Church finances can get complicated — establishing yearly budgets, paying bills and still doing ministry especially if giving is down, reallocating funds, abiding by non-profit regulations, fund-raising, and more. Organizing and running a capital campaign can be time consuming and overwhelming. Sometimes leadership needs help, a consultant. While our trust must always be first and foremost in the Lord (Ps. 143:10; Prov. 3:5-6; 9:10; James 1:5-6), we do have biblical grounds for seeking guidance and understanding from others (Prov. 1:5; 11:14; 12:15; 15:22).
Don’t Overlook Consultants within Your Church
No, this isn’t necessarily referring to those in your church with jobs or training in banking or other financial institutions. Rather, look for those within your Body with the spiritual gifts of discernment, faith, and/or wisdom. Why? The Church isn’t a business organization but rather a living organism needing the power of God to sustain it and propel it toward making an eternal difference. Using these special divine empowerments enables them to accomplish God’s purposes, His way, with His intended outcome.
Here’s why people with the spiritual gifts of discernment, faith, and/or wisdom can serve well as financial consultants in the church:
Spiritual Gift of Discernment
In the Church we need to make spiritual judgments and not use mere worldly or human criteria for making decisions. People with the gift of discernment often see issues others might not. They can therefore prove to be quite helpful when making an assessment or evaluation of the situation or of a possible course of action.
Spiritual Gift of Faith
We need a vision of what God can do rather than keeping our eyes merely on numbers on a piece of paper. People with the gift of faith inspire us to trust God despite the obstacles, to find confidence in Him to persevere and bring God’s promises into the picture.
Spiritual Gift of Wisdom
When dealing with church finances we often need practical solutions for difficult problems. People with the gift of wisdom tend to know what to do when others don’t seem to know what steps to take. And, most importantly, they apply biblical precepts and principles to the situation so the suggested path lines up with God and His Word.
If you’ve identified people in your church with any of the above gifts, it only makes spiritual sense, and even commonsense, to confer with them first. Pull in people with these spiritual gifts to form a steering or advisory committee whether it be for long-range financial planning, special projects, or funding needed for new ministry initiatives. Look to them for spiritual guidance on financial and budgetary issues, resource allocation, and decision-making on large expenditures and fund-raising. Keep in mind that these people may not be the ones to implement strategies unless additionally gifted, trained, or experienced in this field.
Bringing in an Outside Financial Consultants
You might at times sense an outside financial consultant beneficial, particularly when the situation involves legal issues or requires a level of expertise not within the Body. Hopefully that will be after consulting with those within your Body gifted to bring spiritual counsel. And, if you can, make these people part of a team that works with the outside consultants.
Consider God’s words about not being “yoked” with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-18). Search for a Christian firm for the potential of them approaching it from a ministry stance. Remember, this is God’s work, not just another community organization or business endeavor. Even then, get recommendations or references from other churches who have used their services. Interview the firm prior to going into a contract with them to learn about their perspective and style. You need to know about more than their fees and expected outcome. Make sure it is a good fit theologically, philosophically, and relationally.
Whether getting financial consultation from within or outside, the objective should always be to align with God’s priorities and purposes.