All posts from “compensation”

Monday Church Management Roundup: 4/21/14

April 21, 2014 8:00 AM

Job hopes are rising—but not paychecks. "We continue to expect an average monthly gain of 200,000 [jobs] for the year. That's enough hiring to match normal growth in the labor force, but not brisk enough to soak up millions of...

Justice Department Appeals Wisconsin Clergy Housing Allowance Ruling

January 24, 2014 2:22 PM

Richard Hammar, senior editor of Church Law & Tax Report and ChurchLawAndTax.com, reports the Justice Department filed a notice of appeal this afternoon in the Wisconsin clergy housing allowance case. In late November, a federal district judge ruled the housing...

The Pastor Pay Gap

January 9, 2014 8:00 AM

The number of female pastors in the U.S. has doubled since 1990, according to a 2009 Barna study. And yet, even though the prevalence of women in leadership roles in the church is rising steadily, women's salary levels are...

The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2013

December 18, 2013 12:00 PM

A number of acts and legal developments in 2013 significantly affected churches, pushing three articles toward the top of the list of this year's top 10 most popular articles on ManagingYourChurch.com. Richard Hammar and Frank Sommerville dove into the...

Five Takeaways from the November 2013 Housing Allowance Ruling

November 25, 2013 11:59 AM

UPDATE (12/2/13): Below are five immediate takeaways from Richard Hammar on the November 22, 2013, ruling on clergy housing allowances by a federal judge in Wisconsin. Rich goes deeper on these five, plus five more, in the January/February issue of...

Surprising Trends on Church Pay

November 8, 2013 8:00 AM

A friend of mine who serves as an associate pastor for a local church emailed last week to see when our 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff would release. The reason: "I wanted to know if it will be available...

Q&A: Our Pastor Died—Can We Financially Help the Spouse?

August 27, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: A pastor passes away. The church wants to give the widow a small amount of monthly income for the remainder of the year. How is this gift treated from a tax standpoint? A: It is best to treat...

Q&A: Should This Pastor's Car Repair Reimbursement be Taxed?

July 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: I need help with a question regarding money requested for our Deaf Church Pastor for car repairs. The Deaf Church Committee voted to reimburse him for the car repairs but since this is not an actual church expense,...

"Play or Pay" Health Care Penalty Delayed

July 8, 2013 11:33 AM

The Obama Administration announced on July 2 a one-year delay in the effective date of a major component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring employers with at least 50 workers to offer health coverage or be exposed...

Four Poor Responses to Church Money Problems

June 18, 2013 8:00 AM

Randy Marsh, ministry development officer for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, shared four poor responses church leaders make to money problems while speaking recently in Dallas at the 2013 XP-Seminar, a conference involving nearly 200 executive pastors from across...

Q&A: Which House Qualifies for the Housing Allowance?

June 11, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: I know the recent Driscoll decision means a pastor can't claim two homes for his or her housing allowance. In a situation where a pastor answers a call in one state, but his or her family stays behind...

Q&A: Should the Church's Payroll Include Youth Providing Childcare?

May 30, 2013 8:00 AM

Q: When we have youth from our high school youth group do childcare for church events, do they need to be put on the payroll? In the past we have just paid them from the ministry fund they are...

What's Next: Will Church Bonds Make a Comeback?

April 25, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the final post in a guest series from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. The first posts addressed church finances, financial accountability, the use of interns and residents, and outsourcing work. Travis is CEO of Leadership...

What's Next: How Churches are Using Outsourcing

April 18, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of guest posts from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. The first three posts addressed church finances, financial accountability, and the use of interns and residents. Travis is CEO of Leadership...

What's Next: Should We Use Interns and Residents?

April 4, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of guest posts from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. The first post addressed church finances and the second post addressed financial accountability. Travis is CEO of Leadership Network. Where will...

What's Next: Transparency is the Order of the Day

March 28, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of guest posts from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. The first post addressed how much--or little--the economy is to blame for church failures. Travis is CEO of Leadership Network. Here...

What's Next: It's the Economy—or Is It?

March 21, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of guest posts from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. Travis is CEO of Leadership Network. The recession has left its mark everywhere--on our friends, our families, our cities, our churches....

The Four Levels of Scrutiny of Pastoral Search Committees

March 11, 2013 8:00 AM

In a previous post I noted different trends among pastoral search committees. As I stated then, I am using the phrase “pastoral search committee,” even though it does not apply to every congregation. Some churches receive pastors through an...

New Study: Churches Say Giving is Up, But So are Costs

March 7, 2013 12:48 PM

Our colleagues at Christianity Today just posted a quick analysis of new research on giving at churches conducted by the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, the Alban Institute, the Indianapolis Center...

When You Need Outside Help for Taxes

February 25, 2013 8:00 AM

A brief Q&A recently featured in The Wall Street Journal offers tips for what to look for in a tax preparer. Many people hire someone to help them file their returns these days, the author notes, mostly because of the...

Four Money Lessons for Churches from the "Great Recession"

February 21, 2013 8:00 AM

Randy Marsh, ministry development officer for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, shared four money lessons for churches while speaking Wednesday in Dallas at the 2013 XP-Seminar, a conference involving nearly 200 executive pastors from across the country. Marsh said ECCU...

Big Churches Expect Big Things in 2013

February 19, 2013 5:00 AM

Leadership Network released its 2013 economic outlook this morning, relaying a mostly upbeat forecast for the nation's big Protestant churches in the year ahead. The organization created the report, written by Warren Bird and Stephanie Jackson, by combining responses...

Will Churches Pay More in 2013?

January 10, 2013 8:00 AM

A few months ago, our friend Warren Bird at Leadership Network informally surveyed nearly 600 Protestant churches to find out their plans for hiring and pay raises in 2013. The survey results appeared encouraging: 74 percent expected to give raises...

Q&A: Is a Bonus Allowed for a Worship Song or Book?

January 3, 2013 8:50 AM

Q: Can we pay a ‘bonus’ to a pastor or worship leader for a successful derivative work (i.e. a worship song or a book based on sermons) they created and the church owns? A: Yes, as long as the...

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...

The 10 Commandments of Church Management

October 25, 2012 11:19 AM

Editor’s Note: Frank and Elaine Sommerville, editorial advisors for ManagingYourChurch.com, presented some of this material on Monday at The Ultimate Financial and Legal Conference in Arlington, Texas. I. Thou shalt not allow the church’s intellectual property to be used for...

Supreme Court Won't Hear Housing Allowance Case

October 2, 2012 12:00 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition on Monday to take up an appeal by a minister who claimed an income tax exclusion for two homes. In late 2010, the U.S. Tax Court ruled that federal tax law does...

Free Church Payroll Webinar Rescheduled

September 11, 2012 3:24 PM

Due to illness, Richard Hammar’s “Prevent Payroll Mistakes—What Churches Need to Know” webinar, which was originally scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, September 12, 2012), has been rescheduled. In an effort to best serve you, we have rescheduled this free webinar to...

Can We Amend the Pastor's Housing Allowance?

August 30, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: Our church designates, in writing, a housing allowance for our pastor on an annual basis (usually late November for the upcoming fiscal year—for example in November 2011 we submitted our proposed budget for 2012). We now have a member...

Q&A: Should Churches Perform a Compensation Study?

July 26, 2012 8:00 AM

Q: At the end of every year, our board discusses the salary for our ministers for the upcoming year. We would like to compensate our ministers for all they do for our church, and some have suggested we get a...

Health Care Ruling Preserves Credit for Churches

June 28, 2012 10:34 AM

This morning's Supreme Court decision to largely uphold President Obama's health care reform legislation appears to preserve a health insurance credit for small employers, including churches, to help cover the costs of providing coverage to employees. This means churches that...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 6

June 21, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part six of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how to properly classify employees who are ministers. Determining the parts of compensation that are taxable...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 5

June 14, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part five of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how noncash benefits must count as compensation. Classifying the employees who are ministers is a crucial...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 4

June 7, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part four of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Last week we looked at how to avoid costly penalties when setting pay. Before an organization can move on to...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 3

May 31, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part three of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Part one looked at why churches should carefully think through what qualifies as compensation and taxes on compensation. Part two...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 2

May 23, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Today is part two of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. Part one looked at why churches should carefully think through what qualifies as compensation and taxes on compensation. One of...

Compensation Planning for Churches, Part 1

May 17, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on Elaine Sommerville’s blog Elaine’s Tax Tips for Nonprofits. Today is part one of a multiple-part series reviewing church compensation planning that complies with IRS guidelines. One of the most common areas that...

Rookie Pastors: Keep the Devil Out of the Details

April 26, 2012 8:00 AM

Bible college and seminary are great for a lot of things. In my experience, important skills you need to survive in an office, such as yearly budgets, business plans, and understanding a housing allowance, are not some of those...

A Breakdown of Salaries and Benefits for Senior Pastors

April 3, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff is now available. This resource details pay and benefits data for 14 church positions, including two new ones—part-time musician and part-time childcare provider. Each position is analyzed based on a variety...

Is Income Exceeding Expenses at Your Church?

March 13, 2012 8:00 AM

Findings from the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff reveal that the overall percentage of churches operating in the black—income EXCEEDS expenses—declined in almost every region....

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...

Appeals Court: No Housing Allowances for Two Homes

February 9, 2012 9:21 AM

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the ministerial housing exclusion in the Internal Revenue Code is indeed limited to a single home. The ruling overturns a split Tax Court decision (Driscoll v. Commissioner, 135 T.C. No. 27 (2010)) in...

The Top 7 Paid Positions at Churches

February 7, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff is now available. This resource details pay and benefits data for 14 church positions, including two new ones—part-time musician and part-time childcare provider. Each position is analyzed based on a variety...

Part 1: When Raises Aren’t Possible for Church Staff

January 12, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Liz Ryan spent 20 years as a corporate human resources leader. During that time, she saw the best and worst of how employers treat their employees. She’s now a full-time writer and consultant on workplaces and writes...

How Much Are Pastors Earning These Days?

January 5, 2012 8:00 AM

How much are the pastors of Protestant churches nationwide earning these days? The chart below shows the national averages for compensation and benefits earned by full-time senior pastors, based on Christianity Today's biannual survey of 4,600 churches nationwide. The survey...

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....

Group Drops Case Against Pastor Housing Allowances

June 22, 2011 10:21 AM

A constitutional challenge to the tax-free housing allowances and parsonages provided to thousands of American pastors is over after the plaintiffs who filed the original lawsuit voluntarily requested its dismissal Friday in a California district court. But the battle...

More Analysis on the Pastor Housing Allowance Challenge

June 14, 2011 8:00 AM

Last month, Richard Hammar wrote an article detailing new developments in the constitutional challenge to pastoral housing allowances under way in California. In a separate case in Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled the plaintiffs there lacked standing for their...

A Tax Credit for Churches?

April 18, 2011 8:56 AM

Editor's Note (September 29, 2011): A church business administrator in Colorado shared the following update regarding his church's application for this credit: "We submitted form 990-T claiming the credit (approximately $7,100) in late April. We received a request for more...

Should Congress Change Pastors' Housing Allowances?

April 12, 2011 8:00 AM

The newest issue of Christianity Today poses an interesting question: Should Congress change pastors' housing allowances? Expect to hear a lot more on the topic in the weeks and months ahead. Since the conclusion of Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa)...

Handling Leases for Car Allowances

March 28, 2011 8:00 AM

Question: Our church provides an auto allowance budget line item for vehicle expenses for our pastor. The pastor leases a vehicle that he uses for church-related business. He has asked to use the budget line for reimbursement of the...

Why the National Church Compensation Survey Matters

March 10, 2011 8:00 AM

John Clemens with IRN USA Radio recently interviewed Matt Branaugh about Christianity Today International's National Church Compensation Survey. In this six-minute clip (which aired on more than 1,100 stations nationally), you'll hear more details about the importance of this survey,...

Pay Raises for Pastors and Church Staff in 2011?

February 24, 2011 8:00 AM

A recent Wall Street Journal headline immediately caught my eye: “Higher Pay Gains Seen for 2011.” The article goes on to explain the very real chance American workers will receive bigger pay raises this year: With corporate America sitting...

Holiday Pushes Back Due Date for Taxes

February 23, 2011 10:15 AM

Haven't started your federal taxes yet? As February fast draws to a close, you may be encouraged to know that you get an extra three days to work on 2010 filings. From this morning's Richard Hammar's Essential Reminders: "Taxpayers...

Help for Pastors During Tax Season

February 17, 2011 8:00 AM

The "The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010," passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in mid-December, triggered a domino-like effect of changes for tax-filers--so much so that even the Internal Revenue Service...

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...

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...

TheYourChurchBlog.com's Top 5 Posts of 2010

December 30, 2010 8:30 AM

Last week, we took a moment to highlight the Top 10 most-read articles from Your Church magazine's website, YourChurch.net. As we continue to count down the days to 2011, we now offer the Top 5 most-read posts from TheYourChurchBlog.com...

Deadline Nears for Pastors' Housing Designations

December 15, 2010 9:40 AM

Churches must designate a portion of each minister's compensation as a housing allowance by December 31 in order for ministers who own or rent their homes to receive the full benefit of a housing allowance exclusion for calendar year 2011....

A New, Free Tool for Calculating Church Staff Salaries

November 18, 2010 8:00 AM

One of the best resource books for determining church staff pay, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, now offers a free, easy-to-use tool for church leaders. The "Free Compensation Handbook Worksheets Download," walks church leaders through The 2010-2011...

30% Discount on Church Law, Tax, and Finance Resources

October 18, 2010 8:00 AM

Our friends at the National Association for Church Business Administration have designated Thursday, October 21, as "National Church Administration Day." As NACBA explains it on its website: "The idea behind National Church Administration Day is for seasoned church leaders...

Medical Allowances and Health Savings Accounts

October 12, 2010 8:00 AM

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...

Determining Which Ministry Gets What

September 30, 2010 10:45 AM

"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...

Case Threatens Pastor Housing Allowances

September 28, 2010 8:00 AM

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...

Can Finance People Be Ministry Minded?

September 14, 2010 8:00 AM

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...

Impact of Health Care Reform Issues for Nonprofits

July 13, 2010 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: Richard Hammar reviews the 2,500-page health care reform legislation that President Obama signed into law in March 2010 in the feature article of the July/August issue of Church Law & Tax Report. Rich's health care reform analysis...

Is Your Church Giving Raises This Year?

July 8, 2010 8:00 AM

An interesting post recently surfaced in the Church Admin discussion group hosted on Yahoo: "Situation: Our church is currently very close to our income and expense budget for the current year (fiscal year end in December). Last year, the...

Learning from Lean Staffs during Lean Times

April 7, 2010 12:32 PM

With many congregations facing tighter budgets as they weather the worst economic recession in decades, a recent survey of U.S. church leaders shows that a small percentage of churches are able to continue doing ministry while keeping staffing costs—the single-biggest...

What Will the New Health Care Bill Mean for Churches?

March 25, 2010 9:00 AM

(Editor's Note: Since this post publishes, we've since released "Health Care Reform: How the new laws will affect your church.") Now that President Obama has signed the health care reform bill into law, many churches are wondering what the impact...

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,...

Church Budgets: How Much for Staff, Buildings, and Ministry?

November 11, 2009 2:13 PM

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...

Report: Finances Steady at Two-Thirds of Churches

October 29, 2009 9:00 AM

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...

Pinched Paychecks

August 28, 2009 12:35 PM

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...