The office of Church Administration exists to help church leaders be faithful stewards of church resources.
Q: I heard churches can no longer use Premium Reimbursement Plans for employee health insurance. What does this mean?
A: For many years, churches have been able to directly pay for, or reimburse ministers and other church employees for, the premiums of health insurance policies purchased by the employee without the employee being taxed. As a result of regulations governing the Affordable Care Act ( ACA), this will – in most cases – no longer be allowed effective July 1, 2015.
If you allow this practice (called Premium Reimbursement Plans) to continue after June 30, your church could be subject to a penalty under the ACA of $100.00 per day per participating employee. That could add up to an annual maximum penalty of $36,500.00 a year per participating employee!
That’s the bad news. But there are some clarifications and suggestions on ways to deal with this new provision of the law so that you can avoid the penalties and still maintain the health care coverage that you want to provide for your employees. Please read the blog by Rollie Richmond and Jim Reed for additional help.
A: (Note: This information is not to be considered legal advice, as your church should consult with its own attorney.) If your church chooses to adopt provisions related to same-sex marriage, the best location for them may be in the “Statement of Religious Beliefs” section of the bylaws. The following is only suggested language and each church is encouraged to amend or edit the provisions to reflect the position of your church. It is critical that any language your church includes in the bylaws is enforced uniformly.
Suggested sample bylaw language:
Marriage – Marriage is a biblical institution established by God as described by Scripture. We believe biblical marriage can only occur between one man and one woman. This church recognizes that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment. Accordingly, this church’s pastors and staff will not officiate in same-sex unions or same-sex marriages, nor will its property or resources be used for such purposes.
Human Sexuality – The Bible teaches that legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage between a man and woman. Hence, this Church opposes all forms of sexual immorality, including premarital sex, extramarital behavior, homosexual behavior, and pornography.
Please review our guideline for preparing your church for other aspects your church should consider.
Remember that bylaw language defining marriage in the biblical sense doesn’t mean that the church is immune from a lawsuit or complaint, but it reduces the likelihood of a lawsuit or complaint and places the church in a much better legal position should a lawsuit be filed.
A: For a list of sample job descriptions, click here.
A: For a list of sample job descriptions of common church committees, click here.
A: Salary surveys are published regularly. However, there is much more to the stewardship of staff compensation than determining a reasonable amount. Personnel committees should take the time necessary to find out how to best take care of the interests of both staff and church before setting compensation, regardless of church size or the number of staff. Here are four good resources for your committee
- Guidestone Financial Resources has a webpage with resources for “Designing an employee benefits package“. There you will also find their “Compensation Survey results“ compiled in cooperation with LifeWay Christian Resources. (NOTE: This survey may not have a large enough sample size for some staff positions to be judged fairly.)
- The Church Network (formerly National Association of Church Business Administrators) also publishes a highly regarded ministry salaries survey which typically has a much larger sample.
- The Church Law & Tax website also provides helpful resources for planning staff compensation, including a Compensation Handbook for Church Staff.
- Larger churches may find the Leadership Network salary report helpful.
A: Yes, churches must comply with FLSA, and yes, there is a ministerial exception. This exception exempts anyone who performs ministerial type duties for the church.
A: There are benefits to a church being incorporated. However, some of the legal protection once given only to corporations now extends to unincorporated entities as well. Starting in 2006, the Texas Business Organizations code included Chapter 252 which covers unincorporated non-profit associations.
The goal of the law is to provide some of the same legal protections enjoyed by corporations to unincorporated nonprofits. This means that even if your church remains unincorporated it should be able to own, transfer, and sell property. It also means that the church can sue and be sued and that in most instances individual church members won’t be legally liable for the actions of the church.
A common argument from those opposed to church incorporation is that being recognized by the State creates entanglement with the State. The truth is that unincorporated churches are already subject to state regulation regardless of whether they choose to incorporate. Section 252.010 requires all unincorporated nonprofit associations to keep books and records that are available to the association’s members and also to the Texas Attorney General.
While Chapter 252 is intended to protect churches that choose not to incorporate, the law is relatively new and there is not much Court precedent applying the law. Incorporated churches are on more certain legal footing.
Additionally, many outside organizations (including financial institutions) prefer to deal with corporations and not with nonprofit associations.
Check below for helpful resources in the areas of personnel, properties, risk management, communications & technology and volunteers.
The purpose of the Annual Church Profile (ACP) is to enable your church to examine its progress of ministry and growth. As you cooperatively share this information, associations, state conventions and Baptist agencies are better able to assist your congregation in all areas of church life. Trends can be established and new ways to minister to churches can be researched
Church finances assists churches in addressing the principles of Biblical stewardship with the emphasis of achieving the ministry goals and objectives God has placed before you. We assist individuals and congregations to be faithful stewards of God’s resources in the task of Christian stewardship.
Churches face a variety of issues that are unique to the context of a house of worship. From child safety concerns, to property issues, employment issues, church governance and many other issues, churches are faced with a broad array of legal problems. We are dedicated to helping pastors, church administrators, lay leaders and others learn how to improve the legal health of their church.