Money: A culture of stewardship is established and resources are allocated effectively, efficiently and synergistically

Financial Leaders Want Someone With Ink On Their Sleeves

Do you ever wonder how to appeal to your financial leaders?

Here’s a story that provided me insights into a key pre-requisite for receiving gifts from high capacity donors.

Annually our church gathers the top 100 financial leaders at a NEXT dinner where we share vision and strategy updates and offer appreciation for their support.

At one of our NEXT dinners I sat next to a man I had never met before. He told me he and his wife had been attending for about a year and that he had a few questions.

For the next several minutes he grilled me on our church’s systems and safeguards for handling and allocating gifts as well as our planning and decision making processes.

Following dinner our pastor shared a compelling vision with several supporting strategies and tactics that would require significantly above current levels of giving to accomplish.

No specific “ask” was made but each invitee was challenged to prayerfully consider how God might be calling them to support the vision.

The Phone Call

On Monday morning our pastor received a phone call from the gentleman I sat beside at the NEXT dinner.

He proceeded to recount his table conversation with “the guy with ink on his sleeves” and how moved he was by the vision, impressed he was with the strategy and how convinced he was that we could implement the vision.

He then committed a multi-million dollar gift to the vision.

After thanking him, my pastor asked what he meant by “the guy with ink on his sleeves” comment.

He went on to share his practice of before giving large sums to any organization of talking with the person in the organization who was responsible for handling the money.

He did this to make sure the organization had in place the systems and processes to be good stewards of his gift.

He shared how the expression comes from the days when accounting entries were made by hand into large ledgers resulting in the accountant having “ink on his sleeves.”

Application: What This Taught Me About Financial Leaders

  • The church must establish, communicate and prove that it has the systems, processes and accountabilities in place before they will confidently enter into a fiduciary relationship.
  • There must be concrete strategies, tactics, budgets and staff in place that demonstrate that the church can follow through and make the vision become a reality.

Action: Questions to Consider

  1. Do you consistently share with your church how you insure their gifts are handled in a trustworthy manner?

  2. Do you share your annual church audit?

  3. Do you share your checks and balances?

  4. Is your church’s vision supported by a concrete strategy, budget and staffing model that insures you can follow through with the vision?


Posted on June 3, 2014

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5