FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM OF CHURCHES: A CASE STUDY OF THE METHODIST CHURCH GHANA, TEMA DIOCESE.

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ABSTRACT

The fast-paced nature of the modern world, coupled with the influx of quality information that define and inform people‘s critical attitude and approach to life has inspired the need for even faith based organization to show transparency and accountability in the management of resources committed to their care by members.

This research was conducted to assess the financial management system of the Methodist Church Ghana, using the Tema Diocese as a case study; the effectiveness and efficiency of the system and measures within the system that ensure financial control and accountability; the challenges of the system and whether the system provides the necessary ambiance for the fulfilment of the vision and mission of the Church.

The Methodology used is a descriptive research with a case study approach. A criterion was adopted in the selection of the sample frame and the sample size. Questionnaires and interviews were used as the main tools of data collection. Both primary and secondary data were collected.

The findings revealed that the Methodist Church Ghana has a new financial management system that replaced an old one which was not helping them accomplish their vision and mission effectively. The new system, which by far has proven to be effective and efficient in driving the vision and mission of the Church, is governed by the Constitution and Standing Orders of the Church and an Accounting Policies and Procedures Manual that promote ideals that are consistent with best practices. Howbeit, a few challenges with the implementation of the new system were discovered during the research and fitting recommendations were made to address them.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study

In today‘s competitive landscape, efficient management of a church‘s financial resources is very vital for the church to succeed. Financial management systems are the processes and procedures used by an organization‘s management to exercise financial control and accountability. These measures include recording, verification and timely reporting of transactions that affect revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities. (Diamond & Khemani, 2005). Financial management systems are not only relevant in business organizations or profit making institutions but non-profit making institutions as well. The church is considered to be both a spiritual organism and a human organization that is, it is characterized by both organizational and spiritual attributes and it is at once the body of Christ and a human institution (Auken & Johnson, 1985). Because of this unique dual nature, the local church requires both spiritual and organizational management practices to ensure proper management of it human and financial resources. A church with a poor financial management system, which is a poor system of accounting, auditing and reporting of its financial resources, lacks the moral right and justification to collect and use monies from its congregation. Just as management of financial and other resources are vital in the attainment of organizational goals and objectives in profit making institutions, church leaders are also admonished by God to be good stewards of the resources that are committed to their care in  order for the attainment of the church‘s mission and vision. Management is not a current phenomenon. It can be traced back to the Garden of Eden where God assigned Adam to be the

―keeper‖ of all the resources in the garden  and the entire earth. Genesis 2:15.  Sound financial management  system  reflects  good  stewardship.  A  balanced  theology  of  Christian   financial

stewardship requires that members demand accountability from church leaders for their stewardship of financial blessings contributed by the members through giving and other means. (Malphurs & Stroope, 2007)

The Establishment of a sound and an effective financial management system is vital for the churches existence and the management of reputational risks associated with mismanagement and fraud. The presence of a strong financial management system contributes to achieving the goal of the church through the provision of reliable financial data, safeguarding of the church‘s assets and records, evaluating operational efficiency and control through a budget and encouraging adherence to prescribed policies and regulations (Hayles, Wallage, & Gortemaker, 2014).

      Statement of the Problem

The church has a mandate to deliver spiritual and social values to its members and society at large and these tasks of the church cannot be undertaken without the church having to encounter severe financial challenges. Confidentiality, ineffective financial management systems or mechanisms, insufficient disclosure, and unsatisfactory oversight describe the financial undertakings, records and reports of numerous churches. There is therefore the need for serious attention to be paid to financial management systems to ensure that a conflict does not exist between beliefs and practices. In the study by Metawos (2018), he concluded that the church under study should adopt and update its financial policies and procedures to reflect modern management practices. Researchers in the area of church financial management have all concluded that sound financial management is essential for the proper administration of the

church. And that non-profit making institution should use best practices used by profit making institutions to manage their finances. There is limited works on financial management systems of the Methodist church Ghana. Safo-Kantanka (2012) conducted a study on the private investment of churches of which the Methodist church was included however the study did not focus on the entire financial management system but rather the private investment of the church. Although the core mandate of the church is focused on the spiritual welfare of its congregation and the winning of souls, it is important to state that these roles of the church cannot be properly executed in recent times when the church is not financially sound. Just as the spiritual aspect is important the financial resources are also necessary in fulfilling the spiritual. The Methodist church has moved from the Assessment system to a new system known as the Percentage system hence the need for this research to find out if the new system and its management is in line with best practices.

      Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to assess the financial management system selected churches of the Methodist Church Ghana in the Tema Diocese. The measures put in place by their financial management system to ensure financial control and accountability. The contribution of the system to efficient and effective stewardship behaviour and performance and also to determine the relevance of the system in today‘s world. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. The efficiencies and effectiveness of the financial management system of the Methodist church Ghana.
  2. The financial control and accountability measures in the system.
  • The challenges faced when implementing the financial management system of the church.
  • The attainment of church mission and vision by the financial management system.