Bank Accounts

by Vanessa
(Chicago, IL, USA)

Is it OK for a pastor to have a separate personal bank account in the name of the church?


Answer

The only way I can think of that would be acceptable for the pastor to have a personal bank account in the name of the church would be a discretionary fund.

This fund can be used for the pastor to help out needy individuals somewhat privately, but the following guidelines should be included in your written church policy:

1. require the pastor to document and record distributions from the fund showing the types of assistance provided during any given year (for example: $100 was given to a needy family to purchase groceries or $150 was given to a needy elderly woman to provide her with transportation to and from a kidney dialysis center for a year.)
2. Encourage the pastor to use the monies for goods and services rather than cash assistance (examples: taxi fare, bus ticket, a bag of groceries, a pair of shoes, a doctor bill), which helps to protect the pastor, the church and the persons receiving assistance from accusations of irregularity or private inurement;
3. Require the pastor to request the funds from the treasurer on some type of request voucher form, as an internal control mechanism over access to the fund (note: this can be done and still maintain confidentiality for the specific needy persons who will be beneficiaries);
4. State that the fund may not ever be used by the pastor for himself or his family
5. This one is up to the board..... limit the dollar amount that may be expended at any one time without advance written permission from the church board.

Hope this helps.



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Comments for Bank Accounts

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Feb 20, 2010
Separate Church Bank Account for Pastor
by: Marcus in Texas

This does not sound like a great idea to me. Seems to me that having a separate Benevolence account established as part of the annual budget of the church would be a better way to go and then the pastor or other members of the church who have authority to expend funds from this budgeted account could be reimbursed by the church treasurer from the Benevolence account. Having a separate bank account would also mean additional work by the church treasurer to reconcile the account each month. This would be a rather "problematic" situation and just does not cause me to have a warm, fuzzy feeling, so say the least.

Feb 20, 2010
Amen!
by: Vickey

I completely agree, Marcus. Especially your statement about the extra bank account being extra work for an already overworked church treasurer!

Let me clarify my answer. I was not saying a separate personal bank account was the best way to handle a Benevolence fund, but that it was the only situation I knew of where it was acceptable for a pastor to have a separate (personal) church bank account.

The best way to handle a Benevolence (discretionary) fund in my humble opinion is exactly how you stated :-)


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