All posts from “finance”

Tips on Selecting a Tax Preparer

February 18, 2014 8:00 AM

Let's assume you've decided to have your tax return prepared by a professional. The next step is to find someone who is experienced and competent in the preparation of ministers' tax returns. Here are some tips to help you...

10 Common Payroll Tax Errors

January 23, 2014 8:00 AM

In the video below, Richard Hammar reviews what he considers the ten most common payroll tax errors made by churches. Hammar, along with Christianity Today, publishes a comprehensive tax review in his annual book the Church & Clergy Tax Guide,...

Firm: 2013 Religious Giving Fared Better than Expected

January 14, 2014 4:30 PM

Atlas of Giving, a company that tracks and predicts charitable giving, said overall giving—including giving to religious causes—grew in 2013, according to a Monday article in the Los Angeles Times. The results were significantly different from what the Dallas, Texas-based...

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,...

Five Ways to Survive Summer with a Balanced Church Budget

May 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Churches have historically dreaded summer due to one thing: giving. That's because activities and costs peak with summer missions trips, camps, and Vacation Bible School just as regular weekly contributions wane. The challenge for every church leader is to...

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...

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,...

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...

The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2012

December 27, 2012 8:00 AM

The church office is a busy place, as shown in this year’s ten most popular articles on ManagingYourChurch.com. These ten alone demonstrate that many church leaders are working hard to count contributions, show employees their appreciation, conduct board meetings,...

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...

Four Ways to Boost Year-End Giving

November 13, 2012 8:00 AM

Many churches look forward to a year-end giving bump to help make up for a budget shortfall. In the annual State of the Plate survey we co-sponsor, we know churches consistently count on December to boost total giving figures for...

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...

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...

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...

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...

How Churches Collect Their Donations

June 26, 2012 8:00 AM

The graphic above, which appears in the July edition of Church Finance Today, shows the ways that people give to their churches, based on results from the 2012 State of the Plate giving survey sponsored by Christianity Today, Maximum...

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...

ManagingYourChurch.com Honored by Press Association

May 15, 2012 2:41 PM

Today's post is a little different than the norm because we have some good news to share. ManagingYourChurch.com received a top honor Friday from the Evangelical Press Association during the organization's 2012 conference. The site received the Award of Excellence--the...

Five Online Giving Lessons for Churches

May 1, 2012 8:00 AM

A report issued in February by a major provider of fundraising technology and consulting services offers some helpful insights for church leaders as it relates to online giving. In short: Use of online giving continued to grow in 2011,...

When Benevolence Ministry Becomes Risky

April 23, 2012 8:00 AM

Around lunchtime on a Friday, a man entered a Boston-area church and soon left with the church secretary’s purse, according to a local news station. The man claimed he needed money to support his five children. After the secretary...

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...

Giving Rebounded for Many Churches in 2011

March 27, 2012 9:35 AM

A majority of churches reported giving increases in 2011, the first such occurrence in three years, according to results released today from the 2012 State of the Plate report. The constituency survey of more than 1,360 pastors and leaders...

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...

IRS Releases Latest "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams

February 28, 2012 8:00 AM

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service releases the top twelve tax scams that individuals, nonprofits, churches, and businesses should watch for and avoid. The newest list, issued by the IRS this month, reveals the latest "dirty dozen": Identity Theft...

Congress Extends Payroll Tax Holiday Through 2012

February 21, 2012 1:01 PM

Congress on Friday voted to extend the payroll tax holiday through December 31, 2012, adding an extra $20 per week on average to paychecks for 160 million workers. President Obama previously pledged to sign any extension into law once...

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...

Extension of Payroll Tax Holiday Appears Likely

February 15, 2012 12:32 AM

Congress appeared close late Tuesday to passing an extension of the payroll tax holiday through December 31, 2012, for millions of workers. A bill may be finalized Wednesday and put before President Obama for signature by the end of the...

How Did Giving Go in 2011 at Your Church?

February 14, 2012 8:00 AM

My church's annual meeting took place a couple of Sundays ago. We're a modest bunch—about 125 in weekly attendance and a general budget of about $375,000. God has done some remarkable things in our midst during the past year,...

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...

Penalties Double for Late 1099s

January 23, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note (02/21/12): A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the deadline for Form 1099s that are mailed. The correct dates are now shown in the post. Form 1099s that are mailed are due on February 28, 2012, for...

More Stats on Electronic Giving Patterns

January 17, 2012 8:00 AM

Two separate reports released within the past week on electronic banking and giving patterns underscore the shifting preferences among adults when it comes to their finances. Last Thursday, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released its Real Time...

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...

Payroll Tax Cut Temporarily Extended into 2012

December 27, 2011 4:15 PM

After weeks of debate, Congress has finally resolved the question of whether or not to extend the payroll tax holiday that was enacted in 2011. From now until at least February 29, 2012, nearly 160 million workers will benefit from...

The Importance of Financial Transparency

December 27, 2011 8:00 AM

Vonna Laue, a partner with Capin Crouse and an Editorial Adviser for Christianity Today's Church Management Team, discusses why financial transparency creates a more trustworthy financial department for your church. Watch the two-minute video below: The management of church money...

Top 10 Year-End Fiscal Tasks

December 22, 2011 10:00 AM

If your fiscal year-end is December 31, you have to complete all the necessary steps for closing the fiscal year while also preparing W-2s, 1099s, and donor giving statements. With a little planning though, you can avoid long hours...

December Tax Tip: Note New Withholdings for 2012

December 22, 2011 8:00 AM

Beginning on January 1, churches having nonminister employees (or a minister who has elected voluntary withholding) should begin withholding federal income taxes according to the new tables and instructions contained in the 2012 edition of IRS Publication 15 (Circular E)....

December Tax Tip: Plan Now to Reclassify an Employee

December 15, 2011 8:00 AM

If you have a minister or lay worker who is treated as self-employed for federal income tax reporting purposes, but who you would like to reclassify as an employee, the ideal time to make the change is on January 1...

The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2011

December 13, 2011 8:00 AM

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for lists. And the end of a calendar year always brings opportunities to reflect on the top stories and headlines from the year that was. So it’s...

December Tax Tip: 2012 Pension Plan Limits

December 8, 2011 8:00 AM

The IRS has announced cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for 2012. These include the following: The limitation for defined contribution plans is $50,000. The exclusion for elective deferrals is $17,000. The limitation used...

December Tax Tip: Update Staff W-4s Now

December 1, 2011 8:00 AM

December is a good time to check with all nonminister church employees to see if they need to file a new W-4 form with the church. The W-4 form is used by employees to report withholding allowances. This information will...

Church Business Practices are a Witness—Good or Bad

November 22, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Christianity Today recently reported that a church refuses to pay mortgage payments for expansion and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, even though it has the money to make its monthly payments. The president of the Association of...

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...

Q&A: Limit the Number of Church Bank Accounts

November 15, 2011 8:00 AM

Question: Our church changes deacons and session members every three years and this question seems to come up every time there is a change in elders. About nine years ago, we had five or six checking accounts throughout the...

Safely Depositing Weekly Collections

November 10, 2011 8:00 AM

A church in Centralia, Washington, lost nearly $7,000 from its weekly collections recently when a staff member accidentally left the bag containing the collected funds on top of her car and headed to the bank. Fortunately, a man driving...

Dealing with Unpredictable Giving

October 18, 2011 8:00 AM

Vonna Laue, a partner with Capin Crouse and an Editorial Advisor for Christianity Today International's Church Management Team, discusses key points for why churches encounter giving declines, how to track giving, and how to encourage additional giving. Watch the four-minute...

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...

"Shopping" for a Bank

September 22, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Money Matters in Church by Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope (Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2007): At times you may find the need to “shop” banks. For example,...

Tax Scammers in Person

September 21, 2011 8:00 AM

The most common way tax scammers seem to work is through e-mail. Countless e-mails arrive daily in inboxes claiming a tax refund is available. Many tax scammers have become less shy recently, according to a recent IRS news release...

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...

A Good Time to Launch a Church Building Campaign?

September 8, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor’s note: Churches continue to consider new building projects, even as the economy remains challenging. Church Finance Today recently created a new training resource to help churches navigate this difficult time of fundraising during a down economy. This interview was...

Cartoon: Giving for Tax Purposes

September 1, 2011 8:00 AM

If you’ve ever created receipts for church offerings and donations, you’ve probably been asked to receipt donated property. On a more serious note, Richard Hammar offers a couple of lessons on how to meet IRS requirements for non-cash contributions of...

One Church Receives an Unexpected Tax Bill

August 30, 2011 8:00 AM

A church in Mount Vernon, Washington, thought it didn't owe taxes. But that changed after a recent state audit, when the state said the church owed $180,000 in back taxes and penalties, according to a TV news station. The church...

Fraudulent Calls to Churches

August 18, 2011 8:00 AM

Churches often receive calls for financial help. The most difficult part of these conversations is determining the honesty of the person on the other side of the phone line. When churches in Florida received a call from a man...

Scammers 'Phishing' for Your Money

July 28, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note (August 15, 2011): Naomi Martin, a reporter with The New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote this article for the newspaper on Sunday. It provides additional details on how some of these scams approach church leaders. In July, the IRS...

Letters to Potential Donors of Mission Trips

July 14, 2011 8:00 AM

In the excitement of planning a mission trip, it’s possible to overlook the importance of carefully worded support letters that meet IRS guidance. The IRS indicates what would be helpful to include in letters requesting charitable contributions, according to...

Setting the Record Straight on Group Exemptions

June 30, 2011 8:00 AM

The IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (“ACT”) issued a report in June that addresses a number of tax compliance issues, including group exemption rulings. The report caught the attention of many church leaders, since thousands...

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...

IRS Revokes Tax-exempt Status of Church-run Agency

June 23, 2011 8:00 AM

If your church runs a nonprofit agency, you may want to check this state-by-state list of 275,000 organizations whose tax-exempt status was recently automatically revoked by the IRS. Most organizations on the list no longer exist but some still do....

Show Me the Money

June 21, 2011 8:00 AM

Church board members are charged with fiscal oversight of the church coffers. But not every board member or finance committee member is a CPA and schooled in finance. Many treasurers and bookkeepers make the mistake of providing too much...

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...

Should the Jobless Tithe on Their Unemployment Benefits?

May 17, 2011 8:00 AM

In the March edition of Christianity Today, three men with backgrounds in church and personal finances were asked whether the jobless should tithe on their unemployment benefits. Read their answers, then share how your church has (or hasn't) addressed...

What's a Congregation Worth?

April 28, 2011 8:00 AM

As cities and counties continue to eye possible taxes and fees for churches and religious organizations, interesting new research from The University of Pennsylvania's Ram Cnaan examines the economic value of a congregation to its surrounding community. Using information...

More Stats on Church Giving and the Recession

April 26, 2011 1:00 PM

More data about church giving last year in the United States has emerged since the release of the 2011 State of the Plate survey results. The "Holy Toll," based on the 2010 Faith Communities Today research conducted with 11,000...

CNN: Is Tithing Optional?

April 14, 2011 8:00 AM

Results of a survey given by the National Association of Evangelicals to its 100-member board of directors show a minority--42 percent--believe the Bible requires tithing, while the rest do not. Leith Anderson, pastor of Wooddale Church and president of...

Would a Change to Charitable Contributions Rules Hurt Churches?

April 5, 2011 8:00 AM

One angle covered by secular media during the recent release of the 2011 State of the Plate survey results: The possible affects of a current "federal proposal to reduce tax deductions for charitable donations among wealthy Americans," as CNN.com reported...

Church Giving Begins to Rebound?

March 30, 2011 9:30 AM

Since the recession in 2008, many U.S. churches have seen a decline in giving. But the tide may be changing. The third annual State of the Plate constituency survey of 1,507 churches revealed that 43% of these churches experienced...

When the Bank Says No

March 17, 2011 8:00 AM

Rejection is no fun under any circumstance. It can be especially disheartening for a church when a lender rejects its initial loan application for a capital construction project. But the first "no" does not necessarily doom your chances to...

The Fall-Out from 'Natural Decrease'

March 3, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Update (4/26/2011):The Nonprofit Quarterly pointed this morning to a Boston Globe article reporting 40 of the city's largest nonprofits, with property valued at $15 million or more each, have received letters from the city "requesting them to make...

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...

Evangelicals and Money: Stingy, Generous, or Just Right?

February 14, 2011 8:00 AM

Last week, we pointed to research data highlighted by our sister magazine Christianity Today regarding average tithing levels among Christians. This week, we point to a series of short quotes obtained by Christianity Today from a variety of evangelical...

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....

When Tithe Doesn't Mean Tenth

February 8, 2011 8:00 AM

Our sister publication Christianity Today magazine published some interesting new data from church giving research in its February issue. Specifically, the average percentage of income given to churches appears on the decline, measuring 2.43 percent in 2008 (compared to...

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...

Should Churches Accept Credit Cards for Tithing?

January 6, 2011 8:00 AM

As more churches embrace electronic giving for their congregations, a number find themselves asking an intriguing question: Should they use e-giving options that allow people to tithe with credit cards? We asked a number of church leaders whether credit...

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...

7 Reasons Churches Should Offer Electronic Giving Options

December 17, 2010 8:00 AM

For many years, churches pondered (and even debated) whether to collect offerings by placing a box in the back of the sanctuary or by passing the plate. Today there is a much more important issue that is transforming how...

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:...

Giving at Churches—How Will 2010 End?

December 7, 2010 8:00 AM

Our friends at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability recently released a report showing charitable giving to its members has remained steady, especially among its largest members, despite the recession. But there were signs of challenge for ECFA members...

What You Should Know about Year-end Giving and Receipts

December 2, 2010 8:00 AM

Michael Batts and Dan Busby, two members of our Editorial Advisory Board, will co-present a 60-minute webinar on Tuesday, December 7, about the ins and outs of year-end giving and receipts. Batts is managing partner with the CPA firm Batts...

Giving Debit Its Due

November 23, 2010 8:00 AM

Bryce Collman started a business to help churches save money on electronic payment processing. Rather than use the bundled rates many larger processors charge to process payments by credit and debit cards, he offered interchange rates, which can save...

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...

Finding Grants for Church Building Campaigns

November 4, 2010 8:00 AM

Are there corporate or foundation grants available to fund your church building campaign? There may be, depending on who you serve and how church facilities are used. Your best chance of securing this kind of funding is if your...

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...

Legislation Drops Cell Phones from "Listed Property"

October 5, 2010 8:00 AM

The small business tax relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the president includes a long-awaited provision removing cell phones from "listed property" under federal tax law effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009. As...

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...

Cash Reserves: Who Needs Them?

September 9, 2010 8:00 AM

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...

Why Church Leaders Should Take the Risk of Embezzlement Seriously

September 7, 2010 8:00 AM

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...

The Your Church Blog's Top 10 Posts from Its First Year

August 26, 2010 8:00 AM

I love milestones. And I'm a sucker for top 10 lists (thank you very much, David Letterman). Since today is August 26, it means the TheYourChurchBlog.com turns 1. Naturally, I went back and looked at our 10 most popular posts...

How Churches Can Re-think Money and Giving

July 22, 2010 8:00 AM

I recently posed four questions about organizational theory, 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...

Should Churches Increase 2011 Budgets?

July 20, 2010 8:30 AM

Christianity Today, our sister publication, recently asked several financial advisers, researchers, and other observers to weigh in on whether churches should increase their operating budgets next year. Here are their responses: "What we see is cautious optimism on the part...

Protecting Churches from Embezzlement

May 24, 2010 8:30 AM

Back in December, we ranked the Top 7 Resources to Combat Church Embezzlement. Six months later, I’m reminded of why, and with another unfortunate headline emerging last week, it’s an opportunity for me to highlight a special online event...

What Churches Should Know about IRS Form 990-N

May 13, 2010 7:00 PM

(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...

Your Church Celebrates Four Awards

May 7, 2010 9:41 AM

Many of you may not know this, but Your Church magazine, like many other publications at Christianity Today International, is a member of the Evangelical Press Association, "the world's largest professional organization for the evangelical periodical publishing industry," as its...

Don't Forget the Check

May 4, 2010 8:00 AM

The buzz surrounding electronic giving options continues to grow as online donation capabilities improve and text-messaging campaigns take hold. The American Red Cross, for instance, says it raised $35 million within 48 hours of the January earthquake in Haiti,...

A Case Study: When Shortfalls Cloud the Big Picture

April 29, 2010 1:40 PM

The Scenario Mike Newson* and the rest of the leadership of Trinity Church were at a crossroads. It was January—midway through the fiscal year—and Trinity’s income projections weren’t looking any better. It seemed like cuts were inevitable. But 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...

Loss of a Church's Financial Records

April 6, 2010 9:00 AM

Follow Richard on YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/richardrhammar Learn more about Protecting Electronic Data at ChurchSafety.com. Manage your church's finances year-round with The Essential Guide to Church Finance....

Did the Grinch Steal December from Churches?

March 23, 2010 9:00 AM

In the latest “State of the Plate,” survey, in which we worked with Maximum Generosity’s Brian Kluth to poll 1,000 church leaders on the health of their churches’ finances in 2009, an interesting pattern emerged—December didn’t save the day...

How Finance, Sexual Wrongdoings Challenged One Church

March 11, 2010 8:00 AM

My lawyer said, "Just follow my lead and answer the questions he asks, and everything will be okay." I clung to his advice as I entered the smartly decorated boardroom lined with towering bookshelves. The first thing I noticed...

Family Money Matters: A Look at Christian Household Finances

February 25, 2010 8:30 AM

What really matters in an economy is not what the media says, but what people’s personal wallets say. As part of the second annual “State of the Plate,” 750 Christian households provided an inside look into their income, employment,...

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...

Church Finances Remain Pinched in Early 2010

February 18, 2010 8:00 AM

A “new normal” is emerging in the church world when it comes to giving, budgets, and generosity initiatives, according to an ongoing survey conducted by Maximum Generosity and Christianity Today International’s Church Finance Today and Leadership journal. Nearly 800 churches...

Stetzer: Churches Lag in Economic Recovery

January 14, 2010 9:11 AM

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research in Nashville, wrote a post today highlighting new research regarding continued economic pressures on U.S. churches. LifeWay gathered the research in November through phone surveys with 1,002 church pastors. The overarching message: Churches...

To E-Give or Not to E-Give

January 12, 2010 9:00 AM

I stopped tithing a few months ago. Okay, no scandal here. I got married in September, and my husband and I moved to a new area and wanted to find a church. As we slowly combined our finances, it...

The Top 7 Resources to Combat Church Embezzlement

December 16, 2009 8:54 AM

Earlier this month, we looked at two recent cases of church embezzlement, and the "zero tolerance" stance judges are starting to take against these crimes. Unfortunately, yet another big headline has since emerged—this time, the leaders of a 150-member Greek...

IRS Announces Standard Business Mileage Rate for 2010

December 3, 2009 4:36 PM

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...

Zero Tolerance for Church Embezzlement

December 3, 2009 10:00 AM

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...

Is It Time To Build? 10 Questions to Ask

November 23, 2009 8:00 AM

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...

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...

You Want to Donate What?

October 29, 2009 8:02 AM

Join us on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, for a live webinar event with nonprofit CPA, Elaine Sommerville titled, "You Want to Donate What? How to Handle All Types of Charitable Contributions" (Click on "You Want to Donate What? on...

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,...

Free Excerpt: The Essential Guide to Church Finances

October 15, 2009 9:00 AM

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...

Building a Culture of Generosity in Your Church

October 14, 2009 8:50 AM

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...

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,...

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...

Reading the Fine Print

August 28, 2009 12:30 PM

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...