Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.7
January 1977

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Questions About Church Business

Regularly, in conversations and by mail, we are asked about various matters of a business nature that pertain to church work. Most of these problems are in the realm of judgment and involve scripture only as principles of right apply. The expediency of this or that course is best determined by local people, who know far better than I, how the work of the Lord will be affected. Hence, I will venture only a few general remarks.

First, we should remember the divinely authorized work of the church, and consider only those functions which fall clearly within this realm. Money in the treasury belongs to the purpose for which it was given, and elders or business planners should be true to the trust placed in them.

Records need not be elaborate, but if all expenditures are made by check and properly stubbed, it is easy to make a monthly sheet showing income, expenditures, and balance. Members have a right to know what is being done with funds given. With just a little more trouble the expenditures can be grouped under headings: Support of Evangelists, Building Pmts., Work & Worship Supplies, Benevolence, etc. This makes it easy to prepare an annual report, and plan a new year.

Every church should have some sort of business file — if only a few big manila envelopes. Mark them Finances, Business Meeting Minutes, Teaching Supplies (where to get them, and what to get), etc. Obviously each church will have differing needs, but I will make one suggestion for very personal reasons. Mark one Meetings and keep all meeting correspondence there. It is amazing how often the preacher is the only one who knows of a meeting arrangement — and forgets it, or has moved before the time arrives. The Lords work deserves better attention.

May a church make a profit on the sale of property? May funds being held for future use, be put in a savings account, to draw interest?

Such questions are more frequent now, in times of affluence and inflation. In principle, the church is not in the money-making business. We are in the giving business, not in the getting. I believe a vital principle would be violated if a church bought property for the purpose of resale; or invested for material profit the money accumulated to carry on the Lords work. Poor stewardship is evidenced, and perhaps a lack of faith, when a church does not see the needs of the world clearly enough to apply all the resources available.

Circumstances beyond our control could necessitate a change of property — or we could out-grow, or need to reach a new community, etc. Todays inflated values could mean a profit under such circumstances; and I see nothing wrong with taking and using it. It is even possible that money must be held for a time, awaiting proposed expenditures, and gain some interest. But all such possible situations are fraught with danger, establish excuses and precedent with some, and invite trouble. Let Pauls caution be our example. (2 Cor. 8:20-21).