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IRS Announces Standard Business Mileage Rate for 2010
Rates slightly drop as transportation costs ease.

The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2010 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2010, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car ...

Zero Tolerance for Church Embezzlement
Extended sentences put churches on notice.

A sad story emerged last week out of Indiana, where a 37-year-old woman accused of stealing more than $350,000 from a church while working there as an employee received the maximum sentence allowed by the state.

According to an article in the Greencastle Banner-Graphic, the local ...

Is It Time To Build? 10 Questions to Ask

In early 2008, we made the decision at Fairhaven Church to move forward with an $8 million construction project, even as the signs of recession popped up everywhere. Reports of other churches delaying or canceling plans for expansion were easy to find. We concluded that we should ...

Smart, Inexpensive Church Building Design Ideas
How to create superb ministry space for less.

Walk the streets of Disney World, and visitors are transported into a magical world of creativity and inspiration. Mel McGowan, a former Disney Imagineer and now president of Visioneering Studios, a national church architecture firm, brings this same expectation for creativity ...

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 ...

Top 5 Reasons Churches Wind Up in Court

For many years, I've closely reviewed litigation involving churches to identify patterns that pastors and leaders can use to assess their own risks and potential vulnerabilities. In 2008, the following five types of cases brought churches to court more than any others:

1. Sexual ...

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 ...

Facing a Financial Crisis: Three Experts Weigh In
Is your church struggling with a mortgage? Some tips on how to act—now.

A headline I read earlier this week from the newswire service United Press International gave me pause: "More Churches Face Foreclosure." Upon reading the piece, I quickly understood why: While the rate of foreclosed church properties continues to climb, thanks partly to some ...

Free Excerpt: The Essential Guide to Church Finances

Earlier this year, we released The Essential Guide to Church Finances by Richard Vargo, a professor of accounting in the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, and Vonna Laue, a partner at nonprofit accounting firm Capin Crouse.

Below is a free excerpt, ...

Building a Culture of Generosity in Your Church
An interview with Brian Kluth on teaching members to give to God.

Some estimate giving to churches is on a 40-year decline. In contemplating the reasons why, here's a thought that should give church leaders pause: A church budget usually is set to the level of its people's unfaithfulness.

That's one of the messages Brian Kluth is taking to ...

Study: Donations Grow 42% With Face-to-Face Time
Research underscores the power of relationships for church leaders.

A new study about the best ways to secure larger gifts from donors strongly reinforces the central theme of "Asking for Big Gifts," an article in the current issue of Your Church: face-to-face time matters. A lot.

In fact, it matters so much, the study reveals "donors to religious ...

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 ...

Pinched Paychecks

About half the nation's full-time pastors report they received no salary increase in the past year, continuing a downturn in salaries among top leaders in churches, according to a new survey published by Christianity Today International. In fact, the extensive survey, publishing ...

Reading the Fine Print

The deal sounded good.

About 50 churches in the Washington, D.C., area leased interactive electronic kiosks for their entrance areas so that members and visitors could check on activities and news and register for classes and meetings. The selling point? Church leaders say the ...

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 ...

Richard R. Hammar

Richard Hammar is senior editor for Church Law & Tax Report, and Church Finance Today. He serves as legal counsel to the Assembly of God denomination. He is an attorney and CPA, specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he ...

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Setting Wages and Benefits for Church Staff

Setting Wages and Benefits for Church Staff Subscriber access only

This training download addresses key aspects of compensation planning for church employees.
Understanding Church Insurance

Understanding Church Insurance Subscriber access only

Understand your church's insurance needs to be assured you have adequate coverage.