It is a cast-iron fact that 108% of all people who come forward for ordination are former youth-workers. A further 79% are teachers with the residue being called by God from the partners of existing ordained people. It's a fact I tell you.
One or two, and not many more, once did the filthy and grubby thing of working in business of some sort or another, or worse still, dedicated years of life to turning a profit.
Now the thing about being a Vicar in particular is, whether you like it or not, is that you become a business manager. You are responsible in larger part for the paying of bills, the raising of that wonga, the chasing of the mammon, the balancing of the books and the general legal and financial well-being of a small and wonderful conglomerate of lovely donors we call Christians.
I sat in theological college with some of these lovely former Youth Lurkers and Teacher-types as we were gifted the insights of entire minutes of business-style education for when we are Vicars. The psychology of why you must never go near a human female of child-bearing age without a chaperone or eight - hours of that was crammed into us. Business focussed advice? Blink and thou shalt miss it, my friend. One of my esteemed class mates, shuddering at the prospect of going near this filthy lucre, and simply stated that he would 'leave that sort of things to others'. If you want a target for a simple fraud, I'll pass you his address. Maybe he needs a Treasurer from the Dark Side.
The thing is, so few priests have had cause to handle money, consider financial strategy, how to counter problems or avoid them in the first place, would know how to induct a new Parish Treasurer themselves, let alone the pre-payment and accruals systems or the basics of fund management. Yet these things form part of our core duties after Level III God Bothering.
In business, a poor business manager would become the cause of his/her business's failure and eventual collapse. If a priest is lucky, he/she may have a gifted Treasurer who can hide all this inconvenient administration work away so that Reverend Cloud-Nine doesn't have to regard it with naive eyes. Not all Vicars are that fortunate, and some Vicars are - this very day - being defrauded. Yes, dear readers, it happens and has happened to friends of mine.
I say to Theological Colleges this: train priests not just in the art of pastoral self-protection, but of business self-preservation. A church that grows is a church that finds the resources to grow. A church that discovers the resources to grow has normally come about much of them by acute stewardship and a businesslike approach to raising those funds. Shrinking churches do often do so in the hazy reverie that God will provide.
As my mother says: "God will provide, but expects you to do the hustling".
Here endeth the Lesson.
PS, I am not for a second saying that teachers and YoofUrkers can't manage accounts - it is simply a matter of direct exposure in former lives and the experiences and insights they bring