Using Turbo Tax, my housing allowance is placed on line 53 (form 1040) as a tax credit. A year ago, a tax preparer put it on line 21 as negative income (less $xxxx). Which is correct?
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March 31, 2012
March 28, 2012
Lately, doing some appreciative inquiry interviews in the congregation I'm serving, when it came to the question of what makes worship valuable and what is important in it, I heard people instintictively and happily respond with the Reformed shibboleth-cliché answer "of course, the Preaching of the Word is very important." I encountered this years ago at a Classis round table in Canada as well. When I appreciatively inquire about how they know when the preaching of the Word has happened, I very often get a look of deer caught in the headlights, or an answer like "Well, I know it when I hear...
March 8, 2012
The fifth bullet of the second point in the Belhar states: "that this unity can be established only in freedom and not under constraint;" I am wondering from a theological viewpoint whether this statement is Biblical? It seems to say that God cannot unify under constraint? Or maybe it is we humans who cannot unify under constraint? In either case it seems to me that we are limiting God, either working through His people to unify or directly himself. What am I missing? I think I would be OK if the phrasing said that we must strive to establish this unity in freedom and not under constraint,...
March 1, 2012
Any ideas? Our church has paid off our mortgage--yay! They've asked the youth group to come up with a creative (symbolic) way to destroy the mortgage letter at a celebration this Sunday. I missed my opportunity to survey the YG and wonder if anyone has some great ideas on how to do this? We'll be in the Fellowship Hall after the service (indoors)... Burning was suggested--not sure what that would look like. Any ideas?
February 17, 2012
I recently discovered that the local Rotary Club in extremely influential in my community for networking and developing support for ministry and local projects. I've also been encountered with the possibility of being welcomed in as a member since in many ways I'm the "CEO" type figure of a local non-profit organization, our fledgling church plant. I know our stance regarding lodge membership, but I've never heard anything specifically about the Rotary. If I were to be offered membership into the Rotary, would I be crossing a line that has been historically seen as off-limits or a violation...
February 8, 2012
Our council is creating a council appreniceship program for mature teenagers to serve on council as either apprentice deacons or apprentice administrative elders. I'm looking for wisdom in strucutring and developing this program - have any other CRC congregations tried this? What guidelines were in place? How did things work out? Thanks!
February 7, 2012
Has anyone used this version of Christianity Explored? We are using it for the first time at Fleetwood CRC in Surrey and are having a great time with it. Session 3 is tonight. Seven people are coming from all over the world--Burma, China, Nepal, Taiwan, Cambodia. Some of them are opening the Bible for the first time. Any advice to give us?
January 20, 2012
I just a got question from a co-worker who is assisting a church in Colorado. Can you provide a recommendation for retreat speakers or facilitators? They would rather get a recommendation from another church than dive into the process blindly when they plan their next retreat. Can you help?
January 19, 2012
I am helping Second Byron CRC emerge from a period of controversy. The council believes it will profit from talking in depth to persons who are leaving the congregation for other churches, and would like to conduct exit interviews in order to find out more about areas of church life they need to improve on. The council would like its district elder and deacon do this interview, but would like to offer guidelines, a set of questions that would allow for a deeper conversation.
January 19, 2012
I haven't found a clear articulation of the following on the CRCNA or Network website. When Synod approves the Ministry Share assessment in June 2011, is the assessment and/or related budget for 2012 based on the active professing members over 18 count as of August 31, 2010 - or August 31, 2011? Timeline: August 31 2010: Submission of Yearbook counts by local congregations January 1, 2011: Ministry Shares approved at Synod 2010 implemented September 2010 - May 2011: CRCNA Ministry agencies sets budgets and BOT arrives at a proposed Ministry Share assessment per active professing member over...
December 29, 2011
Our church has just hired a part time ministry coordinator for small groups. We want to equip her as well as possible and have some ideas about training but wonder if there are good ideas out there. What should be on our list of things to have her experience and learn and participate in as she acclimates to the work? Courses? Seminars? Conferences? Thanks! Dave Den Haan
December 8, 2011
To do a proper evaluation of a Pastor we need to be clear what his/her responsibilities and job functions and (our) expectations really are. I guess I could look at ads in the Banner for Pastors but not sure they reflect what I am looking for.
December 2, 2011
Okay, so this might be an odd question, and part of it is to see if I'm not the only one: Do you have certain music that helps you write sermons and prep them? I use the term sermonating for writing sermons and give credit for that to Doug Vande Kamp. This seems a bit weird, but to be honest, professional atheletes have been doing it for a long time. And when exercising, I know a ton of people who have their own playlist just for that. I tend to listen to Celtic music while doing my research for sermons. I listen to a variety of rock when writing sermons and listen to worship music when doing...
My wife's small group is finishing up the first study book of "The Gospel of Mark" and they will need the next set of books to continue on. I tried to find where I can order these on this website but to no avail. Please direct me to where these can be ordered. Thanks, Neil.
November 22, 2011
It is mid-November, and your church is experiencing a significant shortfall to its budget. How can you make the urgency clear to the congregation, and also point out membership obligations?
November 15, 2011
Maybe this topic is a little too painful for some but I am hoping there is some healthy comments and advise we can share with one another. Some of you have experienced the pain of Article 17. Maybe it wasn't even painful for you? Some of you found great ways to heal and grow others are still in that process. I'm wodering if those who are well along in their healing might share what you found helpful or not so helpful. Please no grinding axes though.
November 10, 2011
Let's face it, having a child with a disability affects the whole family. As parents, we legitimately need to give extra time and attention to a child who struggles with physical, intellectual, or emotional challenges. What are some ways you've dealt with resentment from your other children for the amount of attention your special needs child is given? I would love to hear not only from families whose children are still at home, but also from families whose children are grown. Parents of adult children with disabilities still continue to give them a large percentage of their time - especially...
November 2, 2011
We have an abuse prevention policy at our church, but are realizing that we probably need to add something regarding how we, as a church and specifically youth leaders, use social media in our interactions with our youth. Does anyone out there have a policy regarding this that you can send us and we can use as a whole, or at least springboard from it?
November 1, 2011
Our church is gathering together years of of old policy statements and council decisions in order to produce a policy manual that works. But we're working in a vacuum. We'd really like like to see the manuals some other churches have put together. Will you send me a copy of yours? Hard or electronic? And/or, can you share with this list some good insights you may have about such policy manuals? Thanks
October 26, 2011
I am looking for a good sample policy for church volunteers that will set lifestyle and behavioral standards for our church ministries. Some things that I would want to include would be: membership in the church and active involvement in worship, moral standards, commitment to healthy communication, agreement to background checks, etc. Does anyone have a good sample policy listing the standards and expectations for ministry volunteers? Many thanks in advance.