Resource, Policy or Guidelines

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

August 19, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The following link redirects you to the IRS Publications. 

August 19, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 19, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

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

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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...

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

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

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

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

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

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

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
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.

August 18, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

This form is used to verify the authorized employment and identity of hired individuals for employment in the United States.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

This form is a Pre-Employment Questionnaire.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

A reimbursement or allowance arrangement is a system by which you substantiate and pay the advances, reimbursements, and charges for your employee's business expenses.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

This is an expense form for reimbursement of travel-related expenses. The summary covers certain expenses and provides an automatic calculation to suggest the reimbursement amount.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

The wages scale is based on a number of criteria. This excel spreadsheet (which is a sample from a church) will help you distinguish salary grades based on that criteria.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

Merit pay is based on past performances which is then added to the employee as permanent pay.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Merit pay is based on past performances which is then added to the employee as permanent pay.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The job level criteria identifies three different levels of ministry coordinators. These coordinators are responsible for various matters and are allocated a specified budget amount.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

This excel spreadsheet calculates the compensation of the Pastor.

August 11, 2014 0 2 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

The CRCNA has defined benefit pension plans for ordained clergy serving in the United States and Canada.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

This sample policy covers short term salary conditions for employees who work 30 hours or more per week.

August 11, 2014 0 0 comments



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. 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.



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?



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.

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!




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



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.

As some one who was recently visiting a larger church with keyless entry this is how you set somthing up.  You can put these devices outside the door that you carry a card with you and you swip it to gain entry, that way if you only want that person to be able to go in that door, and none other you give them that card. You can also code said card to allow acces to one or more of these readers, as far as I know.  It's similar to the system in a hospital or office, where one person can have an "All acess" Id card allowing them into any locked room in the building, but where some one in a lower position, might only have access to a staff lounge, and a office area or a closet or two.   Also anouther side bar, in a hospital they are also used to get the staff onto floors faster that might be "Un athorized" to every one else (IE crittical care)  with out going through tons of hallways past security/ staff every time, or surgery wards.  Also I even saw a system used so a Robot could Go from a surgery suite to a lab by going through automatic doors that required access badge, calling an elivator, getting on it, and takeing it to the next level, and getting off, opening more doors, and finally stoping in the lab.


That way preventing even the possibility of a "Leaked" code.  Ive seen this used in a church, hospitals, in a parking lot (To open the gate) and in an office type building.  In an office building it was usued to acces a floor that was restricted to the elivator, unless you had the key card, and were rideing it, and then got off onto the floor, where you would get the key to unlock elivator acess to your floor.  There cool systems.


Heres a link to what it might look like


Heres a link that shows the robot I mentioned:

Downside to a keyless entry system - it's much harder to control who has access.  For example, our church allows access once a week for men's pickup basketball.  But, we have had problems with the four digit code getting around and some of those people and others who began to use the gym whenever they want to play.  Then lights sometimes get left on, or the door gets left unlocked at the end of the night.  Also, for insurance purposes we aren't covered should somebody get hurt and decide to sue us.

It's hard to walk the fine line between keeping an open welcoming environment and having control over who has access to the church.

There's a website that is recommended for churches that face these types of issues that can be found here This information is about the tax implications and guidelines.

And how you find it ?

Is it ok for a church council (Elder) to direct a "governing council/governing board" of a church that is made up of 5 elders and 2 deacons with the task of church vision and direction?

The denomination used to have a form to track ALL changes to membership through out the year.  When they stopped providing this form we created an Excel spreadsheet with seperate tabs for each area needed for the yearly Year Book questionaire.  Our membership secretary then records births, adoptions, baptisms, dedications, professions of faith, new members, marriages, transfers out, lapses and deaths.  Births do not need to be submitted to the demonmination but it helps our pastor track who to contact regarding upcoming baptism Sundays.  We also note if a transfer out is to another CRC/RCA as this is a question on the Year Book questionaire.

Roland if you wish you can clck the "Contact" link below Liz's profile picture to send here a private message and include your e-mail address.




We have one for a full time church administrator.  What's your email so that I can send it to you?


A sample church administrator job description is available under Church Administration and Finance Tools along with several other resource materials for churches. Check out the section Employment Issues/Job Descriptions.

I've been reading the comments regarding church record documentation.  We have a few that are computer guru's but for many that at some point now or in the future may need to use this program we are looking for a program which seems to be fairly user friendly and yet allow us to keep good records.

FYI, a church staff person saw this post and ran it as an announcement in the bulletin.  As a result three households took up the opportunity!

What a great idea! I think the CRC is already doing this... Take a look at Denver, CO... Volunteers in Action has a long-time, passionate director that is a deaconal coordinator... Be in touch with Donn Hansum to see how this works for the Denver churches to reach out to the city... Shalom!

Here's the Chairman Job Description we use:

Chairman’s Job description

 The chairman’s primary job is to advance the Kingdom of God through the promotion and  advancement of the Vision and Mission of 2nd Church.

The council shall elect a chairman to organize and run council and the elders’ meetings, and to communicate these groups’ decisions to the church at members' meetings.


 The chairman must keep in mind the following principles:

Prayer it the most important part of every meeting

The Spirit will lead – be attentive and patient

Grace and Truth must be kept in balance

God has blessed the members with a diversity of gifts

Appropriate transparency and confidentiality are essential


            As the leader he must model and promote a culture of:





                        Use of gifts and callings



                        Open, frank and fair discussion


            As a servant he should:

                        Be aware of physical dynamics – seating arrangement, space and time

                        Build ‘community’ in the group – have a sharing time in the meeting

                        Be aware of non-verbal communication and mood

                        Be an active listener

                        Affirm and encourage each member – assign appropriate jobs

                        Find a way to include a “Worship Time”

                        Celebrate – acknowledge the work of the Spirit


The chairman should be a gifted administrator and strong leader able to run an orderly and timely meeting. He does not "steamroll" the members to achieve the agenda, but neither does he allow individual members to hijack the meeting and lead it down rabbit trails. The chairman should be sensitive to the fatigue level of the members and not drag the meetings beyond what is productive.


In the days leading up to the elders' and council meetings, the chairman should facilitate the process of drawing up the agenda. He should do this with the pastor, clerk and deacon chairman by group e-mails or a planning meeting. The content of meetings should comprise these four main headings: shepherding, prayer, discernment, and ministry management.


“A great leader is seen as a servant first – a group will freely respond only to an individual who is chosen as leader because they are proven and trusted as a servant.” (Servant Leadership, John Greenleaf)

To place a $100 million worth of Bonds would have taken some doing and lots of fees.  How are these secured? How were interest rates set and were futures involved in hedging the rates? Depending on the timing this process could have resulted in steep losses. The fact that Calvin undertook a $100 million worth of building projects is quite suprising but I suspect it's over a number of years.I do not need answers to these questions but am a bit nervous about $100 million in debt.

If there have been "misstatement" of facts can we please have those corrected so we have the real story.

The financial issues facing Calvin College have be the cause for many misstatements of fact that make the situation look like a "fiasco" compared to the actual issue.

Calvin College does have over $100 million in debt that was related to the significant construction program they undertook over the last few years.  What comes due in 2017, however, is not the full $100 million plus, but simply a scheduled payment on the debt.

The Christian Reformed Church Investment Policy is fairly conservative, but has nothing to do with Calvin College's decision to follow common practice and fund construction with low-cost bonds.

Or, next symbol... a squirrel in a small wheelchair following the racing wheelchair.... 

Speaking of humor, a colleague mentioned to me today about the new symbol (isn't it great that people are talking about it?!) that the symbol would have even more impact if there were a road kill squirrel behind the wheelchair user who (by mistake of course) killed the squirrel as the user raced along in that chair!

I don't mind either symbol, but in the light hearted interest of seeing the humorous side of things, I hope when people see the new symbol they do not automatically assume that the facility is providing a place for wheelchair basketball.  :) 

1.  New Symbol is Way Cool !!!   Amazing how much more positive it makes me feel.

2.  Regarding the terminology; handicapped vs disabled.  Frankly After chasing the latest "acceptable" terminolgy for decades, from political views, to race to physical abilities (or lack thereof), etc.,  I'm getting tired of doing it.  Just wait long enough and the new terms will no longer be acceptable.  I.e. the new acceptable will eventually become the old offensive.  I'm tired of chasing the proverbial tail on the latest "politically correct" terminology.  Maybe people need to lighten up a bit.  I too have "handicaps," "disabilities," "incapacities," "afflictions," "limitations,"impediments," "shortcomings,"incompetencies," "weaknesses," "inadequacies," "disqualifications," "frailties," "debilities," "lassitudes," etc., etc, etc.  But frankly, there are more important things for me to focus on and rejoice in -- "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  Phil. 4:8


Very cool new symbol, and thoughtful reasoning.

John, absolutely, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But the question of what heaven will be like raises a lot of questions for people. You might want to check out the blogs I wrote: Will People Have Disabilities in the New Heavens and Earth: Part 1 and Part 2. Also, part 1 was posted on Think Christian. I give all these links because the comments are very interesting!

Well yes, Mark, but disability, disease, poor eyesight, weeds, is all a result of sin, of our sinful condition, of the curse brought on this world by sin.   It is not caused by a particular sin.  But no one is immune.  It's only a matter of degree, of our perception.    It is our inability to pay for our own sin that makes us unable to make our own path straight and smooth.   We cannot open the door ourselves;  we are told to knock, and the door will be opened, by Christ.  Seeing and knowing this puts any disability we have, into a better perspective.   As painful as it may be, the inability to walk is a very small disability, compared to the inability to enter heaven under our own power.   It is a small inability, compared to the inability to recognize Jesus as our Saviour and Lord.  This is a great truth! 

Yes, we have no ability on our own to earn our way into God's favor, and one could call that our greatest disability, shared by all humankind. However, I don't every use the term "disabilty" to describe our sin for a reason. Many people with disabilities have been rubbed raw by the association many people make between their disabilty and human sinfulness. Sometimes the connection is very direct. For example, one time a woman told me that my daughter lives with severe, multiple disabilities because my wife and I don't have enough faith that God can cure her of these disabilities. Besides this painfully common accusation, many people with disabilities are told or assumed to have done something really bad to deserve the disability they live with. In fact, the word "monster" (which comes from the Latin verb "monere" which means "to warn") first was used to refer to people with visible disabilities. They were warnings to the rest of society that if you violate the will of the gods, you will experience their wrath.

I'm sure that you had none of this in mind in what you wrote, but for these reasons I prefer never to associate "disability" with sin.

John, thanks for your note. Many people (I WAS among them) say that "handicap" should be avoided because it comes from an old British term for beggars who approached people with cap in hand. I learned recently from Snopes, that this etymology of "handicap" is incorrect. Some people distinguish "handicap" from "disability" by saying that "handicap" describes environmental and attitudinal barriers that keep people with disabilities from fully participating in society, while "disability" describes a functional limitation that someone lives with due to a intellectual, emotional, physical, or sensory impairment. Nearly all the literature I read that has come out in the last 10 years, writers eschew the word "handicap", but I'm not really sure why. Yes, the word "disability" may fall into disfavor someday too, but right now it is the most common term.

Just a little spiritual thought.  Do you realize, that when it comes to entering heaven, to being with Christ, every single one of us is "disabled"?  For everyone of us, the step is too high, the doors are too heavy, the doors open the wrong way, and we need help, the help of Jesus, to open the door, make the crooked path straight.  When it comes to that, everyone single one of us is handicapped and disabled.  Praise the Lord for his Love!! 

I love the way you always manage to find new topics Mark, in your perpetual quest for more understanding of those needing a little extra help.   The last sentence in your post made me wonder,...  why is "handicapped" less acceptable than "disabled".  It would seem that having a limit or "cap" on our handiness, might be less demeaning than being "dis" or "un" abled.   Perhaps it is not good to get too hung up on it.   But I am curious why one and not the other.   Will disabled eventually receive some of the same undesireable connotations, and will we have to change that term in the future?   Maybe the best term is wheelchair access.  This would be good for anyone who needs a smooth gradual surface.  Anyway, I appreciate your concerns.   Having had some recent surgery, I had problems and great discomfort with steps for a couple days.   For a few days I was looking for elevators, even though normally I don't use them unless forced, or more than three floors.  Now I'm not allowed to lift much weight for the next few weeks.  So there was, and still is a cap on my handiness. 

Hello everyone!

I'm also a little late to this discussion, but I wanted to mention another product that is very relevant to the topic. I have personally been involved in the development of a new, unique web app designed specifically for Reformed churches. It is called Church Social ( 

This software is just becoming available, and we have about 10 Canadian and United Reformed Churches already using it. Here is a brief introduction, please let me know if you have any questions!

Church Social aims to help Reformed congregations in three main ways:

1. Membership Management

Church Social makes tracking your membership information a simple task. No more struggling with Excel or an old database, just enter your data and watch the software automatically generate detailed member statistics.

Church Social tracks members, families, wards, office bearers, birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, communicant members and much more.

2. Member Communication

Church Social creates a secure, private online member community for your congregation. Members can login and access your member photo directory, a birthday/anniversary/events calendar, a bulletin archive, schedules, photo galleries, and more.

There is also an bulk email tool that allows members to send messages to other members in the congregation, specific wards or custom groups (like bible studies).

3. Public Websites

Finally, Church Social offers beautifully designed church websites are easy to keep up-to-date. Share the responsibility of editing your website with other members—no more relying on one web developer to make all the site changes.

Also, all our of website are "responsive", meaning that they work great on phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers.

This article was awesome. I hope this gets in the hands of congregation members. I have talked to many pastors who have had times of weeping because all they hear is criticism. Some pastors go through long spells of no appreciation shown. Unfortuantely, many pators are "expendable" to them--if they don't like somethign, they can be run out of town and treated like garbage.

Here are some stats that Thabiti Anyabwile cites from The Schaeffer Institute in an article he writes called "Don't Make Your Pastor a Statistic." I hope the stats are better for our denomination.

Health and Well-Being

  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if
    they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Marriage and Family

  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.

Church Relationships

  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend


  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
  • 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form