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Four Questions to Answer Before Taking on Debt

Should churches go into debt? This question often elicits passionate responses from people at various points on the yes/no spectrum. . . . If your church does opt for debt, you’re making a weighty decision. Here are four questions to help you assess whether it is right ...

Address Financial Challenges with "3 Rs" and "4 Ws"

Responding to financial challenges can feel overwhelming, but consider breaking the problem down using the 3-R approach. The first step is to Reflect upon what has occurred. What is the actual data telling you about what happened? The second step is to Review reasons or circumstances ...

Hey, Fletch: What Should I Look for in an Online Giving Platform?
Four values every church should consider before making a choice.
Hey, Fletch: What Should I Look for in an Online Giving Platform?
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In this regular column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

Provide a Notice to Donors
Now is a good time to give contributors this important filing information.
Provide a Notice to Donors
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Donors should be advised in the church bulletin or newsletter, on the church website, or in a letter from the church, not to file their federal income tax return before they receive their contribution summary from the church. Donors may not be able to deduct individual contributions ...

5 Numbers to Watch this Fall
5 Numbers to Watch this Fall
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September through November has always been a season of growth at the church I serve. Summer is over and temperatures start dropping, which means people are spending less time on vacation or at the lake and more time showing up to church. The kids have gone back to school, and ...

Hey, Fletch: Would We Save Money by Outsourcing Our Church’s Cleaning?
The cost may seem high, but the in-house expenses may surprise you.
Hey, Fletch: Would We Save Money by Outsourcing Our Church’s Cleaning?
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In this regular column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

The Outsourcing Option
Why your church might want to let an outside pro handle the books.
The Outsourcing Option
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When Steve Dawson first started working with churches more than two decades ago, much of the accounting work was still being done by hand.

Churches were just starting to use computers for spreadsheets and bookkeeping software. Not everyone was convinced that was a good idea, ...

When Clothing and Household Items Are Donated
Churches may want to tell taxpayers that generosity is its own reward.
When Clothing and Household Items Are Donated
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Shoes and pants. Toasters and blenders and recliners. Donors want to drop them off at your church’s thrift store or donation center. They will often want a deduction for such noncash donations of personal property. What do you tell them?

First, you can’t tell them ...

What You Need to Know About Compensation Surveys
Used correctly, good surveys are helpful tools for setting fair and reasonable compensation.
What You Need to Know About Compensation Surveys
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In the July/August 2018 edition of Church Law & Tax Report, Bob Cartwright, a seasoned compensation and human resources consultant, gives steps any church can use to create fair and consistent compensation packages. The following excerpt from Cartwright’s article explores ...

3 Audiences for Church Financial Reports to Consider
The people you need to keep in the know when creating financial statements.
3 Audiences for Church Financial Reports to Consider
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General membership

First, there is the general membership. Members use financial statements to help them reach certain conclusions on the status of the church. For example, if the church is doing well financially, members will generally place more confidence in the abilities ...

Hey, Fletch: A Board Member No Longer Gives to the Church
How to approach a board member who isn’t engaging with the church’s mission.
Hey, Fletch: A Board Member No Longer Gives to the Church
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In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and and XPastor.org founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com. ...

Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?
Tips for building a compensation plan that can grow with your church.
Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?
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In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.orgfounder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

How Can Churches Treat Their Staffs Well?
An experienced executive pastor offers insights on compensation, job descriptions, and more.
How Can Churches Treat Their Staffs Well?
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Editor’s Note: Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Team will co-host “Smart Money for Church Salaries,” a church compensation workshop with David Fletcher, on August 23 in Wheaton, Illinois. Readers receive an $80 discount by entering CT in the ...

8 Reminders About Supplemental Income Projects
Take these necessary precautions.
8 Reminders About Supplemental Income Projects
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I understand what a challenge it can be to focus on ministry when finances are tight. Over the years I have received several questions on the topic of supplemental income. Some of you have asked about precautions when working on supplemental income projects. I have heard from ...

Estate Gifts: Don’t Get Too Involved
Churches should never recommend a lawyer or a financial planner.
Estate Gifts: Don’t Get Too Involved
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The following excerpt about wills and estate planning is adapted from “Encouraging Estate Gifts in Your Church” in the June 2018 issue of Church Finance Today.

Churches can get into trouble if they get too involved in the process of procuring a gift or bequest. That’s ...

What to Know About a New Donation Scam
Why churches should be careful about refund requests.
What to Know About a New Donation Scam
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A very kind but anxious fellow named Tom calls your finance office and informs your team that he just realized he accidentally submitted a donation to your organization in the amount of $5,000. He meant for it to be $50. He pleads for an immediate refund of the difference, since ...

Hey, Fletch: How Does the New Tax Law Affect Moving Expenses?
What the changed rules mean for churches.
Hey, Fletch: How Does the New Tax Law Affect Moving Expenses?
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In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and XPastor.orgfounder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to editor@churchlawandtax.com.

The ...

When Expenses Are Higher than Your Budget
Does your policy have the answer on what to do?
When Expenses Are Higher than Your Budget
Image: Jungwoo Hong / Unsplash

For churches that view the operating budget as an expense control mechanism, the matter of how to deal with expenditures in excess of budgeted amounts is an important element of policy that is poorly developed in many churches.

For example, a church operating budget will typically ...

Thom Rainer Made ‘Peanuts’ as a Pastor 30 Years Ago. Today, Many in Ministry Make Even Less.
What one leader’s story can tell us about compensation culture in the church.
Thom Rainer Made ‘Peanuts’ as a Pastor 30 Years Ago. Today, Many in Ministry Make Even Less.
Image: Mathieu Turle / Unsplash

The other day, I was listening to Thom Rainer’s recent podcast on “what to do if your church does not pay you adequately.” In it, Rainer’s cohost, Jonathan Howe, prompts him to tell a story about his early years in ministry, highlighting his financial ...

How to Ensure Fair Salaries for Your Church Staff
Find out more about an exciting new compensation resource for your ministry.
How to Ensure Fair Salaries for Your Church Staff
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Many churches struggle with knowing what a fair wage is for their pastors and staff. Our guess is that your church is among them.

For more than 10 years, Church Law & Tax has been creating the Compensation Handbook for Church Staff to help churches better understand fair ...

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Planning the Pastor’s Retirement Package

Planning the Pastor’s Retirement Package Member access only

Use this guide to develop your pastor's retirement plan for all stages of life.
Preventing a Violent Incident at Your Church

Preventing a Violent Incident at Your Church Member access only

Learn about preparing for an active shooter, conceal carry weapons laws, and the role of security guards.