All posts from “pastors”

Monday Church Management Roundup: 7/14/14

July 14, 2014 8:00 AM

1. Pay-related lawsuits on record-setting pace. The number of federal pay-related lawsuits will set a record again this year, following an all-time high 8,126 cases from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. The number of actions filed under the...

Monday Church Management Roundup: 6/23/14

June 23, 2014 8:00 AM

1. Quick calculations help tell the financial story. "From a quick read of your church's financial reports, you can determine the variance between actual giving and budgeted giving and the variances for each line item—what has been spent versus what...

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...

Monday Church Management Roundup: 5/5/14

May 5, 2014 8:00 AM

More churches turning to bivocational pastors. Thom Rainer says that practices for hiring pastors are changing rapidly in the American church. Here's one significant trend he notes: There will be an increased demand for bivocational pastors. Frankly, the economics...

Why Pastors Must Pay Federal Income Taxes

March 6, 2014 8:00 AM

Ministers are not exempt from paying federal income taxes. Since 1943 (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105), the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom is not violated by subjecting ministers to...

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...

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...

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...

7 Points from Today's Same-Sex Marriage Rulings

June 26, 2013 5:08 PM

Richard Hammar, editor of Church Law & Tax Report, penned a quick analysis today on ChurchLawAndTax.com regarding the Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex marriage. Rich offers seven key points for church leaders to note, including the following: The seven state...

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...

Thom Rainer's Top 10 Rules of Thumb for Healthy Churches

June 6, 2013 8:00 AM

Thom Rainer (the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources) recently offered his Top 10 rules of thumb for healthy churches in America. Several caught our eye, including: 8. Effective giving: For every person in average attendance, including children...

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...

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...

Three Risks Keeping Church Leaders Up at Night

April 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Last month, Frank Sommerville, CPA, JD, visited Christianity Today and spent time with our team. Frank is one of our Editorial Advisors and he spent time with us discussing some of the top risks churches face each day. A...

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...

Are Annual Church Pledge Drives Still Relevant?

April 2, 2013 8:00 AM

I recently sat through a workshop involving financial officers and business administrators from churches in metro Denver. A panel of three finance officers, convened to discuss cash flow and cash reserves, focused mostly on appropriate cash levels, metrics, and forecasts...

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....

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...

LifeWay Research on Gay Marriage and The Church

March 12, 2013 12:56 PM

The results of a new LifeWay Research poll released this morning reveal some interesting attitudes among American adults when it comes to how pastors and church leaders handle the topic of same-sex marriage. In November, LifeWay received 1,191 completed online...

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...

Why Multitasking May Fail Us

January 29, 2013 8:00 AM

By their nature, church offices present numerous temptations to multitask. For pastors, there are unexpected office visits and phone calls, budget reports, and board meeting preparations, all on top of sermon writing, long-range planning, crisis resolutions, the occasional emergency—and...

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...

"Clergy Killers”—and the Church

December 18, 2012 8:00 AM

Research conducted in recent years by two different organizations paints a disturbing picture about certain conflicts between pastors and small factions within their churches. The in-fighting often festers long enough that many pastors wind up pushed out. Researchers at Texas...

A Minister’s Most Important Tax Break

November 20, 2012 8:00 AM

This article is adapted from Richard Hammar’s Essential Guide to Money for Church Boards eBook. For this eBook and other cutting-edge eBooks for church administrators, board members, and clergy, view our online catalog. The most important tax benefit available...

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...

The No-Stress Audit

October 30, 2012 8:00 AM

Most church staffs dread an audit. Disturbing questions surround the experience: Does the IRS distrust us? Will we have to pay more out of our already slim budget? Thankfully, much of this worry is unwarranted. Most church tax returns are...

Can’t Pay Your Taxes?

October 16, 2012 8:00 AM

Many pastors have been audited by the IRS and assessed several thousands of dollars of taxes and penalties but have no prospect for paying their bill. What can be done if you find yourself in this situation? There are...

Your Turn: Will Your Church Get Political?

October 11, 2012 8:00 AM

With Election Day less than a month away, discussion about the role of churches in the political realm remains robust across the country. Last week's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," conducted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, drew nearly 1,500 participating churches, the...

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...

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...

Ken Sande Gets “Upstream of Conflict”

September 17, 2012 9:00 AM

Editor’s Note: On July 31, Ken Sande officially stepped down as president and chief executive officer of Peacemaker Ministries, the ministry he started in 1982 as a way to resolve conflict and bring reconciliation and healing, particularly in church...

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...

The Politics of Religion

August 27, 2012 8:00 AM

We've recently looked at the political activity of churches. In the upcoming September/October 2012 edition of Church Law & Tax Report, Rich Hammar revisits what the Internal Revenue Service says is--and isn't--allowed by churches when it comes to political candidates...

Don’t Jump to Assumptions

August 20, 2012 8:00 AM

The issue is not that we make assumptions. The issue is that a lot of times they are wrong. We often misinterpret one another. We add underlying meaning or subtext that was never intended. In other words, we often go...

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...

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...

Redeeming Even the Messiest Church Conflicts

July 17, 2012 8:00 AM

Over the years we have seen the best and worst responses to conflict from our brothers and sisters in Christ. But the story of one conflicted church, a church we will call Lakeview Community Church (LCC), stands out from the...

Should Churches Be Involved in Politics?

July 2, 2012 8:00 AM

On Father’s Day, numerous churches in Maine used their offering time to take up collections for a political action committee (PAC) campaigning against a same-sex marriage referendum on that state’s ballot. An article on ChristianityToday.com points out such an...

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...

Pastors: Bring Financial Order to Your House

June 12, 2012 8:00 AM

The average church in America today has only one full-time pastor. This leaves the pastor to handle the majority of the church’s duties, including business matters. In referencing the qualifications for a pastor, 1 Timothy 3:4 says the leader...

8 Ways Churches Are Using Pinterest

June 4, 2012 8:00 AM

Imagine if you had access to the world’s largest bulletin board—a place where you could exchange ideas and images from around the globe. That’s one of the major benefits of the increasingly popular website, Pinterest. Unlike sites such as...

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...

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...

Free Webinar: Child Abuse Reporting in the Aftermath of Penn State

April 17, 2012 8:00 AM

Allegations of child molestation at Penn State University stunned the nation last fall. Even as the investigation continues, church leaders can learn from the tough lessons of this case, including recognizing abuse, the duties to report suspected cases of abuse,...

Redeem a Church Conflict by Listening to a Lawyer? Really?

April 12, 2012 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: This guest post by David V. Edling first appeared on redeemingchurchconflicts.wordpress.com. It's related to the forthcoming book, Redeeming Church Conflicts, co-written by Edling and Tara Klena Barthel and scheduled for release in May from Baker Books. _________________________ Q....

Is a Confession to a Pastor Always Confidential?

April 5, 2012 8:00 AM

A child sexual assault case in Michigan has garnered national interest in recent weeks because the evidence used to bring criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator included testimony from his pastor. A county judge deemed the inclusion of the...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

Endorsing Candidates from the Pulpit

October 4, 2011 8:00 AM

This past Sunday, the Alliance Defense Fund expected nearly 500 church pastors nationwide to participate in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." The event, organized for four consecutive years by ADF, is designed to challenge a 1954 amendment to the 501( c)...

Who Owns a Pastor's Sermons?

September 19, 2011 8:00 AM

Most clergy would be shocked to learn that their sermons are works made for hire that are owned by their employing church, and that their sermons cannot be used in any other churches with which they are later employed without...

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...

Before You Hire, Pick Up the Phone

August 8, 2011 8:00 AM

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from What They Didn't Teach You in Seminary, a new book by James Emery White (Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011): I saw him at a church conference. He...

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...

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 –...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Healthy Board, Healthy Church

June 22, 2010 8:00 AM

Many churches are afflicted by "dragons," well-meaning saints who, one way or another, undermine the ministry and sap the vitality from a congregation. To make a church healthy, the place to start is by building a healthy board. Cohesiveness...

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...

6 Questions to Ask in a Coaching Relationship

June 7, 2010 8:00 AM

At Community Christian Church, we value a culture that commissions each man, woman, and child for an outreach effort that they feel God has called them to fulfill. Part of that culture involves what I call “leading with a yes,”...

Protect Your Ministry with an Employee Handbook

June 1, 2010 8:00 AM

Every ministry, no matter how small, could benefit from maintaining an employee handbook. A proper handbook defines what you expect from employees and what they can expect from you. By following a few simple tips, your ministry handbook can...

Does Strategic Planning Contradict the Holy Spirit?

March 30, 2010 9:00 AM

I am neck deep in strategic thinking. The school where I teach is engaged in an aggressive strategic planning initiative. We are working with an excellent consulting team and are asking hard but important questions about the present and...

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...

Is Preaching Against Homosexuality a Hate Crime?

March 16, 2010 9:00 AM

Follow Richard on YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/richardrhammar Richard offered thorough coverage of this topic in the March/April issue of Church Law & Tax Report. Subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter to get thorough law and tax coverage throughout the year....

Leading a Holistic Church Staff

March 9, 2010 9:00 AM

Charlie couldn’t lead the church staff. The harder he tried, the more he failed. With 3,000 people in worship each week, the church seemed healthy. The staff, however, seemed emotionally sick and suffered from high turnover. When people left...

Is God Calling You To Move?

March 4, 2010 8:30 AM

A man 3,000 miles away whom I had never met, the chairman of a pulpit search committee, came to the point quickly on the phone: Would I consider meeting with his group to discuss becoming senior pastor of their...

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...

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,...

How One Question Can Make the Recession an Ally

February 8, 2010 8:30 AM

During this season of economic turmoil and ambiguity, one question may have the power to bring clarity—and better priority-setting—for the churches where executive pastors, business administrators, and pastors serve. That question: What exactly are we trying to accomplish? David...

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...

Your Church's Top 10 Articles of 2009

December 21, 2009 9:00 AM

Last week, we wrote about the Top 10 most-read posts on TheYourChurchBlog.com during 2009. This week, we're taking a look at the Top 10 most-read articles from YourChurch.net, the website for Your Church magazine. For a year riddled with bad...

The Top 10 Church Administration Posts for '09

December 17, 2009 9:00 AM

As 2009 draws to a close, here's a fun look back at the year's 10 most-read posts on TheYourChurchBlog.com. Doing this kind of review often helps us understand the most pressing issues facing church administrators, executive pastors, pastors, and leaders....

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...

5 Leadership Books Worth Reading

November 24, 2009 8:30 AM

Recently I talked with a senior partner of TAG Consulting, Kurt Andre. Among his many talents, Kurt is a certified Executive Leadership Coach. So I asked him which books on leadership he finds the most helpful. Here are his...

Top 5 Reasons Churches Wind Up in Court

November 4, 2009 9:40 AM

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

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...

Raising the Bar in Tough Times

September 22, 2009 10:19 AM

In this uncertain economy, with so many churches scrambling to reduce expenses, the role of the church administrator inevitably will come under the bright light of scrutiny. Because of this uncertainty, church administrators need to spend time reflecting on...

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...