Here are some simple things to keep in mind that will help all local church leaders and pastors understand their financial world; 1. Practice the principle of "We are all in this together." Do NOT succumb to the temptation of letting a small group control the finances. Lay leaders, (especially some lay men) have a tendency to say "Pastor, you take care of the preaching and Bible study and don't worry about the finances, we will manage that." This is a good way for lay folk to hide their embarrassing low contributions from the pastor as well as promote the "glass is half empty" mindset.
2. Build a theology of abundance culture. Some say "we've got more than enough money to do what God is calling us to do. The only problem is this money is still in your wallets and purses."
3. Establish a covenant with your leadership/nominating committee that only leaders who give regularly will serve in church office
4. Pastors and key local church leaders must know how much people in the congregation give. Don 't be shy. Demand access to the books. You can tell what someone believes in by their check book register or their credit card receipts.
5. Have someone prepare a monthly financial spreadsheet and learn to read it. Pay particular attention to designated funds. Designated line items like maintenance and renovation are not savings accounts, spend the money to maintain and renovate the church facility! Always honor the restrictions of designated funds but ask yourself the question "Do we have general budget needs which can be legitimately met through designated fund accounts?" At one church I served the financial chair warned "we can't spend that money, it is designated for a specific purpose." I went to the source documents and learned this particular fund was designated for the local church general budget.
6. Pledge reminders must be snail mailed out every 2 months. People do not like to get behind. People want to stay current on their pledge.
7. Look for ways to turn local church assets into revenue producers. If your church is in a dense, urban area then offer parking for pay for the times the church is not using your facility. One local church realized 25k in revenues in the first year of operations with their 50 space parking lot. Do you have the largest meeting space in town? That space is worth something to outside groups. What about a restaurant operating out of your local church commercial kitchen? Think bold, it will help ministry and finances too!
8. Activate a bank draft system for contributions. Most people appreciate the convenience of giving this way and it will buffer your church from seasonal slumps in revenue.
9. Always, always have a financial/stewardship campaign.
10. Ask new members for a pledge when they join the church. This is the most receptive time for church support and connections.
11. Develop a list of "go to" persons for exciting ministries not don't be shy....ask!
12. Leaders and pastors must practice transparency about their own giving. This gives them permission to challenge others to step up in percentage giving.
A ministry plan without a business plan is inadequate. Educate yourself. The church for tomorrow must have business savvy church leaders.