Why Are Church Treasurers Not on Staff?
December 4, 2018
4 comments 523 views
I am wondering why many churches do not consider the treasurer a staff position.
Treasurers are accountable for money, reports, tax payroll, paying bills, and filling out reports to the church board or council (among many other things that come into play).
The finances of any business, whether non profit or for profit, are the backbone of ANY company. There is financial accountability with a skill required.
I saw my dad fill this role for 50 years with nothing more than a thank you (and a lot of stress). All good businesses acknowledge the importance of this job and it seems strange the church does not.
To me, not acknowledging the role of treasurer as a staff position leaves the church vulnerable to many things.
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My hunch is that treasurers aren't typically on staff because church staff tend to focus on 'ministry', the exception invariably being the custodian.
Though the treasurer's work is very important, it is not typically a 9 - 5 job. The treasurer of classis typically receives a stipend in recognition of his or her work. I believe that the church should include a modest stipend in their annual budget. It could be $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the size of the church and the nature of the work.
I think that the clerk should also receive a similar stipend for the amount of work he/she does.
This leads to a larger issue about who should get paid for work within the church that is largely seen as voluntary. I think that the heads of all church committees and ministries --if they aren't already on staff -- should be paid $2 at the beginning of the church year. Consider them staff. That enables church council to shuffle staff around around to match their talents with the appropriate ministry. It also enables an incompetent volunteer to be fired.
In my experience, there are many iterations of the treasurer role at local church levels. In some instances, the Treasurer is rightly seen as a corporate director and officer and as such is not normally eligible to be paid. While exercising oversight over the organizational finances, much of the actual day to day financial administration is delegated; undertaken by paid staff or contracted to accounting professionals.
In situations, where the treasurer is hands on and taking on the various tasks of financial administration (donation processing, accounts payable, bookkeeping, etc) it would seem appropriate to compensate the treasurer for these professional services.
Another significant aspect in the context of the church is the volunteer nature of many of the leadership roles including that of treasurer. While the church might not be disposed to compensate for such services, neither should it take them for granted.
You dad should have quit if he felt used by the church (but maybe he didn't). All churches, as well as other non-profits have to make very difficult decisions about who to pay and who not to pay.
Any particular church could decide to pay the treasurer, or the praise team leader, or the pianist, or SS teachers, or VBS cooridinator, etc etc etc etc.
Some church (few, but ..) have tentmaker pastors.
No particular rules apply, but one I would say: if someone resents working pro bono for his or her church and can't get past that resentment, he/she should quit doing that work.
I think it depends on the size of the church whether the treasurer is on staff or not. In a large church it makes sense to be a staff person.
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