Churches give billions to missions. But more than that is stolen from them through fraud.
By Barry Young
Vice President of Operations
Put this in the “read it and weep file.” Then get angry. Then do something about it.
A report from Brotherhood Mutual says churches and Christian organizations are expected to have lost more than $68 billion through financial fraud last year once everything is accounted for. Defrauding churches is a growth industry.
The entire report is worth reading. Please do. But the bottom line is this: Many church leaders have a sense of naivete, believing their members are beyond temptation when it comes to finances. After all, who would do such a thing? Unfortunately, plenty of folks. And, because churches often don’t have standard business oversight in place, they’re easy pickings.
Jesus told us to be loving, but sober minded: “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” (Matthew 10:16). As we want to protect churches from violent threats, we want to protect churches from financial threats. We don’t have to choose one over the other. We can promote physical and financial security simultaneously.
The Brotherhood report contains many practical suggestions to bring sunlight into your organization’s finances. When those policies are enacted, they bring peace of mind, allowing churches to focus their energies in a positive direction instead of playing defense.
Money is important and there are numerous Bible verses that address this topic. But this is an issue that goes beyond money. Whenever scandal hits a church, people’s faith is affected. Trust is broken. That’s something you can’t buy back.
So don’t let it happen.
What are your church’s processes for collecting, handing, depositing and spending money? If you have policies, do people know about them? Are they following them? And what happens if they don’t?
We’re not running a lemonade stand. Let’s step up and protect God’s people and God’s resources.
About Barry Young
Barry Young has dedicated his life to helping churches improve security. He has been the director of security at two churches in the Kansas City area and is a chaplain for the Independence, Mo., Police Department. He’s also a black belt in Sho-Lum-Tae Karate. Barry’s goal is for every church in the United States to have a comprehensive security plan and team that goes from the parking lot to the pulpit.