Green Eyeshades and Rose-Colored Glasses

Congregational budget-makers frequently divide into two camps that approach the task in different ways. The first camp is likely to include children of the Great Depression, experts in finance, elementary school teachers, and persons anxious about their own money situation. Their first priority is to make sure that the budget balances and that the congregation … Read more

Making Do with Less

Our parents’ and grandparents’ memories of the Great Depression are not fond ones, but they came with a silver lining: when you’re making do with less, you learn what really matters. Having less is no fun, as many church executives are finding out. Unpaid pledges, unmet campaign goals, plummeting investment funds— the fiscal story over … Read more

That’s the Way the Money Goes!

“This congregation should run more like a business.” How can anybody doubt that? Businesses are among our most-prized cultural creations; successful business leaders are our richest citizens. When a governing board member holds up “business” as a model for the church or synagogue, the point can seem self-evident. Except that others grumble that the congregation … Read more

Snapshot of Church Finance

Some time ago, I created a financial self-evaluation tool for churches. I’ve been testing it informally ever since, and welcome further feedback and suggestions. If you use it, I hope you will post a comment here that will help me to improve the Snapshot. Some questions you might address include: How well do the “benchmarks” … Read more

A Soul Decision

I received a lesson in the relationship of faith and money the morning my oldest child was born. I was 29 and serving a small church in Florida; my wife was teaching at the nearby state university. For the first time in our adulthood we were enjoying financial stability and independence. We had purchased a … Read more

Ask Alban: Setting Up An Endowment Fund

Q: My congregation is expecting its first bequest. We would like to use it to establish an endowment fund. A stockbroker in the congregation offered to manage it for us, but we’re wondering if this is wise. We’re also worried that the endowment will have a bad effect on member giving to the church. What … Read more