The importance of a finance department for Christ Apostolic Church cannot be over emphasized in any organisation whether secular or spiritual. It is regarded as the lifeblood of any establishment and needs to be carefully sort for, prudently managed and wisely administered for meaningful development to take place.
For the church to fully fulfill the great commission and the ministers of the gospel to do their work effectively and with ease, adequate supply of fund is a key factor. Christ himself was aware of the significance of money. Hence, he taught us in various ways and manners by which money should be handled. In addition, He appointed one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, to oversee the management of the purse for His earthly ministrations.
In the old testament, God clearly stated various ways through which the tabernacle and the temple should be funded. This is evidenced in various offerings and sacrifices God commanded the Israelites to offer and bring to the temple for the priest to administer.
Funding Christ Apostolic Church From Inception
The founding fathers of Christ Apostolic Church who were simple hearted, sincere, honest, and committed to the propagation of the gospel based procurement of funds for the church on biblical injunctions of voluntary giving of tithes, offerings and donations. The following sources of funding the church were established at various levels of Church administration in Christ Apostolic Church:
Tithe: this is biblical, traditional and divinely ordained. Members pay 10% of their income to the assembly from where the salaries of the assembly ministers and other workers in the vineyard are paid. The balance, where available, are used for maintaining the church.
Ministers’ Tithe: this is paid by all ministers and other church workers in the assembly. 10% of their monthly stipends are deducted from source. The ministers’ tithe is paid to the district where 35% of the total paid is retained by the district and 65% is forwarded to the headquarters. The 35% retained in the district is added to other levies for running the district.
Others: vows, first fruits, alms/needy offerings, special thanks giving, harvest, various festival offerings such as Christmas, New Year, Easter and localised church anniversaries, marriage, child dedication and outing services thanksgivings. These sources and other spiritually motivated ones were established to sustain the church at the assembly level.
District, Zonal and DCC Levels
The church at these levels is funded through the following means: levies/assessment paid by each local assembly within the district, districts within the zones and DCCs. District, zones and DCC anniversaries and other means through which the district, zones and DCCs could generate fund within their jurisdictions. 35% of ministers’ tithe are retained in the district.
The Church At The Centre
The founding fathers of Christ Apostolic Church were very liberal when it comes to funding the church at the centre. Unlike other new Pentecostal churches where assemblies are required to pay between 70% – 80% of all their income to the headquarters, Christ Apostolic Church is being funded at the centre through the following three main sources at the beginning:
This is voluntarily contributed by every member once in a month. The contribution is prophetically established by late Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola. It was mandatory for every member of the church including. Pregnant women pay for their child yet unborn. This fund is used to pay the salaries of national workers who are not based in any assembly. It is also used to cover administrative expenses at the centre.
This is the tithe paid by all ministers and other workers at the assembly, district, zonal and DCC workers. This fund at the beginning was meant to pay gratuity of pastors in the church. This was later found to be inadequate and even inappropriate for the purpose for which it is being used. The fund is now being considered as part of which is being used for administrative expenses at the headquarters.
This fund was established to cater for the demands of various categories of people that regularly throng the church headquarters for financial assistance on any critical problem. The fund is voluntarily contributed by members at the assembly level twice in a year, usually during the months of February and July. The total amount contributed is forwarded to the headquarters en bloc.
Additional Sources Of Income
As the church continued to expand, administrative responsibilities at the centre became more challenging. Apparently, the three major sources of income (missionary fund, ministers’ tithes, and alms/needy offering) became grossly inadequate. Therefore, from year 1992 upwards the following new sources have been added to improve funds generation at the headquarters:
Prior to the re-organization that occurred in the church in 1991, the church publications were handled by different boards and departments. Hence, the revenue generated therein were not paid to the purse at the centre. By the year 1992, the production and sales of all publications were centralised and handled by the headquarters. This step apparently boosted the source of income of the church at the centre as proceeds from the sales of all publications were paid directly to the account at the centre.
Towards the close of the last century, it became very glaring that the centre is still very weak financially to meet it’s ever increasing administrative obligations such as the following:
- Provision of adequate remunerations for its general workers.
- Payment of gratuity and pensions to its teeming population of retirees.
- Provision of modern and befitting office infrastructure.
- Provision of modern office equipment and furniture.
- Provision of official residence for the principal officers.
- Provision of official and utility vehicles to its principal officers and departments.
- Provision of adequate fund for evangelism which is the core value of the church.
As a result of the above, the church introduced other means of generating fund to the centre as follows:
Payment of corporate tithe was introduced in the year 2003. As individuals obey the biblical injunction on tithing, it is expected of all assemblies to pay tithe on all their incomes every month to the centre. This step really boosted the revenue that accrued to the centre tremendously.
Seed of Blessing
This is another means introduced in the early millennium to improve the financial position of the church at its headquarters. It is required that every member contributes a minimum of N1 per day, i.e. N365 per annum. This is an annual contribution to the centre towards financing capital projects for the church.
It is a prophetic new source for funding the church. It was introduced in the year 2010. The contribution is made on the first Sunday of every July in the year. All collections on that Sunday is expected to be remitted en bloc to the centre without any deduction.
Administration Of Funds In Christ Apostolic Church
Prior to 1992, the appointment into the position of general treasurer (which was later upgraded to finance directorate) was done basically on trust, integrity, honesty, and loyalty irrespective of the knowledge or profession of the appointee in financial matters. The following fathers of faith held this position at different points in time in the church:
- Pastor J.B. Orogun – First General Treasurer.
- Pastor J.A. Idowu – Second General Treasurer.
- Pastor G.A.O. Olaoye – Third General Treasurer.
- Pastor J.F. Omitinde – Fourth Treasurer Headquarters (1992 – 2006).
- Pastor J.F. Omitinde – First Finance Director (2007 till date).
Since January 1992, the central treasury of the church had undergone a considerable re-organization which had resulted into tremendous improvements in accountability, transparency and efficiency in the way financial matters were being handled. The department embarked on the recruitment of qualified and professional personnel, staff training and automation of the accounting system. The treasury, as was being called then, had grown from a mere treasury department of five members of staff, and internal audit to a full-fledged finance department of over 66 professional staff spread all over the country with the following sub departments:
- Administrative Section.
- Accounts Section.
- Treasury Section.
- Reconciliation Section.
- Saving Scheme Section.
- 15 Zonal Offices.
The internal audit department which is the watch dog on the church finances is not left out of the re-organisation. The department is also now being headed by a professional with over 7 members of staff. The department which is independent and directly responsible to the president of the church is also equipped with necessary tools and modern equipment to make its work of auditing easy.
Financial Controls And Discipline
As part of the efforts to have sustainable financial system for the church, the following control mechanisms were put in place:
Responsibility For Accounting
The church has a finance committee that is made up of the president as the chairman, the general superintendent, the general evangelist, the general secretary, the finance director and other members made up of superintendents of zones, DCCs and elders appointed to represent the interest of the general membership of the church. The committee is charged with the management and control of the finances of the church.
The president is the chairman of the finance committee of the church. He is regarded as the accounting officer of the mission and he is, therefore, responsible for authorising all payments. He may, however, delegate this function in respect of certain votes to other officers but must be responsible for ensuring that all things are done properly and in particular that all payments are legitimate, all assets safeguarded, and all revenues accounted for.
The finance director is the chief finance officer of the mission. He is responsible and accountable to the president for the day-to-day financial management of the mission. He ensures that the accounting function of the mission is constitutionally operated, that the books and records of accounts are properly kept and also ensure revenue due from constituent assemblies, districts, zones, DCCs and regions. He also must make sure that no payment is made without authorisation of the president or the person to whom such power is delegated.
The finance director, in accordance with the provision of the constitution is responsible for:
- Providing the draft of the annual accounts of the mission for vetting by the external auditor.
- Reporting on the finances of the mission to the finance committee and general executive council at their meetings and at least once in a year render the audited accounts and the financial results of the church to the general council.
- Preparing the draft of the annual budget of the church and present same to the general executive council for approval.
- Coordinating and supervising payment made to zonal offices.
- Keeping the president regularly informed of the finances of the church.
The Internal Auditor
The church has an internal auditor who performs the following functions:
- Ensures that proper system of account as prescribed by the general executive council is maintained.
- Exercise supervision over all officers under his authority and takes precautions through the maintenance of efficient checks against the occurrence of fraud, embezzlement and carelessness.
- Ensures punctual collection of church revenue.
- Ensures that all payments are vetted before final authorisation and payment.
- Report any defect in the procedure of revenue collections and payment authorisation which comes to his notice during the course of his audit.
The External Auditor
The external auditor is appointed by the general executive council on the recommendation of the finance committee. The external auditor is to carry out his traditional roles and functions in supervising the finances and accounts of the mission.
Authorisation of Expenditures
For discipline, stipulated amounts are always approved by the finance committee for the following level of officers:
- The Finance Director.
- The General Secretary.
- The General Evangelist.
- The General Superintendent.
- The President.
- The Management.
- The Finance Committee.
- The General Executive Council.
Financial Control At Assemblies
As stated in the financial manual of the church, guidelines are given as to the responsibility of keeping adequate records of the church finances at various levels of the church administration. The duty and responsibility to keep records of finances is placed upon the following officers:
- Ministers in charge of assemblies, districts, zones, DCCs, region.
- Secretary of assembly, districts, zones, DCCs, region.
- Treasurer of assembly, districts, zones, DCCs, region.
- Financial secretary of assembly, districts, zones, DCCs, region.
General Standing Order On Finance
There is a manual prepared by the office of the finance director and approved by the finance committee which clearly states the management of the finances of the church at the assembly, district, zonal and DCC levels.
Pastors at the assembly, district, zones, DCCs, and regions are the accounting officers at their various levels of administration. There must be finance committee at each level which shall be appointed by the board to administer the finances of the church as indicated in the constitution. The pastor shall be the chairman of the committee. The church at various levels shall operate bank accounts for all her various financial activities.
The pastor shall be principal signatory to all the bank accounts of the church with the church secretary and the treasurer as subordinate signatories. All revenue of the church must be banked before spending. All payments must be approved by each level of authorisation in the church before money is released.
The following shall be the expenditure authorization level at various level of church administration:
- The pastor, district, zonal, DCC, and regional superintendent.
- The finance committee.
- The board of elders.
- The church councils at various levels.
All account books, payment vouchers and cheque books must be kept in a safe and secure place in the office. All the income of the church must be tithed and remitted to the general secretariat at the headquarters. Under no circumstance shall the church money be loaned out to any member whether on short or long term.
At the end of the financial year, there shall be a proper rendition of account to the church councils. An audited account must be presented to the councils. There must be investment committee at various level of the church that will look into various ways by which the church could invest its money to generate more money for its ever increasing financial responsibilities.
The process highlighted in the finance manual is put in place for prudent and sustainable financial administration in Christ Apostolic Church is subject to constant reviews and amendments. Church administrators in Christ Apostolic Church should not close their eyes to the fact that the present crop of congregation they are dealing with now are different from the 1930, 1950 and 1970s converts. This is an internet technology driven society and the church should also embrace this technological advancement in area of finance. We should continue to make use of honest, trustworthy but professionally qualified personnel in the issue of money handling.
We should also be serious and show total commitment to investing into such projects and proposals that will shift our reliance on tithes, offerings and contributions from members only. Nevertheless, this should not be seen as discouraging payment of tithes, offerings, and giving our substances to God as this is the only way we can receive divine blessing from God. “Give and it shall be given unto you…”
Finally, to have a prudent and sustainable finance administration in Christ Apostolic Church, much has to be determined by the sincerity, transparency, accountability and loyalty of our pastors who we regard as the church accounting officer in their various locations. If the pastors are sincere and loyal, they will promote financial issues that concern the headquarters and their local assemblies with all honesty and without discrimination. If they are transparent and accountable, they will keep accurate and honest records of all the church financial transactions.
Let us remember that the way pastors handle the church finances is a witness to the people in our church and community. They are watching and will make judgement of us based on our financial integrity. It is important that we must be careful and deliberate in this area. When we manage the Lord’s money, we need to remember it is just His. We are called to be good managers of His resources. May The Lord give us wisdom to faithfully handle the resources He has placed in our hands in Jesus’ name.