Is Your Church Paying Fair Salaries? 
Attracting and keeping quality employees while practicing good stewardship.
Is Your Church Paying Fair Salaries?

One of the most common questions we get when helping churches manage their employee search relates to compensation. While I wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer for this question, the truth is that every church is unique and needs to answer this question for itself.

When it comes to salaries, I believe a church compensation structure should strive for three things:

  • Model generosity. Generous churches are led by generous pastors. Pastors set the tone for the church’s culture of generosity, which means having the ability to generously give. A salary that does not enable someone to tithe, support missionaries, give to those in need, or make other one-time gifts will negatively impact your church’s culture of generosity.
  • Minimize stress. Ministry can be both incredibly fulfilling and incredibly stressful. Constantly worrying about making the rent payment or deciding between buying groceries or a coat for a daughter adds a level of stress that ultimately hurts a minister’s ability to truly serve a church.
    The Newest Technology Isn’t Always the Best Technology 
    Before your next tech purchase, use these three tips.
    The Newest Technology Isn’t Always the Best Technology

    Years ago, my firm researched the current tech directions and strategies in play at the time and decided to buy what looked like a very promising technology platform. It meant our computer would cost a bit more than most, but the benefits looked promising.

    The newer technology built into that very expensive computer, though, was never adopted by software companies.

    The lesson we learned is helpful to churches: New and better technology, unless already being widely adopted, may never pay off. We didn’t feel terrible about having bought that system since it performed so well, but we spent a lot more than we needed to and ended up with only a marginal performance improvement that probably wasn’t worth the extra money spent.

    In technology, there’s a term known as “bleeding edge,” which describes the newest and latest innovations that some individuals and organizations ...

    Shining a Light on How Churches Spend Money 
    New survey results provide insights on budget trends and decisions nationwide.
    Shining a Light on How Churches Spend Money

    Churches allocate nearly half of their budgets to staff compensation, according to the recently completed 2019 Church Budget Priorities Study from Church Law & Tax.

    The finding closely mirrors findings from its predecessor in 2014—but compared to surveys conducted in 1999 and 2009, personnel expenses as a portion of church budgets have been higher in recent years (40 percent in 1999; 38 percent in 2009).

    While some may question spending so much on staffing, the new study’s How Churches Spend Their Money Executive Report offers this explanation:

    Some may wonder why a church allocates close to half of its budget to staff salaries and not to areas related to ministry. It should be remembered, however, that ministries often involve staff members overseeing those ministries. And while it is important to carefully monitor allocations and staff wages, it needs to be understood that ...
    Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever 
    Churches can no longer fly under the radar, explains attorney Erika Cole.
    Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever

    Attorney Erika Cole (pictured above) developed the Church Compliance Conference in 2007 to serve churches and pastors who face legal and tax concerns.Editor Matthew Branaugh recently talked to Cole, who serves as an editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax, about legal struggles pastors are currently facing and how this year’s conference is designed to address those issues.

    What separates your event from the many other conferences hosted year-round across the country?

    It is an event designed to equip and inspire pastors, executive pastors, church planting organizations, and other church leaders with essential information necessary to operate in compliance with the law.

    To my knowledge, I am the only attorney in a major law firm whose practice is exclusively focused on representing churches. My experience has been that churches want to do the right thing, but with ever-changing laws, ...

    Abuse and Embezzlement—Why Churches Continue to Struggle with Both 
    XPastor.org Founder David Fletcher reflects on the sobering trends his research revealed.
    Abuse and Embezzlement—Why Churches Continue to Struggle with Both

    The fact that sexual abuse, embezzlement, and incidents of gun violence are occurring within congregations is addressed in Predators in the Church , an upcoming book by David Fletcher, who has served in church ministry for more than 35 years and runs XPastor.org, a website devoted to helping executive pastors navigate their work. Fletcher also is hosting an online workshopthis fall addressing these topics. (Note: Church Law & Tax is a media sponsor.)

    Fletcher recently talked with me about what he’s learned while researching and writing his new book. He also will host a free webinar featuring me on September 4 to further discuss abuse prevention—register here.

    Why write this book now? Churches have been wrestling with the issues of abuse, embezzlement, and gun violence incidents for a very long time.

    Twenty years ago, there was not a need for such a book. Today, the need is ...

    Gas Tax Increases and Church Budgets 
    As more states reform and increase fuel taxes, the costs for reimbursing travel may go up.
    Gas Tax Increases and Church Budgets

    The News

    From Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP):

    Illinois now enjoys the distinction of being the 31st state to raise or reform its gas tax this decade, and the fourth state to do so this year, under a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. While state tax policy can be a contentious topic, there has been a remarkable level of agreement on the gasoline tax. . . . And a growing group of states has decided not just to fix past problems, but to plan for the future as well. Eight states have abandoned fixed-rate gas taxes (flat cent-per-gallon taxes) since 2013 in favor of variable-rate gas tax structures that will allow them to raise sustainable gas tax revenues for the long haul. In total, 22 states (home to 59 percent of the U.S. population) now levy variable-rate gas taxes under which the tax rate tends to rise over time.

    ITEP created a helpful chart of states that have ...

    New Scam: Emails Target Worshipers 
    Leaders should warn congregants about this phony “contribution” scam.
    New Scam: Emails Target Worshipers

    Scammers are now targeting worshipers in a gift card scam, warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    Posing as a pastor or other church leaders (through an email that looks familiar and legitimate), these scammers ask worshipers for gift-card contributions to a good cause. The FTC explains:

    The imposter asks you to buy a popular gift card—frequently, iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon—and then asks for the gift card number and PIN on the back of the card. Those numbers let the scammer immediately get the money you loaded onto the card. And once that’s done, the scammer and your money are gone, usually without a trace.

    Encourage congregants to closely evaluate emails that appear to come from a church leader by carefully looking for some typical warning signs. “For example, the email address isn’t the one normally used by the church, and the service provider is different, ...

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    Increase Giving at Church

    Increase Giving at Church Member access only

    Develop practical and digital strategies to cultivate a culture of giving.
    Best Practices for Technology Usage

    Best Practices for Technology Usage Member access only

    Establish policies and best practices to govern the use of technology for church staff.