A Reporting Strategy for Your Church

Pastors and Church Business Admins, in a previous post I talked about the need to tailor your reporting to the various audiences in your church. (See the post here for the backdrop).

To help you determine what reports are needed and who gets them, as the Business Admin or Finance Person, I’d suggest developing a Reporting Grid to discuss w/ your Executive Team for starters. Get feedback from your board and finance team as well.

Before we look at a grid, let’s go over some likely audiences in your church:

1. Executives.
This would be the Solo Pastor or the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor (if you have one). They are executing the God-given Mission, Vision and Strategy.

Part of this is ensuring the church is fiscally healthy and financial resources are being stewarded with excellence. Like the term Executive or not, “the buck stops” here.

Just as a note, for multi-site churches, Campus Pastors are the executive level of their respective site, but receive Mission, Vision and direction from the central campus Executive Team. CP’s are more of the COO of that Campus and as such have ministry heads that report in to them. To that extent, they see all the reports related to that Campus as well as some higher level reports.

2. Directors.
These are the Board of Elders/(Directors) and the Finance Team. They provide feedback to and accountability for the Executives. The buck may stop with the Pastor and XP, but they are accountable to the Directors. As I’ve said before, the Pastor is leading the church, not the Directors.

3. Ministry Staff.
These are the ministry heads to Preschoolers, Kids, Students, Adults and so on. They are executing the organizational/mission strategy as it relates to their sphere of influence. I believe this should include Key Volunteers within these ministries as well.

4. The Congregation.
This group of believers are the ultimate ‘end users’ in this context – in that they ARE the church and part of THE Church. They are the donors of the church. They deserve to know how their church is doing Mission-ally and in this case, Fiscally.

5. Outsiders
These can be Lenders, CPA’s or even the ECFA.

In my Reporting Grid, there are 3 major areas:

1. Finances. Duh.
2. Metrics. Non-financial but critical info.
3. Analysis. 1 & 2 are much more effective when meaningful analysis accompanies. (Wrote about this in Eliminating the Noise)


Notes worth mentioning:

a. “X” in the grid means they receive said full report.

b. “/Exclude Sal” – to the extent the department includes salary info, as a general rule, I omit these line items from reports to volunteers.

c. This grid is not all inclusive, I could include others to include supplemental/supporting reports and/or many more analyses. On the flip side, at the start of each new year, reassess this grid. What reports were added during the past year? Can any current reports be improved? What, if any new reports are needed?What reports can be dropped? Lastly, does the distribution to audiences need changing?

d. I’d also say that just because an Elder or Staff Member doesn’t receive all the reports, doesn’t mean info from these reports can’t be shared with them as needed/appropriate. It just means as a general rule different audiences receive reports aligned to their area of influence.

I’ll be Blogging about the reports and formats to each audience in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.


Click to download the Excel template >>> Reporting Grid Template

For the next post in the series, click here.