Church of Christ
Mission USA

The Handling of Church Finances (part 2)

by Perry Sexton

      Of course Christians are honest and upright; however, some have stopped being Christian and are wayward children of God even though no other human may know it. We all may be deceived by them. And even when one is truly following Christ he must protect himself from those who would falsely accuse or suspect. Of course, if we allow ourselves to be in a position of suspect we should blame only ourselves, and others do have a right to be suspicious. I have heard of at least two congregations where the elders will not give a financial report even though members asked for it. I strongly suspect foul play and personally would not put up with such ungodliness. As Christians, we are not to stick our heads in the sand.

      The bottom line is, a Christian follows the Bible in all things and therefore is protected from rightful suspicion and accusations (2 Cor. 8:21). Wrongful suspicion and accusations can be easier to deal with also (2 Cor. 8:20 cp. 11:12). In addition to all the above (part 1), let us note a few common sense safeguards for ourselves and as stewards of God’s money, at least in my opinion:

  • In passing the collection plate, some have reported that they have seen some actually take money out! This is very sad and needs to be safeguarded. Of course some rob God by not putting in as they should (cp. Mal. 3:8ff).
  • The person(s) taking up the collection needs to protect himself. As small as we are at Shenandoah, when I take up the collection (only one person is needed here) I never take the collection plate behind the last person or persons. It is always in sight.
  • In counting the money, I have seen money taken out of the collection plate and pocketed (attempted theft). Common sense dictates having men of honest report count the money, and have many witnesses. I would suggest that all the money be counted by several, not that several count different portions; that could be asking for trouble. That is not a safeguard.  It would be good for the ones counting the money to having a running notebook of all contributions and the ones doing the counting that Sunday to put their signatures to it in case there is ever a question.  The amount deposited should be verified by the total in the notebook and other means.
  • The one carrying the funds to the bank should not be the only one counting the money. And perhaps should not be the treasurer.
  • The treasurer must be of outstanding character (cp. Acts 6:3; 1 Cor. 16:3). He must be very prudent in safeguarding himself and the Lord’s money! He himself should insist on a monthly or at least a regular audit. And the auditors should be selected as above and use much prudence – they should know what they are doing!
  • Small congregations have some unique problems, namely a shortage of members to help, but this is no excuse not to have true safeguards in place.
  • We must be careful and not lead a brother into temptation by putting him into a position that is without true and tried safeguards. And again, no one should allow himself to be put in such a situation. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matt. 18:7).

      These are just a few things to consider. There are many other things to consider as well. In this matter we should truly strive to follow 2 Cor. 8:21 and other Scriptures pertaining to the matter. Especially large congregations need to be aware of robbery and even armed robbery. It happens! In fact, those who are at church buildings during times when the congregation is not there need to be aware and safeguard themselves. 

      It is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of following God in all things and being very prudent. The handling of the money is as important as the giving of the money. It is very important for the church members to know that the money they give is safeguarded and is used properly. And the world should also see the honesty with which the church handles its finances. ♥ 

{See last paragraph of the Journal for a lighter side to this}    2010, 2 Jrnl