Churches, faith communities, and theological schools have always depended on the generosity of faithful donors, grant funds, and – particularly for schools – tuition dollars. Nearly everything depends on money, and financial decisions are woven into every area.
Money and mission go hand in hand.
And yet, talking about money and finances can be uncomfortable. Understanding financial position and outlook is often seen as the work of the CFO, executive leadership, or the board’s finance committee.
Financial statements can be difficult to understand and even inaccessible to those lacking financial acumen. And a general lack of understanding of the connection between financial statements to institutional planning and decision-making can be a barrier in one’s work.
Regardless of your role, you are a critical partner in balancing mission fulfillment with economic vitality. Shared governance demands it. Mission without money is not possible.
Our colleague Chris Meinzer, senior director of administration and COO at the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), is an expert on the topic.
In this issue, he spoke with us about how boards and leaders can best access and understand financials.
What questions does your CFO wish you would ask? According to those we interviewed, more than you think. A CFO is the point person for financial education. Working with a CFO will help you interpret the data and use it in your decision-making.
I challenge you – regardless of your role – to use your institution’s financial statements as another valuable tool and important resource in your work.
In the rest of the issue, we are excited to share good news from the field and from our own Center.
An exciting new initiative for theological schools from the Lilly Endowment is underway, and we have a story about the vision for the new Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative.
And I am delighted to introduce Matt Hufman, our new vice president for communication, and share why he is the right leader to steer In Trust magazine into the future. I also am happy to share our annual report, available online at www.intrust.org.
I hope this issue invites you to ask questions about your own mission fulfillment with economic vitality.