Many pastors want to avoid knowing their church members’ giving recordings. And there are a few good reasons for their avoidance. They don’t want to be perceived as showing favoritism, desiring to spend more time on other ministerial duties, and receiving advice from their peers who recommend avoiding it.
But some pastors have a different view. While they understand the reasons why pastors avoid giving records, they feel that reasons to access the records outweigh the reasons for avoiding them.
Here are three reasons pastors have access to their church members’ giving records:
1. They view access as critical to discipleship. Jesus spoke on money more than any other topic while on earth. Why? Money is not just a bank account issue but a heart issue. Money management reflects heart management. The way one manages their money reveals their life’s priorities. And one of the main outcomes of a heart that is aligned with God’s design for a person and their money is generosity.
2. They view access as critical to leadership placement. Pastors want to ensure that their church leaders, whether volunteer or paid, are giving to the church. There are two reasons—discipleship and buy-in. The discipleship issue is addressed in prior point. Beyond discipleship, pastors want leaders that are invested in the church, they have skin in the game. Pastors, and most church members, do not want detached leadership. They want oversight and guidance from those who put their money where their mouth is.
3. They view access as critical to navigating conversations with disgruntled members. Disgruntled members can take up a lot of a pastors’ time. It’s the squeaky wheel effect. Sometimes, the disgruntled member even threatens to discontinue their giving. Knowing the member’s giving record aids the pastor with this conversation, both in content and time allotment. Conversations with disgruntled members who are invested, both with their time and money, should be approached differently than conversations with disgruntled members who have no skin in the game.
Both pastors who avoid giving records and those who view it as critical to their ministry have valid positions. Of course, church culture should be considered as well. Even is a pastor has a strong preference, it is probably not the hill to die on.