The church is a holy institution but it is run like any other human institution in terms of finances. Most Christians understand the need to give and find it a great joy to give to the church through Offerings, Tithes, midweek donations, fundraising among others. However, there’s a section of Christians and others who aren’t convinced enough to donate to the church upon discovering financial records of churches while others do not simply have a better understanding of how church finances are managed.
Mega churches like Lakewood Church in 2017 spent about $90 million during the fiscal year and Second Baptist Church Houston has annual budget of $55 million. Whether it is a mega church or a small one, church members and stakeholders ought to know how funds are disbursed in the church to motivate them to give more to support various ventures and also make the church accountable to its members and donors.
It’s quite easy for people to read meanings into how these huge sums are deployed because they may not be privy to the fundamentals of running a church. One point we need to keep in mind is that the church like any other institution, needs funds to run the various departments.
Below is a breakdown of what the church’s finances go into but before that let’s look at where the church derives funds from. Funds are mainly generated from donations-offerings from Sundays, Midweek services, tithes, fundraising and loans.
What church donations are used for:
- Mission and outreach
An average church has an administration made up of people (Staff) and other resources managing the day-to-day affairs of the church. Some of these people have a required educational qualification (Degrees and Masters) work either full or part-time and are put on salary structure. They include accountants, caretakers, caterers, leaders, cleaners, administrators, heads of departments, doctors etc.
Mission and outreach
Some percentage of monies received goes into missions and outreach like running local food banks, scholarships, evangelism, legal aid, benevolence and supporting branch activities dealing with hospital patients, providing portable water to remote areas and running shelters to support the needy.
If the church building or structure belongs to the church, the church is required to pay a yearly property rate to the government. If it’s a rented structure then the church fulfills monthly or yearly rent payment to property owners. This could run very high depending on the location and size of the building.
As the church grows or as the building wear out, there’s the need for renovation and maintenance. These are expensive ventures that could take a major chunk of the church’s budget. Some funds are set aside to cover maintenance of the building (Painting, plumbing, fumigation, fixing door locks etc) and other infrastructure to ensure it’s always in good shape.
We are in a fast-paced tech world and the church isn’t left behind. Church services, teachings and trainings today are facilitated by technology and its accompanying gadgets such as computers, laptops, projectors, ipads among others so the church makes monthly allocation for internet/ data fixed in all offices and acquire these aforementioned gadgets to ensure successful running of online programs. Again these are on the higher side. Educational resources like online books and hard copy books, stationery are all factored in. Ultimately, the Lockeddown measures enforced in almost all countries due to Covid-19 means heavy reliance on internet as churches move services online.
For churches with sick bays or clinics, some investments are made into medication, equipment and health personnel who manage the facility.
Television and Radio time (Airtime) is on the high side but for churches who are committed to evangelize through these platforms, paying hefty fees to keep them running is the only option. Some mega churches own 24 hour media companies which is also supported with church funds.
Giving to the church is a profound way of appreciating God and all His blessings bestowed on us. Giving back to the church is the only way to ensure the church runs smoothly. Let’s not be skeptical about giving back to the church but rather give in good faith and pray that the church use funds for its intended purpose. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over…” Luke 6; 38
I believe these help you better understand church management and finances. The Church has a slew of activities which is heavily reliant on moving funds from one point to the other and your contributions goes a long way to help.