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The following form verifies the perspective volunteer or staff person is listed on the Children's Protective Services Central Registry System as a perpetrator of abuse / neglect. 

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The following pdf covers questions and situations regarding copyright information for: Music, Print, and Video. 

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This risk assessment checklist is used to determine whether to undertake a particular venture.  This is a process of determining when the likelihood of a negative event will occur.

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This guide provides general information on work practices, procedures and technology that can help protect your business and employees.  You should review your particular needs with your own legal counsel. You also may want to consult with a certified security consultant or security integrator...

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The following template is an outline of coverage available through Brotherhood Mutual, Church Mutual, and other organizations.

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The following guide provides houses of worship with information regarding emergency operations planning for threats and hazards they may face.  It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life and it...

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The following summary of coverage is an exhibit of Church Protector​ by Buiten & Associates.  The presented figures are a brief outline of the provided various insurance coverages.

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This insurance coverage sample provides the amounts of risk or liability covered for an individual or entity by way of insurance services.

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Does your job description pinpoint the critical elements of successful job performance? Does the wording clearly communicate the desired outcome of the work?

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Tips for creating well written job descriptions.

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A list of several active verbs to use in job descriptions.

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An outline form for creating an organized job description.

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The following link directs you to Buiten Insurance website.  This website provides you with Insurance products from Business Insurance to Individual Insurance.  Click the link to find out more information. 

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The Christian Reformed Church in North America has partnered with Buiten & Associates, LLC to create a National Insurance Program available to all CRC members in the United States. The purpose of this nationally endorsed relationship is to provide excellent property and liability insurance coverage with significant premium discounts for its members.

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For more information about Church Protection Plus, please click on the following link for a quote.

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Do you want to know more about Insurance Coverage for your church? Church Protection Plus offers more than "inside and out" coverage. 

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The following document explains the policy regarding Spouse Travel.  Learn how to disclose financial material related to the travel purpose and who is eligible to accommodate you for business travel purposes.

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The value of supporting documentation for financial transactions can be measured by the degree of objectivity with which such documentation was compiled.  For example, auditors rely on bank statements to confirm the accuracy bank holdings.  The following document show some definitions and a list...

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The purpose of this policy is to give some guidelines for use of spending Petty Cash funds, to assist the church secretary to monitor its use, to provide consistency in the use of Petty Cash for personal expenditures, and to provide a process to assure accountability of Petty Cash use.

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This Payment Request Form is an excel spreadsheet that simplifies requests.  We are providing a form that includes description, account, amount, and additional information that describe the business nature of the request.

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The purpose of this Expenditure Policy is to provide guidelines of how church funds are obligated and spent, to define accountability for spending church funds, and to develop a procedure for expenditure authorization and processing payments.  Learn more about the procedures and statements...

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The purpose of this Policy is to provide access to efficient and alternative means of payment for approved expenses, and to improve efficiency and reduce costs of payables processing.  Learn more about the procedure of this the Credit Card Policy.

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The purpose of the Benevolence Fund Policy is to provide financial assistance to both church members and members of the community who are experiencing difficulties meeting essential life needs such as: food, shelter, clothing, health care or other financial needs.  Click the document to learn...

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The Children's Ministry Volunteer Packet equips the volunteer with a better understanding of what is required of the ministry and what God teaches through His Word regarding children.  Learn more about qualities, characteristics, and teachings that guide the volunteer through the Children's ...

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The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. - Psalm 24:1. Christian stewardship begins with a solid understanding that the property we call our own is not ours at all, but God’s.

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Good stuff, Jim.  We use Dropbox.  At council meetings we project everything on the white wall.  At home, everything's just a few clicks away.

 

It has already been said that communication is imperative especially when the Council is segmented. I would like to share a simple "reporting" form that I have found effective and saves much time. Divide a sheet into three sections and use this one form for every group/committee/ministry team that reports to the Council. Question #1 is, "What are you doing (working on)? Question #2, "where are you going (planning for)? Question #3, "What do you need from us (how can we help you be more effective)? This report can be filled out as often as the Council meets (monthly or quarterly) and insures that each Council member is informed about all work being done in the church on a regular basis. It also means that the only reports which the Council needs to spend time on are the reports asking for Council action.
Blessings!

Glad you've joined and found it to be so helpful, Henry. Please help spread the word about The Network in your congregation. There's a lot of ministry know-how across the CRC and the more people we can get connecting with each other the better.

Mike,  Thank you for your comments.  They are helpful!  It is always interesting to have additional input from other interested parties, particularly when ideas are shared!  It can make for long meetings when done in a meeting format but, I just found this forum yesterday, and already I can truly say I love it! :)

Henry Dekker,

I am one of the pastors at a medium large congregation. I will add my two cents regarding practicalities to Henry DeMoor's comments (which are spot on).

Communication is very important. We currently use email to send the minutes of all committees, including the Pastoral Elders, Deacons, and an Executive Board, to all 'full' Council members. This is a gentle and regular reminder to all officebearers that they are accountable for all of the work of the congregation, not just their 'spiritual' work as you indicated concern about (though I would argue it's all spiritual...). Occasional reminders that any officebearer is welcome to attend an executive board meeting should a particular issue of concern be raised might be a good idea too.  

I would also add a concern about "lording it over" other officebearers. It is imperative that the Pastoral Elders, Deacons, and Executive be equal, parallel entities who are all accountable to the Full Council (the three together). If your executive "Council" has greater authority than the Pastoral Elders or Deacons (and especially the 'full' Council), that would be a significant issue of concern (and a violation of CO Art. 35 a).

This, however, doesn't need to require more, longer meetings. With good communication of all activities occurring in the congregation to all officebearers, each officebearer can digest these activities on their own time. When there are 'full' Council meetings (3 or 4 a year), it is only a matter of approving previous minutes and discussing any matters arising from those minutes. A complete re-hashing/re-decisioning process shouldn't be necessary except in only the rarest of situations. Hopefully this will help the officebearers focus on their particular duties while still being fully invested in the whole ministry of the congregation of which they govern on the Lord's behalf.

I hope this helps!

Henry De Moor;  Thank you so much for your very quick response!  Your comments are helpful in that you describe in detail the exact structure that we had more than 5 years ago (when I last served on our Church Council)!

However, I gather from your response that you are in essence telling us that our current structure appears not to conform completely to Article 35 of the Church Order.  I think we will need to review our situation again... but we are open to additional suggestions as, (unless we are unique in this regard) this must be an issue being faced by other large churches as well.

While your point about disenfranchised Elders and Deacons is a very valid one, there is also the other side of the coin where you can have Elders and/or Deacons who feel that attending additional meetings to deal with issues that are not of a 'spiritual' nature is not something that they can get very excited about and some may have no problem expressing their views in that regard!

Having said that, I do find a little nugget in your comment about communication... and specifically the available technology such as e-mail.  There may be a way to involve the 'Pastoral' members of Council (notice that I didn't draw a line through that one!) so that having (and attending) additional meetings can be minimized to deal only with those issues raised by 'Pastoral' Elders and Deacons as requiring additional discussion, or those issues that require the subsequent approval of the congregation as a whole.

Again... thank you for your insight!

Blessings,

H. Dekker

 

  

Henry,

Most large congregations that have a council as large as yours handle this matter by recognizing, first off, that all the ordained (ministers, elders, deacons) form the council of the church.  This is a creedal basis found in Article 30 of the Belgic Confession.  Next, if this council is too large and has long meetings, they often split up the elders by having administrative elders and pastoral elders, and the deacons by having administrative deacons and "pastoral" deacons who attend specifically to diaconal issues.  The administrative elders and deacons then gather to form an "Executive of Council," the pastoral elders meet as a consistory (Art. 35) and the "pastoral" deacons meet as a diaconate (Art. 35).  The Executive of Council meets monthly and takes care of routine responsibilities.  The full council meets only two or three or four times a year.  This is time for mutual censure. the broad vision of the congregation's ministry, the final adoption of the church budget that reflects that broad vision, and other matters of major concern like calling a minister, choosing new officebearers, etc.  The full council then often receives reports of the consistory and the diaconate.  This works well because the pastoral elders and "pastoral" deacons do not feel disenfranchised (they're in on full council meetings too and get to vote on major matters) and the administrative elders and deacons that form the Executive of Council have smaller meetings on a monthly basis.

I do not find this in conflict with Article 35 and Article 36 of the Church Order.  I am afraid that in the structure you mention there is an issue of disenfranchisement since pastoral elders and deacons don't vote on the annual budget etc.  I also think it is better to speak of Council and an Executive of Council rather than council with a line through it and council without a line through it. 

As for times of meeting, Article 36 says monthly but we have always interpreted that to mean that all these meetings should be held often enough to meet all the needs of the congregation and its governance.  There is some flexibility, but as long as an Executive, a consistory, and a diaconate meet monthly, it's fine if full council meets only three or four times a year.

The key, actually, to avoiding problems here is that there must be good communication all around.  And our current technological advances (group e-mails, etc) make that more possible than ever before.

I would make sure, again, that we follow the creedal impulse: all the ordained are the council.  It may then increase its efficiency through a structure such as I suggest above, and in practice your structure doesn't seem that far removed from what I propose.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.

The problem with this question is that it leads us in the wrong direction. It is easy to look at a church budget and find that 50, 60, or 75% or more of the budget is used to support staff and the remaining balance is "ministry". We need to see that a church's commitment to staff is often its commitment to ministry. Instead of looking, for example, at a full-time youth pastor and classifying him or her as "staff", designate that salary under "youth ministry" in the budget. It says that we care so much about our youth and the youth of the community that we've designated $x to it. In our church we have a full-time commissioned pastor whose roles involve in engaging the community, working with community youth, and being a chaplain to three local police agencies. It would be a disservice to her and her work simple to call the cost of having her as "staff expense". I consider 100% of her effort as missional, evangelism or outreach (you chose the right word). My role in the church is divided in a similar way. I can spent, for example, 30% of my time preparing for worship. That is not a staff cost; it is our commitment to worship. My time meeting with members in the hospital is our commitment to congregational care. And on you can go. Our budget simply tells us where our priorities are. We need to stop looking at the cost of the person and begin to see what he or she is doing. 

Based on casual surveys done by church administrators from various denominations, the personnel budget (salaries and benefits) is usually around 50% or slightly more of the total budget. The percentage can vary depending on whether the church is paying off debt or includes missionary support in their budget.  Church staff help accomplish ministries so sometimes it is helpful to see a draft of a budget where staff members' salaries and benefits are assigned to the different ministry areas.  Church staff are organizing, planning, leading, recruiting others, and doing ministry. 

Here's an interesting approach. An increasing number of Christian organizations are asking their staff to raise their own support. World Missions is almost there; it's at around 90 per cent, I believe. It's a way to determine whether one is indeed called to that ministry.

What if we used that same model at the congregational level. Want to serve on a church staff? Ask family and friends to support you financially and with prayer. Imagine establishing church budgets where almost all of the funds go to program or outreach ... apart from the physical operation of the church building!

Salaries take an incredible chunk out of a church's budget. Ministers in the Christian Reformed Church are envied by those in other denominations because they known for being among the top wage earners. The Presbyterian notion of a 'stipend' -- a living wage -- for pastors is something to be considered.

So, if you feel called to the ministry -- whether as an overseas missionary or as a local pastor -- have that sense of calling affirmed by asking members of the congregation -- face to face -- to support your salary through a regular donation ... apart from the church budget. It's bound to be a humbliny and revealing experience.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture of service and community within your church family.

posted in: No Janitor

To boost congregational meeting attendance, a few years ago we introduced a 'newspaper' theme where we asked each area of ministry to give us a:

- Headline (from the prior year)
- Forecast (for the next year, also written in a headline format)
- Help Wanted (volunteers or other support needed)

As we walk through each ministry/budget area, we show the Headline, Forecast, and Help Wanted on the screen. Because they're in headline format, it goes quickly. Some of them get really creative, or funny, or poignant. And all give a fun glimpse into what God's been doing among us. I'm not sure it's translated into higher attendance (yet) but it sure makes the meeting more interesting.

Hi Scott...

There is a caveat in Church Order, Article 37 which I had highlighted, i.e. "except in those matters stipulated otherwise in the articles of incorporation or by law." 

Congregational meetings that are called under Articles of Incorporation, in particular those dealing with financial matters fall under the caveat above and therefore authority rests with the quorum of the congregation at the meeting and not council.

 

Thanks Lubbert, for the quote of the new proposed Model Articles of Incorporation. 

In my previous church we did not have anything about a quorum in the articles of incorporation. Thus, because the CRC Church Order (also quoted by Lubbert) gives final authority to the council in all manners, a congregational meeting is technically advisory and a quorum is not needed. In my former church, and perhaps my present one as well, I have a hard time imagining anything motivating 50% of the confessing members to attend a congregational meeting. I think that's a sad commentary both on member commitment and on the fact that our congregational meetings are too frequently handled as business transactions rather than opportunities to reflect together on what God is calling our congregations to do for HIm. 

As I understand the situation, CRC congregational decisions are made by the consistory and congregational meetings are only advisory. That's how First Everett CRC (WA) functions.

Not certain that the comparison with school principals is strictly speaking a good example when looking at ministers versus the  administrative ED position. Many Christian school systems also have ED's that are being compensated for responsibilities greater than those of the school principal. 

If the argument is that pastors recruited for HQ administrative positions ought to be compensated based on what is being paid to those ministering in churches, it still begs the question of scope of responsibility and span of control. Secondly, pastoring a church is really not the same thing as being a school principal or school ED, let alone running the corporate entity that the CRCNA HQ in GR and Burlington has become.

The two things to take into consideration are Church Order, Article 37 and the church's articles of incorporation, i.e. the Constitution & Bylaws. In particular, Article 37 states "Although full consideration shall be given to the judgment expressed by the congregation, the authority for making and carrying out final decisions remains with the council as the governing body of the church, except in those matters stipulated otherwise in the articles of incorporation or by law." 

As an incorporated entity, the church's bylaws will usually specifiy what constitutes a quorum required to constitute a congregational meeting.  Best to check there first.

The new proposed Model Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws (Canada) released by the CRCNA states "Quorum at All Member Meetings. At each meeting of the Members a quorum shall be 50 percent of the Professing Members present in person or by such electronic means as is approved by the Council as deemed necessary to permit them to participate in the meeting. If a quorum is not present, the meeting shall be adjourned to a date and time set by the Chair."

The bar in your bylaws regarding a quorum may be set lower, or perhaps higher. In the case of the church I attend, the bylaws state "The professing members attending a general meeting, including the annual general meeting, shall constitute a quorum."

Thanks John and Sheri. There is a major opportunity in the ministers pension plan that needs to be attention but it will not come cheap. How would you like to join a pension scheme (let's use the CSI scheme) where your salary has deducted from it the annual value of mortgage and taxes payments?  In Canada some 80% of Pastors own their own home. The Clergy Allowance (which is strictly a tax ruling in Canada) is exactly 33.3% of  gross salary if you own a home. How does your salary survey work in that regard?  Do churches report gross salaries? Does the survey include questions on ownership? Our Pastor has all kinds of allowances (which are really part of his pay package) so if he does not claim the full amount of the allowance(s) we make a one time payment at the end of the year and that gets added to his salary. If you were to survey me and and ask about his salary I would give you the amount of his base salary because that is all I would know.   Let's say the Canadian Director of Ministries makes $125,000 and if he is an ordained Pastor, 1/3 ($41,625) of that is his Clergy Allowance if he owns his own home. But if he did not own his own home his Clergy Allowancw would be the rental value of a home in his market area which might be only $25,000 . That means his reported salary in one case would be 125,000 less 41,625 and in the other 125,000 less 25,000. How would a survey ever capture that? 

 

My simple solution is for the CRCNA, in Canada at least, to copy the CSI (Canada) pension plan and get out of the Housing Allowance calculation. As a general rule of thumb for me, Pastors' jobs have the equivalent  value of a High School principal of a school with about 300 students.

I suspect the higher priced senior positions in the CRCNA have a positive impact  (negative on cost) on average salaries. If the criteria for those jobs are "ordination" maybe we should "second" Pastors to those jobs for, say, 5 years and keep them at the same salary they were making in their congregations. The impacts would then be reversed! It does not make much sense to have a Parish Pastor double or triple his/her salary to move from Parish Pastor to HO at a position level 17+. How much money does the Pope make? His housing allowance has to be awesome, although I understand Francis has opted for a "humble" apartment.

Hi Ellen-

I'd be more than happy to take a look at your bulletin.  You can email it to me: jclark [at] crcna [dot] org.  

Jerod

Can I submit my bulletin for editing comments?  That would be a great resource to us as Secretaries!

I am always looking for a way to change up the bulletin so as to comminucate interest in ministries and list areas of where and how people can plug in. I'm the secretary at ACRC and see that times are changing. I look for new ways to be "user friendly". We try to keep in mind of how  a visitor might view the bulletin in that the info is for ALL.  We want to be about The Great Commission.  I use Cadet, GEMS, and JOY Club logo's when space permits. VBS logo's are always eye-catching. Graphics are great - when space permits. I've contacted sister churches and friends and asked them to send their bulletins on to me. It's exciting to see what other churches offer, how their bulletin is laid out, what ministries they have, how they promote their causes with what kind of fundraiser. I appreciate your tips; I try to highlight dates & times. I try to limit words. I put blurbs in date order. I try to keep font a readable size - not small and cramped. We're discussing a LARGE PRINT bulletin for Disability Awareness. Front screen announcements seem "busy" and "loud" to me. We have so many distractions nowadays, I think when you seat yourself, it's a time to gather yourself, calm yourself and prepare yourself for worship.  Lastly, I want to thank our congregation and all others in your church for the grace they have for the secretary when they find a typo! Even though I proofed it - along with another..the moment I sit in the pew, I open the bulletin and a typo is glaring at me!  I do not get offended if someone brings the type to my attention. Thanks to my Lord, Romans 3:23, He knows I'm human. Instead, I mark the change, drop my bulletin on my desk for reference and give the person "a Smartie candy". :) If I already caught the typo? No candy. But a good laugh is had by all. Hey, all, send me a copy of your church bulletin! I'd love to read it!  ACRC, 530 North Dale Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801

 

Meredith, I understand your point.  We just have a difference in opinion about what constitutes accusatory language.  

Thanks for sharing your concerns. I hear what you're saying. Hopefully we can move on and focus on tips for making bulletins the best they can be.  

 

Jerod, my goal here is then, to help you with the way you communicate. I have absolutely no issue with the suggestion that bulletins can and need to be improved. However, the way you worded your introduction to the topic made it personal. When you say, “not much thought goes into . . .” you are describing what you assume to be the attitude of the people who do that work. That’s personal. If I said, “Jarod, obviously you did not put much thought into the wording of your blog.” that would be a personal description of your attitude, i.e. a personal affront, an insult.  If I said, “Jared, your blog is a good idea but some of the words could be taken as a personal affront.” that would NOT be a description of your attitude, it would NOT be about you personally and so, NOT an insult. It would be a graceful way to begin talking about something that could be improved. Does that make it more clear for you?

That's a great strategy and a good filter.  Thanks for sharing.  

Meredith...it is certainly not my intention to put down anyones work.  My goal is to help people think more intentionally about communications.  How to strategically share information in the bulletin is one of the top issues I regularly talk with church leaders about because they're asking for help.

When ideas are brought up on how to improve the work we do in churches, it shouldn't be looked at as a personal attack. Saying a bulletin can be improved doesn't imply that the person currently putting it together is bad.  We all have room to grow and should be able to have reasonable conversations about how to be better share our message.  

How can you possibly think that it is OK to begin a discussion by vilifying someone else’ work? That would be like someone saying: “The blog topics on this CRC website are shallow, poorly conceived and impossible to navigate so let’s talk about how to create a good blog.” Where’s the grace in that?

Meredith, I assume you are speaking to the writer, Jerod, however you are incorrect. Many churches have a bulletin clerk who only types the announcements which are given to her/him. How often haven't you read an announcement something like this: "If you would like to included in the new small groups being set up, see Bill or Connie in the basement after the morning service." Only old time church members understand what to do and it is offensive to a first time visitor who automatically feels excluded. In too many church bulletins spelling and grammatical and punctuation mistakes are common...a poor reflection on the church. The point of this discussion is to encourage improvement.

As an employee of a Christian Reformed Church I certainly resent your comment that information in bulletins is presented "without too much thought into why it's there or how it's presented". I doubt there is a bulletin secretary in the CRC who does his/her work with that attitude. You owe all of them an apology!

The salary data for the FAS calculation is taken from the annual compensation survey of all ministers both in Canada and the US.  The survey requests salary information be split between the compensation providing for housing and other cash salary.  In this way, the value of the house, either a parsonage or pastor owned, is excluded from the FAS. 

John B my examples assumed the jobs I used would have been filled with ordained persons. I know non -ordained people do not qualify for the ministers pension plan.  From a pension risk management point of view, the source of the FAS calculation is important. I believe some 85% of Pastors in Canada have their own house so their cash salary includes the housing allowance. Is the housing allowance included in the FAS? Where churches supply a house the cash salary would normally be a lot lower.

The primary criteria we used for the church bulletin (or Worship Guide) as I prefer to call it, was, "can a visitor read it and completely understand it?" Today churches have several means of communicating information to it's members and all communications need to be carefully prepared because it reflects and impacts the church image. Any church that uses any of it's communication as "a dumping ground for information" is probably having other problems also.

There is a bigger question that has not been addressed.   Is the Director of Canadian Ministries an Ordained Minister of the Word.  Currently, our interim DCM is not.  Therefore, he is not eligible to participate in the Ministers Pension Plan, a defined benefit pension plan that comes with special life benefits as well as long-term disability coverage.  In addition, his benefit program does not provide a benefit for his life and potentially the life of his spouse no matter how long either lives.

 

 

Since the pension benefit calculation is based on the final average salary (FAS) of all ministers at the year of retirement, salary differences between one minister and another (f they retire at the same time, same number of years of service, and service in the same country) will not be a factor in the determination of pension.

Check out the Ministers' Pension website for additional information.  An example of the pension benefit calculation is included under the Canadian Plan Highlights and the U.S. Plan Highlights located in the right column on the front page.  Call the Ministers' Pension Office if you have additional questions!

 

My apologies for becoming inarticulate in my last two sentences in the previous post.

The second last sentence should have read "...putting them aside and adding the multipled savings to the CRCNA Pension, CPP/OAS, and/or Social Security payments on retirement."

On another matter, one needs to consider the scope of responsibility and span of control of the position when determining compensation. Making an assessment on pension payment allocation solely on job title is not helpful.

I see you have 2 threads going on this topic: <http://network.crcna.org/forums/synod/accountability-and-clarity-salary-...

The question of what party (church administers vs ministers) is compensated better, can come back potentially to bite the comparision group. At the end of the day the person in the pew can not come close to either party and ends up footing the bill. 

The following comes from <http://www.crcna.org/sites/default/files/CanadianPlanHighlights.pdf>.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

The Final Average Salary (FAS) is the average of cash salaries of ("ALL") CRC ministers serving in the three years before the calendar year in which the minister’s benefit amount is determined. A projected FAS is used for future estimate calculations.

The amount due to the retiree in most cases is the sum of the following:

·     1.1% multiplied by the FAS, then multiplied by a minister’s pensionable years of service before January 1, 1985.

·     1.46% multiplied by the FAS, then multiplied by a minister’s pensionable years of service from January 1, 1985 through December 31, 2010.

·     1.3% multiplied by the FAS, then multiplied by a minister’s pensionable years of service after December 31, 2010.

Example of pension benefit calculation

If a minister has 36.5 years of pensionable service at the time of his retirement (at age 66) on July 1, 2013, the normal benefit would be calculated as follows:

1.10% x $48,763 (FAS) x 8 years = $4,291.14

1.46% x $48,763 (FAS) x 26 years = $18,510.43

1.3% x $48,763 (FAS) x 2.5 years = $1,584.80

These total $24,386.38 per year or $2,032 (rounded) per month in Canadian funds.

++++++++++++++++++++++

In order to compare oranges with oranges, and not apples with oranges, one also needs to take into consideration several tax planning advantages available to ministers that may or may not be available to your comparator groups, and especially not the person in the pew.

1. Pension Plan remittance: 100% paid by the local church. The practice in the public / private sector is 50% employer paid and 50% employee paid, a pension plan is provide which in many cases it is not.

2. Housing allowance: $18,000 +/- can be written off as tax deductible item which is only available to ministers, but not their parshioners.

3. Extended Health & Dental Plan: Local church usually pays 100%, whereas in the public / private sector the employer / employee split tends to be 70%/30% or 80%/20%, if an EH&D plan is provided which is not always the case.

A good "steward" would take these saving over 36.5 years and put them aside over and add them CRCNA Pension to their CPP/OAS  and/or Social Security pension payments on retirement.

They would still be better of than most of their parshioners.

These are very common questions right now.  The media has created quite a buzz, and I think we're all experiencing some level of uncertainty with the changing health insurance market.  Rest assured that we are working very hard to offer you a competitve insurance package, and we welcome your questions at any time!

The retiree insurance rates will be mailed to your home this week.  The structure of your plan (deductible, copay, coinsurance) will not be changing for 2014.  While we do our best to negotiate a fair premium, we do experience rate increases from time to time.  The majority of the increase this year is due to new taxes and fees that are required under Health Care Reform.  

Remember that you are never "locked into" the plan offered by the denomination.  You're welcome to review other insurance plans to find the best fit for your needs.  Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15- December 7.

Nikki Huttenga

Benefits Manager

 

 

 

I was in the denom bldg yesterday and asked the same question about those of us retired and on Medicare Plus Blue.

Jeremy and Nikki there said there will be a substantial increase in our monthly payments.  They will be sending out a update communication "sooner rather than later."  There was more but I'll leave it to them so as to not mix up any information.

 

How does the Afforadable Care Act affect people on Medicare with a PPO?

 

Thanks,

Larry

This insurance change would be for those who are under 65 and not participants in Medicare.

Sheri, as a retired pastor with BCBS PPO PLUS does this change affect us? If so, in what ways? Do we have choices or are we good as we are? Thank you in advance.

Its a great reminder and should be something that happens more than during one month of the year.  I would also like to suggest that having "Staff Appreciation" may be more apropriate in a church with multiple staff.  In our church context where we have Pastors, Directors, Managers, and Coordinators, focusing attention on only our Pastors may not be the most helpful.  All of our staff are called to their positions, work hard, and are worthy of more encouragment than they usually receive! 

I'm no expert on these social login systems, but I believe they work by matching email addresses (as you mentioned). So they'll only work if you the church has an email on file for you, and it's the same email as your social login provider (e.g. Facebook, Gmail). So those are requirements, but ones that most members already meet.

As for your #3 (creating a fake social account to gain access to a church) that would be impossible because of email validation. As part of the account creation process on Facebook, for example, I need to verify that I am the rightful owner of that email address by clicking the verification link that's emailed to me. So I can't create a Facebook account using an email address that I don't own.

Social login is becoming very common, especially with tools like JanRain, Gigya, OneAll, etc. making it easier to implement. And I think it's as secure as your Gmail/Facebook account.

 

Hi Tim,

I'm the creator of Church Social, and the biggest challenge I see with social logins is tying their social account to an existing account within the church's database. What unique identifier would you use to make this connection? An email address seems like a logicial choice, but there are some challenges here:

1. What happens if no email address has been set for this member in the church administration software?
2. What happens if they use a different email address for their social account than what is set in the church administration software?
3. What's stopping somone from creating a fake social account, just to gain access to another members church account?

Typically social logins are used when an account does not yet exist. However, with church administration software an account must exist already since the memebrship information must be recorded whether a user chooses to login online or not.

With Church Social, the process goes like this:

1. Congregation is setup with an account
2. Adminstration imports member data (typically from an existing Access database or some other software)
3. Welcome emails are sent to member accounts that have an email address set already, allowing them to login immediately
4. A notice is posted in the bulletin that Sunday inviting members (who did not recieve a weclome email) to provide an email address
5. Adminstration updates accounts with new email addresses and sends subsequent welcome emails

This process works pretty well, although I will admit it does take a little effort when a congregation is first "getting going".

Does anyone know of a Church Management System that meets these criteria:

1. Web-based.
2. Allows members to log in (e.g. update profile, giving, email preferences, volunteer signup, etc).
3. Allows members to log in with existing Facebook/Gmail/etc accounts.

I've found a few that meet criteria 1 and 2, but none that meet criteria 3.

Without login via Facebook/Gmail/etc it seems like it would be hard to get members to actually use the system. Nobody wants another login/password to remember.

Any solutions you know of? Or am I making too much of that 3rd criteria?

I must admit to being seriously put off by the legalistic tone of using the amount of giving as a measurement of spiritual health. First, the government has usurped much of the function of the tithe, so a 6% contribution is more likely 26%. Second, assistance to needy parents and children is every bit as much of a contribution as clinking coins at the bottom of the collection plate. Third, contributions to GoodWill, Foodbanks and a thousand other charities are not easily measured. Fourth, is this a measurement of weekly giving divided by weekly income, monthly giving by monthly income, yearly giving by yearly income, or a lumpsum contribution at the end of a life?  Fifth, does building equity or a pool of working capital needed to sustain a small business constitute income? Sixth does income include interest accumulation in a 401k? Should that interest income be dribbled out or allowed to accumulate until retirement? Seventh, does providing for one's own retirement meet the criteria of giving to the needy? And finally, how should we quantify the giving of time?

As these questions illustrate, a simplistic and legalistic approach to the tithe hardly fits today's systems of financial management. Giving is the attitude and the obligation of every Christian (give as it has been given to you). In most cases, it does not fit a formula. Everything at all times belongs to our Lord and must be readily available to him. Any attempt to measure qualitative and quantitative giving is best left to him.

 

 

Thank you for posting this! Very encouraging to know where the CRC is doing well!

I agree with Mr. Wald.  The more you give, the more you are blessed!  Often if I see someone in need, I send them some cash through the mail, or if someone asks for a small loan, rather than be repaid, I ask them to do the same for someone else when they are able.   We need to remember its not our money...it's Gods' and he is lending it to us!!

If you're a Canadian wage earner (meaning you'll be paying income tax), the 10% is a very good place to START!  If my wife & I collectively earn $100K and give $10K to "Kingdom work" (via our church, our denominational ministries or our classis ministries), we'll only be out $5,050 (a bit over 5% of that $100K).  In Canada, once you've donated at least $200 in the year, you receive a tax credit (reducing your annual income tax) of up to 50% of whatever was donated to church and charity. That tax credit rate varies but , for those who pay income tax, the actual, out-of-pocket, "after-tax" cost of a $10K donation in Canada ranges from $5,050 to $5,993 

So, in our province, for those that pay tax, a tithe is actually 20%.  The net cost of a $20,000 donation, for a tax-paying Albertan, would be $10,050.00

In the last 50 years we have given 10% of our gross pay to the Church and other amounts to other community activities. It has never cost us anything. We recieve more than we we give. Old timers I have talked to say the same thing.  Young people say, "What goes around, comes around.
 

= )  thank You Lord..  that is a good "sign"...  and still room to grow...

can you imagine what the Church might look like when we bring in the full/whole tithe per Malachi 3?    somewhere it seems the tithe concept has been lost and merged into one general category of "giving" even though in the NT (Matt 23 and Luke 11) Jesus says to continue to tithe along with not neglecting mercy justice and faith... and Paul expands the giving in Corinthians.

my understanding is that with giving, there are sub categories: tithes, gifts and offerings and the tithe is to go where you worship and where you are trained and equipped for ministry (these could be any Godly teaching ministries, but generally will be your home church)  then gifts and offerings are over and above that to help others as led by the Spirit - Daring to Live on the Edge by Loren Cunningham (YWAM) is a great book on giving examples of this! 

When we bring in the full tithe, the church will be able to support missionaries, help care for the poor, the widows and orphans, bring justice to the community, and all the purposes God called the Church to fulfill, but somehow over time we have abdicated a lot to the gov't. for a number of reasons, including lack of resources.

Here is a favorite testimony that is shared in Daring to Live on the Edge (YWAM publishing, 1991, pp137-140)...

A missionary (in the 70's) is on one of the Marshall islands somewhere in the S. Pacific.  The Spirit had called him to build a Bible school there, but he had no resources... so he was moping about, when a local pastor asked him what was wrong?

He explained what God was calling him to do, and that he couldn't even get started because all he had was about $200 dollars, and that didn't even get him to the island of Guam, 1700 miles away, the nearest place to buy the bulding resources needed.  So his friend, said let's do this together and see how far the $200 gets us... so (against common sense ;) they got a flight with the money they had and that got them to another island about 400 miles away (Kwajalein Atoll - only thing there is a US Naval base).  They are sitting there sharing a meal with the last $1 they had between them, and the missionary is thinking "what have I done? I can't even get back home, etc. etc....." and his friend reassures him  "Don't worry! We're going to make it"  =)

Just then =), a Filipino man comes to them, and says "Brothers, and I know you are my brothers in the LORD... I've been up in my room praying. I'm from Manila (and shared he was with a large church there).... you don't know me and I don't know you, but God sent me down here to give you this."  and he placed a paper sack on the table between the 2, said "I love you both. God bless you!"  and walked out.

Inside the paper bag was $10,000 US dollars neatly stacked (remember this is the 1970's and that's a lot of money now, let alone 40 years ago) that the Filipino brother had saved up as he was working far from his church/country and he gave it to "strangers".  That was enough to get them to Guam, get cement, much of the lumber and roofing materials to get the school started.

This testimony is so amazing in so many ways.  Divine orchestration/Providence/timing/prayer/Spirit prompting/obedience multiple times over/faith/trust -  God orchestrated getting these 2 to probably the only island in the world where someone had $10,000 saved up to give away, and that this person was praying as they arrived and open to and trusting the Spirit's leading and obeyed God without hesitation. 

The question I ask myself is 1) would i have even left the island in the first place against common sense and 2) would i have saved up that money, been in prayer and sensed and obeyed the prompting of the Spirit to give it to strangers without hesitating?

We can rationalize why this is an unusual once in a lifetime scenario, that these types of testimonies are rare, maybe even say that they it wasn't wise at all to even have left, but there are many testimonies of this nature and magnitude, and many, many more waiting for our obedience, our sensitivity to the Spirit's leading/prompting through time spent with Him, so that the Lord can orchestrate His Divine convergence for His glory and His Kingdom's good.

His ways/thoughts are as high as the heavens about our ways/thoughts...  for the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom...  can't wait to get to the "full" tithe =)  haha, makes no sense with man's rational sense at all and some might say irrational!!  Nope, it's Super rational

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