Without fail, many pastors will read this article and realize they might be in trouble. If you think that you’ve experienced some of the improper practices within your church mentioned above, it is not too late to make things right! Be encouraged and empowered by realizing that you can correct those errors and get your ministry in alignment with God’s best. As a pastor, you have a calling from God that is unique in its responsibilities and perks.

  • There are different ways to open a church bank account, so be sure to research which method is best for you.
  • Therefore, the pastor must regularly oversee the financial stewardship of the church.
  • In order to prevent one person from having control of the church bank account and to keep the pastor out of the middle of church finances, a system of checks and balances is necessary.
  • To correct this error, one must first learn what a legitimate church business expense is and what can be classified as personal.
  • When is it appropriate to add the pastor’s signature to the bank account.

Much more important than knowing who is responsible for the church’s finances should be how the church’s finances are managed. Church leaders, as well as the senior pastor, are primarily responsible for the management of the church’s resources. They should be extremely careful to manage the assets of the church in the same manner as they do in the home. It has been discovered that in several churches, practically all financial decisions depend on the vote of the congregation. In others, only the pastor and some leaders know how the finances are managed and have the voting power when allocating financial resources to other areas of the church.

Put the business manager in charge of the account.

Understanding that some pastors may have started a church because of a call deeply rooted in their soul, it is always best to clarify and establish boundaries that put you in a position of being a steward rather than an owner. This may not be easy to accept, but we are talking about your life’s calling. Now that you’ve decided to use your bank account as a business, who should be in charge? It is recommended that the pastor’s name not be compromised in order to avoid raising false testimonies that may tarnish the image of the servant or instigate criticism from both the faithful and the heathen outside the church. The pastor, first of all, must see to it that his testimony is faithful and true because he has been appointed by God to minister and feed the flock of God while he remains in office. It is recommended that he may serve as a reference for the church in the pew, but it is not recommended that he have direct access to the funds of the church.

  • Here are some other resources to help you understand and perform your job.
  • The pastor may have some involvement or authority in the church finances.
  • The administration of church finances is much more than counting tithes and offerings.
  • They should be done with the administrator(s), senior pastor, and leaders and address fundamental decisions that need to be fully studied.
  • In order to do this, they need access to the church’s finances.

You’re called to shepherd a flock of people that are unpredictable at best and hostile at worst. The best method of application is via the Internal Revenue Service’s online portal at Before you can qualify to file for nonprofit status, the most important thing is to form a congregation of people who share the same religious beliefs as you. The IRS stipulates that you must have three founding members who have no blood or marriage relations with you. Please be aware that with my Bookkeeping company, building and maintaining websites, and my
volunteer work at my church, I cannot possibly answer and comment on
every submission. However
in the state of Tennessee, you can apply to State Taxing and receive an
exempt number to present when you buy, even if you are a church outside
the state buying within the state of Tennessee.


UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb. Electronic Giving
The United Methodist Electronic Funds Transfer Service offered by the General Commission on Finance and Administration, has been operational for several years. It allows members’ contributions to be electronically transferred from their checking or savings accounts and deposited into the church’s bank account on a steady, uninterrupted basis. This service can help your church reduce fluctuations in giving throughout the year while making it easier for your members to honor their pledges. Let’s imagine that you are the pastor of a church and you’ve been asked to open up your personal bank account for the church’s use.

Who makes Financial Decisions in a Church?

Check for pastors using church funds for personal use and what happens to a church when the pastor dies. The church board held an emergency meeting, at which the pastor was removed and a new pastor was appointed. The board also modified its bank resolution by removing the dismissed pastor’s name as an authorized signature and requiring that only those checks and withdrawals having the approval of the new pastor be honored. Each church tax identification number should have a detailed financial control policy, as well as a designated person or committee in charge of the administration of financial assets. Special Sundays
In The United Methodist Church, we have six annual opportunities to share beyond our regular gifts through churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. When we give from the heart, we receive unexpected blessings—especially the joy of making a difference in someone’s life.

How should Churches Handle Finances?

To avoid the appearance of impropriety, the pastor should not count funds, make deposits, or write checks on his or her own. On repeated occasions, it has been said that the pastor should receive a salary in proportion to his functions in the church. But it is contradictory for the senior pastor or any of the church leaders to use church funds to meet some personal need.

It is important that the church’s EIN is in the proper delineation. Make sure when the application for the number is filled out that it is for a church and not a nonprofit organization. Once the church does this, move all of the money to the church’s new bank account number. Related to cash receipts, two people should count money that is received and sign off on the deposit slip. It would be best if the person entering information into the donor system was not the individual making the bank deposit.

The pastor needs to know that the church will pay their bills, but also the church needs to be sure that their money is being spent wisely. If a pastor is on the bank account with no checks and balances in place, there will be no way of knowing if they’re spending your money properly or not. Third, give attention to the Commission on Stewardship and Finance. The Commission is under the control of the pastor and the Board of Stewards. They are tasked with receiving and disbursing funds, establishing and enforcing financial policies and procedures, and establishing a budget and financial reporting for the ministry. The pastor should receive frequent detailed reports of all receipts and disbursements as well as the overall status of cash reserves and pending obligations.

This could be any member of the board of directors (including a spouse if a spouse has no other duties in your church). Any legislation passed by the board shall be presented to the [pastor] for his approval and signature. If the legislation or any part of it fails to meet his approval, it is his privilege to veto the same and send it back to the board, along with his reasons for the veto. The legislation must then be revoted upon by the full board, and must be passed by a two-thirds majority before it can become law. This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Managing money is about defining methods and goals, as well as sharing the privilege of the work with others.

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