Local Church Resources
Scouting Relationship Agreements
Want to know how to get your church hooked up with electronic giving? Where do you go to get a grant or loan for your church to build a new elevator or start a new program? You're not alone. Thousands of resources exist to help you and your church live out God's call to be good stewards. A sampling of the most useful of these resources is below.
- Market USA Credit Union
- Electronic Giving
- Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation
- Unified Funding Task Force
- BWC Ministries Grants, Awards, and Loans
Taxes, Accounting, and other Resources
Reports and Trends
- Local Church Fund Balance Report: Word | PDF | Excel
We did not include this report with Charge Conference material so that it could cover the fiscal year of January 1 – December 31. This report needs to be in your District Superintendent’s office by June 30. If you need further assistance, please contact your district office.
- Local Church Trends and Forecasts: Sample (PDF) | Excel
Guidelines and Other Resources
- BWC Investment Policy (PDF)
- Group Ruling Letter - Online Application – GCFA
- Group Ruling Letter - Guidestar Listing Info (PDF)
- Legal Manual - GCFA
- Local Church Audit Guide (PDF) - GCFA
- Record Retention Guidelines - GCAH: Annual Conference & Local Church Records (PDF)
- Social Security (Self-Employment Tax) Publication (PDF) - IRS
- Tax Packet - GCFA
- UMData - GCFA
Important note: Data displayed on UMData.org is gathered from districts, annual conferences
andgeneral agencies through a variety of sources such as the data sync project, annual conference business forms, annual conference journals, annual statistical reporting, and district appointment worksheets. Data collected by GCFA is housed in their Ezra database and is available to the public through UMData.org. Please be sure to visit UMData's FAQ page for more information and use their 'Contact Us' form if you have additional questions, concerns or to request changes. GCFA will work with the BWC to confirm and process change requests.
- W-2 Resource for church treasurers (PDF)
- What to consider before allowing a third party to use real property (PDF)
- Recommended Local Church Insurance Minimums (GCFA)
- Sample Building use Agreements
INTERNAL CONTROL OF CHURCH FINANCES
Below is a list of recommended policies and procedures to help ensure adequate control over church financial assets.
- The church treasurer, financial secretary, and finance committee chairpersons should not be the same person nor from the same family or household
. The church should have a budget. Financial results should be compared to the budget on a monthly basis at finance committee meetings. Inquiry should be made of variances from budget . All operating checking and savings accounts should be under control of the treasurer. Separate checking accounts for church activities should be discouraged. Investment accounts should be accounted for by the treasurer and activity reported monthly to the finance committee . At least two people should count the weekly church offerings and prepare the deposit slip. The deposit slip and deposit should be placed in a bank deposit bag and locked. A copy of the deposit slip should be given to the treasurer for recording and comparison to the bank statement.
- Annually the Administrative Board/Council should approve the signatories on all church accounts
. Bank account reconciliations should be performed monthly and should be reviewed by the finance chairperson at least quarterly. This review should include an examination of checks issued to ensure proper church purpose. Many banks are discouraging the return of canceled checks. Obtain canceled checks if possible; otherwise, obtain copies of the images of all canceled checks . Quarterly, the finance chairperson should inquire of the treasurer at a meeting as to whether or not all payroll taxes have been timely paid to state and federal authorities . The Administrative Board/Council should require and review an annual audit of church finances by a person other than the treasurer, financial secretary, or finance chairperson.
- All financial records should be retained in accordance with an appropriate, approved record retention policy.
- It is important for treasurers and any persons responsible for the finances to be bonded to reduce the church’s financial liability if there was an abuse of the position. A rule to use is to set the bonding amount to equal one month of income. This amount may be higher if the church has large balances.
- The 2017-2020 Finance Guidelines: handling God’s Money in the Church (ISBN 978-1-5018-2966-6) can be obtained from Cokesbury for $3.99.
- The Local Church Audit Guide, developed by the General Council on Finance and Administration
- Suggested record retention schedules
- A PDF version of this list