Are you a church leader looking for tools and training that will help your church thrive? Or perhaps you are planting a church and want to get it off to the right start administratively and financially. Or maybe you are a small religious ministry. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has developed free tools to help you achieve these goals. This post discusses the types of resources available through ECFA’s ChurchEXCEL program.
History of the ECFA Organization
ECFA was founded by Billy Graham in 1979 to build more accountability between Christian charitable organizations and donors. ECFA has seven standards of accountability that address issues like board governance, audits of finances, public disclosure of financial statements, avoiding conflicts of interest, and standards for fundraising. Charities that meet these seven principals, apply for membership, and pay a fee are accredited by the organization and granted a seal of approval by ECFA. While it may not be practical or a good use of resources for very small organizations to meet all these membership standards, every nonprofit should at least be aware of and consider the accountability principles.
ChurchEXCEL is a free program created by ECFA to provide financial and administrative guidance on running a church. The program aims to help churches excel in church administration in three specific ways: model integrity, find community, and save time and money. Churches do not have to be members, and in fact, working with ChurchEXCEL is a good plan for ministries too small for full membership.
This program offers practical advice for many areas related to church governance including: church accounting and reporting, financial policies, pastor compensation planning, budgeting, board oversight, tax essentials for ministries, how to form a church, how to avoid church fraud, and much more. Note that while the program is specifically geared for churches, much of the information will also apply to other ministries.
This free service also offers short online interactive courses with videos and activities, biblically based e-books to develop church finance skills, and monthly updates on important topics via newsletter and podcasts.
Additionally, ChurchEXCEL provides electronic tax guides to help walk a church through tax forms and procedures, including sample forms. It offers a bank of knowledge in its online library with sample forms and procedures for churches. ChurchEXCEL also provides a toolbox of practical information and training for the church board to build their leadership and service to the church.
If you are interested in using this free resource for your church, you can sign up here. The ChurchEXCEL mobile app is also available for free in the Google play store and the App Store. Access all of these materials right from your phone for free and watch your church EXCEL!
Featured Image: "Flyhigh" by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash.
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