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Jim Bramer, Retired CPA-Auditor
RE: Finance Issues related to Church Auxiliaries UPTD: March 09, 2012
Below is a hypothetical Online Email thread (THRD) between Jim@bcidot.org and one of the these Ministry MFTeam members: PAT (Lead Pastor ), LEE (Church Volunteer Treasurer), and FRAN (Church Computer Bookkeeper).
From: Pat -
Jim, within recent weeks we have had questions about how to handle money flowing through our Auxiliary groups. To remind you, we are a Church who handles a little more that $500,000 during our fiscal year.
OK .... please begin by defining what you mean by "Auxiliary" groups.
From: Pat --
Right .... our "Auxiliary" groups, or special interest groups, covers at least the following: Adult Sunday School Classes, Adult Choir Groups, Women's Ministry, Men's Groups, etc. For more perspective, here is some more info: > We do NOT permit these groups to have their own checking account --- all such transactions are included within our "Unified accounting and reporting system." > Most all groups - especially the Adult Classes - are very "this is our money" oriented.
From: Jim -
All too often I find that such groups are so independent that they have their own bank accounts and protocol. They are so independent of the Church that they often object to do any reporting of activities or finances to the governing board or the Church -- their activities/finances seldom get into the annual Church report that goes to the congregation.
This situation often starts with such groups having their own checking accounts, so I am very glad that you do NOT permit that.
From: Pat --
What you have just mentioned about independence seems to be the root of the questions that I have. All Auxiliary participants need to have a proprietary interest in the group, but it seems that there needs to be limits.
From: Jim -
Let me share some basics and see if they address your concerns:
The governing Board MUST be in charge of all Church endeavors. Auxiliary endeavors MUST have Board approval.
Members (or anyone considered part of the Church family) need to make money contributions in such a way that they are tax deductible.
Fund Raising projects by any Auxiliary must be approved by the Board, or it's delegate.
From: Pat --
Right, Jim, this helps me get a much better perspective of the need for such groups to follow mandated Church policy. I can now see how that a group can in fact do such things as raise money for various pieces of needed furniture or equipment -- as long as they are getting advance approval and it enhances the overall Church ministry.
Further, such groups can sponsor and finance a Church approved Missionary or Mission project. Again as long as it is a Church approved relationship, or endeavor, and it does not interfere with the overall Missions program and it does not complicate the Mission Budget arrangement. If the Church has a Board Mission sub-committee, then, of course, such a relationship should fit into the Mission Committee's overall finance and prayer support effort. It is my experience that many times such a Auxiliary group representing the Church can best personalize a Church relationship with a Missionary serving outside the states, etc.
Obviously, an Auxiliary should NOT "do their own thing" and disregard the overall Church effort etc.
The bulk of this Publication originated in July 2003 and was UPTD: May 09, 2011 . . Click here and go to List of threads (THRDs) at www.bcidot.org
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