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Financial Management for the Church

Financial Management for the Church

Financial Management for the Church, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., is an online offering in conjunction with Garrett-Evangelical’s Leading Vibrant Congregations: A Collaboration of Faith and Finance Grant

January 11 - March 19, 2021

Registration Fee: $150 for clergy participant (includes 3.5 CEUs and the ability to register a lay person from your congregation for free)
Registration Deadline: January 6, 2021

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The parables of Jesus make it clear that money should not be our master, but that we also must be capable of using it well. Often, this is a challenge for pastors and lay leaders who have never received formal training in financial management. Financial Management for the Church was designed to remedy this problem.

This 10-week online course supports pastors and their lay leaders who are tasked with overseeing their church's finances, but who may not have formal training in financial practices and planning. We will explore the planning process for the operating, capital expenditure, and cash budgets. We will discuss the long-term financial planning process. The course will look at the importance of capital structure and investment policies that are aligned to the organization’s strategic objectives. All of these topics will be built on the foundation of nonprofit accounting, nonprofit financial statements, and financial policies.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will understand the following:

  • How to read and understand nonprofit financial statements
  • How to prepare an operating, capital expenditure, and cash budget
  • The importance of long-term financial planning.
  • The importance of management controls
  • Risk management and insurance

Only 30 paid registration seats available so enroll soon! 

Course Topics

  • Financial Management

  • Long-term Financial Planning and Capital Budgeting

  • Risk Management

  • Operating Budget

  • Cash Budgets

  • Communication and Roles/Responsibilities

  • Financial Policies

  • The Audit Report

Course Requirements

This is an online course, meaning that all of it will be presented on your computer. On the Friday before your course begins, you will receive information for where to find the course website and how to access it. Don’t worry if this is your first time taking a class online! The instructor has extensive experience teaching online and can help you all the way along.

The course has ten sessions, one each week for ten weeks. Seven sessions will involve reading in the text and interacting with information and exercises on the course website. Three of the sessions will be live webinars. This will give you an opportunity to speak directly with the instructor, ask questions, and make certain you are understanding everything you are learning during the other weeks. The webinars will be recorded, so you can watch them later. 

Webinar Dates

The course includes three live webinars that take place on the following Monday evenings from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Central Time):

  • January 11, 2021
  • February 8, 2021
  • March 15, 2021

If you are unable to attend the live webinar, a link to the recorded webinar will be posted within 24 hours to the course’s online learning portal.


After you register, please purchase the book for this course, Church Finances for Missional Leaders: Best Practices for Faithful Stewardship (Nashville: Wesley's Foundery Books, 2019) by Bonnie Ives Marden. You can purchase the book from Cokesbury or Amazon.


As a part of our Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, we have committed to thoroughly assess each of our program offerings. When you register for the course, you are affirming your commitment to complete four brief assessments for this course:

  1. Pre-course assessment
  2. Post-course assessment
  3. Post-course assessment six months after the course
  4. Post-course assessment one year after the course.

The purpose of these assessments is to gauge your understanding of key course content prior to the course and directly following the course with the later post-course assessments determining if you are still using what you learned and what has been most helpful to you in your role. These assessments are essential to us and Lilly Endowment in determining the usefulness of this offering.

Course Instructors

Dr. Jim CroftDr. Jim Croft

Jim Croft serves as the academic director for nonprofit finance in the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University, and is a faculty member of the university’s School of Professional Studies. He teaches as well in the MBA Program at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Croft also acts as a management consultant for several nonprofit organizations.

From 1984 to 2015, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Chicago’s Field Museum. For several years, he served concurrently as the museum’s chief development officer, managing the annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, and corporate and foundation giving programs.

In 2016, he was appointed to the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) Nonprofit Advisory Committee (NAC). The NAC advises FASB staff on accounting standards that are used by nonprofit organizations in the United States.

Dr. Croft is also a board member of several organizations, including Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; the Illinois Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities; and Great Lakes Advisors, LLC.

He received a PhD from the University of Nebraska, where his doctoral research focused on nonprofit financial management. He also studied business administration and management at the University of Nebraska, Roosevelt University, and National Louis University.

Bonnie Ives MardenBonnie Ives Marden

Bonnie Marden is a stewardship practitioner, specializing in leadership empowerment and financial accountability. Author of Church Finances for Missional Leaders: Best Practices in Financial Stewardship (2019), she brings technical experience and cultural awareness to the spiritual and temporal aspects of church financial stewardship.

Bonnie has provided leadership to numerous capital campaigns, including Imagine No Malaria, and teaches donor cultivation (Cultivating the Craft of Asking) and conflict transformation (Conflict as a Means of Grace). She speaks and teaches nationally on our relationship with money. In 2018, she launched MYTE Ministries, where she offers her skills as a trainer, facilitator, and consultant/mentor in the areas of leadership, stewardship, conflict, and organizational development. She focuses in this work on congregations (UMC, UCC, Presbyterian, ELCA, and Baptist) and personal finance mentoring.

Bonnie has guest lectured on church administration, stewardship, and conflict transformation at Boston University’s School of Theology. She holds a double BA in economics and political science from Tufts University, and certificates in mediation and trauma from Eastern Mennonite and Lombard Mennonite Universities. She is a certified faculty member of the Creating A Culture of Renewal program.

Her work has been published by Leading Ideas at the Lewis Center of Wesley Seminary; the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s Giving Magazine; and the former Alban Institute’s periodical, Congregations.

Dr. Katy Scrogin

Katy Scrogin is a nonprofit practitioner and educator. Dedicated to teaching nonprofit leaders about the importance of financial literacy, she also conducts prospect research and works with development teams to craft fundraising appeals and communications.

Before moving into independent consulting, Dr. Scrogin taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also served as the vice president for programming at the Chicago Sunday Evening Club (CSEC). In addition to producing and contributing to daily and weekly podcasts at CSEC, she planned, constructed, and monitored the organization’s operating budget, and also prepared financial reports for management and the board of directors.

Dr. Scrogin holds a PhD in religion from Claremont Graduate University, a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a BA in German and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as a writer, editor, and translator, and holds an editing certificate from the University of Chicago.



How is the course organized, asynchronous or synchronous?
The course is completely asynchronous, so you can read the book, watch the course lecture videos, and submit your discussion papers at any time during the week, so long as the assignments are submitted according to the due date.  The course includes three synchronous live web discussions that we encourage you to attend live because it provides you with the opportunity to ask questions of the instructor and engage with other course participants through a different medium.  If you are unable to attend the webinars, they are recorded and you can watch them later. 

When will the web discussions take place in each course?
The web discussions will be on 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) on the following Mondays: September 14, 2020; October 12, 2020; and November 16, 2020. If you cannot attend the live web discussion, you can watch the recording later. The instructor, Dr. Jim Croft, is available to answer questions throughout the course so if you can't attend the live session you can feel free to email him at any time during the course. 

Approximately how much time will I need to spend each week on course reading, videos, and discussion assignments?
Based on the Fall 2018 participant experience of this course, participants spend approximately 2.5 to 3 hours per week on the course.

Is the cost of the book included in the course fee?
No. After you register, please purchase the book for this course, Church Finances for Missional Leaders by Bonnie Ives Marden. You can purchase the book from Cokesbury or Amazon.

Please visit the Connectional Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the full list of our frequently asked questions.

Cancellation Policies

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Course Cancellation Policy

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary reserves the right to cancel the course if a minimum participation level is not reached. If we cancel this offering, participants will be notified of the cancellation 7 business days before the offering’s start date and will receive a full refund.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Policy for Participant Cancellation

Participants can withdraw from the course in writing via e-mail to

Refunds will be provided according to this schedule:

  • Withdrawals received more than 30 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 100% refund.
  • Withdrawals received between 29 to 16 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 50% refund.

No refunds will be issued for withdrawals received 15 days or less before the course starts.


What Past Students Said

The modern church faces a complex issue pertaining to financial management: do more with less. This course helped me understand how to leverage long-term financial planning (along with other financial management skills) to more carefully marshal church resources around endeavors closely linked with the church's vision, mission, and goals. This kind of very intentional financial planning is more critical than ever for the church of today--and tomorrow!

- Rev. Scott Himel

Every pastor, old and new, can benefit from taking this class, especially with their lay financial staff! 

- Ms. Carolyn Donnelly

This course provided the opportunity for me and my financial leaders to consider our record keeping, reporting, internal controls and our long-term financial situation.

- Rev. Hope M. Chernich

PLEASE take this course for the sake of the mission of the church. You will not regret it.

- Rev. Kyungsu Park

It is important that church leaders are fully aware and understand non-profit financial process in order to participate effectively and efficiently in strategic planning.

- Ms. Ronnette Montague

Whether you're a new manager or a seasoned nonprofit executive or pastor, this course will benefit you and your organization. The material and instruction are practical, relevant and timely for all types of nonprofits.

- Rev. Jon Robinson