Procedures for Counting Church Offerings

Angel Plate: Copyright by Donna Thacker

When it comes to counting money the church has received, establish a procedure church members understand and trust. Some churches pass a collection plate for their offerings; others set it discreetly near an entrance. No matter which way your church does it, two or more people should always be involved with handling and counting church offerings.

Passing the Collection Plate

Two people pass a collection plate down each pew of the church so members can deposit offerings as the plate passes from one end to the other. The ushers will start at the front of the church and continue until the collection plate has passed by the last row of pews.

A large church with several sections of pews will use two people per section to collect the offerings. In this case, the pastor or treasurer should assign two people to count the offerings on a rotating basis.

Once the collection plate has been passed, both individuals should take the plate of money and lock it in the pastor's office, or some other designated secure spot until the service is over. The pastor or the church board choose who is in charge of the money.

Table Collection Plate

Some churches use a table collection plate so the offering remains more discreet. Those who wish to add an offering may do so, and those who can't afford or choose not to give don't feel embarrassed letting the plate pass by.

Two or more people should oversee the collection plate table. Keep envelopes and pens on the table in case someone wants to place their cash or check in an envelope. The overseers should not note who does or does not place money in the collection plate. Having them there will prevent incidents such as children playing with or removing change from the collection plate.

The Tally

After the service the designated counters will sit down together in the pastor's office or another spot where they will not be disturbed. Others who collected the offering in a large church may be present to watch the count, if desired. One person should count while the other watches, then the other person should do a recount.

Set up a journal to log the offerings, and keep pieces of paper to track the amounts. The journal log and the paper log should list the date, the amount from all checks, the amount of cash and a total. The journal and paper should match.

The counters should sign or initial the journal entry and the paper tally sheet. Then they should place the paper tally sheet, along with the offerings, in an envelope labeled "Church Offerings" and seal it. Both people should sign or initial the front of the envelope. The envelope should be locked in the pastor's desk drawer or given to the church treasurer. This procedure assures everyone that a system of checks and balances is in place and that the reported amounts are accurate.