Should a pastor's financial situation....

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SaggyWoman, Jul 14, 2007.

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Should a pastor's financial situation be considered in calling a pastor to a church?

  1. No, absolutely not.

    2 vote(s)
    4.3%
  2. Yes, it should be. Absolutely.

    21 vote(s)
    45.7%
  3. It is okay to run a credit check on a pastoral candidate.

    25 vote(s)
    54.3%
  4. It isn't okay to run a credit check on a pastoral candidate.

    3 vote(s)
    6.5%
  5. Other:

    7 vote(s)
    15.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
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    Should a pastor's financial situation be considered to call a pastor to a church?
     
  2. bobbyd

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    I don't see why not. In fact, its probably a good thing.
    I know with my own credit i have some bumps and bruises along the way, but it doesn't qualify as "bad", so i don't see any reason why one shouldn't be run on me; and one was before i came to my current pastorate.
     
  3. menageriekeeper

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    Anyone who handles church funds should have a current credit check. If they can't handle their own finances, do we really want them handling God's?
     
  4. Bro. James Reed

    Bro. James Reed
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    I don't think the Pastor ought to be handiling the church finances.
     
  5. Bro. James Reed

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    Not necessarily. I would be curious to know why he has been struggling, if he is, though. The church might need to step in and help him out.

    I guess Primitives don't really have that issue because we all pretty well know a minister before he is called as Pastor. We don't have unknown applicants lined up to get hired, and so on.

    We had known our current Pastor for some 20 years or so before we called him as Pastor. He had held a regular preaching appointment once a month at our church for a few years prior to being called as well.
     
  6. bobbyd

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    I agree to the pastor shouldn't be handling the church's finances too...but i think i need add to my statement this: i would think that the credit check should be only for those on the search committee and not for public knowledge.
     
  7. TomVols

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    The Federal Financial Privacy Act makes it a crime to disclose private information contained in a credit report unless the recipient of the information makes a direct hire decision. The legal basis on whether or not rank and file church members qualify as such is murky at best, and I feel it's not wise given the propensity for gossip, half-truths, etc. Also, given the poor way most churches handle financial information, I wouldn't want my Social and credit card numbers viewable by unbonded average joes. There's enough identity fraud and credit theft in the world. A seminary friend had his identity stolen by a person on a search committee. I'm sure he's not the only one.

    I do not think it unwise at all for a search committee to know everything they can. I wouldn't even have a problem with a credit check, with the proviso that the candidate is allowed to explain any derogs, given that so many credit reports have errors.

    Remember, too, that everytime someone checks your credit, it can lower your score from one to three points per inquiry. I kid you not, I've seen this make a difference between a person getting a mortgage and not getting a mortgage (and that was before the tightening of the last year).

    I have been asked to allow credit checks before, and I've seen it in many other cases. In almost all of them, the church had had financial issues. So if a church asks for a credit check, do some homework.

    So I believe the committee has a right to scrutinize a pastor's family in their financial dealings (this falls under the ruling of one's own house). However, I'm not convinced that looking at a credit report is the best way.

    It's funny that a pastoral candidate is open for a credit check, but not a new treasurer. It's also funny that some churches will pay to run a credit check on a pastor, but won't do a MVR for someone driving church vehicles, or FBI background checks on new members who want to work with kids
     
  8. menageriekeeper

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    Well, our church has a financial comittee and a board of deacons and a treasurer that all have a part in how the church finances are dealt with, BUT, the buck stops with the pastor. He's the one that is going to get blamed if the money isn't right.

    Smaller churches aren't going to have all these extry folk around and it will be the preacher writing the checks, making the deposits, perhaps even counting the offering. I've been a part of a church whose pastor did all of the above. A credit check to see if the future pastor's financial dealings agree with how the church wants their finances handled is not a bad thing.

    If you were hiring someone to pay your bills for you, wouldn't you want to know if they themselves had a high debt load, chronically late payments or unresolved debt?

    TomV, our church requires a background check for persons working with the kids. Don't know about the driving record thing but I bet that is something the insurance company requires.

    Btw, I gave my vote as someone who has had credit problems in the past with no better excuse than uncontrolled spending. Hopefully one grows out of this sort of thing (we have but are still repairing our rating due to event beyond our own control), but not everyone does. I'd rather be aware of a problem and know it's being dealt with than to be completely in the dark and end up with problems because a man didn't understand the importance of paying bills on time even though the money was available.
     
    #8 menageriekeeper, Jul 14, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2007
  9. SaggyWoman

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    In some Christian para church organizations, you have to sign a statement so that a credit check can be done.
     
  10. Joseph M. Smith

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    In addition to the credit check, there needs to be some kind of probing as to whether the pastor engages in money-making operations on the side. I have seen pastors who had "portable" businesses -- like one who designed and printed letterheads, programs, etc., using the church's duplicating equipment -- and, worse than that, have known of pastors who went deep into the sale of securities, bonds, insurance instruments, etc., all of which can create a serious conflict of interest with parishioners. I know of one who, not long after his call to a prominent church in our area, was indicted and convicted for securities fraud in another state. The search committee needed to have done more homework before issuing a call.
     
  11. Bro. James Reed

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    Ou pastor works for the county in the landscaping department. He also has a lawncare business on the side.

    He is given absolutely no responsibility dealing with the church finances. That's nothing against him at all, but the appearance of any indiscretion is never present because of that. He can never be accused by anyone of stealing from the church because he has no access to the money. There are 3 of us in the church allowed to sign checks. The 2 deacons (one of whom serves as treasurer) and myself (as the clerk). I hold a 4th Sunday appopintment at our church and if a deacon is not there to sign a check for me (for whatever reason...it's only happened once), I do not take a check on that day. I do not want even the notion that I might be writing checks to myself with church funds.

    Our deacons are given discretionary spending on minor expenses, but larger amounts are voted on by the church body.

    The Pastor is chosen by vote of the whole church body as well.

    I know of no Primitive Baptist church, big or small, where the Pastor is allowed sole, or even primary, power over the check book.

    Church officers ought to have been found trustworthy before being given their duty. We ought to know people well before they are called as Pastor, Deacon, Treasurer, and even Clerk. All involve some level of trust that must be proven well in advance.
     
  12. Major B

    Major B
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    I don't know of any SBC churches in this area who give the pastor access to the checkbook. I won't even have the church gas card or office supply card in my possession, let alone have signing privileges on the checkbook.
     
  13. SBCPreacher

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    As an SBC pastor, I don't have access to the checkbook, I don't see the individual giving statements, I don't handle any of the money given to the church. And I don't want to! I do have the church's credit card in my wallet because I do most of the supply purchasing and I take the youth on youth trips, but I have to account for every charge (and I wouldn't want it any other way).

    I do have a "job" outside the church. I teach 2 Bible classes at the local Christian School that two of my girls are attending. It helps offset the tuition (and I do have the church's OK to do it).
     
  14. Tom Bryant

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    That's the way it is with me. I turn in every receipt.

    Although, I don't have any access to funds, I could not preach on Biblical financial management and not have my own finances in order.
     
  15. j_barner2000

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    In my training, I was taught that I should never be handling church finance, except in the same capacty as any other member... state my opinion... I refuse to have the authority to sign any check. That is the job of the trustee board.

    A church board should have some indication of how the pastor handles his finances in that he may be a good steward Biblically speaking. Also, to be transparant in my finances has led this flock to provide me with more finances as the provision was not in keeping with legitimate needs.

    Unless someone is capable of reading a credit check, they could make erroneous determinations based upon incorrect conclusions. A finncial professional should be consulted to get an accurate picture of the man's stewardship.


    Bro J. Smith;
    "In addition to the credit check, there needs to be some kind of probing as to whether the pastor engages in money-making operations on the side. "

    Our church has in it's 127 year history, never had a fully supported pastor. Bi-vocational pastors are important in small, rural or otherwise struggling churches.
     
    #15 j_barner2000, Aug 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2007
  16. David Lamb

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    Looking through the multiple choices, it seems as though by "financial situation" you mean "successfully passing a credit check". If that is so, I don't really have an answer, as apart from on this board, I have never come across the idea of submitting potential pastors to such checks. It seems to me that the church treasurer, rather than the pastor, should be the one to have a credit check.

    My immediate understanding when I saw the thread title was much broader. Not "How much is the Pastor in debt?" but "What are his finances (in general terms)? If we appoint him, will he be totally dependent on the church?" That is a very necessary question for some smaller churches. Perhaps they cannot afford to pay a man enough to keep himself and his family, however generous the members are. But they such a church might be able to pay a proportion, if he were already in some part-time secular employment to make up the difference. Not the ideal situation of course, but I have seen it work as a temporary measure.
     
  17. tenor

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    A criminal background check as well as a credit check should be run on all ministerial staff members - "fulltime" and bi-vocational.

    Also, a criminal background check should be run on all volunteer and paid (minister or lay) people who work with children and youth.
     
  18. Ulsterman

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    I agree with you. I came into a church where the previous Pastor held the cheque book and we immediately apponted a Treasurer who did a sterling job taking care of the finances. I think the pastor has enough on his plate without daily church banking concerns. Of course he should be advised of the church's financial position, but he should not be charged with running it. It is also best if more than one person has responsibility for the finances, i.e. the money is counted by two rather than one person, and the offerings signed and countersigned for, as well as cheques. All expenses should be reimbursed only upon production of a receipt or invoice.

    It is the law in the UK that anyone working with young people or vulnerable adults have a Criminal Record check.
     
  19. Surfer Joe

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    This is an old thread but it interested me.

    Should potential pastors be subjected to a credit check? No. Did Jesus do a credit check on Judas? Besides, when we give our money to the church it is no longer up to us where it goes or how it is used. It is only up to us to give cheerfully and faithfully and leave the rest up to God.
     
  20. Joseph M. Smith

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    Quoting the one who quoted me --

    Bro J. Smith;
    "In addition to the credit check, there needs to be some kind of probing as to whether the pastor engages in money-making operations on the side. "

    Our church has in it's 127 year history, never had a fully supported pastor. Bi-vocational pastors are important in small, rural or otherwise struggling churches.


    Understood. I am thinking more of some people I have known of who served as pastors but who spent inordinate amounts of time selling insurance or, in one instance I know of, peddling bonds. This last case turned out to lead to prosecution for fraud!
     

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