Monday, December 15, 2014

Financial Management Conference Concluded

Pastors and church leaders from coastal Kenya gathered for a Financial Management Conference. Hosted by Jesus Miracle Celebration International Ministries in Watamu, 27 pastors and church leaders gathered to learn for four very long days filled with a variety of learning topics centered around finances.

The Conference Team:
Dr Leslie, Pr Njuguna (an SbH team member),
Apst Omondi, Bshp Tsofa, and Pr Owino
Several gifted voices lifted the name of the Lord in adoration during our hour-long time of praise and worship, which ushered in the Spirit and set our hearts on the proper course for understanding our roles as stewards of this tool called money. Several participants commented about their new or renewed understanding of their responsibility and accountability as stewards for their time, talent, and finances.

Just a few of the worship team members.
We practically applied bookkeeping principles, which included learning about income and expenses and how to record them in a daily cash book. We also discussed the benefits and detriments of buying and selling on credit – before learning how to keep these books – so that the church leaders can make the best debt decisions for their churches. Using information from these books, we added practical learning about financial statements and the valuable information they contain for decision making. Finally, we learned about budgeting and how to look ahead and prepare your finances for what is expected to come.

While there were sooooo many "ah-ha" moments for these learners, here are a few topics that stood out.
  • You need to track where all your money comes from and goes to so that you can minimize unnecessary expenses (soda, newspaper, sweets) and make good business decisions.
  • You must keep personal and business money separate, instead you should receive a salary from your church or business. This is the only way to know if the church is (non) profitable apart from your household. Sometimes you will need an additional income to support your family.
  • You cannot spend more than you have. This is just a reality of money management. We learned some options for cost cutting and sacrificing in the short term for the long term payoff.
  • Use a budget committee to determine how to allocate the money received in the church. Be thankful even if your salary is only 5 shillings.
  • All these reports and tools allow you to make the best business decision. Without the information contained in these reports, you are only guessing about how to improve your church finances.

We also discussed bonus topics such as time management, tithe management, and the church as a business (each of which garnered many favorable responses).

Our days concluded with a time of ministry based on a few of the NOOMA films (Kickball, Bullhorn, and Name). Pastors were drawn to this time of ministry because of the film component, but came away from this time of ministry with a better understanding of how small group ministry could increase effectiveness in their churches.

This conference was different than the usual workshops we host. The conference included the supplies needed to learn, meals, lodging, certificates, and other needs whereas the workshops include teaching only. Each learner is prepared to begin financial management application for 2015 and we hope to return within a few months and check on how they're doing. Without your help, we could not have made this conference possible. I cannot say thank you enough!