Who is this book for?
This is a book mostly about money in the church: getting it, using it, and accounting for it. I hope that church treasurers everywhere will find the effort helpful, and that some will feel emboldened to change the way they manage their responsibilities.
However, it is also about the way we join ourselves into a church, how we align with intention to be religious together. Money, with all the meanings we attach to it and with all the talking we do about it, is part of the bonding glue of our togetherness. Our treasurers function within the larger context of our beliefs and attitudes about money and membership; and, it is this attitudinal context that is at the core of what I address. There is some discussion about technique also, which those who do the day-in and day-out financial record-keeping will understand most readily. Thus, it will be helpful for all who are responsible for guiding our churches: those who serve on the finance committee, those who serve as trustees or deacons (or who may someday), and those who are pastors, ministers or staff. While the book is based in financial thinking, it is for the entire leadership – whether financial stewards, spiritual stewards, administrative stewards, or buildings and grounds stewards.
As you read through the book it will become clear that I am a Unitarian Universalist, and I have written from that perspective. Earlier editions have been used and praised also by leaders in other denominations. As a consequence, I have made attempts to broaden the language I employ. Where my efforts are insufficient, I ask that you make further adjustments as you need them, in the belief that an open-hearted reading of the material presented here might be helpful in other faith communities.
I want to thank many who commented and cheered me along the way as I wrote and rewrote. Many with whom I have corresponded on the internet through “discussion lists” such as UU-money have forced me to defend or change my thinking during the last several years. Some of the material is simply an airing or expansion of their good thinking and I am thankful for their virtual assistance. At the other extreme my wife, Gretchen Meyer, deals with the flesh and blood of my presence: She puts up with my crabby insistence that I like the way I write while gently encouraging a more holistic and systemic view of church dynamics, greater clarity, and better use of commas.
K. Peter Henrickson
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