A few years ago I was doing some research for a book that I was writing on the subject of money management. In the process of researching this subject, I came across an article that addressed the reasons why some entrepreneurs don’t give to churches. It was a fascinating article, and there were some ideas that I could understand but others that I disagreed. The report sent me on a journey of talking with a few other entrepreneurs some of whom were people of faith and others who were not. The intent of my discussions with them on this subject was to aid pastors and churches predominantly smaller ministries with some insight as to why they don’t receive financial support from entrepreneurs who have encountered their ministry.
In speaking with these very influential entrepreneurs, the statement they all made was, “If my business is running more efficiently than the church why would I give to it” As both an entrepreneur and pastor I understand the challenges on both ends. I would imagine some of you who are pastors are reading this and saying well if they gave the church would be more efficient in its operation. I would have to disagree in some way with that thought process because most of these entrepreneurs have started from nothing as well which means they understand how to manage with little and still produce with excellence.
Here are a few reasons for the lack of financial support from entrepreneurs in your congregation:
1. NO CLEAR VISION
There is great value in having a clear vision. I often hear so many pastors praying for entrepreneurs and professionals to join their ministry. The challenge is that many pastors don’t evaluate the reasons why entrepreneurs and professionals avoid their ministries. When a church only has a vision that’s in the mind of the senior leader that hasn’t been articulated in writing nor expounded upon publicly it leads to professionals believing that the church lacks direction. A vision for the senior leader and their ministry is equivalent to a business plan for an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, I have often struggled with supporting ministries that didn’t possess some vision. My struggle was simply if my business must have a business plan to receive financial support why shouldn’t your ministry. Senior Leaders let’s do better with providing clear vision for those who are in our congregation.
2. POOR ADMINISTRATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The administration is critical to the execution of the vision. What kind of administrative operation do we have in the local church? Again, we need to know that if the entrepreneurs in the ministry have more effective and efficient administrative operations in their small business, than we have in our church that is an issue. Entrepreneurs and professionals are typically observant individuals who pay attention to those kinds of things. Nothing annoys a professional more than a chaotic and unorganized church. As our local church grows in the number of people, we serve so should our methods of communication, administration, and more. It is difficult for senior leaders to not just see themselves as spiritual leaders but also as entrepreneurs. Leading a local assembly is viewed in the public sector as leading an organization. Senior Leaders need to have a corporate structure that includes a board of directors, a board of trustees, and a board of elders. The boards are all critical for providing governance and order to the ministry as well as accountability. These are things that entrepreneurs and professionals look for when they connect with a local assembly.
3. LACK OF TRUST IN THE LEADERSHIP ABILITY TO MANAGE RESOURCES
One significant responsibility in the hands of church leaders is in the management of resources. When choosing board leaders, some senior leaders prefer to select people that they can control. It is wise to select leaders who have expertise in finances or have managed an organization or business. These kinds of leaders would have the capacity to help navigate the management of resources effectively. When entrepreneurs and professionals see that the various boards of the church have people on them that look like them it makes it easier to build trust in the decision-making process of the senior leaders. Also, transparency is rare to find in many smaller to midsize ministries, however, sharing specific information on the income and expenses of the ministry help in establishing a reputation of integrity with parishioners. I have observed ministries that have maintained a building fund for 20 years but never purchased a building. I recall being part of a ministry where substantial contributions were made toward the building fund annually, but the ministry never bought a building after ten years of existence. The lack of transparency caused members to question what was happening with those resources. What senior leaders don’t realize is this lack of clarity causes thinking people to lower their giving and eventually disassociate with the ministry.
In conclusion, let me share with entrepreneurs and professionals that no matter what if you are a Christian you should support your local church financially especially if it is serving you and your family. Besides, senior leaders should create an environment where giving is easy because you have a vision, a reliable infrastructure, and transparency in the handling of the ministries finances.
For Senior Leaders of Churches I have included professionals that can help you:
Jamie S. Williams, Tax Consultant/Church Management Specialist Email: Nbs_jamie@bellsouth.net
For more information on Dr. Nathan Culver please go to www.nathanculver.com or www.culverenterprisesinc.com
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