Pastoral Search & Credit Check???

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by PastorP, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. PastorP

    PastorP
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    I would like your opinions and viewpoints on this scenario:

    A candidate applies for a Pastor Position. As he goes through the process, it turns out that he is everything (on paper) that the church is looking & praying for in a Pastor except his credit is bad (late payments). Would that be all it takes to kill this potential candidates chance? Or do you think the church would be willing to work with him?

    Do any of you know actual situations like this? If so, how did things turn out? Thanks in advance for your views and opinions...
     
  2. annsni

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    I would then speak to the pastor to see what was the cause of the late payments. There could be an explanation that makes sense. I had late payments when my daughter was gravely ill in the hospital. The last thing I worried about at that time was bills. So that month, everything was late.
     
  3. webdog

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    Agreed with Ann. If it found that it was due to nonsensical reasons, that goes towards managing one's household well.
     
  4. annsni

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    Exactly. So one needs to address the issue with the candidate.
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    The credit check, usually part of a larger background check, is pretty much standard faire for search committees these days. While I wouldn't claim a marginal credit check as the sole reason for dismissal, you just never know how a personnel committee will respond. (Ironically none of them have to submit their own credit profiles...)

    I've heard about guys with great credit not getting positions over guys with bad credit...and the credit check had nothing to do with it. You just never know what some committees choose.

    I do think the credit check is a great idea. You need to know how someone truly manages their house. A terrible track record with credit usually means some other issues are around the corner. The overall background check is vital.
     
  6. mandym

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    1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;


    The phrase "ruleth well his own house" is in reference to the subjection of his children. It is not a open invitation to check everything under the sun.
    I do not allow credit checks. It serves no purpose and doing so drops the credit score over all. More importantly it is not part of scripture.
     
  7. webdog

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    I disagree. The subjection of his children is but one aspect in ruling ones family well.
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    Would you submit to a background check that included checks on criminal convictions, places lived, and screening for potential s3x offenses?
     
  9. mandym

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    I would and have.
     
  10. mandym

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    Not in this passage.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    The credit check isn't something that is (or should) be broadcast to the church body in general. It is a means of evaluating whether or not this spiritual leader has been spiritually consistent with what he/she preaches.

    It isn't any different than a background check imho. There are, we all know this, people out there that are trying to run from their pasts and know the church will be an accomodating spot where they can spiritually manipulate people and abuse the flocks for their own gain. Also, most churches only have one or two staff members and they are ultimately in charge of the finances of the church. If someone has tremendous, crushing debts and a history of credit defaults that should play a factor in whether they are approved for ministry in a church.

    Have you ever walked into a church on a Sunday after the pastor, or senior leadership, has been found having stolen thousands of dollars and leveraged the building to the hilt? It is spiritually and emotionally devastating. These kinds of checks are necessary and valuable part of the search process.

    And I do equate them with background checks.

    That said I do agree that it is specious that candidates (usually in the last stages of hiring...these are never to be done in preliminary interviews) have to submit this but not the personnel team itself. That would at least level the playing field. :)
     
  12. mandym

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    I have no idea how a pastor steals money from the church. As pastor I do not put my hands on the money of the church. I do not sign checks, I do not have my name on bank accounts, and I make sure that accounting practices are in the norm and above board. For instance book keepers should never be check signers, there should be no check signers of the same family. As far as leveraging the building any such actions must be signed off by the trustees only after a majority vote is taken at a business meeting.

    I discuss those things in interviews and make my position clear. I have had my financial info hacked twice and lost considerable amount of money. Once the church has decided that God is calling me there I would make my finances available. Not any time before that. I am not leaving my financial info with people who I may never speak with again. There is as much risk for the pastoral candidate as there is for the church. We need to recognize this.
     
    #12 mandym, Mar 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2012
  13. gb93433

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    I wished that some churches I had interviewed with had been more diligent like the businesses I had worked for. In one church I was in I later learned that some of the leaders had had financial troubles because they could not handle their own money. One was rather recent before I came.

    Why should any pastor or church leader be held to a lesser standard than the world?
     
  14. gators_2006

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    While the debate on if the scripture covers this or not can be thrown back and forth for a while, I think common sense has to come into play at some point.

    Talking with our pastor last year, before he left to go preach at another church (whole different story there), the one thing he said that really stuck out in my head was that no matter what is going on within the church, the church is still a business that has day to day operations that has to be properly managed. He said that while in the past, there have been multiple attempts at ministry projects to reach out to the local community that have been great ideas on paper, and all of which the church has tried, at some point the church has to sit back and look at things in a business sense. Even though the idea was great, if it's killing the churches budget and could ultimately lead to future financial difficulties, then at some point you have to cut that program unless there is a way to keep it while making it an unfunded, total volunteer program.

    So with the church having to be ran as a business day in and day out, which I think a lot of people forget about, I think anyone who is going to have a say in the direction that the church goes needs to be fully "vetted". If one can't maintain proper financial stability at home, how will they maintain such a level that heading a church would require. While most churches have committees that handle finances, the pastor still plays a big part in a lot of decisions that are made.

    Wrong or right, just my take on things.
     
  15. gb93433

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    I think you are absolutey right. In my experience many check their brains at the door when they come into a church. The people have been led to believe in a subtle health/wealth gospel for so many years. Even good churches are led to believe that somehow God will provide what they want because they are good people. I was in a church that was led to give its money away and sacrifice. So they continued with their old building and broken up parking lot. God blessed them in incredible ways. The were led to believe what was most important. That church went from about 100 to over 2000 during that time. I was in seminary with a man whose church elected to build metal buildings instead of spending more money. Today it is a church of several thousand. They are still building the same kind of buildings. My wife and I were married in a church that gave 50% of its money to missions.

    When I was in a couple of large businesses every month there were churches who were overdue on their payments. Workers in the business did not ask about God. They sneered at the church because of its lack of responsibility. I have heard so many stories about Christians in business who have cheated people. Some of those people were leaders and teachers in churches.
     
  16. mont974x4

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    What would happen if you did not have a credit score? If you were wealthy and paid cash for everything over a period of several years you would not have a credit history, by virtue of not using credit, and thus no real credit score.
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    These credit checks aren't looking for a credit score so much as they are seeing if you have any significant unpaid, unmanaged debt, have a consistent pattern of poor management of resources, have ever defaulted on multiple issues, have liens placed against properties, and legal settlement issues among other things.

    You'd be surprised at what you find out. One committee I advised had a candidate who was very strong finally get to this point, the credit/background check was the last thing, and they found out he had defaulted on three mortgages, had several large credit card bills that were in receivership, and (from the background check) had been convicted of several counts of larceny. Now the guy had been a believer since middle school, so there were some big questions.

    In the end the church went forward with another candidate, thankful they had the knowledge to make a wise decision in light of someone covering up their past.
     
  18. gb93433

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    For many years I had business accounts that I could put several thousands of dollars on and did not have a credit card. I never had any trouble being able to get loans, and open new accounts.
     
  19. PastorP

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    So you really don't think a certain score is a concern huh? Also based on this viewpoint, you're saying if the candidate has no liens, has never been through bankruptcy, and his only negative is late payments, that wouldn't be so bad?
     
  20. gators_2006

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    Is Dave Ramsey applying?

    Remember, to get credit, you have to be in debt of some sort and have paid on it. If one has been vetted properly and has been found to have no credit and once that has been addressed, was found to be the reason why (paying cash), I would think that could put them at the top of the list if everything else was good. Would you rather pay cash and it be yours or pay on it?
     

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