Church Management FAQs

Education for Stewardship

Read our FAQs to learn more about Church Management and why it is so urgently needed in the Church today. 

The term Church Management refers to the administration of a church’s day-to-day business. The Catholic Church is the world’s oldest global non-profit organization. Through its churches and other apostolates, it is also the largest. 

As a spiritual entity, the Church is necessarily concerned with spiritual things. But the Church is also a human entity that requires people, money, real estate, organizational systems, technology, governance structures, and other “business” tools to run effectively.

As a discipline, Church Management encompasses those business skills essential to running an organization efficiently and in a way that is aligned with the values and strategy of the organization. That is, Church Management is the art and science of using Church resources well.

Like any discipline, Church Management arose from the need to formalize best practices that protect the integrity and good working order of the organization. In the case of Church Management, instances of inconsistent, wasteful, and in some cases fraudulent practices highlighted a need to create a standard of care for those who represent the Church. 

In addition, the mission of the Church requires us to model the highest standards of transparency and accountability. Church Management programs seek to establish foundational financial and business literacy among those who run parishes, handle Church resources, and otherwise represent the outreach of the Church.

A good Church Management program equips leaders with the tools and skills they need to manage Church resources effectively and faithfully. While the details of each program may vary, and the appropriateness of a particular program may depend on individual factors, at a minimum, an effective Church Management program will cover such basics as:

  • Financial reporting, budgeting, and controls
  • People management
  • Ethics of church management
  • Governance
  • Real estate and asset management
  • Negotiation
  • Change management

While highly valuable, a master’s level education in business is neither desirable nor practical for most Church leaders. Many parish priests, for example, simply cannot afford to take two years away from their duties to devote to study. At the same time, the need for business literacy is more widespread than simply “those in charge”. 

Anyone with responsibility for Church resources – be it a parish, diocese, school, foundation, religious order, or outreach program, must be prepared to administer their duties with an informed perspective, as well as be able to hire effective lay experts. The goal of a Church Management program is not to make the leader an expert, rather to equip him or her to be able to ask the right questions, follow appropriate steps, and make sound business decisions with confidence.

The causes of Church abuse are complex, however financial mismanagement by the abuser is nearly always present in some form as an accessory to the abuse. Church Management education, and the effect of establishing a standard of accountability and transparency, is an important step in preventing the abuse of funds that allows for abuse to be perpetrated and covered up.

For more information about the connection between financial mismanagement and abuse, this clip from one of our webinars explains it well. 

Church Management is ideal for any priest, religious or lay person who is responsible for Church resources.

Simply: Because every apostolate needs good Church Management to be successful. 

Leaders confident in their grasp of core business skills manage Church resources more efficiently, engage appropriate lay expertise more often, and are better equipped to assure transparent and accountable stewardship. The result is an apostolate that runs well and Church leaders who have more time to devote to their mission and the people they serve.

The Global Institute of Church Management exists to make Church Management education accessible to more Church leaders, in turn strengthening apostolates throughout the Church. Learn how you can become a donor and help Church leaders gain access to this essential education.

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