; charset=UTF-8" /> Things We’ve Learned While Teaching : Connecting Voices
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Things We’ve Learned While Teaching

by Rev. Cheri Lovell

For the last couple of years, the Cornerstone Fund has offered a series of educational seminars — and in 2009, we began offering a new full-day seminar for church treasurers.  Connecticut to California, we’ve found that churches across the UCC have many of the same questions and face many of the same challenges. Here’s a little of what we’ve learned.

Training improves volunteer willingness
How often has a prospective lay leader declined to accept a role because she or he felt unqualified? To create a wider leadership pool, offer your members opportunities to develop new skills! At the Cornerstone Fund, we created our financial education seminars to help non-financial people feel more comfortable taking on financial responsibilities in their churches. What training opportunities can you offer your members that will build their skills, their confidence, and their willingness to serve?

Smaller budgets require creativity
With fewer funds at their disposal, many churches are searching for new sources of income. While magic wands remain in short supply, many lay leaders have found that networking with others in their region leads to great idea-sharing. And when churches allow any idea to be voiced and considered, creativity can start to flow. Who knows from where the next great church- (and budget-) building idea might come?

More churches need financial software
While the use of programs like Church Windows is growing, many churches are continuing to manage their finances on spreadsheets or even pen-and-paper ledgers. Want to reduce your risk of errors and enable better reporting and financial management? Invest in financial software — QuickBooks or a church-centered package — and be sure it is installed and used on the church’s computer rather than on a member’s personal laptop. 

Churches need tighter policies & procedures
For generations, churches have operated on trust — but few would argue that trust needs to be tempered with comprehensive policies and controls. From financial procedures to “safe church” requirements, churches can no longer hope for the best — it’s time to get serious about establishing and distributing policies and procedures to protect the organization, the people, the building, and the funds. 

If your conference would like to schedule one of the Cornerstone Fund’s day-long financial education seminars in 2010, give us at call at 888-822-3863.

Rev. Jake Pomeroy, Western Regional Representative with The Cornerstone Fund, will be offering a workshop on Narrative Budgets at the Church Vitality Event.  Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity here: http://scncucc.org/ChurchVitality/ChurchVitality.htm

The Cornerstone Fund will also be hosting an event for Church Leaders, Treasurers, Board Members, Pastors and others interested in learning more about church finances.  Learn more about this event here:  http://scncucc.org/ChurchNumbersforTreasurers.htm

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