An upcoming “lunch-and-learn” event with the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) offers church business administrators and financial decision makers a valuable learning and networking opportunity.
In addition to a complimentary lunch and time to network with ministry peers, you’ll hear the latest church legal and tax updates from attorney and CPA Frank Sommerville, one of the nation’s top experts on non-profit tax and legal issues.
This event is scheduled for Thursday, March 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Mariners Church in Irvine, California (5001 Newport Coast Drive).
Space is limited. Reserve your spot by emailing Michael Welles at email@example.com. To learn more, visit www.eccu.org/oc-nacba-lunch.
With political candidates now campaigning in earnest and ballot propositions being developed, churches once again face the tension of whether or how to address political issues. In this context, Richard Hammar’s recent brief article titled “The Value of Tax-Exempt Status” in online ChurchLawandTax.com is worth reading.
Hammar, a leading specialist in legal and tax issues affecting churches, lists 13 consequences of churches that lose their tax-exempt status. Among them: “Donors no longer could deduct charitable contributions they make to the church.”
How does your church work through questions of whether or how to become politically active?
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?
When I called up Jackie Vance, Chief Financial Officer of Harbor Church in San Diego, to ask her about multi-site churches, I told her I was just a beginner on the subject. “Don’t worry,” she replied, “Most people don’t know much about church plants, including those planting them!”
But if anyone knows the ins and outs of multi-sites, it’s Jackie. Harbor Church has eight church plants, with one more coming this year.
If your church is in the beginning stages of church planting—or even if it is in your distant future—there is a lot to learn from those that have gone before us.
Jackie agreed to share from Harbor’s experience and contribute to several blog posts addressing various aspects of church planting. Today, she offers an inside scoop on the realities of multi-sites. I asked her, “What are some of the biggest challenges of church plants?”
Here are some of the hurdles that Jackie says church plants regularly face:
- Keeping the structure on pace with the growth. Harbor tries to keep the structure behind the growth to stay cost effective. “We don’t want to build structure too soon, so we try to keep it as fluid and simple as possible,” Jackie says.
- Holding congregational meetings is very challenging. (But worth the effort to stay united.)
- Making leadership decisions—the larger the leadership group, the more difficult it is to make decisions and maintain unity.
- Managing multiple budgets within one central entity.
- Collecting tithes from each site. (Harbor has a courier drive to each location to pick up the money and take it to a bank.)
- Reimbursing employees and volunteers. Because Harbor doesn’t use credit cards, reimbursements are a big part of their accounting process. Not having one central site makes this more challenging, though.
- Paying musicians and childcare workers is also difficult because of the various sites.
Want to hear more about any of these challenges? Leave a comment asking Jackie for more details on what interests you.
You’re going to speak to your congregation about money. What do you say and not say? Jamie Munson, lead pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, wrestles through this question and more in a recent XPastor article, How to Talk about Money in Church. “The ultimate goal is not to make budget, save for a new building, or employ staff,” Munson says. “We want our church to give because we want our church to worship Jesus. Therefore, the gospel must precede the ask. Preach the grace, goodness, and generosity of God in Jesus Christ, and then explain how the Bible instructs us to respond in part through giving.” He goes on to discuss “some of the most frequent questions and arguments about giving I’ve encountered as a pastor, along with how I might respond.”
What’s your experience? How do you talk about money with your congregation or donors?