Jump directly to the Content

Who Can See Giving Records?

Q: Can a pastor or members of the church board inspect the contribution records of members?

A: This is a controversial question. Many pastors do not want to see donor records since they do not want this information to influence their relationship with individual members. Others want to see them.

Why would a pastor and church board want to inspect the records? One legally justifiable reason might be to enforce a bylaw requirement that members "tithe" or make some other specified financial commitment to the church. The far more common wording in church covenants that members "support the church financially" is an ambiguous standard that would not warrant accessing an individual's records.

If a state's nonprofit corporation law does not specifically authorize pastors and board members to inspect individual members' contribution records, then doing so could expose the church to possible liability for invasion of privacy.

Few churches will want to make ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Should I Take Opportunities to Expand My Influence?
Should I Take Opportunities to Expand My Influence?
From outside speaking, to blogging, to any chance to build a bigger platform: how do you decide if it's wise?
From the Magazine
Is Jemar Tisby’s Bestselling Book About Racism a Fluke?
Is Jemar Tisby’s Bestselling Book About Racism a Fluke?
Publishers tried for years to get evangelical readers to care. Then one succeeded.
Editor's Pick
5 Ways Collaborative Sermon Writing Can Help Pastors
5 Ways Collaborative Sermon Writing Can Help Pastors
How a cross-cultural experiment with a half-dozen church leaders offered me a fresh perspective.
close