All posts from “finances”

Salary and Benefit Breakdown for Senior Pastors

May 22, 2014 8:00 AM

The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff shows full-time senior pastors' salary and benefits at an average of $88,814. This represents a 7 percent increase from the $82,938 average reported in 2011. The senior pastor is one of the most...

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,...

Churches: The IRS is Substantially Closed, But Your Obligations Remain

October 2, 2013 8:00 AM

Editor's Note (10/17/2013): Congress passed a bill last night that ended the shutdown. President Obama signed the bill ahead of the default deadline that loomed at 11:59 p.m. Due to the lapse in federal government appropriations (the so-called "government...

"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...

3 Vital Signs for a Healthy Church Financial Culture

June 20, 2013 8:00 AM

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) recently hosted a webinar focused on church governance, finance, and stewardship. The organization invited Eric Heard, the stewardship pastor of Mariners Church; Cathi Linch, the financial operations leader of LifeChurch.tv; and Mark Davis,...

Opinions Vary on Knowing What People Give

May 28, 2013 8:00 AM

We've previously covered the question of whether pastors should know what people give, and we featured one high-profile pastor's thoughts on knowing what people give. The question recently surfaced again in a national survey, and our sister publication Christianity Today...

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...

Fraud in the Church: Lessons from ACFE Data

March 19, 2013 8:00 AM

While preparing recently for a presentation to seminary students, I came across some interesting statistics from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's 2012 Report to the Nations. The information is particularly insightful for church leaders who are focused on...

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...

"Fiscal Cliff" Law Temporarily Extends Certain Donations for 2012

January 8, 2013 10:53 AM

The so-called “fiscal cliff” law just passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, formally known as the “American Taxpayer Relief Act” (the Act), includes a little-publicized provision providing a very short window of opportunity for eligible taxpayers to make...

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...

A Key Tax Reminder for Donors

November 1, 2012 8:00 AM

As the calendar flips to November, it's a good reminder of the many tax details that churches must track, especially on behalf of those who faithfully give to the church throughout the year. Churches must properly document donor contributions, which...

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...

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...

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,...

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....

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...

Implementing Internal Controls

January 3, 2012 8:00 AM

In this two-minute video, Vonna Laue, an Editorial Advisor for Christianity Today's Church Management Team, discusses why adequate financial internal controls are critical to the operations of the church. The management of church money is a complex task for any...

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...

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...

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...

The Church Bulletin as a Tax Tool

November 1, 2011 8:00 AM

To avoid jeopardizing the tax deductibility of charitable contributions, churches should advise donors at the end of 2011 not to file their 2011 income tax returns until they have received a written acknowledgement of their contributions from the church....

Is the Church Treasurer Really the "Worship Pastor"?

October 27, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: Dan Kimball originally wrote this piece for his blog Vintage Faith. He allowed us to publish an edited version here as a guest post: I have become very aware of the power of words—and the power of...

Six Steps for Handling Fraud

September 13, 2011 8:00 AM

Churches are prime targets for embezzlement. This is partly because churches are some of the most trusting organizations, a quality often abused by paid staff and volunteers. Embezzlement not only robs a church of money; it also damages its...

What's Wrong with Credit Card Debt?

September 6, 2011 8:00 AM

Earlier this year, we asked whether churches should accept credit cards for tithing. Christianity Today recently asked what's wrong with credit card debt? Three Christian leaders with backgrounds in theology and personal finance weighed in. Read excerpts of their...

The "Whole Life Offering"

July 19, 2011 8:00 AM

Just as a major error in discipleship is focusing discipling conversations on the needs and interests of the student, an especially common—and major—error in discipleship related to financial giving involves focusing conversations on the giving interest and passions of...

Cyber Crime: Coming to a Church Near You?

July 12, 2011 8:00 AM

The St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa, became victim to an apparent cyber crime last month when unidentified hackers stole $680,000 by luring away critical electronic information. CBS News, reporting on the incident, quotes law enforcement and cyber...

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...

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...

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...

The Top Three Reasons Fraud Happens at Church

June 16, 2011 8:00 AM

Embezzlement in churches is on the rise. Regardless of a church's size, three factors can make it more vulnerable to fraud. 1. Lack of segregation of duties. Churches often fall victim to embezzlement when they rely on one person...

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...

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...

Missouri Woman Admits to $140,000 Church Theft

May 5, 2011 8:00 AM

A woman in Missouri pleaded guilty last week to stealing nearly $140,000 while serving as the treasurer of a local church and its denomination’s local governing organization. According to a Kansas City-based news website, the woman wrote checks to...

A Pastor's Thoughts on Knowing What People Give

May 3, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: In November, TheYourChurchBlog.com published "Should Pastors Know What People Give?" It generated numerous responses, some in favor of the idea, some opposed. We recently came across another viewpoint on the question by Larry Osborne, pastor of North...

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...

Expanded 1099 Reporting Requirements Repealed

April 19, 2011 8:00 AM

In the April edition of Church Finance Today, Richard Hammar previewed the possible repeal of the expanded 1099 reporting requirement included with the Patient Protection and Affordable Act (last year's health care reform legislation). The requirement would have required all...

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...

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Should Pastors Know What People Give?

November 9, 2010 5:16 PM

A question on XPastor.org's Google Group asked whether pastors should know who gives what to the church. Is it primarily an issue of privacy, potential partiality, or accountability and pastoral care? According to attorney Frank Sommerville, churches "should examine job...