As a revitalization pastor it is a little different than a replant pastor. In a replant you can begin again with policies that allow for the elders to know the giving of each individual. However, in a revitalization you need to be a bit more aware of the customs and traditions of the church. Tradition is where I think this topic starts. Biblically, an argument can be made that would allow for such a practice. The concept of the people laying their financial gifts at the feet of the apostles and Peter asking specifically about the amount the land was sold for would lead me to believe it is allowable.
This being the case, I don’t know that in our culture with book keeping services it is beneficial. The danger is that a pastor may be tempted to judge those who do not give up to his standard for them or to favor those who exceed his perceived goal for their contribution.
In our setting we, as elders never know the amount but in certain settings we do know whether or not a person is contributing and whether or not that contribution is perceived to be a tithe. Those settings are:
- If the individual is nominated for a leadership role such as elder we will ask our book keeper if they give consistently. The same goes for important but not lead roles such as deacons.
- All staff are required to tithe. This is not something we monitor but have empowered the bookkeeper to check in on.
- If an individual is causing problems related to finances. For instance, if there is a member who is divisive due to a line item of the budget but they do not contribute we have at times declared them to be out of order. This is not a rule, but a guideline. It is usually communicated on the front end, “If you do not give toward the budget then please do not participate in the financial discussions.”
Another situation that is part of our culture is the encouragement to those who do not contribute financially or those who stop giving. We have empowered our book keeper to reach out to these people and encourage them to give from a biblical perspective. In this we can occasionally find out that someone is facing financial hardships and is in need of assistance. At times this encouragement has come in the form of a letter from the elders but addressed to persons the elders are not aware of.
These practices help us to maintain indifference toward a person’s financial contributions while offering accountability in a required characteristic of Sachse’s Church members.
Overall I would say it is naïve to forbid pastors from being involved with the money. We all know well that the financial habits of a person are deeply connected to the health of their souls. It is not beneficial for the shepherds of the flock to be ignorant of this. On the other hand precautions should be taken to guard the soul of the pastors as they seek to hold the members accountable.
Published May 18, 2017