Servants' News

July/Aug 2001

Analysis of Annual Audit of the United Church of God, an International Association

The Sept/Oct 2001 edition of the United News includes the CPA’s annual audit report. Some interesting information can be gleaned from the report.

Are Members Responsible For Church Spending?

Many church organizations teach that once a member “gives money to God”, he or she is no longer responsible for how it is used. However, this writer knows of no scripture that says that. But some scriptures say the opposite:

Mark 7:9–13 shows that first century denomination leaders allowed people to dedicate property to God in order to avoid caring for their parents. But Jesus taught the people that they were responsible for following God’s commandments, not the human leaders.

In 1 Corinthians 9:6–12, Paul states that giving money to Barnabas and him would be better than giving it to other teachers, but he does not say all believers must give only to him.

2 Corinthians 8:19–21 states that Paul agreed with the Corinthian congregation in selecting a man to travel with a large offering to make sure it was spent correctly: “providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men”.

Most of the requests for money in the New Testament are for a specific purpose—brethren could choose to give or not to give. There is no example of collecting money “for future expenses” and no example of spending money from a previously collected fund.

The writer of this article attends the UCG-IA, but asked to remain unnamed so that his relatives attending would not be persecuted or asked to leave. His hope is that the UCG-IA leaders will be more honest with their members about finances.

I, Norman Edwards, have not verified these figures, but did write to the UCG-IA over six weeks before publication, asking them to submit any kind of corrections or clarification. I received no communication from the UCG-IA.

If anyone is wondering about finances associated with Servants’ News, a statement is available for the asking, and is automatically sent to those who give over $10 in one year. — NSE

The total budget for the year ending June 30, 2001 was $16,183,488.

Of this amount, ministers’ salaries were $5,053,458.

In addition, ministers’ Feast bonus1 was $523,695.

In addition was $429,999 for Public Proclamation. Listed under salaries, we have to assume this went to the ministry as home office salaries were under their own separate category.

This means the total wages paid the ministry was $6,007,152.

In the July 2001 issue of the United News Mr. Pinelli said the church employs 98 ministers.

Dividing total wages by 98 means the average minister wage was $61,297.

This $61,297 compares with the US average household income in 1998 of $38,8852.

The average minister’s wage of $61,297 is 157.6% of $38,885.

In addition to ministers’ salaries the auditors listed insurance and health care. This was $1,134,114 for all employees. How much of this went for ministers and how much for office employees? The auditors did not say. We can make a good estimate, however, by adding 25 home office employees to the 98 ministers. (Although 25 seems too many based on the writer’s experience as chief operations officer of a large mortgage banking company, let’s err on the high side to be fair.) $1,134,114 divided by 98 ministers and 25 employees computes to a cost per person of $9,2203. Thus it appears each minister’s share of insurance and health care costs were: $9,220.

Travel, mileage, meals and lodging was shown as $1,042,977 which per minister was a figure of: $10,642.

Thus adding together salaries, insurance, health care, and travel, a total yearly cost per employed minister seems to be: $81,1594.

The previous audit had listed $7,888,045, which is $52,586 per month, for all salaries for the 15 months which ended June 30, 2000. That compares with the 2001 auditors’ figure of 12 months all salaries of $7,395,640, which is $61,630 per month. Thus there was a yearly increase in the salary category of 11.7%.

This 11.7% increase can be compared to the inflation increase for year 2000 of 3.5%.

For those who like overall percentages, the following may be of interest:

As a percentage of budget: all salaries, insurance, benefits, and travel was: 59.1%.

As a percentage of budget: all radio and print media was: 7.1%.


For the rest of expenditures refer to the United News Sept/Oct 2001.


1. Most members are not aware of the ministry’s annual 10% Feast bonus. There it is in the audit report. Moreover the Feast bonus has been known to this writer since 1974 when he first did home mortgages for some WCG ministers.

2. Source: The latest US Statistical Abstract published year 2000.

3. At $9,220 per year, $768 per month, this health and insurance plan costs nearly twice as much as the average one. Why?

4. How many members know their minister’s salary and perks? Do any? Shouldn’t they? Does it not seem proper that salaries and perks would be fully disclosed to the members who pay them? Why should this attempt to figure them out be needed in a church that claims itself to be a True Church. Should this be showing members how to wisely spend money? Should it not be setting the example of the Christian principles of truth and not evasion, openness and not concealment, light and not darkness?

[name withheld]

Back to front page   July/Aug 2001 Index
Latest Issue   Previous Issues    Literature List   About Servants’ News    Contact   Help

Permission is granted to reproduce any article in its entirety