Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations

James L. Elrod Jr.

Jun/2021, 128 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640652873

How can growing churches develop a financial framework that will enhance their mission?

The declining trends in religious belief and practice in twenty-first century America are well documented, but they mask the vitality and growth experienced by many individual congregations. Unfortunately, leaders of these growing churches sometimes lack a firm grasp on what’s required for their church to maintain financial equilibrium. This is true for newly formed congregations as well as established churches.

This book, which does not assume readers’ familiarity with principles of accounting or finance, will help facilitate constructive conversations between clergy and lay leaders on money matters. By describing in everyday language some of the practical issues that promote (or erode) financial sustainability, this book will remove the mystery and frustration faith communities often experience when discussing their financial challenges.

What activities within the organization’s control promote long-term financial sustainability? The answers create a framework that is a prerequisite for meeting any church’s missional objectives over the long run.

Read an excerpt

JAMES L. ELROD JR.’s career in finance has spanned thirty-five-years, including significant time in the nonprofit sector. He has served on the boards of a variety of organizations, including Christ Church Greenwich and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He serves on the faculty at Yale Divinity School, teaching nonprofit finance. Prior books include Merging Health Care Institutions and Hospital Financing and Refinancing Under Prospective Payment (American Hospital Publishing). He lives in Riverside, Connecticut.

“The topics Jim Elrod addresses [in his book] are challenging, and the insights fresh and timely, . . . while his words are understandable and approachable. Financial sustainability is not easy or simple, but it need not be mysterious or overwhelming. This book would be a great group-read for congregational leaders and their pastors so that all can face their community’s financial futures together and unafraid.”
—Sarah Birmingham Drummond, Founding Dean, Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School
“For anyone who cares deeply about the mission and vitality of the Church and finds its financial challenges daunting, Jim Elrod’s book could not have arrived at a better time. Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations is immediately engaging, wise, practical, and hopeful. I found myself silently proclaiming, ‘Yes! Exactly!’ at each unfolding insight in every chapter.”
—Kerry Alys Robinson, Author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy, and A Spiritual Call to Service, Partner, Leadership Roundtable


  • Finance
  • fundraising
  • development
  • church business

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