Regarding financial recommendations, Mr. Wooten
says tithes and offerings are best collected locally by each congregation. Acknowledging that this is a drastic change from past practices, he said
that tithes and offerings should be accepted and deposited into a local
bank account. Then a board or committee will decide how any locally spent
money is to be used and the remainder sent to the home office of the church.
He cautioned that "the pastor should never
handle church funds, zilch, zero. Let someone else do it." He stressed
that this is so ministers will always be considered to be above reproach
in financial matters. The minister's name should not even be on the local
When lay members, local elders and deacons are
involved in the decision-making processes of local services and activities,
"it's amazing what they can do when you let them," he said.
Local control of funds is "the most efficient
and practical way of doing it," he said. "It is putting trust
in the local pastor, the local leadership and the entire congregation. It
is trusting that they are converted and motivated by God's Holy Spirit.
Safeguards, checks and balances, can be put in place to protect everyone."
Members will feel more involved in the work of
God, he said. "It will empower and motivate the congregation to do
more of the work locally" and "will eliminate the need for time-consuming,
energy-consuming local fund-raising projects, such as selling candy or fruit."
The new system, he believes, is putting faith in
God "that He will motivate His people to be faithful in supporting
a home office so that a national and international work" can eventually
be carried out.
Ministers will be paid from the home office, however,
not directly from local funds. This is "so that standardization and
fairness can be achieved for all ministers,"
The "Financial Recommendations" handout
received by delegates states that "to help get the home office up and
going, we recommend that local congregations begin sending tithes and offerings
to the home office as soon as possible. They would send the surplus, after
all local church expenses have been deducted."
The only exception noted was that "we recommend
that the entire Pentecost offering [on June 4] from all congregations be
sent to the home office to give it a kick start."