UNBUDGETED CHURCH EXPENSES
BY BILL HALLSTEAD
Pastor Grimshank? May I speak with you?”
“Who are you? How did you get past my secretary?”
“My name is Ken Skwezdry. Your secretary had her head inside the copier muttering something about dinosaurs and Noah’s ark, so I just walked in. Do you have a few moments?”
“Well, if it’s important, I suppose. How may I help you?”
“I need to talk with you about some past due bills the church has. A number of your creditors seven to be exact have retained our firm to collect their delinquent accounts. I work with Skweezem, Bleedem, and
Grinch. We’d like to settle the matter amicably, without having to take your organization to court.”
“I see. Well, I’m afraid I can’t really do a lot about those past due bills. We simply don’t have the money to pay them. You see, we’ve had a lot of expenses we didn’t count on, and those unexpected expenditures
have left the treasury without even enough to pay my own salary in full.”
“Oh my, that’s too bad. What unexpected expenses are we talking about here, pastor?”
“Well, we had to buy a new boat for the Fisherson family. Their old one was smaller than they wanted.”
Mr. Skwezdry’s confusion was instantly evident. “Excuse me? The church bought this family a fishing boat?”
“Yes. It wasn’t in the church’s budget, but they felt they needed it. Then we had to pay for four or five mini-vacations at the lake for the Playwell family.”
“I’m sorry, pastor. I seem to be confused. You’re saying the church paid for the getaways?”
“Oh, no. That was for the Playwells. We financed a summer cottage for the Getaways.”
“You have a family named `Getaway’?
“Of course. We wouldn’t pay for a summer cottage for a family that wasn’t even part of our church! Oh, then we bought the Blossom family a third car. Their daughter got her license, you know, so the two they
had weren’t always enough.”
“You’re just not making any sense, pastor. Why is the church paying for these things? I came to talk about the church’s past due bills, not things the church has no business buying for its members.”
“But you asked why we can’t pay the bills, and I’m attempting to explain that. It’s the matter of these unexpected expenses.
The Fardroves planned a six week tour of the northern states and Canada, so we helped pay for that. We had to put a new roof on the Drench’s house, a third bath in the Upscale’s house, and a deck and barbecue grill on the Smokelove’s and…”
Whoa, whoa! Wait a minute! These are absolutely not church expenses at all. Why is the church buying things like that for people when you can’t even pay your bills?”
“Well, we weren’t really given a choice.”
“What do you mean, you weren’t given a choice? Do these people control the church board, and they can vote church funds for their own personal use? I think that’s patently illegal, if that’s the case. IRS Code
501 (c)(3) and all that.”
“Oh, no. Nothin Iike that,” the pastor protested. “It’s perfectly legal, I’m afraid. You see they don’t tale the money back out of the treasury. They just have these things they decide they really need, but they can’t afford them, so they take their tithe that belongs to God and that the church counts on to pay its bills, and they use that money of the church’s to pay for their own things.”
“So, I’m afraid that’s why I can’t offer you anything on the bills the church owes. My hands are tied, as it were.”
“As it were,” Skwezdry echoed. “As it is, my good man, I’m afraid we’ll see you in court.”
“As it is, and ever shall be, woes without end,” Pastor Grimshank intoned in his very best liturgical voice. “Good day, Mr. Skwezdry.
Oh, as you go by, would you jiggle the copier while my secretary holds the parts together? We really need to use it today.”
And so unfolds another day in the life of First Church of the Perpetual Quandry. Perhaps in the future we can explore who these people really are, those who are robbing God. I’m certain you’re surely not one of
them. Are you?
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, 2002, PAGE 14. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.