Saturday, August 11, 2007

Should WELS add "church financial management" to seminary training for pastors?

This discussion thread ties to poll at right by same name.

The Practical Theology and Pastoral Theology (PT) areas of instruction at WELS' Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) cover down-to-earth topics. Since every pastor participates in church council meetings and/or other business meetings (e.g., ALHS, Thrivent, LWMS, Circuit, Conference, District, & Synod), why not use a few PT classes to train pastors to read financial reports presented at meetings that pastors attend regularly for their entire career?

The purpose of "church financial management" training would not be to train pastors to become bookkeepers, CPAs, tax attorneys, or Christian planned giving counselors. There is no need to train pastors to know the difference between debits and credits.

1. Financial reports. Pastors should know what reports to expect from a congregation treasurer. Is the treasurer doing his job? Pastors should know how different reports link together and what purpose they serve in a non-profit organization.
Time: 1 or 2 sessions

2. Financial controls. Pastors need to hear from law enforcement, auditors, and/or insurance companies (e.g., Church Mutual) about embezzlement that happens every day in churches and other non-profit organizations. Pastors need to hear suggestions for measures to control money and to "keep honest people honest."
Time: 1 session

3. Financial case studies. Pastors should break out into small groups for case study workshops to assess the financial reports and prognosis of financially strong, mediocre, and weak congregations.
Time: 2 or 3 sessions (including presentations)

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