Tag Archive | Board

Process: The Who, When, Where and How of Counting

by Brad Thomas

When it comes to tithes and offerings, it is important for church leaders to set forth a process.

Who Counts

The church board should appoint two or more trustworthy people to act as a counting team, usually selected from among the ushers and leadership team. In selecting counters for the counting team, consider these safeguards:

  • Church leaders should select and train a sufficient number of people to allow for absences and to alternate counters.
  • The first counting of the offering should not involve the church treasurer, bookkeeper or those who help keep the financial records and/or spend the money.
  • It is not recommended that the pastor, church treasurer or bookkeeper take the offerings home and count and deposit them in the bank the next working day. This presents problems of security, possible physical harm for the person carrying the money and possible accusations against the person’s reputation should any money be missing.

When to Count

Churches count their offerings at varying times.

  • During the service. Some churches choose to count the offering during the worship service, directly after it is received. All envelopes are checked for accuracy, a bank deposit slip is prepared and an appropriate offering count form is prepared and signed by the persons who count the offering. when possible, the offering is placed in the church safe and deposited in the bank night depository by a designated person on Sunday evening or Monday morning.
  • After the service. Another option is to place the received offering on the communion table or in a secure place (sch as a bank bag, cash box or the church safe) until the end of the worship service. Members of the counting team can count the offering at the church following each service. Once the money has been counted, if bank bags are used, they may be placed in a secure place or in the bank’s night depository.
  • Sunday afternoon or the next day. In this option, all the ushers assist in preparing a preliminary count immediately following the collection of the offerings. They do not take the time to open the envelopes or prepare a bank deposit slip. Instead, they simply prepare an offering count form and sign it. The offering is then placed in the church safe and thoroughly counted on Sunday afternoon or the next day by the counting team.

Where to Count

Offerings counted at the church should be counted in a safe, locked room that has no windows where counters can be seen by people on the street. Where modern security services are available, a security viewer should be installed in the door to allow the counters to identify anyone who knocks at the door. The door should never be opened to strangers. The room should be quiet and well lighted for efficiency in counting and should be supplied with an adding machine, paper, pens, offering count forms and bank deposit slips. Some banks offer such a room for their customers to use in counting offerings. A large church may call for volunteers from the congregation to meet at the bank on Monday morning to count the Sunday offerings. Smaller, more rural churches can take different, yet equally effective measures to provide the optimum level of security for their needs.

How to Count

  • Open all offering envelopes, comparing names, amounts and designations with the donor’s writing on the outside. Note any discrepancies on the offering count form.
  • Separate all currency and coins, stacking them according to denomination (dimes, quarters, one-dollar bills, etc.). Count and record the amounts on the cash count form. A second counter should count the coins and currency and verify the totals of the first count. Differences should be settled by the counters.
  • Separate all checks and other negotiable instruments. Prepare an adding machine tape with totals of check amounts. Endorse the back of each check with a rubber stamp that reads, “For Deposit Only at [name of bank], [church’s name, address and account number].” Record the total of checks and other negotiable instruments on the offering count form.
  • Record any special designations and respective amounts on the offering count form, including a list of any goods-in-kind donated.
  • Prepare an adding machine tape with the total of all currency, coins, checks and negotiable instruments. This figure represents the total of the offering excluding any goods-in-kind.
  • Prepare an adding machine tape of the amounts recorded on the offering count form. Re-check and settle any differences.
  • Prepare a deposit slip for the bank deposit. The total being deposited must equal the total of the offering count form.
  • Complete the offering count form. The counters should verify the count by initialing the form.
  • Send copies of the offering count form and bank deposit slip to the church treasurer and bookkeeper. Some pastors also want a report of the amount of each offering. Give empty envelopes to the church secretary for posting to the record of individual giving.
  • Hold any offerings received in the church office during the week and place them in the next church service offering; or deposit them separately in the bank account after the church secretary (not the bookkeeper or church treasurer) prepares an offering count form and deposit slip. Copies of these should be sent to the bookkeeper and treasurer as well.

For more information about church finances,  on December 3, from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM we will offer a Minister & Church Tax & Finance class taught by Brad Thomas, CPA, Iowa Ministry Network Business Administrator. The class will cover proper completion of tax forms for health care premium refund, updates and review of important tax and finance information and a discussion on reducing workers comp costs. The cost will be $25 for the first person; $15 for each additional person from the same church. To register for this class, download this form and return it to the Iowa Ministry Network office by November 30, 2011.


The Process of Nominating Board Members – Part 2

by Tom Jacobs

Yesterday, we started a conversation about the process of nominating board members. You can read it here. Here is the continuation of our conversation:

6. Determine the candidates’ willingness to be considered.  This is typically done best via a phone call or personal visit.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a long conversation at this point.  Simply ask the person to prayerfully consider the possibility.  If he/she doesn’t give you an immediate answer, set a time to get back together in order to get their response.

7. Complete the questionnaire.  If the individual is willing for their name to be considered, ask him/her to complete a questionnaire.  You can get a sample questionnaire through the IMN office.  Set a time when you can get together (include his/her spouse if appropriate) to review the questionnaire and to discuss the possibility of serving on the board.

8. Meet for an interview.  The interview (including a review of the questionnaire) should be a relaxed time, allowing for an hour, to discuss the “job description” of a board member, the vision of the church, the candidate’s feelings about serving, etc.

9. Finalize your list.  Once you’ve completed the interviews, meet again with the committee to finalize the list of candidates.

10. Present the names.  In accordance with your bylaws, present the names to the congregation prior to the business meeting.  You can do this by listing the names in the bulletin or posting them in the church lobby, etc.

11. During the business meeting.  It is inappropriate to allow any discussion about the candidates during the process of election during the business meeting.  You can explain to the congregation that the candidates’ eligibility has been reviewed by the nominating committee and that any questions regarding the candidates should have been addressed to the committee prior to the meeting.  Allowing discussion during the election can take on the appearance of campaigning and can serve to disrupt the voting process.

12. Once the election has taken place, bring the new board members forward for prayer and celebration.  Be sure to thank all those who allowed their names to stand for the election process.

I’ve discovered that an agreed upon strategy is very helpful to guide the candidate process as it moves forward.  I hope that your church will find a process similar to this one beneficial.  Remember to pray at every stage and in-between.  I am praying that God will lead you to your future leadership!

The Process of Nominating Board Members – Part 1

by Tom Jacobs

Healthy churches are led by healthy leadership teams.  As pastors and boards work well together, churches function more effectively in achieving their God-given mission.  Therefore, it is imperative that qualified individuals are nominated (and eventually elected) to local church boards.  These individuals will demonstrate a blend of character, competence, capacity, calling and chemistry.  Following are some items to consider when nominating your future board members.

1. Pray.  God has a plan for your church leadership.  This is a spiritual process in which your church enters the process of discovering the will of God for your future leadership.  Prayer should be an integral in every step of the process.

2. Follow your bylaws.  It is imperative that you follow your bylaws in order for this process to be legitimate.  If you feel that your current bylaws do not prescribe the best board nominating process, you must lead the church to consider changing the bylaws.  It is best to consider a bylaw change prior to the nomination and election process, so that it is not influence by a specific election or an individual who has been nominated.  Proposing changes can take time, but it is always best to follow the process.  If you need assistance along these lines, contact our office.

3. Form your team.  Your bylaws may prescribe a process of appointing a nominating committee.  You may be allowed to simply charge your board with the responsibility of serving as a nominating committee.  Whatever the case, you will want to have individuals on this committee who understand the leadership issues that the board will face.

4. Know what you’re looking for.  The more qualified the board members, the more effective the board will be.  Look for leaders who demonstrate Christ-like character, competence (the skill set to provide solid, spiritual leadership), capacity (do they have the time and emotional and relational reserves?),  calling (does he/she believe this role is God’s will for his/her life?), and chemistry (will he/she be a good fit with the pastor and current board members?). A suggested Board Member Ministry Description can be found here.

5. Develop your list.  Meet with your nominating committee to pray and discuss possible candidates.  Prior to arriving at the meeting, produce a roster of eligible church members for the committee to review.  Develop a list of candidates.  If possible, place at least two names for each available position.

6. Determine the candidates’ willingness to be considered.  This is typically done best via a phone call or personal visit.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a long conversation at this point.  Simply ask the person to prayerfully consider the possibility.  If he/she doesn’t give you an immediate answer, set a time to get back together in order to get their response.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!