This is part 1 in my series on the Best Financial Tools for Church Planters. This week we'll explore the need for a financial oversight team (i.e. people who help you in the oversight of finances)
Every church planter needs to have either a sponsoring church, denomination, or an external financial oversight team (or a combination of the three) that is helping them in the management of church finances. One of my first priorities within my district of the EFCA will be to clearly delineate the methods by which finances can and should be managed in various church planting contexts. Here are a few ways in which external financial teams can be established:
Sponsoring Church: At The Vine, we have made the commitment to provide administrative and book keeping services for all of our direct church plants for a minimum of two years. This is proving to be such a blessing as we prepare to launch Redeemer City Church within the next year. Church planters can be quickly overwhelmed by the minutia of church management. By having an existing church provide the financial oversight, a planter is free to focus on the mission of establishing a core and building relationships with those who need Christ in their city.
Denomination: I am still learning how this process has been practiced in our own district, but am aware that church planters in a denomination are often invited to manage their funds through their regional office. The oversight for this model includes office staff and those over church planting within the district. Some of the financial tools available from denominations include seed money for initial equipment needs, zero-interest loans, accounting services, and employee benefits.
External Financial Team: Most church plants do not have the established trust or necessary skills within their core team to manage finances internally. This is why, when we planted The Vine, we established an external financial accountability team made up of former church treasurers at Parkview Church, the church I transitioned out of when becoming a planter. My only concern with this model is that it's too easy for the responsibilities of management to fall back on the planter. When this occurs there is a lack of accountability for the planter and also a greater risk that the planter will become overwhelmed with the details of money management.
If you know of other models or have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.