Church Leaders and Pastors

Church Financial Leader Resources

Now is the time to plan fall curriculum for small groups and classes in local churches. When determining Bible and topical studies, consider adding personal finance course(s).  Read More Here

We offer this curated list of podcasts related to various financial topics. These podcasts represent a diverse mix of hosts and will appeal to different audiences. Each one offers insightful and helpful suggestions in a specific area of expertise.  Be sure to check back often since this list is reviewed and updated regularly.


10 Ways To Do Online Church Without Losing Community: Sunday worship is perhaps the most obvious moment of the church’s communal life. Churches have discovered new ways of being community and learned that loving one another and our neighbors is possible by unconventional means.

Church Ministry Funding Guide

A practical approach to key funding strategies ensuring you adapt accurately, fully fund, and accelerate toward greater ministry impacts as you thrive during disruption in 2021.

Digital Transformation Tactics for Your Nonprofit: Now more than ever, it’s important to look at how you can add digital strategies to your nonprofit organization. Dr. Gloria Horsley, Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, shares her ideas.

Faithful Stewardship in a Time of Uncertainty

Melissa Spas, Managing Director of Education and Engagement with the IUPUI Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, provides a theological context for being a faithful steward in the midst of these uncertain times.

Should Churches Borrow Restricted Funds?

When finances are tight, churches may be tempted to borrow net assets with donor restrictions to cover operating expenses. However, legal and other important considerations are important to keep in mind. Watch this 3 minute video to learn more.

The webinar  Start Planning Your Church’s COVID-19 Recovery Ministry Now!, proposes exciting ways your church can begin the work of disaster recovery.  The work of emotional and financial healing necessitates long-term recovery planning. Moreover, this disaster recovery can start now.

Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being provides the text and tools you need to address the topics of saving, earning, giving, spending, and debt, along with helpful strategies for achieving a sustainable financial life.

This exciting new partnership between Wespath and Abingdon Press draws on the expertise of United Methodist leaders across the connection through videos, a workbook, a leader guide and devotional materials. With study sessions for both pastors and laity, participants will explore money management from a Wesleyan perspective helping you reach personal financial goals as well as address life concerns.

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Every congregation needs to do a church audit, but it doesn’t have to be a big expense or an insurmountable obstacle. There is an Updated Local Church Audit Guide, available free for United Methodist churches, that will take you through it step by step. Going through the process builds confidence among financial leaders and projects transparency to your donors. Join us as we explore the tools that can make this process easier than you thought. Live Zoom session will follow.

What if you had time for just one book on church leadership this summer? Wouldn’t it be great to have a few suggestions?         

Read More Here              

Healthy congregations are receiving a growing portion of operating income from endowment earnings. The United Methodist Foundation of Michigan can help you take advantage of this enormous opportunity.

The primary purpose of an Endowment Fund is to offer a means by which members and friends of a church can make gifts and bequests that provide permanent financial support and living memorials. The Endowment Fund assists the church in fulfilling its purposes in ministry and mission. Endowment Fund Income is used to support ministries beyond normal local church activities or to provide temporary assistance in starting new ministries.

Sample Policy

Giving Resources

9 Ways to Give Beyond the Offering Plate & 5 Things You Should Do When You Use Them: A blog post by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. Every church is different. Not all of these 9 ways to give will apply to every church. But, every church can and should consider giving options beyond the offering plate.

How to Come Back from a Decline in Church Giving: An increasing number of church leaders are reporting a slow decline in church giving. Yet, many churches are experiencing strong growth in giving.  This increase is not limited to fast-growing church in suburban neighborhoods.  Learn more.

Optimizing Your Church’s Website for Recurring Giving: Recurring giving does not happen by accident. It takes a good plan and focused effort and an optimized website. Learn the steps to ensure the church’s website and contribution landing pages are pointing persons to recurring giving using your preferred method of e-Giving.

Vanco provides online giving services endorsed by UMC Support (GCFA.)  They are among the largest third party providers of electronic giving services in the United States.  Their products integrate with more than 60 of the most popular congregational management software systems.

With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. ”— MARK 4:33–34 MSG

2020 looks to have been a banner year for charitable giving! According to the second-quarter report of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, charitable giving was up 7.5% from the previous year. Unfortunately, giving to churches fell 4.4% according to a study by Lake Institute. This is not a new trend.

Giving to religion has fallen by 1.7% over the last two recorded years, while eight of the other nine major giving categories grew between 2.7% to 14.4%.  

Why is giving to religion falling while most of the other giving categories are seeing robust growth? I believe it is largely because so many churches fail to share their stories of impact and to ask donors to invest in their ministries in ways that resonate with them.


Resources for Pastors

A Prayer for a Pandemic, written by Cameron Wiggins Bellm. This prayer is being widely circulated and expresses heartfelt thoughts shared by many of us who live in reasonable daily comfort.

20 Prayers to Pray During This Pandemic: A list of 20 very brief prayers to pray during this pandemic. Each one addresses the specific needs of a specific community.  This list is not comprehensive, of course, but it is a good place to start. We hope that it provides words for us as we pray collectively (if also virtually!) as a church body.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Our Current Reality: A Look Toward the Post-Pandemic Church: In the course of conversation with church leaders across the country, we have identified five “muscles” that must be stretched and exercised because the Body of Christ must be healthy and nimble to face such an unknown future. These spiritual exercises are not new to us, but the muscles may have become atrophied from lack of use. These muscles are: grieving well, discerning purpose, walking alongside, decentralizing power, and expanding imagination.

Innovative Ideas for Unprecedented Times: by Ministry Architects, a team of almost 90 pastors, teachers, executives, youth workers, children’s pastors, writers, and professors. They are fanatical about results and helping ministries find clear direction and sustained momentum backed up by properly aligned resources.

I highly recommend reading and studying Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup. This article has been widely circulated and is a catalyst for discussion among a number of thought-leaders in the Church. The authors remind us that the novel coronavirus is not just something for leaders to “get through” for a few days or weeks. Instead, we need to treat COVID-19 as an economic and cultural blizzard, winter, and beginning of a “little ice age” – a once-in-a-lifetime change that is likely to affect our lives and organizations for years.  This article provides a fascinating look at the long-term impact the pandemic will likely have on organizations – including congregations – and how to chart a new path forward.

Life After COVID-19: In his newest monograph, John Thornburg explores the importance of discernment as we begin to return to church life after months apart due to the pandemic.

We currently live in a period where constituents have a more open posture to these adaptive conversations. The time to engage is now! Tony Gittins, in his book Ministry at the Margins, writes about being in a place of Wonderland. We can either experience this place where we have never been with despair or curiosity. He, of course, suggests curiosity is the way to go! John Thornburg, a close colleague and provocative thought-leader, and I briefly discuss Tony’s book and its application to our present

Seven Shifts that Will Define a New Normal for Local Church Ministry: Tony Morgan, a nationally recognized author, speaker, consultant, and founder of The Unstuck Group raises seven practical shifts church leaders need to consider as our culture moves beyond the Coronavirus outbreak and social distancing. In this webinar, you’ll discover strategic insights to help you:

Understand why going back to “normal” may not be realistic

Identify what’s most important right now

Curate the right conversations with staff and leadership

Outline a recovery and mobilization plan moving forward

Focus resources and commitments to new ministry opportunities

Rev. John Thornburg is considered one of the deepest thought-leaders in the Church today.  Read his blog post, Questions for a New Normal, a part of TMF’s Being the [virtual] Church series.

From UM Discipleship Ministries:   Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like Social Security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. There are questions you may have about implications of the pandemic on your 2020 tax situation. Your corner tax preparer may not understand the unique situation of clergy and finding a preparer who does can save you substantially in money and aggravation. Join us as the Rev. Don Joiner, a certified financial planner, helps us navigate the preparation of taxes and planning for a sound financial future.

Watch the video archive of this webinar

From Discipleship Ministries:  Each year when we do the special clergy tax webinar, we get more questions about the Housing Allowance than any other topic. And the questions come not just from clergy, but from Finance Committee members, Treasurers, and SPRC chairs as well. So for the first time, we are going to offer a webinar for laity and clergy to help churches better understand this special provision and how it can be a blessing to everyone! Join Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Generosity and his guest Bryan Mills, General Counsel for the General Council on Finance & Administration (GCFA), as we try to bring clarity to an often confusing topic.

Watch this Recorded Seminar