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Survey: 1 in 10 Protestant Churches Experience Embezzlement

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Man prayingby Bob Smietana, Christianity Today

Churches and other faith groups collect tens of billions of dollars in donations each year. But not all of it ends up where it’s supposed to.

About 1 in 10 Protestant churches has had someone embezzle funds, according to a new survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors from LifeWay Research.

That figure isn’t surprising, said LifeWay executive director Scott McConnell. Most churches rely on volunteers to handle their finances, he said.

Those volunteers are usually honest. But churches often lack systems to catch those who aren’t. As a result, he said, money that could have been used for ministry goes missing.

“Churches run on trust—but they also know people are imperfect and can be tempted,” said McConnell. “That’s why safeguarding a church’s finances is an important part of ministry.”

Overall, 9 percent of pastors say that their church has had funds embezzled, while 91 percent say they are not aware of any embezzlement.

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© 2017 Christianity Today

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