All posts from “church”

Affordable Care Act Deadline: March 31

March 18, 2014 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: After March 31, 2014, individuals cannot enroll in a plan through the Marketplace unless they have a qualifying life event (e.g., relocation to another state, marriage, divorce, or birth of a child). Open enrollment for 2015 will...

Do Pastors Own Sermons?

February 13, 2014 8:00 AM

Christianity Today explores the topic of who owns a pastor's sermon in its January/February issue. Churches and pastors may find this subject difficult to discuss, especially when sales of published sermons start to significantly add up. Frank Sommerville, ManagingYourChurch.com's...

Monday Church Management Roundup: 2/10/14

February 10, 2014 8:00 AM

Set clear boundaries to protect pastors and staff from affairs. "'It began in counseling.' Sometimes the word 'transference' is used to describe what can happen in counseling. The counselor or counselee becomes the object of attraction instead of one's...

Q&A: Designating Donations for a Church Member in Need

February 6, 2014 8:00 AM

Q: Recently, one of our member's families lost their 15-year-old son. They contacted the church and asked if donations for the family could be handled through the church. We agreed and processed all donations received as cash exchange. At the...

Monday Church Management Roundup: 1/27/14

January 27, 2014 8:00 AM

Small is the new big for churches in 2014. "There will be a greater emphasis on smaller gatherings more frequently. This trend is being affected significantly by the preferences of the Millennial generation (born 1980 to 2000). A related...

IRS Announces 2014 Mileage Rates

December 16, 2013 9:00 AM

The IRS recently announced the new standard mileage rates for 2014. The reimbursement rate for business mileage is .5 cents less than the 2013 rate. Effective January 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car,...

Q&A: Hosting a Music Group at Church

December 12, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: I'm a pastor of a local church and have some questions about groups and individuals that come to the church to do musical performances. I'd like to know what our requirements are as a church regarding the legal...

Four Things to Consider Before Starting a Food Pantry

December 3, 2013 12:15 PM

Whether it's an encounter with a homeless person begging for food, a stint volunteering at a soup kitchen, participation in a canned food drive, or just watching a commercial about children starving in a third-world country, most people have...

Why Church Numbers Matter

September 3, 2013 8:00 AM

I understand those who argue against the use of numbers in evaluating a church's health. We can get idolatrous of numbers, and numbers do not fully illustrate the condition of a church. On the other hand, numbers do matter....

When Copyright Violations Cost Churches

August 20, 2013 8:00 AM

Church leaders may not realize it, but common practices conducted in worship services and through website updates may put their churches at risk for copyright violations. Fines are assessed by the violation, including attorneys' fees, meaning a church that violates...

Senate's Tax Reform Could Greatly Impact Charities

July 1, 2013 8:00 AM

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch publicly announced Friday their much-anticipated plan for next steps on comprehensive tax reform. The announcement and a related letter to Senate colleagues made clear the Finance Committee's strategy...

How Much is a Volunteer's Time Worth?

May 2, 2013 8:00 AM

How much is a volunteer's time worth? About $22.14 an hour, according to a new Independent Sector calculation. The organization uses Bureau of Labor Statistics information, looking at payroll averages of nonfarm, nonsupervisory labor and adding a percentage for benefits....

State Appeals Court: Church Should Pay Property Tax

April 17, 2013 8:00 AM

On the heels of last week's news regarding an Indiana study that showed one in four government leaders favored payments of some type by churches in exchange for their tax-exempt statuses comes this online column by Peter J. Reilly of...

Don't Burn Your Church Down

April 16, 2013 4:47 PM

Two weeks ago, Christian blogger Matthew Paul Turner posted this video of an Easter morning mishap in which the on-stage "tomb" at a church caught on fire while the singer continued his Easter solo. While this video brought out laughter...

Boston Marathon Explosions at Finish Line

April 15, 2013 3:43 PM

Today at the Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded near the finish line, the mile that was devoted to the victims of Newton, Connecticut. The bombs exploded near the viewing stand, and reports of casualties are still coming in. We...

Indiana Government Survey: 1 in 4 Say Churches Should Make Payments

April 9, 2013 9:51 AM

A 2010 survey of local government leaders in Indiana shows one in four want churches to make “payments” or provide services in exchange for receiving tax exemptions on their properties. The survey results, released for the first time on Monday,...

5 Tech Tools to Manage Pastoral Ministry

January 31, 2013 3:05 PM

I’d like to share with you some technological tools I use to help accomplish the responsibilities and demands for my ministry as a pastor. I pray that it will be helpful for you in your stewardship of time. 1....

Outfit Your Church for Outreach

December 20, 2012 8:00 AM

As Christmas approaches, many churches are directing their attention toward local, national, and international outreach efforts. Christianity Today and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company recently conducted the joint national Outlook for Outreach study, collecting responses from 1,486 church leaders and volunteers...

How Churches Serve Their Communities

December 11, 2012 8:00 AM

Where would Americans be if churches didn’t make outreach a priority? Many would feel the pain of unmet needs for basics such as food and clothing, not to mention a slow-down in disaster recovery efforts. For many hardest hit by...

Commission Releases First Report on Church Accountability

December 4, 2012 2:54 PM

An independent commission formed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability at the request of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in January 2011 issued its first public findings today through a 91-page report that is available for free download. The report...

Q&A: Is a Love Offering Tax Deductible for the Donor?

December 4, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: I realize love offerings need to be included in a pastor’s taxable income, however, should an individual receive tax-deductible credit for their gift if the church board authorized the collection? Also, what if an individual gives a love gift...

Q&A: Are "Love Offerings" for Church Staff Taxable?

November 8, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: I recently read an article about when churches give Christmas gifts and have a question. If a church takes up a love offering at Christmas for its pastor and staff, is that reportable as income? This would not come...

When a Sex Offender Wants to Attend Church

October 18, 2012 8:00 AM

How would your congregation react if they knew a convicted sex offender was worshipping among them each Sunday morning? This controversial question is something congregations across the country are currently asking themselves. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Experts recommend...

Building a Culture of Risk Management

September 25, 2012 8:00 AM

Now more than ever before, church leaders must recognize the importance of risk management as an inherent part of organizational oversight and leadership. But what does proper risk management look like, and whose responsibility is it? Many boards assume that...

The Zero-Percent Solution

September 20, 2012 8:00 AM

The only time a church mortgage gives any cause to celebrate is when it’s burned. Otherwise, it’s a drain on resources. Interest payments can easily triple or quadruple the cost of a church building. Beracah Bible Church decided to...

A Pretty Place for a Wedding

September 4, 2012 8:00 AM

Churches often receive requests to use their buildings for weddings. Some church leaders may feel there are so many requests that there may be a more simple way to answer them all. Sharing space with the community for a wedding...

Drafting a Conditional Agreement for a Sex Offender

August 23, 2012 8:00 AM

When church leaders learn a sex offender is in their midst, their response typically is one of the following three: Do nothing. They just don’t know what to do. Total exclusion. They choose a blanket policy prohibiting a registered offender...

Protecting Ourselves from Sex Offenders

August 7, 2012 8:00 AM

Sex offenders are feared and despised in today’s world. They are seen as monsters who, at any moment, might pounce upon their unsuspecting prey, especially children. The general perception is that sex offenders are more dangerous than other criminals....

Why Thursday Deadlines Make for Better Sundays at Church

July 24, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Engage by Nelson Searcy and Jason Hatley, with Jennifer Dykes Henson (Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011): The first church I pastored was a small Baptist church in...

Q&A: Is Benevolence for a Church Employee Taxable?

July 19, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: Can a church give a cash benevolence gift to an employee? And is it taxable income? A: Yes and yes. For better or worse, churches seem to attract needy employees. They may need their car repaired or have...

Setting Boundaries for Sex Offenders to Attend Church

July 12, 2012 8:00 AM

Set Free Christian Fellowship in Medford, Oregon, recently received a letter from its insurance provider that outlines requirements for allowing known sex offenders to attend the church. Stipulations include fully disclosing the identity of sex offenders to the 100-member congregation,...

The Church Next Door

June 19, 2012 8:00 AM

George Romero’s classic 1978 film Dawn of the Dead centers on a tattered group of zombie-plague survivors huddled together in a shopping mall. In the aftermath of society’s collapse, the vast parking lots, brightly lit stores and restaurants hold...

Should Our Church Start a Food Pantry?

May 29, 2012 8:00 AM

For a church that feels compelled or called to do its part to address hunger in its community, establishing a food pantry might be an effective way to make a difference. Before launching a food pantry ministry though, here are...

Needed Church Decisions, Unavoidable Risk: Part 3

March 22, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part three of a three-part series looking at the ways difficult decisions must be made, even when they’re sometimes risky. Part one looked at personnel decisions and part two looked at commitment and considering the...

What Is Your Hope for the Church?

March 20, 2012 8:00 AM

As I travel the country and interact with church administrators, executive pastors, treasurers, and bookkeepers, I’m often reminded of the steadfast commitment these people bring to their roles and their churches. Because of the nature of their duties and responsibilities—crunching...

Needed Church Decisions, Unavoidable Risk: Part 2

March 15, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part two of a three-part series looking at the ways difficult decisions must be made in churches, even when they’re sometimes risky. Part one looked at personnel decisions. In deciding an institutional issue, church leaders...

Needed Church Decisions, Unavoidable Risk: Part 1

March 8, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is the first of a three-part series looking at the ways difficult decisions must be made in churches. Church institutional decisions may involve finances, facilities, or personnel, but their common denominator is that if ignored, the...

Proper Payroll Withholdings Critical for Churches

March 1, 2012 8:00 AM

The recent payroll tax holiday extension keeps a 2-percent reduction for employee and clergy Social Security withholdings in place throughout 2012. We've already covered what those rates should be on paychecks. But the reason why it is so important for...

17 Ways the Church May Become Accountable to the State

February 21, 2012 8:14 AM

Should the IRS form an advisory committee to oversee church tax law? Is the clergy housing exclusion constitutional? To what extent should churches be accountable to the government for the way in which they operate? These are three of the...

Commission on Financial Practices Seeks Input from Churches

February 16, 2012 8:00 AM

A little more than a year ago, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to oversee an independent commission tasked with evaluating several financial and tax matters related to churches and nonprofit ministries. The goal: Determine...

Trademarking the Church

February 9, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s note: Two stories that garnered recent, widespread media attention have put the spotlight on churches and trademarks. Mars Hill Church in Seattle recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to another church over the use of a name and logo...

Hosting a Super Bowl Party at Church—Is It Legal?

January 30, 2012 8:00 AM

A few years ago the National Football League challenged a church in Indianapolis for showing the Super Bowl, a practice hundreds of churches around the country engage in. After public outcry, the NFL re-issued a statement with a less...

Part 2: When Raises Aren’t Possible for Church Staff

January 19, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: In Part 1, Bloomberg Businessweek columnist Liz Ryan shared with ManagingYourChurch.com’s Matt Branaugh the first of several ways that churches can reward and recognize employees when raises aren’t possible (as the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff...

Year End Giving

December 29, 2011 8:00 AM

December often brings more contributions to churches than any other month. Be prepared to handle year end contributions accurately by listening to Richard Hammar describe a number of important rules that apply to year end giving in the video below:...

Delegating Responsibility in the Church Office

November 29, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Pastor’s Handbook by John Bisagno (B&H, 2011): Imagine trying to lead two million persons across a desert with no map, no food, and no water. Moses had an administrative nightmare not...

Cartoon: Pastor Hides Staff Turnover

November 24, 2011 8:00 AM

If you need human resources materials for your church, see The 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, and the staff section of ChurchSafety.com cover a variety of topics specifically geared toward church staff....

Wandering Church Assets

November 17, 2011 8:00 AM

Asset tracking is part of church stewardship. Planning ministry events and activities is easier when there’s a clear list of the availability and location of church equipment. Insurance companies ask for an asset list when there’s an emergency. Audit...

Preventing Identity Theft at Church

November 7, 2011 8:00 AM

A church that meets in the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women says its former administrative assistant, who is also a former inmate, used volunteers’ personal information to steal 40 identities to open credit cards, according to the Des Moines...

Can Banks Ask Churches for Donor Records?

October 20, 2011 8:00 AM

A national bank recently subpoenaed an Iowa church’s financial records, seeking information about donations made by a man whose business defaulted on a $650,000 loan. The financial institution wants to know about cash and property given to the church...

Renting Out Extra Space May Cost Churches

October 13, 2011 8:00 AM

A church in Boise, Idaho, received an unexpected property tax bill of $17,000 for leasing space to a local YMCA daycare, according to Northwest Cable News. The church charges the nonprofit about $9,500 a month to rent space often left...

Church Puts Property Up for Sale After Tax Dispute

September 14, 2011 8:00 AM

An ongoing property tax assessment battle between Concord, N.H., and a 50-member church there has led to the church putting its property up for sale to make ends meet, according to a recent article in the Concord Monitor. Four...

IRS Increases Mileage Rate

June 23, 2011 11:58 AM

The Internal Revenue Service announced this morning it has increased the optional standard mileage rate that employers can use to reimburse employees who drive personal vehicles for business purposes. The IRS increased the rate to 55.5 cents per mile...

How to Manage Risk at Church

June 9, 2011 8:00 AM

David Middlebrook, editorial advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com and ChurchSafety.com’s “Ask the Expert,” has developed an easy way to understand and develop a risk management plan. Each letter of the word “risk” stands for a step in the process: R –...

Bill Maher: Should Churches be Taxed?

June 2, 2011 9:30 AM

A little more than a year ago, Bill Maher hosted actor Ashton Kutcher, author and editor Jon Meacham, and Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on his HBO program, Real Time. A YouTube clip from the program circulated recently throughout social...

Maintaining Balance with Church Management Work

May 31, 2011 8:00 AM

Coming off of the Memorial Day weekend, we offer this cartoon courtesy of our Church Laughs e-newsletter. It's a good bet the to-do list is already long for those who labor in church offices. We pray those details don't distract...

Online Resource for Church Law and Tax Help

February 22, 2011 8:00 AM

We’re pleased to announce the launch of ChurchLawAndTax.com (formerly ChurchLawToday.com). We’ve given the site a fresh, new look to serve church leaders like you even better. You’ll find an updated Archives of the Church Law & Tax Report newsletter through...

Ten Steps to Tax Reporting

February 10, 2011 11:00 AM

Looking for a helpful—and easy—way to remember federal payroll tax reporting requirements as a church? Check out this handy, printer-friendly PDF we've prepared titled "Ten Steps to Tax Reporting." Here's a sneak peek: 10) Complete Forms 1099-MISC and 1096....

What Churches Should Know about the Tax Relief Act

January 18, 2011 8:00 AM

On December 17, Congress passed the "The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010." After President Obama signed it into law, numerous tax provisions that were about to expire were kept alive. And a significant benefit...

Tax Ruling May Help Pastors Who Own Two Homes

January 11, 2011 8:00 AM

Late in 2010, the United States Tax Court ruled a pastor could apply a housing allowance toward expenses incurred from a primary residence and a vacation home. What are the implications for church leaders? Well, while many may not own...

National Commission to Examine Church Financial Practices

January 7, 2011 10:46 AM

Editor's Update (12/8/11): The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations is now taking public comments on the various issues it is studying. _________________________________ Editor's Update (4/27/2011): The ECFA has announced the initial members of its commission. The...

Upcoming Webinar: Key Tax Changes to Understand

January 4, 2011 8:30 AM

Members of Congress passed a sizable tax-cut package late on December 17, and it barely hit President Obama’s desk the next day before he signed it into law. According to one media report, the package extends, adds, or modifies...

10 to Remember From 2010

December 20, 2010 8:00 AM

As 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to get all nostalgic and look back at the year that was. That includes reviewing the articles that interested readers throughout the year. Based on Internet traffic patterns, these 10 articles from...

Is Your Church Ready for Tax Season?

December 9, 2010 8:00 AM

In an upcoming issue of the Church Finance Today newsletter, senior editor Richard Hammar relays a comment made by Douglas Shulman, U.S. Commissioner for Internal Revenue, during a speech given earlier this fall to the American Institute of CPAs:...

A Theology of Workflow

November 30, 2010 8:00 AM

Matt Perman wants to help you get your inbox to zero. He wants you to effectively multi-task, organize your desk, and schedule your day. But Perman, who blogs at whatsbestnext.com and is working on a book on productivity, is...

Endorsing Political Candidates from the Pulpit

October 26, 2010 8:00 AM

A majority of pastors believe churches should not publicly endorse political candidates, a new LifeWay Research survey shows. Phone interviews conducted randomly in early October with 1,000 church pastors, ministers, and priests revealed 70 percent strongly disagreed and 14...

One Church, Many Congregations

October 14, 2010 8:00 AM

A recent article from our sister publication, Leadership Journal, covers the rapid growth of Christ Together, a network that developed in the Chicagoland area after pastors of several different congregations saw an opportunity to partner with each other to...

Small Churches = Big Impact

October 7, 2010 10:15 AM

Brandon O'Brien, associate editor for our sister publication Leadership Journal, has written a new book, The Strategically Small Church. In this work, he seeks to demonstrate how small churches are uniquely equipped for success in today's culture. Ed Stetzer...

A Fast (and Free) Way to Assess a Church's Health

August 19, 2010 8:00 AM

"Recent church assessments, such as Natural Church Development, Church Health Assessment Tool, Transforming Church Index, and REVEAL's Spiritual Life Survey, are very helpful—if your church has the time, money, and motivation to hire a consultant and/or get people to...

Part 4: Doing Staff Reorganizations Well

July 1, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Paul Clark, the Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Ohio and a Contributing Editor to Your Church, recently underwent a major staff reorganization. In a four-part series that started three weeks ago, he explained what Fairhaven sought to...

Part 3: Doing Staff Reorganizations Well

June 24, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Paul Clark, the Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Ohio and a Contributing Editor to Your Church, recently underwent a major staff reorganization. In a four-part series that started two weeks ago, he explained what Fairhaven sought to...

Part 2: Doing Staff Reorganizations Well

June 17, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Paul Clark, the Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Ohio and a Contributing Editor to Your Church, recently underwent a major staff reorganization. Last week, we published the first in a four-week series on what Fairhaven sought to...

Part 1: Doing Staff Reorganizations Well

June 10, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Paul Clark, the Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Ohio and a Contributing Editor to Your Church, recently underwent a major staff reorganization, and reflected on the changes through his blog, http://visionmeetsreality.org. Starting today, and continuing for the...

Accidents Caused by Teenage Drivers

May 6, 2010 9:00 AM

Follow Richard on YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/richardrhammar For more information on keeping the youth in your church safe, visit the "Youth" section of ChurchSafety.com. You'll find topics on High Risk Student Activities, Safe Mentoring Relationships, and more....

New Law Permits 2009 Charitable Deduction for Haiti Relief Contributions

February 24, 2010 8:00 AM

In an effort to encourage further charitable giving to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, Congress passed a bill on January 21 that permits donors to deduct (on their 2009 income tax returns) charitable contributions of cash...

2010 Tax Tips for Church Leaders

February 23, 2010 8:30 AM

Ministry Direct, a channel of AGTV, recently hosted a live, 50-minute video with Richard Hammar on the latest tax information that churches and ministers should know. See it below. Video provided by AGTV. Used with permission. To learn more about...

Responding to Negative Coverage in the Media

February 19, 2010 8:30 AM

Editor’s Note: On February 4, a local television station ran a story about Ed Young and Fellowship Church, the Grapevine, Texas, where he leads. The piece, citing anonymous former staff members, among others, suggests Young leads a lavish lifestyle....

Oregon Case Provides a Powerful Reminder to Churches

February 17, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: On March 5, 2010, this post was corrected to show the trial court originally ruled in favor of the pastor, and this ruling was recently affirmed on appeal. The correct version appears in full below: Last week,...

Top 10 Leadership Books from 2009

January 27, 2010 2:00 AM

Pastors and church leaders are bombarded by the myriad books published every year and don't have the time and resources required to sift through, purchase, and read all that are of interest. For this reason, Leadership journal (a sister...

Legally Host A Super Bowl Party

January 19, 2010 8:30 AM

If your church is hosting a Super Bowl party this year, you will need to abide by three simple guidelines to avoid violating copyright law. Attorney David Middlebrook, who specializes in representing tax-exempt organizations and is a member of our...

Sex Offenders in the Church

December 10, 2009 10:00 AM

Because our team produces Reducing the Risk, a comprehensive training program that churches use with staff and volunteers to minimize the risks of child abuse in their ministries, we pay a great deal of attention to the issue of sex...

Facing a Financial Crisis: Three Experts Weigh In

October 22, 2009 4:25 PM

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,...

Engaging Congregation Members in Community Ministry

October 12, 2009 8:00 AM

All around the United States, congregations are reaching out to their neighbors with creative community ministry programs. Churches are providing after-school and job training programs, developing affordable housing, offering medical care, opening day care centers, and distributing food and...

Study: Donations Grow 42% With Face-to-Face Time

October 8, 2009 10:00 AM

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,...

Should Your Church Hire a Sex Offender?

September 30, 2009 2:28 PM

A church in Louisville, Kentucky, generated local and national media attention earlier this month, not because it allowed a convicted sex offender to attend its services, but because the church pastor decided to hire and ordain one. WHAS-TV, a...

What Computers and Phones Do Church Staff Need?

August 28, 2009 12:01 PM

Editor’s Note: The author’s consulting firm doesn’t sell or distribute any hardware or software, or receive any compensation for referrals. The firm’s work for many years with hundreds of churches led to the recommendations outlined here. Many people make...

Making Comparisons for Church Purchases

August 28, 2009 12:00 PM

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...