Thursday, August 4, 2011

Being a Team Player: The Money People

"Being a Team Player" will be a running feature on this blog and will focus on how youth pastors can contribute to the ministries of other pastors and volunteers at their churches. There are things youth pastors do that can make other staff people go bananas and there are things youth pastors can do that will make the lives and ministries of other ministers better (or easier).

Today we will focus on the tenuous relationship between youth pastors and who I like to call "the Money People." The Money People could be your church treasurer, financial secretary, or whoever it is that handles money for your church.

If you are anything like me, you are terrible with money. You lose receipts, spend money without thinking too much about it, and you couldn't manage a budget to save your life. There are probably many youth pastors like me out there.

You see, we focus on the kids, the people. We see money as a way of ministering to the real needs of real students. We take them out for coffee, for Five Guys, for ice cream. And we don't need some stuffy bean-counter constantly nagging us for receipts or telling us that we can't be spending the money we are spending.

We sometimes cast a negative light on these people. They care too much about money. They don't care enough about people. All they are concerned with is the bottom line.

And so there can be tension between youth pastors and the Money People. But there doesn't have to be.

We whine that the Money People only care about the bottom line. But you know what? Someone has to. Someone at the church needs to make sure the bills are paid on time, that spending is comparable to giving, and that the church maintains fiscal integrity. If you ask me, they might have the most difficult role in the whole church. They constantly have to play "bad guy" concerning spending and budgets and credit cards. They are the ones who see when spending is outpacing giving, and they get nervous because that can reflect on them. This is their ministry, for which they most likely don't get paid, and they care about it just as much as you care about yours.

So what can youth pastors do to make the Money People's lives easier?

1) Turn in your receipts on time. If your church lets you have a church credit card, keep your receipts organized, and turn them in on time. Even if you don't have company plastic, take special care to turn in receipts so they can keep better track of your ministry's budget and the church's budget.
2) Submit your budget proposals on time, and give your reasoning behind your budget decisions. Show them how you plan on using the money you are requesting.
3) Make sure to read their reports so you aren't calling them in a panic the night before a major expense to make sure you have the money. Do whatever you can to stay within your budget.
4) If you make a mistake, apologize. Own up to the fact that you made their life a little more difficult and make sure to make amends for it.
5) Thank them. Nobody sees what they do. Make sure you recognize their hard work and make sure they know you appreciate them.

By no means am I perfect at this yet. Just today I dropped the ball and had to apologize for it. Make sure they know you are trying your best though, and make sure you don't make the same mistakes over and over again.

Those are just some ways you can be a good team player when it comes to working with the Money People. Any other thoughts/suggestions out there?

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