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The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2012
Highlights and notable reader comments from the most-viewed articles this year

The church office is a busy place, as shown in this year's ten most popular articles on ManagingYourChurch.com. These ten alone demonstrate that many church leaders are working hard to count contributions, show employees their appreciation, conduct board meetings, share space, give to the poor, engage social media, and comply with tax law, among many other tasks.

Read through the list below to see if you missed any of these tips for day-to-day work at church and legal and tax updates that affect the church. Feel free to leave comments on any of them.

10. Part 1: When Raises Aren't Possible for Church Staff by Matt Branaugh (January 12, 2012)

When a church lacks funds to give raises, it can find other ways to reward and honor employees. Matt Branaugh interviewed Liz Ryan, who has decades of experience in human resources, to see what churches in this position can do. This article is also helpful for churches that can give raises and are looking for ways to recognize employee contributions.

Notable reader comment: "Our church has just implemented a Service Award policy. Along with the recognition of 5, 10, 15, etc years of service, there is a monetary award as well. And interestingly, it is based solely on years served." - Ray

9. Properly Documenting Donors' Contributions (August 16, 2012)

An excerpt from Church Finance Today describing a case where the IRS informed a couple that they weren't able to claim a deduction of thousands of dollars in contributions to a church. The reason, the IRS said, was that a statement was missing in the church's letter acknowledging the contributions.

Notable reader comment: None.

8. The 10 Commandments of Church Management by Frank Sommerville and Elaine Sommerville (October 25, 2012)

Key best practices every church should follow to help ensure they are following tax rules and are legally sound.

Notable reader comment: "Under the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) it remains the intellectual property of the minister. Your denomination's governing body probably has rules addressing that same thing too." – Deb27

7. Before You Share Your Space by Richard R. Hammar (January 31, 2012)

Churches often allow outside groups to use its space and may wonder how to protect against property damage, manage the potential tax implications of charging rent for the use of church space, and ensure that outsiders are safe in the event of an emergency. Richard Hammar lists five ways to accomplish this.

Notable reader comment: "We have a facility use policy in place and require renters to sign a rental agreement, including a liability waiver." -Maureen Small

6. When Benevolence Ministry Becomes Risky by Michelle Dowell (April 23, 2012)

How to protect property, funds, and employees when ministering to the poor.

Notable reader comment: "Unfortunately criminals have learned that the church is an easy target, too trusting, and lacking in even the most basic security measures. They know churches are under-staffed and easy targets for theft and violence. To top it off, many churches are set back from the street in secluded locations, so their chances of being seen entering or leaving the scene of the crime are slim. Yes we are Christians, but that doesn't mean we should be naive or ignorant about the world we live in and risk the safety of staff and clergy." – Annie

5. 8 Ways Churches Are Using Pinterest by Margaret Feinberg (June 4, 2012)

Pinterest has become one of the most popular social media websites, and your church can use it to help minister to people.

Notable reader comment: "Another idea for using Pinterest to bring people into your church is to pin images that depict your church culture." - Lauren Hunter

4. IRS Announces 2013 Mileage Rates by Paul Pastor (November 26, 2012)

If staff members at your church drive a personal vehicle for church-related business, you'll want to know that the reimbursement rate for business mileage for 2013 increased 1 cent over 2012.

Notable reader comment: "Interesting that the amount for volunteers remains 14 cents, only 1/4th of what business mileage is. That's beyond ridiculous! Somewhat of a kick in the teeth, isn't it." –Marj

3. The Top 7 Paid Positions at Churches by Marian Liautaud (February 7, 2012)

Results from Christianity Today's biannual survey of 4,600 churches nationwide, which are featured in the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, reveal the top 7 paid positions based on gender.

Notable reader comment: "In the church, pay is primarily driven by church income. Studies like this one have consistently shown length of time to have very little impact on compensation." - Mark Simmons

2. 3 Key Changes for Churches in Latest Robert's Rules by Richard R. Hammar (September 10, 2012)

The new and revised 11th edition of Robert's Rules of Order released in late 2011, and churches that use it will want to know the three key changes.

Notable reader comment: "Great information site if you work with churches and also their payroll and tax." - Linda

1. 10 Tips for Counting Cash by Marian Liautaud (May 10, 2012)

Collecting money and bringing it to the bank are only one part of counting cash—record keeping and effective internal controls are also essential to this process.

Notable reader comment: "I'm a big advocate of insuring the integrity of the church and all those involved in the handling of money." - Mark Simmons

Thanks for visiting our blog this year and contributing to the conversation about church management by commenting on our posts. If you had a favorite article from 2012 that wasn't on this list, share it in the comment section below.

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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