Zenas’ Brief – May 2023
An unfortunate reality of our fallen world is that people will take advantage of the church. Whether the person is outside of the church or a wolf within the church, the church is vulnerable to attack. In a study by Church Law & Tax, an arm of Christianity Today, nearly one-third of 700 churches surveyed suffered from some form of financial misconduct, not including cybercrimes.
The financial toll can be staggering. In recent years, a church employee stole almost $200,000 from a church during a two-year period, and a member of the clergy embezzled $256,000 from three churches. These examples are bad actors within the church, but people from outside the church are constantly sending phishing scams and ransomware attacks. While the financial harm from fraud can be severe, the amount of time spent trying to remedy a fraudulent act and the shame of being a victim should not be overlooked.
Churches must be proactive in preventing fraud. We recommend having policies in place that provide oversight for people handling money within the church. We also recommend policies on technology to help ward off phishing and ransomware attacks. While it is impossible to stop all fraud, having strong policies and procedures will deter the likelihood of your church falling victim to someone’s evil ways.
Finally, while fraud is a terrible act, we can rest in the sovereignty of God and pray for that He chooses to work a miracle in the heart of those who wish the church harm.
The UISBC Legal Team will be presenting on policies and procedures later this month. We invite you to attend and learn more about how a good policy can help protect your church. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your UISBC Legal Team.