Louis Weeks, retired president of Union Theological Seminary, answers the question should church leaders, lay and clergy, know what people give? His emphatic answer if YES!
“Only the church treasurer should know the giving of members here.”
“Our giving is one the best indications of our spiritual health. Of course the Session and the pastor should know what we give.”
These opposing claims came from two different leaders of a Presbyterian congregation in Alabama during a recent weekend retreat. As you might imagine, we had a good discussion about questions like these: Who should know what people give? Should the pastor know? Should lay leaders?
Ask in most churches, “Does the pastor know what you give?” and you will receive a double-take of horror and some response that amounts to “Heavens, no.” Most congregational cultures now severely restrict the knowledge of receipts. Many retain the same “Offering Counters” for years.
Let me state baldly here what I put in more measured terms in my recent book, “All For God’s Glory: Redeeming Church Scutwork” (Alban): Pastors and lay leaders should know what people in the congregation give.
You will want to read the rest of his post, but his conclusion is timeless: “This topic [is] complex. But I find that the proverb, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ has a corollary: ‘No knowledge is even worse.'”