Special thanks to Amy Nikkel, Central Group Leader for Financial Operations at Life.Church, for writing this post. And, special thanks to our newest partner, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. They’ve generously shared more than a dozen of their helpful financial best practices and guides for churches, and you can use them all for free in your church.
If we are to fulfill the Great Commission, our ministries must grow. God wants our ministries to do infinitely more and according to Ephesians 3:20, God is able to create opportunities in our ministries we can’t even begin to understand now.
Is your church ready for this type of growth?
If we want to experience mind-blowing growth and opportunity we must prepare for it.
Real growth will only come when we have the margin and mindset to handle it.
Put yourself in God’s shoes: would you give more to someone who is struggling to keep up with what they already have? Or, would you entrust more to someone who has shown diligence with what they have and is prepared to handle even more?
That is why scalability is at the forefront of our minds at Life.Church. It’s preparation; it’s stewardship; it’s obedience.
3 Ways to Prepare Your Financial Processes for Growth
- Simplify your chart of accounts. Accounting structures are often complicated and ever-expanding. Taking time to simplify your chart of accounts will bring clarity to non-financial users and consistency in coding transactions, which ultimately results in better financial reporting and better decisions. An easy first step is to determine what information you want from your financial statements. Identify the primary categories of spending first (i.e. Ministry-related, Facilities, Contractors, Staff) and then decide which individual accounts represent the majority of transactions.
- Focus on internal controls instead of direct control. Maintain an altitude in your financial oversight that allows you to “trust, but verify.” For example, as you grow it becomes less feasible for your Finance Team to approve every transaction. Instead, educate organizational leaders on spending practices and develop an approval-limit structure to delegate and simplify payment processing.
- Include, equip, and empower ministry leaders to project and manage budgets. Financial management is critical to any organization, and the responsibility can’t solely lie with the Finance Team. Cast vision to staff for your financial goals. Empower leaders to create budgets that align with these goals and allow them to be accountable for the results.
The core of scalability is the education and empowerment of others. As you prepare your financial processes for what God stands ready to do through your church, we’d love to help! View examples of our Life.Church chart of accounts, approval limits structure, and Financial Operation processes—all free on the Open Network.
New Partner: Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
Get even more financial resources from our new partner, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). View their resource page to download practical resources about financial management, including “10 Essentials for Church Budgeting,” “Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy,” and ”Church Reporting Made Easy.”
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