Balance: Spiritually-Minded and Still Earthly Good

So spiritually-minded NO earthly good

So spiritually-minded NO earthly good

I was in a leadership workshop where we were learning how to run a church board more effectively when the instructor had on one of his slides that we should consider including a 20 minute Bible study AND incorporate “Christian Language” in our meeting format.

He further went on to say that the meeting format should be inclusive of 3-parts.  One part dealt with Call to Community, the other Call to Holy Conversation and the other Call to Serve.

Okay, I could see a need already for a legend and that’s a problem.

Although I understood his intent and as Bible teacher myself, I know all to well the value and impact of the Word, but I could not help but speculate whether this was the right setting for such an elaborate format.

A relevant scripture directly relating to the business of the church and opening prayer, in my mind seemed to be sufficient.

Regarding the Christian language, I just wanted to pack up and run out screaming. I feel like some times with all the Christian lingo – we end up getting “Lost in the Sauce.”

There is a saying that comes to mind –

So spiritually minded that we are no earthly good

Let me give two examples:

Example one:

You have a job description for your custodian, it includes a statement to remind him that he is an ambassador of the Lord and that it is a honor to clean up God’s house and you further say, that like praying, giving offerings, preaching the word; cleaning and up-keeping God’s house is yet another form of worship.

Of course, there are three more paragraph highlighting how spiritual the job is and that it is important for the person to support the ministries of the church.
Then finally, you get to the specifics of the job, which by the way, may only be a three lined paragraph that can be summed up this way, “It’s a part-time job where you will be performing general cleaning and light maintenance tasks throughout the church.”

While we emphasize the spiritual, look what we have missed:

  • Is it his/her job to also clean annex building(s)?
  • Does the cleaning include having to clean windows?
  • Exactly what is part-time 10-20-32 hours a week?
  • Who do they report to?
  • Where’s the vacuum and where’s the trash bags?

Second example:

True story. We had an event at our church where someone cut their head on a shelf in the bathroom.  All we needed was some Neosporin and a band-aid.  It took 15 minutes and having to break through three levels of security just to find a band aid.Practical Spiritual

I’m just saying, we have to balance that which is spiritual with that which is practical and not ignore the specifics of a job or a system lest our church custodians define their own expectations as to what cleanliness is while someone bleeds to death in the church lobby while we try to find a band-aid.

By the way the class was great.  I’m glad I stayed in there for I would have missed out on a lot of good stuff.  And as God is so perfect in all of His ways, I didn’t have to say a thing because a retired colonel from NSA spoke everything that was in my head. Hallelujah!

Plus he added, “Sir, using your recommended model, when do we finally handle the business matters of the church?”

Do you have Bible study before your church board meetings? If so, how long?  And just how much “Christian Language” is spoken at your meetings?

 

 

 

Stealing from the Church

woman stealing

I just read an article about a United Methodist church treasurer who stole over $165,000.

Evidently, this woman had access to the church credit card where she used it to pay for meals at restaurants, rental cars and gas. They even have evidence that she used it for wedding expenses and even for visits to the tanning salon.

This went on over a two year period UN-noticed.  It wasn’t until the bank called the church concerning overdrafts that the church was made aware of a bigger problem. After a three month investigation, the church alerted the police.

There are so many issues with this story:

What would possess this woman to steal from the church?

What was going on with the church that they had to have the bank call them?

If you were to Googlechurch treasurer steals money from the church,’ you would find that this is certainly not an isolated event.

It probably started with borrowing just a little, to which the funds could be easily replaced unbeknownst to anyone else.

Once they have established that it could be done with ease and without a trace, they up the frequency, up the amounts and before you know it, they have lost track of how much they owe back.

After awhile, this repeated behavior may lead to justification on their behalf, especially if the church is not paying them.  They may begin to feel entitled, in exchange for dealing with unrealistic work demands, feeling unappreciated or having to deal  with an increased  work load.

How does this happen?

The simple answer is that this happens where there is obviously no accountability and no checks and balances in place. When there are no system checks, churches, ministries or any type of organization are prime targets for abuse.

I sit on a finance committee and the administrative council which is made up of volunteers, and can certainly see how this could happen especially when churches have a tendency to put all their eggs in one basket, relying on a single person to know everything.

What to do to prevent this from happening?

I stumbled across a site called, ‘www.churchcpa.com.’ There is a FREE course entitled, “Church Finances 101” that I believe all churches, particularly small churches could benefit from.  They teach on what types of systems to put in place so that you do not become ‘sitting ducks’ to abuse.

It is so important for more than one person to know about the operations of the church.  We need to see how much money is coming into our churches, as well as, be a witness to the amount of money going out.

We need to spot check the credit card statements, bank statements and a have a list of our regular bills to be paid.

Certainly, this should have been an embarrassment to the church that the bank had to call them to alert them that there was a problem.  The good news is that this experience now forces the church to get organized, get In compliance and get control of their ministry’s finances.

Do you have safeguards in place against misuse of church funds?

 

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