One of the great stories in the annals of the Jewish people is the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple after their return from exile captivity in Babylon.
Whist there was high drama throughout the years of the rebuilding there was an underlying theme – blessing and anointing. The people couldn’t build a godly thing without God’s blessing and at the same time their own personal endeavours had limited success. In the book of Haggai we find the lessons from their experience – and they highlight the importance of Faith over our Finances.
Their experience and what God said to them seems just as pertinent today, 2500 years later. Amazing how we as people don’t seem to take-on the lessons from history very seriously.
There are 2 points for us to pickup on as we consider managing the finances of our churches and NFPs
1. Our financial foundation must be based on God’s ways of doing things – best practice, holiness in finances, and
2. Our organisation must maintain holiness and best practices, in all aspects of these finances
The book of Haggai with all his speeches, take-up the story of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple when the people were not making any progress. At the same time their personal circumstances and finances were also not going well. God made it clear to them that they needed to review and reset. “You’ve been trying to do it all your own way, and therefore none of it is successful. From now on, when you do it My way, you will be blessed”.
Now is the time for us to follow this lead, especially after this past two years, and as we are looking into an uncertain future for all our organisations. Exercise our Faith as we manage the Finances.
So let’s review our foundations:
- Do we have a properly setup accounting system, conforming with compliant accounting standards
- Have we implemented comprehensive budget and forecasting methods
- Are we following best practice policies and procedures with full transparency and clear delegations
- Where is the documentation of our accountability by management through committees, a board, and shared responsibilities across the organisation
- How do we ensure that God is overtly included in each aspect of the foundation.
- How is our faith being exercised in and through this foundation
After the foundations there is the ongoing maintenance – of the finances:
- How do we maintain the finances with ethical and best practice standards – no shortcuts, proper compliance
- How are we sure that transactions are accountable within the organisation – separation of duties, all vested interests disclosed, proper approvals
- Do we record transactions as soon as possible after the transactions are completed and file all documents with the transactions for easy reference
- How do we maintain the budget by regular reviews and re-forecast as necessary – ensure that members and stakeholders are informed
- What process do we have to forewarn the appropriate groups in the organisation of any financial dangers ahead – develop strategies to take remedial action
- Do we need to setup processes to Review and Reset regularly – how do we avoid complacency
Sadly, at Benkorp we have witnessed many organisations and their people suffer unnecessarily during this past year because they had not given priority to Faith with their Finances – by Reviewing and Resetting earlier to be prepared for contingencies.
Examples such as:
- the treasurer has become too sick to carry on and we’ve got no one to do the work
- the bookkeeper has had to go to hospital and we need you (Benkorp) to tell us what to do next
- the accounts have not been done (properly) for last year and so we can’t close and get the annual statements
- we’re not sure about the payment processes with the bank
- we don’t have the information to know if we can claim these new govt benefits (in 2020 it was cash boost and jobkeeper, in 2021 it’s grants and relief)
- someone said our organisation is not eligible
As God said to the people through Haggai, “Take a good hard look at your life, your community, and go … get on with it”
Be blessed along the way, from the Benkorp Team