Understanding tax guidelines for nonprofits and faith-based organizations can sometimes be complicated. That’s why we feel it is necessary to provide as many resources as possible.
The California State Board of Equalization and Cal State Fullerton are partnering to host a free tax seminar for nonprofit and faith-based organizations on July 12, 2011.
For more information and to register, click here.
If your church is growing—and growing—you are probably headed in one of two directions: Embracing the “small church” to “big church” culture change, or starting a church plant.
Jackie Vance, CFO at Harbor Church in San Diego (with eight church plants), talked about some of the challenges church plants face in last month’s post Managing the Money and Other Realities of a Multi-Site Church. I asked Jackie about the perks of a multi-site approach, and why Harbor Church was intentional from the beginning about growing in this way. Here’s what she said:
- Multi-sites allow for each offshoot to meet the unique needs of their community, opening up more ministry opportunities. For Harbor, this means that Sunday mornings are not the same for each site. They are contextualized for their communities, with the overall message of preaching the gospel.
- Church plants offer a team ministry approach, allowing each plant to focus on the areas of giftedness within their teaching and staff members. And while each site has its own pastor, there is always a readily available pulpit supply. Harbor has also discovered that younger people in the church value the concept of a team ministry, so church plants are attractive to them.
- Because Harbor has a Church Planting Center (overseeing all of the plants), there is a big emphasis on training and nurturing the pastors, staff, and even their spouses. Through the Center, they are offered training and mentoring, along with a monthly church planting meeting (open to other church planters in the community too), and retreats several times a year. Spouses have their own meetings and mentoring opportunities, specific to their unique roles.
- Ultimately, multi-sites offer large churches a “small church feel.”
Is your church considering a church plant? What are the benefits you see?
Ministry organizations, including churches as well as missionaries, are required to report foreign accounts with aggregate balances that exceed $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to the Treasury Department by June 30. If you read my post several months ago, I wrote about this reporting requirement in detail.
Churches, which are not required to file IRS Form 990, are even required to report. So don’t think that because they are not required to file a tax return, they are exempt. And even if a ministry or missionary obtains a tax-filing extension, they are still required to file by June 30. The reason is that this reporting is not considered a part of a tax report or return.
For a useful flyer for missionary staff, see Publication 4261. Treasury Department Form TD F 90-22.1 is used for filing. For complete information on this topic, visit the IRS website.
I know it seems like we keep talking about fraud in the church. You’re probably thinking, “Can we move on to something more…positive?” Well, addressing fraud in the church, while never fun, is beneficial.
Vonna Laue of CapinCrouse LLP just blogged “The Top Three Reasons Fraud Happens in the Church.” She credits lack of segregation of duties, misplaced trust, and rapid change as catalysts for fraud.
Laue states, “Trust is not a sufficient strategy for protecting the church’s assets.”
Do any of these reasons surprise you? What best practices do you have in place at your ministry to prevent fraud?
The existence of evil and suffering are, without question, the most common reason people claim not to believe in God, or at least in a loving, just, and personal God. As one commentator says, “It is not merely a problem, it is the problem.” And John Stott reported, “The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith…”
We sure see enough evil and suffering. Tornadoes, floods and fires in recent weeks alone have caused—and are still causing—untold grief and misery. And we all know someone, perhaps it’s even you, whose personal world is broken, shattered.
How we view God, especially in times of great trials and disappointment, is central to our faith and enables our endurance. It is our view of God that determines how we respond to suffering. Do we believe He is loving, just, faithful, merciful, caring, engaged, and in control? Most importantly, does He really work all things for good?
So, how do we walk worthy when our world is broken?
- It’s okay to cry out to the Lord. The psalmist says in Psalm 10:1 “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
- We can still choose to trust Him. Even in the worst of suffering Job could say, “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” As her dear husband was losing his battle with cancer, my sister Ginny would whisper to him, “Remember, we are broken, God is not.”
- Choose to believe God; He works all things for good. Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
My encouragement to you today: Whatever your circumstances, fix your eyes on Him. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (fixed) on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3 NASB)