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A New Year's Resolution for your Church

Photo of Lourens Du Plessis Lourens du Plessis
3 min

The end of the year is a natural point to pause, reflect, and make plans. Often our own New Year’s resolutions are about finally getting around to living a healthier lifestyle, eating better, getting more exercise, working on our relationships or getting finances under control. They are the result of a deliberate personal stocktake, identifying gaps and making changes for the better. With our busy lives, it’s often only when we’re prompted that we stop to reflect and plan in this way.

Similarly, it’s easy for the trustees and leadership of churches and charities to become so busy with the day-to-day demands that they are never able to pause to take a detailed look at all of their responsibilities. An important first step, though is knowing which diagnostic questions to ask. A US politician was mocked for talking about the “unknown unknowns” – but sometimes we do need help to know what we don’t know!

This is why Stewardship has developed a very useful tool which enables church and charity leaders to work through all of the key areas of a charity for which they are responsible, diagnosing where further discussion and possible remedial action may be necessary. This free tool has recently been relaunched and is available on our website: stewardship.org.uk/healthcheck. Developed to support growth in the key areas of Attitude, Accountability and Administration (our “AAA” rating), it looks at themes such as:

  • Leadership and Culture
  • Generosity and Giving
  • Risk
  • Financial Controls
  • HR and Payroll
  • Long-term planning
  • Organisational considerations
  • Fundraising

Why take the Financial Health Check for Churches?

It will help you:

  1. Identify which areas of your finances are healthy and which may need further attention.
  2. Encourage healthy conversations about finance between your leaders, trustees and finance team.
  3. Explore your church's attitude towards generosity and money: how can generosity and a healthy view of money help shape the culture of your church?
  4. Understand, from our perspective, what makes a church good to give to. 

Completing the Health Check will give you clarity and definitive steps forward, including:

  • An overview and analysis covering nine key areas, giving you a clear picture of your church's financial health.
  • The option to speak with a member of our team to discuss your results and help you identify where support may be useful.
  • Access to our expansive resources to help plug any gaps in your knowledge.
  • A collation of questions that you have flagged for discussion with your team.

This is even better than the good New Year’s resolutions you come up with yourself – because we do the hard work, and your curated church-health New Year’s resolutions are given to you! All you have to do is work through the structured questions to guide your thinking.

If you’ve completed the Health Check, and want to follow up on the outcome, please get in touch with your regular Stewardship contact, or email us at [email protected] or phone on 0208 5025 600 to speak with someone who can help.

See more about the Financial Health Check for Churches

Other Resources:

Raising the Standard: Transforming the Culture of Money in Church

The 'Triple A' Series #1: Why is the way the church handles money important?

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Written by

Lourens du Plessis

Lourens leads the Accounts Examination Services Team who guide and strengthen churches and Christian charities with their governance and finances. He joined Stewardship in 2020 and brings with him a wealth of experience in both the charity and commercial sectors.

Before joining Stewardship he worked for an international church developing governance and financial stewardship for various ministries. Prior to that Lourens had a senior role at a Big Four firm in the City, advising international investment banks. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a postgraduate degree in Theology.

Lourens grew up in South Africa, but has spent the majority of his working life in London.  He is a member of the International Presbyterian Church in Ealing. He is also a trustee of a number of other churches and charities, including a new pregnancy counselling centre, and he’s involved in initiatives to help Christians better integrate their faith and work.

Lourens supports causes which encourage bringing the gospel to people in his neighbourhood and to the ends of the earth, and particularly supporting persecuted Christians around the world.

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