This is a part of a series of posts responding to the question: Is the church a business? Today the focus is on finance.
It is critical to the life of a local congregation that good business practices be used when dealing with money and finance. Giving is an important part of our discipleship as Christians and being a good steward, manager and utilizer of money that is given is an important part of the life of the local community.
2 replies on “Business of the Church: Finance (4 of 5)”
I suppose this comment could go under any of the 5, but this whole topic gets me fired up. Yes. The church is a business. It has to be.
Sure, it’s not a business like a lot of other ones, but in so many ways it is. And I wish that seminaries would see it as such. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I very may well be), but it’s not as if seminaries have a strong emphasis on running a business, do they? So many pastors I know are incredible with pastoral care and/or preaching, but know nothing about budgets, or how to manage people, or strategic planning or anything of the sort. Then once the students graduate, they turn them loose to basically be in charge of a business. It’s so not fair to them… nor is it fair to the church.
And people wonder why the church is dying? Obviously, it’s not soley based on this, but it certainly adds to the fact. If you don’t know how to plan for your church to be most effective, if you don’t know how to help your people to get there or if you can’t get the resources to make it happen, what good does it do to know how to preach when there aren’t people in the seats?
I have a list over a mile long of, “things I didn’t learn in seminary but which are essential to pastoral work.” I finally concluded that if all these things were included in the curriculum, seminary would last for 10 years. So, it is the responsibility of pastors to recognize what more we need to learn and to seek out that education while we’re serving our churches. There are a plethora of continuing education opportunities, and the right one depends on one’s current appointment as well as possible future appointments. We prepare ourselves for the ways in which God may use us; the more prepared we are, the more God can use us. So, that might mean a business course, or reading books about managing a staff and volunteers, or attending a conference about new technology. Seminary is only the beginning of our education, and it’s our responsibility to continue that education until the day we die.