Whenever I tell someone I work in nonprofit finance, I generally get one of two reactions — either a blank stare (usually with a sympathetic nod) or something to the effect of, “So you are the bean counter” or “That can’t be a fun job.” While finance and administration are not glamorous ministries (and there are certainly days when what I do feels like glorified paperwork) here are a few reasons I love serving as Finance Director for the Underground:
· The role of a finance or administrative person is pastoral. While I do a lot of number crunching, bill paying and report preparing many times I’m playing a pastoral role. It might be walking a microchurch leader through making his first budget or demystifying a profit and loss report for a leader trying to make important decisions affecting her ministry, I play a pastoral role. I am calming fears, holding people accountable to the budgets they create and making sure finances don’t hold a ministry back or don’t bring unnecessary headaches to someone laboring in the kingdom. To me, that is a privilege and high calling.
· Our finance department holds the potential to be prophetic. I believe that thorough, effective, transparent systems are a prophetic voice in the world and in the kingdom of God. In American culture, money and the corresponding power dynamics and temptations are a stronghold — even, and perhaps especially, in churches and ministry organizations. Systems that address and redeem those systems are built by daily tasks done with integrity and excellence. In the end, God is honored and the people we serve are released for kingdom work.
· I find joy in creating systems that are efficient and thorough. A system that fulfills the requirements of legal accountability and ethical transparency without causing an unnecessary burden to people in ministry can be a thing of beauty. Finding a way to empower someone to do something risky God has called him to do within the confines of the law brings a smile to my face. Processes that enable people to move forward with kingdom dreams with faith and confidence bring me joy. In the end it’s being a small, not very visible part of a group of people who bring God’s heart joy.
I work with the daily awareness that every dollar the Underground Network receives represents an act of worship — resources that people have made the decision, often at significant sacrifice, to dedicate to God and entrust to our organization to manage. With that in mind, numbers become less of a mystifying bore and more of a picture of how God is working among us. What an honor it is to serve these people in this way.