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Background of the study

Some history records show that in the early ancient days, recording of financial events was initiated for the purpose of faith based activities in the ancient Greece (Mesopotamia); financial records have been found on clays in Mesopotamia, which show lists of expenditures, and goods received and traded around temples (Biobele, 2008). The development of accounting, along with that of money and numbers, may be related to the taxation and trading activities of temples. During the first millennium BC, there is also evidence for an early form of accounting in the Old Testament of Bible for people of Israel; as the Book of Exodus in the Bible describes Moses engaging Ithamar to account for the materials that had been contributed towards the building of the tabernacle. Around 40 AC, the record on the New Testament also shows that in the early church, there was job segregation on the sacred work versus the secular work; where the apostles appointed committee comprises 7 members to manage the giving and other properties from the church members (Acts 6:3).

The medieval period Church of Scotland had been using financial management decision for the purpose of different investment activities. It is evident that accounting for asset and income was mobilized in order to achieve social aims (Catriona& et al 2010). Practice of working with and using accounting for financial management decision in the faith based in general and in Christian churches in particular is not the recent development. But the practice is seen in either of the following two ways: the first is that churches rely on a great deal of volunteer support, and as a result may not have the professional oversight to adequately monitor the resources of the organization (Thomas & et al, 2017). The second reason is the ignorance of churches to the accounting and financial management with the reason of the tension between the perceived secular orientation of finance and accounting and the sacred activities of churches. Accounting systems, in this context, for churches, are not part of the sacred agenda and should not interfere with the more important spiritual endeavors of the Church (NiklasKreander& et al, 2004). The sacred and secular divide, separates the legitimate part of the church from the profane support activities. Accounting is seen as a support activity, and is thus profane. It is regarded as irrelevant to the life of the organization and only tolerated to the extent that it supports the sacred (NiklasKreander& et al, 2004).

Religious organizational members are increasingly calling upon their churches most especially, the governing body of the church for stricter accountability and transparency. Financing the activities and operations of the religious organizations and churches is serious setback. The organizational activities together with the limited financial resources results in paying particular attention to financial management. With intermittent media reports of financial irregularities in some religious organizations, there is an increasing call for financial accountability Church members want to know, and have a right to know, how and where church funds are expended. Not only is the accountability and financial reporting essential but assistance is needed in all aspects of financial management. Establishing prudent Church financial management systems will provide the financial transparency and accountability necessary to solve these difficulties (Wayne, 1989).

In recent times there have been several cases of embezzlement which borders on the use of funds and other resources of the church. The issue of financial mismanagement is gradually becoming a major problem area in the church’ s management system as it is often the case where the church leaders are day in and day out being accused of using the church’s funds for their own benefit. Thus, while some account clerks are prudently managing their churches finances above reproach others do the opposite. Hence, it is important to examine the procedures put in place by New Life Gospel Church in the management of her finances. This will enable one ascertain perhaps the challenges, if any, that these churches are facing hence their inability to manage their finances above reproach.

1.2    Statement of the problem

Many studies have been undertaken all over the world aimed at understanding the unique management systems of the church (Leach, 1960; Laughlin, 1988; Harris 1990; Booth, 2019; Gruber , 2004; Agyei&Kusi, 2016; Shaibu, 2017). Most of these studies have however focused on discrete aspects of the financial management scope such as accounting and communication, internal controls, investment policy, among others instead of considering the whole system, hence failed to bring in-depth understanding to how the entire financial system operates. That is, evaluating a single financial management component is not enough to give a true reflection of the efficiency and effectiveness of the financial management practices of an entity. The number of studies carried out to enable the understanding of the financial management in churches, especially in Nigeria, is inadequate compared with the exponential growth the church is experiencing, and the perception of increasing financial mismanagement and malpractices associated with them (Agyei&Kusi, 2016; Ahortor , 2009; Shaibu, 2017; Ahiabor&Mensah, 2017; White &Acheampong, 2017).

Justification for the lack of such studies over the years is the difficulty in accessing available and accurate data. The few studies done as stated above also focus mainly on the orthodox churches (especially the Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist and Presbyterian churches). The findings of some studies identified inadequate financial management practices, poor stewardship, lack of internal control systems and generally low interest or investment in financial literacy in the respective churches (Leach, 1960; Laughlin, 1988; Harris 1990; Booth, 2019; Agyei&Kusi, 2016; Shaibu, 2017).

1.3    Objective of the study

The major aim of the study is to examine the the life and patterns of church finance and administration. Other specific objectives of the study are;

  1. To examine the cash management system of New Life Gospel church.
  2. To examine the impact of financial management on church growth and survival.
  3. To determine the investment management system in church administration in Nigeria.

1.4    Research Question

  1. How is the cash management system of New Life Gospel church?
  2. What is the impact of financial management on church growth and survival?
  3. What is the investment management system in church administration in Nigeria?

1.5    Research Hypothesis

  1. There is no significant different of the cash management system of New Life Gospel church
  2. There is no significant impact of financial management on church growth and survival
  3. There is no significant different of investment management system in church administration in Nigeria

1.6    Significance of the study

The study would be of immense importance to church management in Nigeria as it would enhance church growth, expansion and development by examining the New Life Gospel church principles of financial management and administration. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further study on the subject matter.

1.7    Scope of the study

The study is on the life and patterns of church finance and administration, a case study of New Life Gospel Church Zone 6, Osun State.

1.8    Limitation of the study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Definition of Terms

Finance: A body of principles and theories dealing with raising, investing, managing and employing funds by individuals and organizations in the private and public sectors. Financial managers can take three main decisions; finance, investing and dividend decisions.

Funds: This is regarded as cash or its equivalent, example cheques, drafts, money orders, etc. The term may be used to include securities which have a ready market and can be quickly liquated.

Financial Management: This means planning, organizing, directing and controlling the financial activities such as procurement and utilization of funds of the enterprise. It means applying general management principles to financial resources of the enterprise.

Church administration: Church administration is spiritual service to the Body of Christ which involves the wise stewardship of God’s resources for the accomplishment of the work of ministry. Church administration or management has to do with the organization of church ministry, and with the operations that govern that organization. Administration is not an end in itself, but rather it is a means for serving people effectively, while making efficient use of resources in a manner that glorifies God.

Church: Church is commonly defined as a building used for public worship. However, many people refer to a church as an organization. Examples are the Catholic Church, the Church of Christ, and the Southern Baptist Church amongst many others.

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