Financial Management for Leaders

The call of every business is to provide for a genuine need with experience, expertise and resources; so is the call to ministry. As in business, those in ministry have a fiduciary duty to act in certain ways to benefit others, including the duty to protect their financial interests. The same trust, care, and skills that a student must develop to be successful in ministry are what allow the ministry to be successful as a business organization.

“Taking financial management was one of the first business classes I took at New Hope that addressed the technical side of business beyond the basics. It touched on subjects like financial statements, financial planning, capital, and cash flow. Today, I am working as an administrative assistant at a local CPA firm and I see things we touched on in this class, specifically financial statements.”

— Abrianna Husband, NHCC Graduate Class of 2021

In Financial Management for Leaders, students will learn introductory business principles, concepts, theories and skills and understand Biblical principles applicable to both ministry and businesses. Learning fundamental terms and the broad disciplines of business, students will learn how major business skills fit the student’s aptitude and goals and support ministry opportunities in the field by leaning about:

  1. Ethical Environment of Business. We explore how the challenges we witness and experience in life are likewise experienced in business, such as excess, pride, lack of integrity, abuse of influence. We then look at typical models of response in the business world and in the Bible. 
  2. Management and Leadership Functions. We first ask the question: what is the difference between management and leadership and then assess our personal management styles and how we model and how we can grow into key skills of successful leaders, looking at decision-making, communication and accountability.
  3. Organizational Considerations. How a business is organized has legal implications, affects the flexibility of the organization, and even impacts the ability to attract, motivate and retain employees and volunteers. The value of teams to an organization and team conflict is also considered against real-life situations.
  4. Strategic Financial Stewardship. A fundamental understanding of why financial management is important to an organization provides the platform to learn how to distinguish between data and information and to analyze financial statements in order to ask the right questions and determine the financial information necessary to lead an organization in a responsible and accountable manner.

Businesses rise and fall not based on the products, productivity, strategy, expertise or even finances but on ethics. And the main ethical concern among all businesses, for-profit, non-profit, and church, is fairness and honesty. All other causes of success or failure boil down to fairness and honesty. 

In any given organization, at any given time, 10% of the employees would never consider committing fraud, 80% might consider it given the right combination of opportunity, pressure and ability to rationalize, and 10% are actively looking for a way to commit fraud.

A variety of laws and regulations are in place to regulate, control, protect, and hold-accountable businesses to standards of fairness and honesty: employment practices law, contract law, criminal and civil laws, fraud laws. But knowing the laws and regulations, even perfectly enforcing the laws, will not guarantee fairness and honesty – we must look to ethics, our personal ethics as Christians to drive our businesses and ministries to succeed. In the “Financial Management for Leaders” course, leadership, organization and finances are all taught from a foundation of Biblical principles; Biblical principles cannot be separated from our business lives.

Dr. Erika Funk is the head of our Business Department and Finance Committee for our college board. She has two Masters of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Biblical Studies, as well as a Doctorate in Theology. She has owned an accounting business and recently worked for the University of Oregon Foundation as the Chief of Compliance Officer. Not only does she invest into our college on a big-scale, but she also invests into the lives of the students as a professor.

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