Business Expenses for Ministers • Setting Vision and Mission • Yoda Was Right: Management Roundup
The latest tips, trends, ideas, and stats to help church leaders manage well.
Business Expenses for Ministers • Setting Vision and Mission • Yoda Was Right: Management Roundup

1. Accounting for the minister’s business expenses. “An accountable business expense reimbursement arrangement is the most desirable way for a church to handle a minister’s business expenses. Church reimbursements are not reported as taxable income to the minister, and there are no unreimbursed expenses of the minister to deduct. The employee, in effect, accounts to the church rather than to the IRS. To be accountable, a church’s reimbursement arrangement must include all four of the following rules: (1) Business connection. (2) Adequate accounting. (3) Returned excess reimbursements. (4) Reimbursements not made out of salary reductions” (Excerpted from Essential Guide to Law and Tax for New Ministers, by Richard R. Hammar, ChurchLawAndTaxStore.com).

2. The difference between vision and mission matters. “A vision statement is a succinct, one-sentence statement encompassing all you want to achieve as an organization. A mission statement, on the other hand, is longer and specifies the steps your organization is willing to take to achieve the overall vision. After a church creates a vision statement, it then creates steps within its ministries to achieve the vision. This is achieved through its mission statement. All ministries should possess two missions: Internal mission: Connection must be at the center of every group’s purpose. External mission: In addition to getting together to meet each other’s needs for community, the group also needs to establish a mission outside itself” (“Create Your Church’s Vision Statement,” by Michelle S. Lazurek, GiftedForLeadership.com).

3. To get candid feedback, ask for it. “Getting honest, useful feedback is the fastest route to better performance. But people are sometimes too nice to share the full picture or too intimidated to be fully truthful. You need to be clear that you want honest feedback. If you say, ‘Don't be nice, be helpful,’ people will be less likely to hold back. Instead of asking what you did wrong, ask what you can do better going forward. Try not to judge any feedback you receive, whether it’s positive or negative. Just thank people for being honest with you and let them know that you find their observations and opinions helpful” (“How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You” by Peter Bregman, hbr.org).

4. Yoda was right about trying. “Often we say, ‘I'll try,’ because that gives us an out. Our egos aren’t on the line. Our identities aren’t on the line. After all, we're just ‘trying.’ Once you say, ‘I will,’ your perspective changes. What previously seemed insurmountable is no longer a matter of luck or chance but of time and effort and persistence. When what you want to do really matters, don't say, ‘I'll try.’ Say, ‘I will,’ and then do everything possible to keep that promise to yourself (“10 Instinctive Decisions You Will Regret Forever,” by Jeff Haden, Entrepreneur.com).

5. Notable quote. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill (via Lolly Daskal, Inc.com).

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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