Resource, Form or Template

The Review Report is an acknowledgement for the council of your church which states: All information contained in the financial statements is the representation of the management of your church. This review was made in accordance with generally accepted standards for review engagements.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

This Review Guide evaluates key issues: Segregation of duties and functions, Oversight and control by council, Accurate and timely financial reporting, and Safeguarding of assets.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The following information provide some helpful points for any church contending with the implementation of financial policies and procedures.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Learn more about the difference between auditing and reviewing.

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Resource, Book or Booklet

The following link directs you to helpful books pertaining to Internal Controls. Internal controls are methods that ensure the integrity of accounting and financial information.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The purpose of this policy is to give guidelines as to when a separate fund should be established for monitoring church revenues and expenses, to describe a process of accountability for separate funds, and to develop a procedure for monitoring separate fund expenditures and revenue. 

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The purpose of this policy is to set forth broad guidelines under which the funds of the denomination shall be managed. Investment objectives are: preserving the principal value of funds, earning a reasonable return, and more.

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Resource, Book or Booklet

The following link directs you to a list of books pertaining to Church and Nonprofit Taxes. These Financial guides will equip you with resources and professional advice to better understand tax laws.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The purpose of this policy is to give guidelines for establishing and using a Capital Replacement Fund at the church and to assure accountability of funds used for building and equipment upgrades.

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Unrelated Business Income defines an activity is an unrelated business if three requirements are met: 1. It is a trade or business, 2. It is regularly carried on, 3...

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Resource, Book or Booklet

The following publication explains the benefits and the responsibilities under the federal tax system for churches and religious organizations.

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The information in the attached document provides the names of IRS forms that are commonly filed by churches in the course of ordinary business.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The following link redirects you to the IRS Publications. 

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Resource, Form or Template

The following link redirects you to the IRS webpage. This webpage provides you with a list of forms and a search box to find any needed documents.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Sabbatical Leave is a period of time away from the pastor’s regular duties for the mutual benefit of the church and pastor. Sabbatical Leave is for the benefit of the church and the pastor.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Do you have questions about your Pastor's earnings regarding SECA or FICA, Income Tax withholdings, or Parsonage Allowance?

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax are paid on wages and self-employment income. Social security and Medicare taxes are collected under one of two systems...

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The Final Move Expenses policy covers moving allowances, principles of administration, limitations, cost coverage, disability, and exclusions.

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Resource, Book or Booklet

This training tool is intended to help church leaders have a fruitful conversation about evaluation in their local setting—and to strengthen the local church by blessing its staff with timely, effective feedback.

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Resource, Form or Template

This Short Performance Evaluation form is for the employee. This form is for the supervisor and the employee, a series of comments, goals, and 'check' areas are included in the evaluation form.

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Resource, Form or Template

This Self Performance Evaluation form is for the employee. The employee should score accurately and honestly based on the past year's performance.

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Resource, Form or Template

This document is the former evaluation form that evaluates the employee's performance and development.

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Resource, Form or Template

This Performance Evaluation is an in-depth form that evaluates all employees and those in supervisory/managerial roles.

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Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Publication 521 explains the deduction of certain expenses of moving to a new home because you changed job locations or started a new job.

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Resource, Software or Application

This Access VBA software was written to create usher schedules for our church. It works on any computer that has Microsoft Access 2007 or later installed on it.

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The point is NOT introducing more guns. The point is that the bad guy doesn't know if anyone has a gun until he sees the "no guns" sign. 

posted in: Guns at Church

Maybe police officers should not carry guns? That condition is not working well in England. 

Humans are terrible at risk analysis. 

The US Constitution was designed for civilized people who wanted to be good neighbors. It worked well for the first 60 years because the people who didn't want to be good neighbors could go west and steal land from the Indian People. It has been down hill since the useful land  was all stolen and fenced. The Constitution can't govern a country or city where half the people don't want to be good neighbors. 

posted in: Guns at Church

Do NOT accuse me of not being a Christian if I like guns. Wikipedia is also one of the worst places on the web for gathering facts.

posted in: Guns at Church

Well put, Jolanda.

posted in: Guns at Church

I think it might be helpful to consider the question of guns in church in a similar way that we think about using alcohol (wine) in church for communion.

People have very different feelings towards guns largely based on their own life experiences. Someone who uses guns for sport may feel very differently about them than someone who has been wounded by a gun or who has lost a loved because of violence involving a gun. In the same way, some members of our church enjoy drinking wine with friends or having a beer at a local pub. Alcohol feels harmless to them and enjoyable. But someone who has struggled with alcoholism, or has had a friend or relative killed by a drunk driver, may have a very different perspective.

Because we know that the presence of alcohol could be either distracting or detrimental to some members of the body of Christ, many churches provide grape juice rather than wine for communion. Or they serve grape juice as an option along with wine. They don't do this to make a social commentary on alcohol consumption, but out of grace toward the feelings and experiences of others and as a way of caring for all members. People who prefer the taste of wine to grape juice don't feel offended because they recognize the feelings of others. And because they know there are plenty of other times in their life when they can enjoy wine! Likewise, if expressed with care, a call to leave guns at home could shelter members who have an aversion to them from feeling threatened or frightened in the sanctuary, while still respecting the rights of gun owners to use and carry their guns in other contexts.

 

posted in: Guns at Church

It wasn't meant to be condesending.  Just a point to think about.  We can make all the reasonable preparations in life but at some point we know it's in God's hands.  No amount of insurance, medicine, guns, etc changes that.

The point I'm trying to make, is that introducing more guns does not equal a safer places.  Just because someone at my church has a gun and I think they are a nice person does not mean a trust their judgement (and their aim!) when people's lives are at stake.  I feel less safe when I am in a room full of guns, even if they are carried by people I know.  You can make all the arguments you want, but that is how I feel.  I will take my chances that a crazy gunman is not going to walk into the sanctuary.

posted in: Guns at Church

I actually feel this comment is very condescending. It's as if, because if someone has a gun, they somehow don't trust in the Lord.

posted in: Guns at Church

[quote=wsgnst]

Are you ready to kill someone because they broke into a car in the church parking lot?  Are you going to kill them for taking a congregants purse? 

Guns introduce the possibility of saving lives, but they also introduce a greater chance of taking lives.

[/quote]

 

Seriously ?

posted in: Guns at Church

Bill, I think you operate under the belief that a gun is a magic solution that will solve problems, like an insurance policy that will prevent bad things from happening. 

I believe that a gun could stop a bad guy, but it also introduces the possibility of a minor altercation escalating into a major one, either because of an accident by the person carrying the gun, or because a bad guy feels threatened while committing a relatively minor crime.  Are you ready to kill someone because they broke into a car in the church parking lot?  Are you going to kill them for taking a congregants purse?  What if you pull out a gun, they get scared and shoot, but if you would have just let them run away with the purse, no one would be harmed?

Guns introduce the possibility of saving lives, but they also introduce a greater chance of taking lives.

posted in: Guns at Church

Wes - then the money you save by not having property and health insurance and retirement savings . . . you give to The Lord through the CRC? - bill

posted in: Guns at Church

Doctors, medicine, and seatbelts save lives.  Guns are designed to hurt people.

I think there is a higher likelyhood of an accident happening with a gun carried by a good guy, then the remote chance of a crazy gunman coming into church.  What if the hero in the church misses while trying to kill the bad guy and kills the pastor's wife?  This is the type of situation that you face when you introduce guns to church.

Who determines who is fit to carry a gun into church?  Only elders?  Only members?  Only people who have completed the churches gun safety program?  What do you tell the person who is visting who has a gun?

posted in: Guns at Church

Would you go to the Doctor if you were sick?  Take Chemo treatments for cancer?  Vaccinate your children?  Wear your seat belt?  Do you drive a car?

God gives us tools to help us survive, to keep us safe, but in each of these situations there is a chance to "tool" could cause harm too.  Of course we trust God with our lives but we also use the tools he has given us when appropriate.  I think sometimes that phrase gets thrown out there to deal with issues we don't want to have to grapple with.  

We live in a world filled with sin and sometimes the unthinkable happens even to Christians.  There is nothing wrong with being prepared, but on the other hand we should not have to live in fear all the time.  It is a fine line to walk.

 

posted in: Guns at Church

I'm surprised how many Reformed Christians in the USA treat the 2nd amendment as if it is a verse in the Bible.  I'm not sure where the strong ties of "God and guns" in this country came from.  I'm not necessariy anti-gun, but I think it is foolish to think that a person in the congregation with a gun on them is the answer to keeping our congregants safe.

Many think that if more good guys have guns it will stop the bad guys, but when I see a guy at the grocery store, gas station, or a visitor in my church, with a gun on their hip.  How do I know if they are a "good guy" or a "bad guy".  

Do we wait for them to start shooting?  

Ulitmately, I put my trust in the Lord, not guns.

posted in: Guns at Church

Well put.

posted in: Guns at Church

I understand some people's aversion to guns being in a church, it doesn't sound or feel right.  BUT I also have watched the news and seen what happens when you have an advertised "gun-free" zone.  Imagine a nut job walking into your church, what could you do?  In my church the First 2 things you see as you drive up is our large nursery full of innocents with 3 huge windows and no where to hide, and next is a sanctuary also surrounded on 3 sides by windows.  We would be fish in a barrel for someone with a weapon.  I would feel much safer knowing that we have a few responsbile and trained members of our congregation conceal carrying  who have at least a chance at stopping the madman then not.  The police are at least 20 minutes away from our facility and it only takes 2-5 minnutes to inflict serious casualties.  At some point we have to learn to get over our "bigotry" against guns because it is the only way to defend against criminals who do NOT follow the gun laws.  

posted in: Guns at Church

I believe a sword would have unlimited potential for harm but it also had the potential to save lives, just like any weapon depending on who is carrying it.

posted in: Guns at Church

Sorry Albert. I live in Canada, quite a distance from GR.

posted in: Guns at Church

Bert.  I live in Grand Rapids, MI.  I would like to meet with you to talk about the issue of guns in church.  I do not think we can profitably have a conversation about this by email.  If you live anywhere near me I am willing to drive out to meet you at a time and place of your convenience.  Albert

posted in: Guns at Church

Nope, but his sword at the time was the weapon of choice for that time period, just like the gun is now.

posted in: Guns at Church

And just how would not having a gun in church make you feel safe ? What if some nutjob came into your place of worship brandishing a firearm ? This isn't an altogether unknown situation to be in. Would your lack of weapons somehow save you? Whether your church is a gun free zone or not won't stop an unbalanced person from bringing a gun there and shooting the place up.

posted in: Guns at Church

Amen to that, Jola!  

posted in: Guns at Church

Yikes, I do not want guns in my church! Our sanctuaries must feel safe and secure for everyone. No weapons welcome, no weapons necessary.

posted in: Guns at Church

That's too bad that soldiers in Afghanistan aren't allowed to go to church then. I'm also pretty sure King David worshipped with his sword strapped to his side.

posted in: Guns at Church

No, it is assumed everyone recognizes that a church is not an appropriate place to bring a gun.  If someone brought a gun into church we'd have to deal with that somehow. 

posted in: Guns at Church

Allow? At your church everyone goes through a metal detector or signs a pledge?

posted in: Guns at Church

I would find being a member of a congregation which allowed people to bring guns into the church utterly inconceivable. 

posted in: Guns at Church

If the hunters in my congregation carried a pistol to church I would feel no less safe than I do now. For all I know, if they have concealed weapons permits they might be carrying now. That's what "concealed" means.

posted in: Guns at Church

Shootings are more likely in gun free zones, just saying.

posted in: Guns at Church

One thing, ServiceBuilder has added an attendence feature since I orginally posted the blog.  It also allows different levels of permissions (admin, group leader, user, etc) so that multiple people can work on the schedule.

churchscheduling.com is a completely automated web application for scheduling volunteers. 

Just enter your volunteers, create your service and it automatically schedules them every week (or however often you specify).  In addition, it automatically handles volunteer declines by scheduling the next available person with the needed skill. Volunteers are able to specify their availability in the system. 

http://www.churchscheduling.com

 

Larry

At this point we are not aware of any changes to the Medicare Advantage plans, other than new taxes that likely will be added in to the premiums charged by insurance companies. 

How will this affect retired ministers who are presently covered by BCBS of Michigan with Medicare PLUS Blue Group PPO?

Thanks,

Larry

Michelle - thanks for your answers.   I would like to clarify my last question which wasn't stated very clearly.  I was referring to a situation where an employer (our church is this case) pays a 3rd party (Lynden Christian School) for the church employee's health care premium which is under the spouse's group policy at the school.   This is still considered non-taxable if  the church requires proof of insurance.   I refer to the 2013 Church & Clergy Tax Guide, pg.200- where it states " Church employee's health insurance premiums paid directly to employees are excludable from the employee's gross income for federal tax reporting purposes if the church requires proof that the employee paid the premium themselves.   In other words, the church treats this arrangement like an accountable business expense reimbursement arrangement and only reimburses those expenses for which it receives adequate substantiation."    I hope this clarifies what I was referring to.

Here's a link with some information about the small business tax credit. I have not heard that it will be eliminated.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-Questions-and-Answers:-Who-Gets-the-Tax-Credit

In terms of your second question - if a church purchases health insurance and pays the insurance company (or broker) directly then they are providing a benefit for the employee and the premium paid on their behalf is not taxable.

If the church pays the employee to purchase their own insurance, or provides some payment in lieu of the insurance, e.g. an opt out payment because they are covered by a spouse, these amounts must be considered taxable income for the employee.

This is for churches in USA only. Should country specific issues be in a separate administrative forum?

Good suggestion, John. We've altered the headline accordingly.

Thanks for the timely posting of this important topic.   Our church(3rd CRC), located in Lynden, WA, is just beginning to start the annual review of our group health care coverage to our full time employees.   We, like many others, feel like there currently are so many unknowns in this arena  that it it is even difficult to know which questions to ask, and which to ask first.   We have been the recipeint of the small employer health care rebates which has somewhat eased our medical insurance costs and has kept our church from pursuing individual plan options.  

Some questions: Has the small employer health care rebate program expired?   I've never heard definitively.  

Within the old health care system, a church employee could have the church pay directly (pre-tax ) all/part of his/her health care coverage even if was the employee was covered under his/hers spouse's policy.  Does this continue under the new system?

I have other questions too, but better stop here and get back to work!

Thanks!

 

 

The links on the  referred to article below is only available to paying subscribers. An article in the Banner would be great to get the conversaion going (apologies if there has been one) I have submitted a proposal, but it is not getting any priority, it eeems. Ours is an aging congregation, I could be more forceful.

 

They can't 'participate' in a council meeting but they can sit in on a meeting.

Council meetings are open to congregation members but they should, out of courtesy, let the clerk know about their plans to attend a given meeting. Only elected office-bearers get to talk, discuss and vote on matters, unless the chair gives a visitor permission to speak to a certain point. For an observer to offer an opinion at a council meetings is rude and inappropriate.

And if there are matters of a sensitive nature -- especially dealing with personalities -- council should declare executive (closed) session and all visitors should leave the room.

Similarly, classis and synod meetings are also open to the public.... with the same caviates.

 

Keith Knight

Health insurance is an especially big spending item once one adds a wife and kids and the expense is getting worse. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered lately that family health insurance rates are continuing to trend way up. Source for this article: Financial Advice

posted in: Health Insurance

I am not aware of the availability of the Letter of Call in Word format instead of pdf.

posted in: Letter of Call

Check out this article in Fast Company about the new accessibility icon. It's now the symbol of choice for New York City!

Concerning the "Letter of Call". I was able to locate the file, but it is a PDF and I would prefer a word document in order to fill in the required information on the computer. Is there a MS word document available? If so where is it located.

Any and all help would be helpful.

Thanks in advance

posted in: Letter of Call

...meetings of officebearers are in principle open to the membership unless they are declared to be in executive session.  The latter happens routinely at meetings of the consistory and the diaconate (when particular members and their circumstances are discussed each time) and it happens occasionally when a council feels the need.  A good example of that would be a discussion on nomination for elders and deacons.  Nonetheless, meetings of council, certainly, are typically open, and it is good when members of the congregation take an interest and attend as visitors

(p. 216, Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary)

Anko, First CRC  just bought/installed one at the request of their Safe Church team.  A Zoll AED Plus via Heart Zap Inc c/w an alarmed case.  Supposedly, it's fool proof and it will assist with CPR analysis as well.  The trick is to also canvas your congregation to see who has training (AED + CPR), who would like the training(and set up a training session), who has pacemakers (and keep the list in the cabinet since it may require some adjustment when using the AED), and let your congregation know that you'll assume you have their consent to use the gizmo when the need arises UNLESS they tell your admin office, in advance, in writing.  Feel free to come by and check it out.  But no testing... (don't trust you entirely!!)

We have a Zoll defibrilator at our church.  Six or seven years ago our Parish Nurses had information on a grant to help pay for the unit provided we had staff trained by our local fire department in it's use.   It utilizes both visual symbols and step by step verbal commands.  Below is a link to their website and to information about their help in writing a grant.

 

Rana Velasco

Church Administrator

Sonlight Community CRC

 

 

 http://www.zoll.com/medical-products/automated-external-defibrillators/aed-plus/

 

http://www.zoll.com/medical-products/grant-information/

 

 

Check out this past blog post for more information on defibrillators.

We are migrating over to Faith Websites which has a feature like this. I wonder if people have advice on how to use it well.

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