Tag Archives: Credit card

Should we use Credit Cards for the Church?

Credit Card

Having a good plan in place for proper use of funds will help with the overall stewardship process of your church. Often the use of credit cards and churches do not mix well.  Some are afraid of unwise use of cards or spending that may or may not be accounted for on a monthly basis.  And there have actually been leaders and pastors who have misused the church funds for their own purposes.  We shouldn’t judge all leaders and pastors on the actions of a few.  There are certain aspects of daily church business that requires some type of cash flow that is available to the leaders, pastors and/or business managers of the church.  I have found the system below to work well in providing accountability of spending and giving freedom to make necessary purchases on a daily basis for ministry functions.

The truth is if we can’t trust those who are leading our ministries and our church, then how they handle the money is the least of our concerns.  How they are leading our ministries and our church should be of a greater concern.

I hope this structure below helps as you develop guidelines for credit card use in your church.

Church Credit Card Policy

Those who use a credit card to make purchases within the church should follow the procedure listed below:

  1. Get a personal credit card in your name that will be strictly for the purpose of church business.
  2. Use that credit card for all budgeted purchases you make.  (If a purchase has not been budgeted, it will need to be approved prior to the purchase.)
  3. Keep your receipts
  4. Any purchase of more than $250 will need to be approved to check for availability of funds and cash flow.
  5. When the bill/statement comes in either to your address or to the church, you will need to fill out a monthly report indicating account totals (i.e. if you have made several purchases for supplies within your ministry, you will need to enter that on one line with a total that goes into that account)
  6. Turn the Accounting sheet along with the bill & receipts in to accounting to be paid.
Once you receive your bill, identify the account numbers and the total spent within each account and log this below.  Do not show each account more than once.  Simply give an overall total spent within each account.  Place the receipts in an envelope, attach envelope to the bill and turn in for payment

Account # Description of Account Dollar amount spent

Receive an offering at midnight!

The Moon is the most common major object viewe...

Okay, so midnight is just a random time, but what if you could receive an offering at any point in the week and any time during the day?  That would change the way we view receiving an offering weekly.  There was a point in the not too distant past that receiving an offering on Sunday during services was the only option to allow people to give.  There are a few problems with that being our only option today.  One of the main draw backs to this is that when people are not there on Sunday, they have no other way to give their offering to the church.  We expect that they will make it up the next Sunday, but all too often, they don’t.  We need to learn from the world around us and provide multiple opportunities for people to be able to worship God through giving.  Below are a few different options that you could set up at your church.  Increased options provides opportunities for increased giving.

1.  Sunday Giving

Sunday Giving shouldn’t be eliminated.  It is a vital part of our worship experience and a great opportunity to cast vision about giving.  Below are a few options of how you can use this time effectively on Sunday:

  • Use this time to celebrate what God has done as a result of giving (i.e. campaign goals reached, missions that have been supported, etc…)
  • Have someone share a testimony about how giving has changed their perspective on money (either live or by video).
  • Let people know how your church has been able to help families in the community through benevolence.

Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to inspire and cast vision about how giving can make a difference in the life of the giver and the life of the church.

2.  Mailed in Giving

  • Business reply mail envelopes
    • Set up at USPS.com.  You can set up a courtesy envelope or a postage paid envelope.
    • Put a place to give to general, building, missions and other on this envelope
    • Use this envelope for onsite giving as well.  This way you only have one type of envelope and people can take them home with them for future use.
  • Have givers set up in bill pay at their bank.  This will be mailed in to the church throughout the week depending on the schedule set by the giver.
  • Use an envelope service
    • You can bring in as much as 5-8% more by mailing envelopes to homes.  Have people opt out before you start sending the envelopes, this will save some money in the initial setup and mail out.  Then send to people’s homes once a month.  Include a postage paid our courtesy envelope in the mailed envelopes.  Address for envelopes: Lifeway Envelope Service, PO Box 269 Chester, WV 26034-0269    1-800-875-6319

3.  Online Giving Options

  • This needs to be on the home page of your website and easy to use.  Make it easy to navigate through the online giving system.  Tell them the steps.  Have a place to give to general, building, missions and other.  Have it automatically send an email to allow them to know their donation has been made or if the donation has failed.  This email can go out in the form of a “Thank You for your gift”.  You can start by using paypal  (You can negotiate paypal fees).
  • Send out email reminders to give online in place of envelopes.
  • Put stewardship articles on your website as well as financial helps and budgeting tips.  Stewardship is part of discipleship, therefore provide tools to help your church learn.

4.  Automatic Bank Debit giving

  • Your overall goal should be to move people to Auto-Debit.  This is the preferred form of giving because it is automatic and less expensive for the church to manage.  Have them download and fill out a form that can be sent to the office.  This will make it easier for them to give.  You can set this up through the church.  It is an amount that can be deducted from your account on a weekly, bi weekly or monthly basis.  It is important to send emails to everyone who does auto-debit to let them know their account has been debited.
  • You can include in your new member orientation a form to sign up for automatic giving.  Use this as a time to express how this can help in consistency and truly giving God ‘first fruits’.

5.  Debit/Credit Card giving

  • Set this up for online and onsite giving.
  • Get a merchant account.  Your church database software may have recommendations for easy interface.  If not, try Authorized.net as a place to start.
  • With this, you can also use this same merchant account to allow credit/debit cards to be used at resource tables, coffee house, book store, etc…
  • When you use this option, put a disclaimer on any printed material or opportunities to give that ‘credit cards are to be used in a God honoring way and not intended to be abused.’
6.  Set up a Giving Kiosk
  • You can make it easy for those without their checkbook to give on site by simply providing a computer or ipad setup in a prominent area to allow them to give.  Sign it and make it noticable.  Promote it during the offering time to bring attention to it.

7.  In Kind Gifts

  • Securities & Stock – there are tax benefits for giving in this way.  You will need to set up an account with a brokerage firm.  Then you will give the name of your brokerage firm and a code to the individuals who are interested in giving this way. This allows them to avoid the capital gains tax. Promote this for special campaigns, capital campaigns, yearend giving etc…
  • You can also leave the church in your will.
  • Annuities
  • Planned Giving

These are just some simple ways to broaden the opportunities for our membership and attendees to be able to give in a God honoring way.  As we provide more opportunities as a church, our people will be able to find a system that works best for them.  As a result, they will become more consistent in their giving.

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