Team Series: Treasurer {Finances}

fundraising

Team Series:  Treasure/Finances,   By Gena McCown

Times have changed.  Churches often don’t have “treasurers” like they once did, instead they use accounting services.  Everything is automated, including budget spreadsheets.  Generally speaking, you can access the information in due time.  Quite often we pay out of our pockets and get reimbursed versus using “petty cash”.  There are many reasons to believe this role is one that could be retired.  I’m going to disagree with that entirely, for the following reasons:

  • Good Stewardship of Ministry Funds
  • Accountability
  • Checks and Balances
  • Fundraising
  • Greater Accessibility

Good Stewardship of Ministry Funds – Money minded people are generally good with money.  They are more apt to think through purchases and have long term sight into future spending needs.   If you are thinking of a making a purchase, they will weigh and measure if it’s a need or want, if the ministry has the funds or not, or if there is a better way to use the budget.  Eliminating wasteful spending is a great gift to any ministry, and we sometimes need someone who can reel us back in from our big dreams.

Accountability – When there is a person who keeps the ledger for the ministry, you tend to not have too many hands in the pot trying to get money at one time.  I’ve witnessed situations where multiple were out shopping and “picked up” little something for a ministry.  No one asked about it, just made the purchase and assumed they would be reimbursed.  Having a person who oversees that area creates a check point for purchases before they are made. 

Checks and Balances – In a church setting where funds are being deposited for multiple ministries and endeavors, all through the week., errors can happen.  A person may put a check in the offering plate to pay for the retreat, thinking the accountant will see the word “retreat” noted in the memo section and apply it accordingly.    Money may be handed to someone in the office, and it gets tossed in with the deposit without noting where it goes.  It’s important to have someone in the ministry team tracking all the deposits and withdraws from the ministry budget.  Several times throughout the year, your finance person can compare their accounting to the church account.

Fundraising – When you are the person looking at the account balance on a regular basis, fundraising is naturally going to come to mind.  You are aware of how many times you have had to say no.  It stinks having to tell one of your team members that they need to scale back their project or event.  It is even more unbearable to break the news to the team that the registration for the next women’s retreat is going to increase due to lack of funds to offset costs.   The person who fills this role will know the needs of the ministry that are not being met, the projected costs of the ideas that the team wants to add.  (Note:  In some ministries, it may be prudent to divide this particular need into a separate position.  Larger ministries especially, would benefit from a Fundraising Leader AND a treasurer.)

Greater Accessibility – During a Women’s Ministry meeting, a great idea may be put out on the table to discuss.   Do you want to wait 24+ hours to find out if their is room in the ministry budget, or would you rather have that information available on the spot?  Having a team member who keeps track of the finances will give you that access to information.   The church accountant (especially if they use an offsite service) may not be able to get back to you immediately, it could even take a few days.  A team member who handles the expenses and record keeping is merely a text away.  This is particularly vital during a time where you are planning for a large event.

How Do You Identify This Person?

  • When pitching an idea, she is usually the first one to talk about the expense.
  • She will always have researched the best possible price before she shares an idea or project.
  • This is someone who regularly presents ideas for fundraising, notices budget needs.
  • She is one who would never spend money on the ministry without checking in with the leader/team members first.
  • In her personal life, business life, she is fiscally responsible.
  • She may be an accountant, or served as a “treasurer” for other organizations, ministries, or clubs in her past.
  • Usually a Type A personality, analytical, enjoys math and “crunching numbers”.

Her Spiritual Gifts May Include:

  • Administration
  • Discernment / Wisdom / Knowledge
  • Service

Team Series: Second In Command

colead

Team Series:  The 2nd in Command by Gena McCown

One of the first tasks any good leader should do is to find, appoint, equip, and build up second in command.  A President has a Vice President, executives have junior executives, even Pastors have Associate Pastors or Elders they can call on.  Why is this an important role to fill on your ministry team? 

What if the Lord removed you from your Women’s Ministry right this second?  What would happen?

A family emergency takes you unexpectedly out of town.  One of your children become hospitalized.  Your spouse gets reassigned and you have to move this weekend.  You are threatened with a health crisis of your own.

Any number of things can happen that will unexpectedly pull us away from our ministry work, sometimes it is temporary and other times it is not.  Could your team function in your absence?  I’ve always felt the mark of a good leader is that their absence is not noticed. 

I have been on a team where this happened, and we were left scrambling.  It wasn’t that she was a bad leader, in many ways she was a great leader.  However, she had never taken any one under her wing to serve as a second in command.   When she left, we had a lot of plans on the calendars but none of us knew all the background info that she had been working on.   There we many decisions that needed to be made and a weight of uncertainty in the air.  Had there been someone working directly under her, who had knowledge of these details… it would have been a much easier process.

There are primary two ways you can work with a second in command, the first is similar to a hierarchy structure. This leader in training is kept up to date with the details of the ministry, but doesn’t have any more power than other members of the team.  You will walk them through the ropes of running the ministry, but you hold all executive power in the final decision making.  Their purpose is to be ready to take over the reigns of the ministry, should the time come.  

The second way is as a Co-Leader, this woman will have a bit more power/pull/weight to her opinion than other team members.  She may not have the ultimate say when it comes to the ministry decisions, but her opinion carries greater influence.  Her role is to slip in and out of leading the group as needed.  This is the woman who can fill in while the leader is on vacation, or take over for a matter of few months when a leader is going through a crisis.  In a large ministry, you may even have more than 1 co-leader and even give them particular team members that they oversee. 

In both cases the Women’s Ministry Leader is responsible for developing these future leaders to take over her job.  However in the case of a Leader in Training, this is your ace in your back pocket that you bring out only when you need to.  Whereas a Co-Leader has a far more active role in the ongoing ministry work.

A Second in Command Leader Should:

  • Have a heart for women’s ministry in the church and community.
  • Dedicated to the church, and exhibit a solid relationship with Christ.
  • She should be trainable, you don’t need a person with experience.
  • Dependable, showing up to meetings regularly and completes her tasks.
  • Shares ideas that will help the ministry function better.
  • Excited by serving others.

What She Should Know:

  • Keep her up to date on the ministry finances.
  • Location of important documents, passwords, keys, codes, etc.
  • Contact information and details associated with event planning.
  • Overview of information pertinent to the Women’s Ministry from staff meetings or the Pastor (only information pertinent to WM, please).
  • Access to team members contact information.
  • Overview of meeting agendas in advance, and what are her meeting responsibilities.

In the past, Women’s Ministry Leaders have created binders full of important ministry information that could be passed like a baton to incoming leaders.  Now, we can share documents online via google documents (if you have a gmail account).  This helps leaders stay connected, work and update tasks between meetings, etc.  If you are interested in starting a Women’s Ministry Binder… check out Pinterest for GREAT suggestions, printable worksheets, and more.

I love to see these developing leaders active versus people I siphon information into.  So, intermittently as part of training, allow her to completely lead a meeting from start to finish.  You can work her up to this by giving her small responsibilities and increasing them over time.  Give her a larger task to oversee, like planning a brunch or finding new small group leaders.  See if she has a passion for something to add into the ministry that you can put her at the helm, like a prayer ministry or mentoring program.

While it is great to have a second in command who has a similar ministry vision as you, it’s also great to bring someone along side you that has new ideas to bring to the table.  You may wish to strategically develop a younger woman, select a woman who is transitioning out of another ministry leadership role (previous MOPS Leaders are great for future Women’s Ministry Leaders), or you could find someone that just has a HUGE heart for women.  While experience isn’t necessary, their level of experience will determine how much time you need to spend developing their skills.

We can predict when a changing of the guard is going to happen, but when it is within our ability we should make sure this woman is fully ready to assume command of the ministry before we retire or voluntarily step down.  You can begin by steadily increasing her leadership, while culling your leadership back.  This also makes for an easier transition for your team members who have served loyally with you over the past years.  Give your team members advanced notice that you are planning to step down in a few months and that you are transitioning the new leader into place.  When they come to you with questions or concerns  funnel them toward the new leader instead of dealing with it yourself.  You are not only training a new leader, but the team to trust her leadership.

If you plan on still serving with the Women’s Ministry after stepping down form leadership, I recommend taking a few months off.  Allow the women to get accustomed to serving under the new leadership, and then ease yourself back in.  Leaders leave a legacy even when they don’t intend to, and it can take time for members to adjust to a different leadership style and new ideas.  Change is hard, even in ministry service.