These financial questions need to be discussed by church leadership.
These financial questions need to be discussed by church leadership. (Lightstock )

Financial matters often bring more tension and pressure than nearly any other single topic. Board meetings can heat up fast when cash is low and unpaid bills are forcing very difficult decisions.

Tough decisions like:

  • Stopping a building project midstream
  • Letting staff go
  • Cutting back on ministries

A shortage of cash is difficult for any church to deal with and the complexity is often compounded when the leaders are not in alignment as a team with how they think about money. If you disagree in your philosophical and theological approach to money, it's almost impossible to align in how you should spend money.

It's a great idea for your senior leadership to have a discussion about both theology and practice regarding money, independent of specific and live budget matters. There is often too much emotion to think clearly under the pressure of the moment.

Here is a set of 12 practical questions to assist you in a productive dialogue that may relieve some tension from the boardroom. These conversations won't necessarily be easy, but when you take this proactive approach you can increase your effectiveness as leaders, improve morale and teamwork, and improve your overall stewardship.

12 Helpful Questions

1. What role does prayer play in your finances?

2. In what specific way is faith connected to your financial decision-making?

3. Who is primarily responsible for the income of the church?

4. What is the last budget area you would cut in an emergency?

5. Are you doing everything possible to increase the income of the church?

6. Do you believe you are too frugal or not frugal enough?

7. What debt level are you comfortable with?

8. If you have excess income above the budget needs, how will you allocate these funds?

9. Who has primary decision-making authority for major financial decisions?

10. Would your community or city see you as a generous church?

11. Do you have competent and a sufficient number of financial advisors?

12. Who is coaching the staff in how to manage their budgets?

These questions will not remove all the financial complexities from your ministry, but they will help you solve them in a more team oriented, productive and morale building way.

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

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