Financial Ethics for Pastoral Leaders

This online course is the collaborative work of Discipleship Ministries and the leadership of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. It was written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, with input from Greater NJ conference leaders and others across the denomination. Members of the Greater NJ Conference introduce each of the six sessions, followed by teaching videos featuring Ken Sloane and Sharon Dean, recently retired Chief Communications Officer of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). It is our hope that a discussion and exploration of financial ethics will not only strengthen the financial practices in local churches but also protect some churches from the devastating harm that can come from financial misconduct in the local church setting.

Along with the teaching videos, students will read course content online and will complete quizzes at the end of each of the six sessions before they can move on to the next. The quizzes at the end of each of the six sessions are based on content from the videos and the text. Six books -- though not required reading -- are included on the recommended reading list. Upon completion of the course, a certificate for .5CEUs will be issued to the student.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • The role of the pastoral leader in finance and administration of the local church
  • The important leadership roles of finance chair, treasurer, and financial secretary
  • The crucial role of segregation of duties for safeguarding assets and maintaining trust.
  • Why annual church audits are an essential process and build confident in church financial integrity.
  • Best practices and safeguards for anyone who handles church funds.
  • What conditions contribute to an environment where misconduct is more likely.
  • The important of good timely reporting, and the protection of church data and records.
  • What steps to take if misconduct is suspected.

The course is self-paced, and we hope that once you start, you will continue through the sessions to completion and receive your certificate with pride in your accomplishment. We have created a glossary of terms that might not be familiar.

If you have questions about this course (or other questions on stewardship, finance, or generosity), I invite you to email Ken Sloane ([email protected]). Supporting local church leaders is the most important and rewarding part of our work at Discipleship Ministries, which is made possible by your church’s generous support of the World Service Fund.

CEU Accredited Course Offering

Discipleship Ministries eLearning offers continuing education units (CEU) upon successful course completion. Available to clergy and lay leadership of all denominations, you receive high-quality information that will enrich your faith life and ministry. This course is a CEU accredited course offering. Learn more about CEU offerings

CEUs: .5
Price: $25

Your Instructor

Rev. Ken Sloane
Rev. Ken Sloane

The Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity housed at Discipleship Ministries (GBOD) in Nashville, Tenn. He is a clergy member of the Greater New Jersey Conference, where he served 20+ years in local church ministry (including a successful new church start) and 5 years as the Director of Connectional Ministries. In 2006 he was appointed to serve as Director of Communications Ministry at United Methodist Communications, and traveled extensively across the denomination doing presentations on how to interpret connectional giving to our local churches. He moved into his Stewardship role on October 1, 2011. Ken has authored the courses "Disciples Living Generously," "Generous Church Leadership" and the new "Creating a Narrative Budget: The Stories Behind the Numbers" course. Ken is the author of the 2017-20 Local Church Guidelines for Stewardship (Cokesbury), a contributor to the 2017-20 Guidelines for Finance and the advance Lay Servant course, Connectional Living, Connectional Giving. Ken lives in Nashville with his wife Bridget; they have four grown children, some of whom may be living with them depending on when you ask.

Course Curriculum

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