Financial management in some Botswana Pentecostal Churches
Letamora, Ernest Jimmy
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Financial matters nowadays play an important role in Pentecostal churches in Botswana. Gradually more churches are caught up in financial disgraces of incomparable proportions. The aim of this study, therefore, was to ascertain how Pentecostal churches in Botswana managed their finances. A qualitative method of data collection was used, to critically evaluate Pentecostal beliefs regarding finances, best accounting/ financial reporting standards used by churches in order to assist in restoring confidence in both Government and the public about financial management. An interview guide was used as a data collection instrument in two folds for Pastors/ leaders and for ordinary church members. The data collected through interviews was also validated by participating in selected services to get first-hand information on finance-based teachings and observed how tithes and offerings were collected and accounted for in the respondent churches. The study was conducted in Gaborone mainly because most of the churches’ headquarters are in the Greater Gaborone Area. Good financial management is vital for Pentecostal churches as it leads to churches meeting their set goals and objectives. It is important to note that financial mismanagement has led to church split hence mushrooming of churches (Togarasei (2008:80-81). The findings indicate that proper knowledge of honouring the Word of God through tithes and offerings enables the church to implicitly contribute to the economic development of the country. The study further established that funds were administered in an organised manner, correctly accounted for and Pastors excluded from access to the church funds for they were not cheque signatories. Lastly, the findings show that most of the respondents comply with the requirements of the Societies Act Cap 18:01 and Societies Regulations, 2017 in terms of preparation of annual Financial Statements and submission of annual returns to the Botswana Government. The study findings will be crucial in formulating and reviewing policies in order to restore confidence in the religious community of this nation. Additionally, the research findings will serve as a good reference material for theology scholars. It was recommended from the study findings that Pentecostal churches’ leadership communicate effectively and efficiently financial matters in a simplified language to the general membership.