Stories of Faith in Action 2017-2018 is here!
Stories of Faith in Action is an annual publication highlighting how God is changing lives through ministries funded by Mission Support. Mission Support is a portion of ELCA members’ unrestricted offering dollars that is shared with their synods and the ELCA churchwide organization. This collection of stories is a tool to help ELCA members understand how important their weekly offering is in sustaining and growing global and local Lutheran ministries. Stories, videos, bulletin inserts and an infographic explaining “Where does my offering go?” are tools congregations can use to encourage giving. Order free printed copies of the resource—just pay shipping and handling—or download a free pdf. Visit ELCA.org/SOFIA now to read Stories of Faith in Action and download additional resources.
Plan ahead for 2018 payroll withholdings
If you provide ELCA benefits through Portico and your employees changed their 2018 pretax retirement, supplemental life insurance, and/or other voluntary benefit elections during Portico’s Annual Enrollment, you’ll need to adjust payroll withholdings for 2018. In December, this summary of 2018 payroll withholdings on EmployerLink can help you determine how much to withhold from paychecks in January.
‘Cybersecurity Best Practices for Churches’
Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cybersecurity and physical security. In order to protect your constituents’ data, it is critical to understand cyber security threats and vulnerabilities and have the ability to defend your computer systems against cyberattacks. >More
‘You Need a Disaster Communications Plan’
This practical guide to developing a congregational disaster communications plan was written by the Rev. David Hansen, serving at Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas. Based on his experience at the congregational and synodical level responding to Hurricane Harvey, this blog post offers tips for communicating before, during and after a disaster. >More
1 in 10 Protestant congregations experiences embezzlement
While it’s easy to believe fraud could never happen in your congregation, the truth is that no congregation is invulnerable.>More
Planning safe events
Anyone who has hosted a gathering knows how much goes into even a simple get together with family and friends. Putting on a successful and safe church event takes planning to a new level. This resource from Church Mutual provides some steps to take as you manage your event planning.
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is just over 60 days away! Hopefully, you’ve been able to host an anniversary activity. If not, it’s not too late. Consider hosting a “With New Voices” Small Catechism study, a showing of the latest Martin Luther documentary or host a livestream of the ELCA’s Oct. 31 anniversary commemoration. You can access all the resources needed at ELCA500.org and stay up-to-date on what’s happening in congregations and synods around the country (and world!) on Facebook and Twitter. So, connect today to share photos of what your congregation and synod is up to for #ELCA500.
September is Disaster Preparedness month. And what a devastating month it’s been, with many disasters wreaking havoc and destruction, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Several years ago, Lutheran Disaster Response produced a Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guide to help congregations prepare for and respond to a disaster. The free guide can be downloaded as a whole or in three parts. The first section addresses congregational preparedness, the second congregational response and the third section has worksheets congregations can use as they address this work. To save on printing costs, it is only available by download at ELCA.org/Resources/Lutheran-Disaster-Response#General.To help with the response go to: http://www.elca.org/ldr.
An audit should be conducted periodically to review compliance with regulations, ensure the effective operation of the congregation, maintain or enhance its reputation in the community and instill a sense of confidence that all is functioning well.>More
Electricity is a powerful tool. It can also be a lethal hazard. Better safety standards have reduced electrical problems that cause deaths, injuries and property damage, but good safety habits are still the best prevention against electrical accidents. >More
Most ELCA organizations are included in the ELCA group exemption filing with the IRS. A certification letter may be requested when you apply for a bulk mailing permit, state sales tax exemption, to receive grant or matching funds, estate settlement or simply for proof of tax exempt status. >More
The highest degree of stewardship and fiduciary responsibility is expected of all employees, including the receiving, reporting, and use of funds, property, and time. Employees are responsible for complying with laws, regulations, and congregation’s policies and procedures. >More
Correctly classifying employees and independent contractors is crucial for each congregation and church entity. Here is a checklist that could help you review employment classification. >More
A reminder that the ELCA has legal resources available on its website at http://elca.org/en/Resources/Legal. The resources include information on some of the most common legal issues faced by congregations, such as employees and volunteers, tax, sexual misconduct, property, and financial issues. While not a substitute for legal advice, these resources can help point you in the right direction. >More
Don’t let your church services be disrupted. When it comes to peace of mind concerning church building safety and property damage due to cold weather-related incidents and power outages causing sump pump shut-off, there is an answer. Church Mutual has introduced a free temperature and water sensor program that alerts eligible Church Mutual insureds before damage can occur. >More
Creating an environment with financial controls and best practices ensures that the resources entrusted to the church are handled in the best possible ways. It also ensures compliance with accountings rules and regulations. The Financial Best Practices for Congregations presentation highlights key aspects of separating financial duties, safeguarding offerings, handling expenditures, among other items, to ensure proper controls and compliance and assist in reducing the risk of misconduct and audit findings. >More
As we celebrate our one-year anniversary today, we are excited about the positive financial impact the ELCA Federal Credit Union is having on our members’ lives. We invite you to watch our new video that explains how credit unions operate—and how we are helping our members do more with their money. Please feel free to share this video with members or employees of our congregations, synods and ministries; they are also eligible to enjoy the many great benefits of belonging to our credit union.