Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker-Lewis recommends creating a well-rounded “dream team” that brings together a variety of skills and gifts to steward your church’s finances.
REV. DR. SHERRY PARKER-LEWIS
Sr. Director of Church Relations, United Methodist Foundation of Michigan
When congregation members describe their “dream” pastor, youth director, or worship leader, qualities may include authentic faith, great communication skills, and love of people. Congregations may not give as much attention to the characteristics of a great church finance team. Developing a strong financial leadership team means inviting faithful people with diverse skills and gifts. Like any “dream team,” a good balance makes for a winning combination.
We tend to assume that the best (and only?) persons who can steward the church’s finances are those who have experience with financial management in their professions. While these skills and experiences are valuable, our emphasis on specific knowledge, above all else, does a disservice to members of the finance team and to differently gifted members of the congregation.
A well-rounded “dream team” brings together a variety of skills and gifts. When creating a team to steward the church’s finances, include persons demonstrating one or more of these gifts.
Those who openly express thanksgiving to God and are grateful for the ministry of others. They will help the finance team to remember God’s good gifts and the faithfulness of generous congregation members. In addition, grateful team members will recognize the sacred trust that comes with stewarding a church’s finances and hold it carefully.
People with the spiritual gift of generosity recognize that everything belongs to God. They understand that finances are not about our money but God’s empowering gifts for ministry. Therefore, generous people are willing to openly and enthusiastically live out God’s call to share skill, time, and resources.
Those who possess the gift of faith truly believe that all things are possible through the power of Jesus Christ. They may be realistic about budgeting, but they also trust that God’s mission can and will be accomplished through faithful people.
Curious finance team members are quick to ask the question, “Why?” They are seldom satisfied with the response, “Because this is how we’ve always done it.” While a curious team member may stretch a finance team’s patience, their presence is essential. Curious people challenge entrenched habits and push teams to consider different perspectives.
A well-balanced team also includes those with a heart to innovate. These are people who begin statements with “What if . . . .” They are willing to see beyond current practices and offer fresh approaches. The creativity of an innovator can motivate and inspire team members.
A finance team is also blessed to have a member with the spiritual gifts of mercy and compassion. A tenderhearted person demonstrates a sensitivity to the needs of the congregation and community. They can assist in tempering difficult discussions and reflect the gracious presence of Christ.
When creating a financial leadership team, it is important to invite persons with the skills and passion needed for this vital ministry. However, be sure to include congregation members who demonstrate the gifts above. For more ideas about developing a strong finance team for your church, contact Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker-Lewis, Sr. Director of Church Relations, via the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan’s website.