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.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Letter from an Ex-Volunteer
Letter from an Ex-Volunteer
How one layman lost his enthusiasm for church work.
From the Magazine
No One Took Christ Out of Christmas
No One Took Christ Out of Christmas
Let’s dispense with our worries that Christmas as we know it isn’t Christian.
Editor's Pick
The Worst (and Best) Passage for Generosity Sermons
The Worst (and Best) Passage for Generosity Sermons
The widow’s mite story is about more than her sacrificial giving.