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Follow the Money Trail

How churches can be more open with their finances.

In the epic tale All The President's Men, the secretive informant known as "Deep Throat" badgers Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to "follow the money trail." Deep Throat, who we now know to have been Mark Felt (the #2 man at the FBI), was convinced that if people knew how money was spent by the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) they could figure out exactly what happened, who did what and when. The same is true in the church. I believe many churches are not forthright about how they spend money, for a number of reasons.

Two sad snapshots

I served for three years as the executive pastor of a mid-sized congregation with a $3.4 million budget. The business administrator of the church was strident about reminding the congregation that 10 percent—a whopping $340,000—went to missions each year. We wore this truth as a badge of honor.

However, as I followed the money trail, I learned that included in the $340,000 was the $64,000 salary ...

January/February
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