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Minneapolis Area Synod congregational treasurers gather

Congregational treasurers take advantage of synod gathering to discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act on churches. Metro Lutheran photos: Bob Hulteen

Congregational treasurers rarely get vocational exhortation for their contribution to the life of the church. They normally toil unheralded, occasionally recognized because fellow congregants fear the duty may befall them.
The Rev. Linda Norman, treasurer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, believes it is time to change that. She is going to call out treasurers to understand their work within the priesthood of all believers.
“We are a means, for sure,” said Norman. “When we talk about ‘God’s work, our hands’ [the ELCA’s catchphrase], we say it’s not that God needs us, but that our neighbors do.
“I am proud that we are a church that rolls up its sleeves and gets to work,” she adds. “We are chosen for vocational work; it’s not something we choose.” So, treasurers shouldn’t feel trapped by others’ lack of interest in their work but should feel empowered to help facilitate ministry.

Protecting the treasury

ELCA Churchwide treasurer, the Rev. Linda Norman

That said, Norman advocates internal controls on finances within the congregation, not because of a lack of trust of the treasurer, but to protect the treasurer, and the church, from suspicion.
Norman encourages congregations to segregate, or divide, duties so no one person would have the capacity alone to misappropriate funds. Records should be kept diligently, and proper oversight must be maintained.
This workshop, titled “Tools for Congregational Treasurers” was sponsored by the ELCA’s Mission Investment Fund and was hosted by Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

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