Would you let a toddler play with your new iPhone X? Over a concrete floor? Why not?
Those questions sound crazy because the answers are so obvious. There’s no way you would let a toddler do that. You don’t trust the toddler’s ability to handle the phone and the phone is very valuable to you.
A lot of people come up against the same thing when it comes to generosity. You have a generous heart and you want to help others, but can you really trust the church with your hard-earned money?
At City Bible Church, we work very hard to be trustworthy in the way we handle our finances. Let’s answer a few questions to show you the kind of diligence and care we use with your offerings.
What safeguards do you have in place to make sure offering money doesn’t get stolen?
When an offering is collected on a campus, there are never less than 2 people with it at any given time. After it is collected, 2 people count the offering, place it into a sealed envelope, and note the contents on the envelope before dropping it into the locked campus safe.
From the campus safe, it is put into a locked bag and transported by bonded courier to the main church office. There, 2-3 unrelated people count the money together in an open environment where other people are observing them. They double-check to make sure that their count is the same as what was written on the envelope. Then they seal the money and put it in the church safe until an armored carrier takes it to the bank for deposit.
All money onsite at the church administration office is kept in the safe. There are only 3 people that know the combination of the main church safe and that does not include the lead pastor or church administrator. There are 2 more people that each know only half of the combination because they have the ability to process payments.
How do you protect people’s information who give online?
Our online giving utilizes a PCI compliant system that encrypts the credit card information. Payment processing is outsourced to a highly-secure third party who are experts in the field. When giving online, your information is just as safe as when you make purchases on Amazon.
No church staff ever sees the credit card information submitted online. When credit card information is written on an offering envelope, Administration Office staff shred the envelope after processing the payment.
Who has access to the church bank accounts to withdraw money, write checks, etc.?
The church Secretary, Treasurer, and Finance Administrator are the only ones who are allowed to sign church checks. None of them are able to prepare checks, though, or withdraw funds individually.
We have an outside accounting firm that prepares our checks and processes our bill payments. They specialize in church accounting and are constantly monitoring our accounts. Any unusual activity is brought to the Church Administrator’s attention within hours.
We have an electronic process for check requests, and all check requests are seen 3 times; by the requesting Department Head, Church Administrator, and Finance Administrator. Once approved, they are fulfilled and mailed by our third-party accounting firm.
A number of key staff members also have church credit cards. All credit card transactions are approved by the Department Head, Church Administrator, and Finance Administrator, and the cards have intentionally low limits.
Who decides how church money is spent?
When it comes to decisions on how church money is spent, there are 3 layers of accountability. The first is the eldership, who look at the big picture and make general decisions on the direction the church should go financially.
Next is the Stewardship Team. This team is comprised of elders, some which are on staff and some which are not. They look into the details, approving the budget and making spending decisions.
Finally, each department in the church has an overseeing executive who reviews that department’s budget and receives a monthly budget report. The Finance Administrator also reviews the monthly reports and informs the Stewardship Team of any significant variations from the approved budget.
Who determines pastoral compensation?
City Bible Church has a sophisticated system for determining pastoral compensation that we have been using for 2 decades. First, we do an internal evaluation of each job, creating a hierarchy of positions. Then, an external evaluation matches our jobs to like jobs in the marketplace and creates a pay scale for each job. The process is reviewed annually to stay current.
Our Salary Committee is made up of 3 experienced professionals. One of them does not even attend our church so that they can lend an unbiased, objective opinion. They review the salaries annually in order to give their approval.
Representatives from the Administration Department, Pastoral Department, City Christian School, and Portland Bible College score all church job descriptions several times a year. These scores set the pay scale for each job, which is reviewed by the Salary Committee.
We are a church family, and we tend to have biological family members working on staff together. To avoid nepotism, we have policies in place for supervising family members. Supervisors will delegate certain responsibilities if any conflict of interest arises.
As you can see, we have some pretty complicated systems in place. We do this because we want to be good stewards of both the people and the money that God has entrusted to us. We don’t want to put any of our staff or volunteers in a position where they will be tempted to compromise their integrity and morals. And, we want to ensure that every penny City Bible Church takes in goes towards helping people the way you, and the Lord, intended it to.
Thank you for your spirit of giving during this Season of Generosity. We hope that the information shared here will help us to earn your trust as we partner together to Live Like Jesus and Share His Love.