Administration Matters

A bimonthly e-newsletter for ELCA congregational and synodical leaders. It addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, tax, legal concerns and topics of interest about day to day operations and management in church settings.

Index of the July 2016 Issue

Issue 47 of Administration Matters

Livestream the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Aug. 8-13

The 14th ELCA Churchwide Assembly will convene on Aug. 8-13, in New Orleans to discuss and make decisions about how to go about God’s work as a church. This year the assembly will observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation under the theme “Freed and Renewed in Christ” and the accompanying tagline “500 years of God’s Grace in Action.”

Over the course of the assembly, voting members:

  • hear reports and review the work of churchwide organization officers, leaders and units;
  • receive and consider proposals from synod assemblies;
  • elect a new ELCA vice president, board members and other leaders as specified by the constitution or bylaws;
  • establish ELCA policy;
  • worship together;
  • adopt a budget; and
  • conduct other business related to the ELCA churchwide organization.

The assembly will be streamed live on the churchwide assembly website. To learn about the assembly, preview the pre-assembly reports or to watch the livestream, click here.


 Join the new ELCA Federal Credit Union!

The ELCA Federal Credit Union is open for business and accepting applications for membership.

To apply, visit the credit union website, ELCA members, congregations and ministries—and their employees—are eligible to join. You can become a member by opening a savings account with as little as a $25 initial deposit. Credit union membership is your entrée to access a portfolio of deposit accounts, loans and other services. At the credit union’s website, you can view current rates, apply for a loan, and learn more from an interactive loan payment calculator. You can also search for the closest ATM on the credit union’s worldwide network of free ATMs. Also, watch for a mobile app coming soon.

As the credit union website states: “When you join fellow Lutherans as a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, you do more than gain access to a wide array of financial services. You become a part of a financial cooperative that shares your values.”

The ELCA Federal Credit Union looks forward to serving you. >More


12 tips to being safer online

Keep your members’ data safe by protecting your congregation’s. This guide includes things you, your staff and volunteers should keep in mind at the congregation, away from the congregation, when using social media, and when using cloud services. >More


How to care for stained glass

Many church buildings incorporate a variety of stained-glass windows that glorify God, memorialize benefactors, and beautify the worship space. The value of these windows—financially, historically and sentimentally—is significant. Thus, caring for and preserving them is an important aspect of church facilities management. >More


Insuring your ministry: Points to consider

Do you know what insurance to purchase to best protect your ministry?  >More


HR seriescreating a good place to work

A positive work environment is not only important for our physical, mental and emotional health, it is important for the results that we produce. The better we feel at work, the more likely we will take pride in our job activities. >More


Index of the May 2016 Issue

Issue 46 of Administration Matters

Future Directions for the ELCA
Our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, is inviting us into a conversation about the future identity, direction and priorities of the ELCA. This discernment process, Called Forward Together in Christ, involves listening to God and to one another, and it is spreading across members, congregations, synods, social ministries, educational institutions and the churchwide office. Join the conversation. >More

The new ELCA Federal Credit Union will open soon
The new ELCA Federal Credit Union, with offices in the Lutheran Center Building in Chicago, will soon be open for business. The grand opening celebration will be Monday, June 6. ELCA members, congregations, synods and the churchwide organization—and their employees—are all eligible to join the credit union to take advantage of a portfolio of deposit accounts, loans and other services. This new ELCA-sponsored credit union supports the ELCA’s mission to promote responsible stewardship of members’ and congregations’ financial resources. Because this is a financial cooperative, credit union members will see more competitive rates on deposits and loans, fewer fees and enhanced services. Learn more by visiting the credit union website, As a financial institution rooted in your faith community, the ELCA Federal Credit Union looks forward to serving you. >More

Online giving options for congregations and synods
This guide outlines factors to consider when deciding how to offer online giving for your congregation. A companion spreadsheet helps you prioritize which features are important to you and compare pricing for vendors of online giving services. >More

Protecting offerings – who would steal from us?
Your church should be a place of peace and a safe haven for worshiping and experiencing God’s love and grace. But what happens when crime and violence breach the church doors? >More

Questions about buildings and property
Church property is often underutilized and can be a valuable community resource. The ELCA has resources to help answer your questions about opening your space to community groups and organizations, whether on a one-time basis or for regular use. >More

How to take inventory with limited time and resources
Everyone knows that having an inventory of the valuable items in your church is a good idea. Should disaster strike, that video, list, or collection of receipts will speed up the settlement process. >More

Index of the March 2016 Issue

Issue 45 of Administration Matters

Crime prevention for your congregation
It’s impossible to predict when and where crime will strike. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared. By starting a crime prevention program now, you are helping protect your worship center and congregation. >More

Security questions you should ask every church management software provider
More church management software solutions are advertising as operating “in the cloud.” This article looks at two aspects of data security – the cloud and datacenter security. It lists questions you can ask as you compare the various software solutions from a data security perspective. >More

Tax guide for pastors
Portico offers the annual Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide by Richard R. Hammar at no cost to members enrolled in the ELCA benefit program. The guide gives special attention to several forms and schedules and the sections of each form most relevant to ministers. Use it when you’re preparing your income tax return. >More

Federal reporting requirements for churches
Also, on Portico’s website for sponsoring employers, the annual Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches by Richard R. Hammar is offered at no cost to congregations sponsoring members in the Portico benefit program. This resource can help congregations understand federal tax reporting requirements. >More

1 percent health contribution discount
Portico offers a financial incentive to employers – a 1 percent discount on health contributions (last year’s 2 percent  discount) – as a reward for helping communicate to ELCA-Primary health plan members and spouses the importance of taking the online Mayo Clinic health assessment and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. See how much your synod’s employers could save collectively.>More

Switching to energy-efficient bulbs saves money
Saving energy helps you save money on utility bills and protects the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. See what many congregations and ministries are doing through the Energy Stewards Initiative (ESI). If your congregation is in need of financing for an energy project, there are Mission Investment Fund opportunities for loans that could be obtained for energy reduction and also include the initiation of a plan for a rotating loan fund based on grant and gift funds that would be interest free to congregations and camps. >More