Safeguarding Your Weekly Offerings:
Financial Procedures for the Local
it comes to the protection of a church's weekly offering most churches are
probably not up to speed on proper procedures and protections. Items such as
bonding the treasurer, protecting the church treasurer, insurance protection
towards embezzlement, and the challenges that most churches face while seeking
to bring a church into full compliance can become a huge issue. Part of the
usual set of challenges is a church, which has failed to keep up with tax-exempt
requirements for having and keeping one’s 501c3 tax exemption status.
preach about individual integrity and church integrity all the time. All of us
have been challenged at one time or another to be more accountable unto the
Lord. Yet there are times when a church refuses to implement the proper
safeguards for protecting the church as it relates to the collection,
depositing, and reporting of weekly funds received by the church. It is a
surprisingly high number of churches who refuse to the
church’s pearl, to do all that is required to practice proper protection in the
realm of finances. Now let me be
the first to state that within the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, I would
expect that the majority of our churches practice proper procedures for the
collection of their weekly offerings. But since I have been here five years now
and never have written a feature article on this topic, I felt now was the
you want to check on proper procedures, you may contact Linda Goans our Financial Administrator and request a new
resource guide available to our churches entitled: Financial Procedures for the
Local Baptist Church.
new churches struggle in this area and many never begin practicing the proper
guidelines in church finances. For
example, are you correctly filing the W-2s for your ministers? Many a church
tries to give them a 1099, which is not the correct procedure and can put the
church at risk. Did you also know that you cannot make
a gift to the local church and tell the church what to do with the money if you
are going to report it as an offering. So many smaller churches have
individuals who say where their weekly gift should go and do not realize that
it cannot be counted as an offering because of such practices.
about this other situation? You are part of the church where there are no
checks and balances for protecting the offering once it has been given by the
church membership thorough the collection plate. Has your church come to
understand the imprudence of having a single individual in the church collect the
offering and take it to another room without two or more individuals
participating in the counting, recording, and depositing of the weekly
offerings? Every church must have and practice solid financial controls and be
assured that they are followed and in place. It is integrity issues for the
local church; so do not waver in this issue. It jeopardizes the local church
and by not having correct safeguards actively in place and being followed,
could cause great harm to the church, its reputation, and its future ability to
be considered a tax-exempt 501c3 non profit organization.
are many recommendations within this new resource, but suffice it to say there
are: people safeguards, procedural safeguards, and offering safeguards, which
should be practiced for the local church. Within the guide you can learn why it
is vital, proper, and required to have two or more non-related individuals be
with the money at all times. The local church never wants to open itself up to
accusations of impropriety when it comes to collecting, and recording of the
monies received weekly through the collection plate. Additional suggestions are
found in the guide about how to record offerings for members and reporting
offerings. It is sufficient to say that the treasurer should not deposit the
weekly offering at the bank and the one who does deposit the weekly offering
should never have access to the church recording records. By having separate
functions of receiving and disbursing of the offering it is a proper practice
and enables the church to remove any appearances of lack of propriety.
you know that it is illegal to take money from designated gifts
which were given by individuals to pay the monthly bills? A church can
use these funds as collateral to allow the church to arrange a less expensive
option for the general fund. When a church faces a crisis it is often tempted
to take monies from designated funds, which were given for other areas. As a
general rule it is not wise to have a growing number of designated funds. Many
churches hurt their future by allowing the growing number of designated funds
to exist. When people do not like the new direction of the church they will
often try to hurt the church by designated weekly offerings in an attempt to cripple
the work of the ministry. God has much to say about the danger of such
thing you will discover within this manual is the recommendation that never
should those counting the weekly offering be asked or take part in cashing checks
for individuals by giving them cash in exchange for a check. This is something
that should be decided by the body of deacons as a poor practice and
avoided. Did you know that checks
should never be signed in advance of filling in the amount and the purpose of
the check? Every church has check signers and they should be updated annually
and given the authority to sign checks on the churches behalf. Having two
signers on the check is also a great safeguard.
you ever been told by church members not to issue them annual receipts for the
gifts they give to the church? That too is inappropriate if you follow such a
practice. The IRS requires for churches to issue annual receipts for giving to
individuals. Failure to do so can place a church in danger of loosing its
exempt status. I had one church which wanted to sell its building and there
were those who wanted the sales to go to various members of the church as forms
of retirement. That too is against the regulations and could land the
individuals in prison.
the church above reproach is vital to the reputation, integrity, and well being
of its members. Keeping your church treasurer protected is so important. A good
church treasurer is such a tremendous asset to the local body of believers. Here
are some solid suggestions for safeguarding the church treasurer:
Understand and identify the church treasurers
vulnerability. Pray for them often, as this is a huge responsibility.
Develop a job description and establish proper
procedures for the management of all monies in the church.
Limit the term of office for the church
Conduct regular internal audits annually and
external audits at least every five years.
Have the pastor and body of deacons meet
periodically with the church treasurer to keep any potential areas of danger
from placing the individual at risk.
Undergird, support, and back the church
treasurer in the reporting of the realistic financial situation of the church.
Work with the church treasurer in conjunction
with other church leaders in making the hard decisions in light of any declines
in finances where reductions are required.
Work with the church treasurer to determine a
clear description as to who is authorized to spend the church’s money and for
last brief introduction to safeguarding the offering at church is exactly that.
Safeguarding the individuals who deal with monies is important. Safeguarding
the procedures for the collection of monies is important. But the ongoing
practice of safeguarding the weekly offerings, as they are collected is also
vitally important. More ideas can
be found in the new resource available from the association office. Here are a
few suggestions when it comes to the weekly offing collection:
Practice a safeguard of counting and recording
the offerings promptly after no less than two non-related individuals receive
them at the end of the service.
Count the cash in the offering plates twice to
Never cash individual checks for anyone from the
Place the offering in locked night depository bags which require a second key to open them at the banking
Place the locked bags in a safe or take them to
the bank with a deacon and one other as part of the courier team.
Have your church treasure go to the bank on
Monday to reconcile the deposit with the offering forms that were filled out in
the services the day before.
If a safe is utilized at church, strictly
restrict who has access to it.
When individuals are rotated off of the counting
team, remember to change the safe combination when an individual is no longer
authorized to use the safe.
How to use the new guidebook from the association
We have designed this guidebook so that you can use it in
Read it from cover to cover. It will familiarize
you and the members of your financial team with all of the topics and issues
Use it as a reference book when you have
questions about the various topics. To help with this purpose, we have prepared
an expanded Table of Contents and with the capabilities of Adobe Acrobat, you
can do a word search for specific issues. Further information on special
topics, such as computer software recommendations and a glossary of financial
terms, are found in the Appendices at the back of the book.
Along with this guidebook, we have
available, upon request, samples of the various journals, reports, and forms
that we recommend in this manual. Throughout this manual we will make
references to the samples that are available.
If you would like to have
a printed copy of this guidebook you can contact Linda Goans
our Financial and Administrative Assistant at: email@example.com
for more information.