HARRISBURG (BRN) – Finances, for most, are an acquired taste – you either learn to love them, learn to deal with them or, more than likely, you pay someone else to handle them.
At the Baptist Resource Network (BRN), that someone is Andy Weber, also known as “Mr. Budget.” Weber has served as the BRN’s director of finance and operations since 2013.
“I have a desire and a passion to see the church advanced to be all that God desires it to be, and in order for that to be accomplished there must be resources available to do that,” said Weber.
“I’m passionate about aligning those resources with the mission and the calling that the church has to impact its community [for] the gospel.”
Prior to his time with the BRN, Weber completed an undergraduate degree in business and then pursued a call into ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“I was not yet sure what type of ministry the Lord was calling me to, but I was just being faithful to his call,” shared Weber.
He continued: “Several years into my schooling, I was wrestling with God about what direction I should pursue in ministry. He answered me and said that He desired for me to be in the financial ministry of churches.”
Through that calling, Weber started an organization called Church Financial Management, which is an organization dedicated to meeting the financial and administrative needs of churches.
“I still oversee this organization today. It is through my work in this organization that I connected with the BRN. That connection would then, ultimately, lead me to being part of the BRN team. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve this great ministry minded organization,” said Weber.
In Scripture, Jesus references money more than 2,000 times, which is more than his mentions of heaven and hell combined. Eleven of the 39 parables in the Bible talk about money and with the exception of the Kingdom of God, money is what Jesus mentions more than anything else.
“It sounds to me like God wants our attention when it comes to finances. How do we steward well and within the regulations that we’ve been provided, we must be an example to the world around us, as the church is held to a higher standard,” said Weber.
In order to strive for this higher standard, Weber suggests churches keep these four helpful tips in their financial “toolbox:”
- Find the correct payroll system: Ensure that the church is properly processing payroll as it relates to the Dual Tax Status of Clergy. This is one of the largest errors in the church financial process.
- Find the correct person: There is a difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. Churches find themselves with someone who enters data but who does not understand nonprofit accounting and how that comes into play with churches. Proper accounting of funds is key to the integrity of the financial systems.
- Find the correct way to communicate: Communicate the church’s financial plan to the church body on a regular basis. Having them commit to the financial plan, or budget as some would call it, enhances their commitment to follow through with meeting the budget. The budget is really a road map and a tool that shows the church how it is tracking along in its plan. Too often the budget and church ministries do not align to accomplish the church’s mission.
- Think proactively: The church needs to be thinking proactively with its finances and operations and not reactively. Being reactive pins you to the past and what has already happed. Being proactive allows the church to think and plan towards the future God has for them.
“I desire that all churches would be ready for that next big task. I love to see the transformation that can occur in the church through financial and organizational strategy that advances the church’s mission,” said Weber.
Right now, for most churches, that “next big task” is tax season. For all the challenges that tax season tends to bring, Weber suggests these helpful tips:
- Save all your receipts related to Housing Allowance expenses so that pastors can account for their whole allowance.
- Ensure that pastors are withholding enough federal tax or filing estimated quarterly taxes, so that they do not owe on their income taxes.
- Be knowledgeable of the differences in tax credits and deductions between Federal and State. Just because Federal doesn’t offer a credit or deduction doesn’t mean that the State doesn’t.
Weber also suggested that churches download Guidestone’s free 2022 Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches. This resource attempts to simplify tax season by covering the basics of withholding and reporting employee income taxes and Social Security taxes as well as other key filing topics specific to ministry.
Churches and pastors are also encouraged to contact Weber and the BRN for further financial advice and/or aid.
“We can do more together than we can individually, and it excites me that, as a network of churches, we are pushing against the lostness and the darkness and we are looking to accelerate God’s plan for the future,” expressed Weber.
Listen to the podcast interview:
The “50 Stories of Transformation” series, told in honor of the Baptist Resource Network’s 50th anniversary, highlights the many ways God has moved throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey and beyond. Your generous support of the Cooperative Program makes this ministry possible and fuels evangelism and outreach in our local churches and all over the world! Thank you!