September - October 2016

There is a potential conflict of interest when a person who is responsible for promoting the best interests of the church has a competing personal interest. In other words, individuals in positions of influence at a church, such as board members and key leaders who are responsible for conducting and overseeing the church’s business affairs, may occasionally find their personal interests competing with their duty to make decisions in the best interest of the church.

Example: First Church is looking for property insurance coverage. One of its board members is an insurance broker who has submitted a proposal to provide insurance for the church. The board member has an apparent conflict of interest between making a business decision in the church’s best interest and promoting a personal interest (the selection of the board member’s insurance company).

What should the church do?

  1. Obtain a comparable quote.
  2. The church board should decide which quote is in the best interest of the church in a meeting where the insurance broker is not present and has no influence on the decision.
  3. The process should be carefully documented.

Dan Busby is a certified public accountant and president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

Subscribe to eNews!