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Attention All Attorneys and Accountants By Gary G. Hoag

Attorneys and Accountants – Here’s A Word for You

This post is for all controllers and bookkeepers, legal advisors and auditors, CFOs and counselors, treasurers and secretaries who serve with churches and ministries in paid and non-paid roles. Your technical work matters! It shapes the future of the churches and ministries you serve and contributes to flourishing.

Let me explain this impact with a key text from the wisdom literature, Proverbs 27:23-27. This passage describes the intentional activity that results in sustainability for God’s people with two instructive statements.

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your female servants.”

Two practices surface that relate to the work of professional people who serve in the larger community of faith. That is, giving attention to stewardship and standards. Let’s look at them and the outcomes that accompany them.

Stewardship

“Be sure to know the condition of your flocks.” To “be sure to know the condition” is to regularly assess what you have or to make periodic checks. It implies the provision of care, oversight, and structure related to the handling of God-given resources. Few help us do this better than legal experts.

Attorneys craft policies and procedures to ensure good governance and to help administrators maximize institutional stewardship in God-honoring, law-abiding ways. The “flocks” of a church or ministry are the human and financial resources that God has supplied. When stewarded with such assurance, they multiply and sustain the community like the grass and the goats in the biblical text. Read it again. It shows the activity that fosters continuity.

Standards

“Give careful attention to your herds.” To “give careful attention” is to manage the needs of the numbers. Mr. Angelito Gabriel, Executive Director of Christian Council for Transparency and Accountability (Philippines), has taught me that the numbers tell a story. They tell us the aims of the ministry, what is weak or strong, where there is surplus or need, and much more.

In that sense, accountants are storytellers who “give careful attention” to help churches and ministries follow standards so that resources are not squandered but put to work to contribute to sustainability and growth. The biblical text implies that the result of this considerate attentiveness is that it feeds the family and others in the larger community. Do you want this for your church or ministry? Accountants can help ensure it!

Calling All Attorneys and Accountants!

What is my clarion call to attorneys and accountants all over the world who identify as servants of Christ? Riches and status are not the two keys to sustainability. That’s what the world says! Instead, the answer is clear in the biblical text. It points to two faithful practices that are best carried out by legal and financial professionals.

  1. “Be sure to know the condition of your flocks.” Use your technical skills to help churches and ministries maximize the stewardship of resources. As attorneys, your diligent work can help churches and ministries “be sure!”
  2. “Give careful attention to your herds.” Contribute to the sustainability of churches and ministries by following standards like the Seven Standards of Responsible StewardshipTM of ECFA (or similar standards of the peer accountability group where you are). As accountants, your tireless efforts can shape the next chapter in the story.

Attorneys and Accountants (and other professionals with legal and financial skills), when you lend your expertise to God by advancing stewardship and standards, He will repay you in abundance. Your church or ministry will flourish and your faithful practices will contribute to sustainability for generations or until our LORD returns.

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Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D., serves as President & CEO of Global Trust Partners (GTP). In obedient service to Jesus Christ, GTP multiplies faithful stewards and mobilizes peer accountability groups (like ECFA in the USA) to build trust and to grow local generous giving to God’s work. Email me at president@gtp.org if you want to join a global community of Christian attorneys and accountants that is forming to contribute to the flourishing of churches and ministries.

 

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