Evaluating the financial management practices in the sustainability of Pentecostal-Charismatic churches
Faith-based organisations have played a key role in South Africa in supporting education, health facilities, shelter homes and other amenities, and their sustainability is therefore significant. Pentecostal-charismatic churches, classified as faith-based organisations, are thus active participants in the socio-economic development of South Africa. Recently in South Africa however, the financial activities of Pentecostal-charismatic churches have been under investigation by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. The commission aimed to investigate the commercialisation and abuse of people’s religious beliefs (Shange, 2016). The main aim of this study is to explore and evaluate the financial management practices of Pentecostal-charismatic churches and how such practices affect their sustainability. An interview schedule was developed from extant literature and completed during face-to-face semi-structured interviews with three Pentecostal-charismatic churches in the Mangaung district of Bloemfontein. The questions were focused on the financial management practices of the churches. It was found that there is a lack of clear governance structures and that financial record keeping was done by volunteers instead of by competent members of the congregations. Furthermore, it was found that the churches often have budget deficits, resulting in the pastor having to fund the deficit from his personal finances. In order to encourage sustainability within these three Pentecostal-charismatic churches, a number of recommendations were made, including that a proper governance structure be implemented, as well as policies and procedures to standardise financial practices.