What is fraud as it relates to the church? Fraud encompasses a broad range of corrupt activities. It is generally defined as a misappropriation of assets through mishandling of assets, fraudulent reporting and corrupt acts. Fraud is a crime. Yet, many of our churches have faced this issue in silence. They have chosen to “extend grace” to the perpetrator or demand restitution. Rarely are these fraudulent acts reported to the authorities. Many churches fail to report fraud if it occurs in senior leadership because of the emotional toil it can take on the church. It is a moral failure and
During my corporate career, I was provided with a hands-on, trial-by-fire education in seeking financing, analyzing loan documentation and a clear understanding of how for-profit organizations deal with and manage their banking relationships. This background has proven invaluable as I serve churches in a banking environment frequently hostile to churches. We unknowingly contribute to this hostility when we approach banks poorly prepared. Our lack of preparation usually results in our loan application being declined. A significant portion of my financial ministry is spent with assisting churches with preparing to present themselves to banks for a refinance, purchase or building project.
In a recent article, “Reporting Financial Crime as a Matter of Stewardship,” attorney, and C.P.A. Richard Hammar discusses why we should report financial crime. A study of financial misconduct of 706 church leaders, found that one-third of them had experienced fraud and 70% of those chose not to report the incident to the authorities. The following reasons were provided for not reporting the incident: They recovered the money without needing legal action. They pursued restoration and forgave the perpetrator. They wanted to protect the perpetrator and the reputation of the church. Legal action was contradictory to their beliefs. The Bible
In my consulting practice, I have found that many Pastor use the church credit card for business as well as some expenses that could easily be determined to be personal in nature. As a church financial secretary for 25 years, I fully understand the lure of providing the Pastor with a credit card so that his/her numerous needs can be met without the constant issuance of checks and receipt of expense reports forms. Yet, the risks to the Pastor as well as the risks to the church far outweigh the perceived convenience. The following are risks associated with personal use of
I am a member of a wonderful church school class that has open up Bible study to me in a way that has changed my life and my perspective immensely. I have studied the Bible for all of our life literally but we truly don’t understand the Bible until we routinely apply it to ourselves and how we think, speak, live and interact with others. In Galatians 5:14, we read “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Law as given to Moses is full of responsibilities for