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How to handle (Stewardship) money/property in the Church
Church money may lost through various ways coming into church or going out. This should be of great concern not only to ministers in charge of particular congregations but to all stakeholders. And there must be possible solutions to these challenges.
Theft by the very people entrusted to take care of church coffers the most common way through which money lost at my congregation. This is because there are some Unfaithful stewards and treasurers that held accountable for this. Thus, the amount offered should recorded in a correct figure in the card as well as banked correctly.
That is because the idea of getting a specific group aims at making sure that the duty of counting this ‘susceptible’ cash is shared; amongst numerous people as a way to have them look out for theft amongst themselves; and offer a few form of watchdog. As for the money inside the providing cards; the Congregation treasurer have to continually counter-check the figures entered in cards and record books to confirm that they may be the same.
In addition, he should make sure that the sum of the figures entered in the record book is equal to the actual cash handed in by each individual steward. There should irregularities, the steward responsible ought to held responsible and stiff punishment administered by way of the minister. This would serve as a lesson to others with comparable intentions.
Money also lost at going out of the church. A possible solution to this would be to encourage treasurers to impose and implement stern discipline that will not tolerate the improper release of money – not even to the minister.
In reality however, doing this is not as easy as it sounds; – at times the minister may really be in need of money urgently. Even then, such strong decisions as regards cash outflow have to be made and proper channels; followed by the custodians of church funds so as to safe guard resources.
The other way through which money lost at my local congregation; is when the treasurer releases funds for the purchase of a particular asset without calling for receipts. The person being sent to buy that particular item may over price it and embezzles the extra money. To stop this loss of money treasurers must take it up to themselves; to ensure that proper and appropriate documentation (quotations, invoices and receipts) submit to them; before and after any item purchase.
Church resources also lost through church investments that are not viable and bad debts. It is a well-known fact that credit is an essential part of business. However, most churches are quite poor at debt collection.
A possible solution to this is that the church should appoint separate individuals; or committees to manage big church investments and not the treasurer. Once this done; such committees should have a specific person responsible for debt collection; where the investment’s goods or services offered on credit.
As a steward of money and property we can recommend that church financial books be audited regularly. The current system where auditors show up once or twice in a year needs to be revisited. Regular audits would help overcome most of the financial flaws in the churches; as well as to keep the transparent accounts in the churches.
This measure would greatly help our congregation to put an end to the various ways; outlined above, through which church resources lost. As a steward in the church the properties of the church are responsibilities of them along their congregations.