Because of the important functions of the treasurer, it is wise to choose one who can be re-elected to provide continuity in record keeping and reporting. Large churches may elect assistant treasurers as needed. The treasurer can greatly encourage faithfulness in the returning of tithe and deepen the spirit of liberality on the part of the members. A word of counsel given in the spirit of the Master will help members to render faithfully to God His own in tithes and offerings, even in a time of financial stringency.
Duties of the Treasurer
- Treasurer the Custodian of All Funds—The treasurer is the custodian of all church funds. These include (i) conference funds, (ii) local church funds, and (iii) funds belonging to auxiliary organizations of the local church. All funds (conference, local church, and local church auxiliary) are deposited by the treasurer in a bank or financial institution account in the name of the church, unless the local conference authorizes another system. Surplus church funds may be deposited in savings accounts upon authorization of the board. Where large balances are carried for building or special projects, the board may authorize separate bank accounts. Such accounts, however, shall be operated by the treasurer and reported to the church along with all other church funds. All church bank accounts are exclusively for church funds and are never to be combined with any personal account or funds.
- Conference Funds—Conference funds, which include tithe, all regular mission funds, and all funds for special conference projects and institutions, are trust funds. At the close of each month, or more often if requested by the conference, the treasurer shall send to the conference treasurer the entire amount of conference funds received during that period of time. The church may not borrow, use, or withhold such conference funds for any purpose.
- Sabbath School Funds—All Sabbath school offerings are to be passed over weekly to the treasurer by the Sabbath school secretary-treasurer, the treasurer keeping a careful record of all such offerings. These mission funds are transmitted to the conference office as outlined in the previous paragraph. Sabbath school expense funds are held in trust, subject to the orders of the Sabbath school council (see pp. 94, 95), to meet the routine expenses of the Sabbath school.
- Local Church Funds—Local church funds include church expense, building and repair funds, and the fund for the poor and needy. These funds belong to the local church and are disbursed by the treasurer only by authorization of the board or business meeting. However, the treasurer shall pay from the expense funds all bills for local expense that have been authorized by the board.
- Funds of Auxiliary Organizations—Auxiliary organization funds include such funds as church outreach programs, family life, Adventist Youth Society, Community Services/Dorcas Society, Sabbath school expense, and that portion of the health ministries funds belonging to the church, and may include church school funds. All money received by and for these organizations is turned over promptly to the church treasurer by the secretary of the organization, the deacons, or whoever has received the funds. These funds belong to the auxiliary organizations of the church. They may be disbursed only by order of the auxiliary organization to which they belong. The treasurer shall give receipts for all funds received. On receiving money from the treasurer, the secretary of the auxiliary organization shall give a proper receipt to the treasurer.
- Safeguarding the Purpose of Funds—When an offering is taken for worldwide missions or for any general or local enterprise, all money placed in the offering plate (unless otherwise indicated by the donor) shall be counted as part of that particular offering. All offerings and gifts contributed by individuals for a specific fund or purpose must be used for that purpose. Neither the treasurer nor the board has the authority to divert any funds from the objective for which they were given. The funds of auxiliary organizations, often donations given for specific purposes, are raised for that special part of the church’s work for which the auxiliary organization is established. Such funds are held in trust by the treasurer, and they too may not be borrowed or in any way diverted by the treasurer or the board from the objective for which they were raised. When an auxiliary organization is discontinued, the church in regular business session may take action indicating the disposition of any balance of funds in the account of the organization.
- Money for Personal Literature Orders—Money for personal orders of literature, books, pamphlets, magazines, and subscriptions for periodicals is cared for by the treasurer in areas where a local Adventist Book Centre does not exist.
- Proper Method for Payment of Money by Members—The treasurer should urge that all money paid in by members, other than the regular church collection, be placed in tithe and offering envelopes, unless an alternative method has been implemented by the conference. Members should list the various items and amounts on the envelope as indicated and to make sure that the money enclosed equals the total shown. They should also sign their names and give their addresses, and place the envelopes in the offering plate or hand them to the treasurer, who should preserve the envelopes to serve as vouchers until all accounts are checked by the conference auditor. Members who return their tithes and offerings by check or postal notes should, where legally possible, make such checks or notes payable to the church, rather than to any individual.
- Receipts to Members—Receipts should be issued promptly for all money received from members, no matter how small the amount, and a strict account of all receipts and payments should be kept by the treasurer. All general offerings not in envelopes should be counted by the treasurer in the presence of another officer, preferably a deacon, and a receipt given to such officer.
- Proper Method of Remitting Funds to the Conference—In sending remittances to the conference treasurer, all checks, bank drafts, or money orders should be made payable to the organization wherever legally possible and not to any individual. A copy of the treasurer’s records for the period should be enclosed with the remittance. Remittance blanks are furnished by the conference.
- Preservation of Financial Documents—Financial documents, vouchers, or receipted bills should be secured for all funds received and disbursed in accordance with the system authorized by the local conference.
- Books Should Be Audited—The conference treasurer, or other individual appointed by the conference committee, audits the church financial records, usually each year. The treasurer’s books and other financial records relating to the work of the treasurer, the church school treasurer, and the treasurer of any other organization may be called for and inspected at any time by the conference auditor or by the pastor, district leader, head elder, or by any others authorized by the church board, but should not be made available to unauthorized persons. Reports of all funds received and disbursed should be presented at the regular business meetings of the church. A copy of these reports should be given to the leading officers. When the number of individuals returning tithe in the church is reported, the spouse and minor children who are non-wage earners but members of the church should be counted in this group, in addition to the wage earner of the family.
- Relations With Members Confidential—The treasurer should always remember that relations with individual members are strictly confidential. The treasurer should never comment on the tithe returned by any member or on the income or anything concerning it, except to those who share the responsibility of the work. Great harm may be caused by failure to observe this rule.