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Medical Allowances and Health Savings Accounts
Can churches legally designate medical allowances for pastor health plans?

Question: We are entertaining the idea of changing our health care coverage to a HSA (Health Saving Account)-compatible policy. Presently our three pastors receive a designated amount of medical allowances each year to help them cover the costs of out-of-pocket moneies that ...

Determining Which Ministry Gets What
One pastor shares how to best allocate church budget money.

"Pastor, we don't have a budget. We just do what the Lord leads us to do."

These words were spoken to me soon after I agreed to be the preacher at a small rural congregation, which used seminary students to fill the pulpit. When the church voted to hire me, they ...

Case Threatens Pastor Housing Allowances
How a California court may alter a long-standing ministry benefit.

Earlier this month, we covered eight federal issues that local churches should watch closely during the remainder of 2010 and into 2011, according to recent remarks from Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Busby, one of our editorial ...

Can Finance People Be Ministry Minded?
Including ministry priorities in church planning and budgeting.

Why do committees so often act in a way that seems indifferent to and sometimes impedes ministry? The following practices may explain much of the problem:

—People making financial decisions are removed from firsthand involvement in ministry.

—People who are actually ...

Cash Reserves: Who Needs Them?

Cash reserves. If you're like me, your eyes glaze over when these two words are used together. It's certainly not the most exciting topic. But, what we have found through the current economic downturn is that cash reserves are more important than ever for ministries.

Why do ministries ...

Why Church Leaders Should Take the Risk of Embezzlement Seriously
7 reasons to protect against fraud.

As hard as it may be to believe, churches are not immune from embezzlement. In fact, the widespread belief among church leaders that such a crime "could never happen in a church" makes churches an easy target. Economic downturns make the risk even greater. Here are ...

How Churches Can Re-think Money and Giving
4 questions with Mike Bonem, author and executive pastor

I recently posed four questions about organizational theory and leadership—and how those influence church giving—to Mike Bonem, executive pastor at West University Baptist Church in Houston and co-author of Leading from the Second Chair. Here is what he shared with ...

What Churches Should Know about IRS Form 990-N

(Editor's Note: Since posting this on May 14, the IRS has issued a statement urging small nonprofits to still file, even though the May 17 deadline has passed).

We recently fielded a question from a reader regarding the Internal Revenue Service's Form 990-N.

Tax-exempt organizations ...

Safe and Legal Fundraising
Use safety precautions when planning your next fundraiser.

Before you launch your next fundraising effort, be sure to consider some aspects that may be putting your church and your members at risk. Use the simple tips below as a checklist for your next fundraiser.

Physical Safety

Outside Vendors. Most vendors are reputable. However, ...

Church Budgets: How Much for Staff, Buildings, and Ministry?
An executive pastor suggests a different analysis of expenses.

Paul Clark, one of Your Church's contributing editors, wrote an interesting post this week on his blog. Paul is an executive pastor who at one time spent several years in a managerial role with General Electric. His business background gives him an interesting perspective on ...

Report: Finances Steady at Two-Thirds of Churches
New research: Giving flat or growing for many congregations.

New research released this week by Indiana University's Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and The Alban Institute suggests giving remained steady–or grew–during the first half of 2009 for two-thirds of the 1,540 churches they surveyed.

More than three-fourths of those surveyed ...

Raising the Bar in Tough Times

In this uncertain economy, with so many churches scrambling to reduce expenses, the role of the church administrator inevitably will come under the bright light of scrutiny. Because of this uncertainty, church administrators need to spend time reflecting on ways to showcase—and ...

4 Reasons NOT to Cut Conferences
Why these events are important for your staff.

During tough economic times, many churches are looking at cutting all travel for training and events, but that may not be the wisest decision. Here's why:

Care. The church is about people caring for people, so your most important resource is people! They need to be trained and ...

Making Comparisons for Church Purchases

As a consumer in the marketplace, a local church faces the inevitability of making purchasing choices. Ford or Chevy? Plain or peanut? A lot or a little?

Wise choices are made from informed methods of comparison shopping. Executive pastors and church administrators identified ...

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Essential Guide to Copyright Law for Churches

Essential Guide to Copyright Law for Churches Member access only

Richard Hammar explains how to avoid copyright infringement.
Creating a Disaster Preparation and Response Plan

Creating a Disaster Preparation and Response Plan Member access only

Learn the steps you can take now so you are ready to respond if a crisis unfolds.