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 September 2020 Issue

Issue 72 of Administration Matters

“Stories of Faith in Action”

This annual publication illustrates how God is at work across the ELCA through your generosity. It highlights how a portion of your offering, called Mission Support, advances the ministry of our church — particularly the ways the ELCA nurtures vital congregations, raises up leaders and grows the global church. Most importantly, it’s one way we say thank you for your faithful generosity to your congregation, your synod and the churchwide organization ― by showing your offering at work. Find the new publication and other resources now at elca.org/sofia.

Congregation council roles and responsibilities

The role of the congregation council is to assess and shape strategic and long-term direction, protect church unity and oversee administrative functions of the church. Being elected to a congregation council carries with it the respect and trust of your congregation. Your contribution to the life of your congregation is significant and appreciated. These are some of the functions and responsibilities of the congregation council’s positions. >More

Take a fresh look at health benefit options during Portico’s 2021 annual enrollment

In response to a resolution from the 2019 Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA Church Council is recommending not one but two ELCA-Primary health benefit options for next year. Organizations can prepare to select their 2021 health benefit option this fall by learning about the recommended options and accessing their Custom Comparison Report on EmployerLink.

Why write policies and procedures?

Policies and procedures are an essential part of any organization. Together, they provide a roadmap for day-to-day operations. They ensure compliance with laws and regulations, give guidance for decision-making and streamline internal processes. Utilizing policies and procedures during decision-making ensures that employers are consistent in their decisions. >More

IRS update: Financial safety in times of disaster

Before a natural disaster strikes, taxpayers are encouraged to be prepared, if possible. This includes developing evacuation plans, putting together kits of essential supplies and putting financial safety measures in place. >More

Preventing theft and embezzlement in your organization

Theft and embezzlement are scary topics. You probably don’t want to think about them at all but knowing the warning signs to watch out for and taking steps to protect your organization can go a long way. >More
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Index of July 2020 Issue

Issue 71 of Administration Matters

Considerations for returning to in-person worship

Reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic is complex. First and foremost, congregations must keep the safety and well-being of their members and staff as their top priorities. Also, they must consider many factors and take on many new tasks as they welcome their faithful. Safeguards should be in place, such as attendance limits, physical distancing, and the use of face coverings. We should also be humble, understanding that none of us completely understands the nature of COVID-19 and that others will likely have perspectives very different from our own. Don’t compromise on safety but be patient and humble as you navigate the ups and downs of reopening your congregation. > More

Livestreaming your worship service

Even as you return to in-person worship with limited attendance, you may still want to livestream the service for members who are reluctant to attend in person. This guide explains how to begin streaming for very little money and with equipment you already own or might borrow. >More

Safe return to worship

Just as we have adapted our operations to weather the pandemic, we now look forward to a time when we can reopen our doors and welcome people back into our churches. As state and local authorities begin to ease restrictions, it’s time to think through how we might best resume normal day-to-day operations. Any plan for reopening needs to have the health and safety of worshipers as its top priorities. With that in mind, the ELCA has partnered with Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., to bring you safeguards and recommendations in the webinar “Safely Returning to Worship” and a related article here.

Financial best practices for congregations

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 accounting rules and  regulations. The presentation “Financial Best Practices for Congregations” highlights key aspects of separating financial duties, safeguarding offerings and handling expenditures, among other items, to ensure proper controls and compliance and assist in reducing the risk of misconduct and audit findings. > More

Preparing for an emergency

Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. The chances of your congregation requiring an emergency plan may be greater than you think. You’ll want to take the right steps to prepare for and possibly prevent a crisis, and you’ll want to know where to get aid if an emergency occurs. > More

Emojis and the COVID pandemic

Emojis. Those colorful symbols are everywhere and help infuse plain text with tone and body language. They offer a way to convey nuance and express thought or emotion. Emojis are meant to be lighthearted and convey a broad range of emotions. Why are we using more emojis — particularly the “folded hands” or “prayer hands” emojis — during the COVID-19 pandemic? Watch this video to find out.
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Index of May 2020 Issue

Issue 70 of Administration Matters

COVID-19 resources for ELCA congregations and members

With the outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States and around the world, our church and its leaders continue to minister to its members, to those who are hurting and searching for peace, and to those in need. Resources are available to help congregations and members stay connected and resilient during this crisis. Visit ELCA.org/publichealth for online worship best practices, FAQs regarding government assistance programs, video messages from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and resources to help you practice your faith at home.

Online giving helps sustain ministry while congregation’s members worship from home

This past year, ELCA congregations received more than $100 million in electronic giving through a combination of mobile, web, text and kiosk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most congregations are worshiping online and unable to pass the offering plate. As a result, electronic giving is more important than ever to sustain your ministries. The ELCA has two preferred vendors for online giving: Tithe.ly and Vanco. Special pricing accompanies each agreement, and the sign-up process is quick and easy so you can start receiving online gifts within days.
• For more information on Tithe.ly, visit https://get.tithe.ly/elca or contact 424-228-8914 or elca@tithe.ly
• For GivePlus, powered by Vanco, visit www.giveplus.com/elca or contact 855-910-6066 or sales@vancopayments.com.

Your COVID-19 source for benefit information

Portico’s online COVID-19 resource pages provide members and sponsoring employers with up-to-date information on health benefits, investment performance, and market behavior, as well as government action affecting ministry organizations and those they employ. Health benefit members can find updated information on testing, treatment, home delivery for long-term maintenance prescription drugs, and emotional support.
For ELCA sponsoring employers
For ELCA plan members
Portico’s public website

Information Security for congregations and synods

Chris Hueneke, information security advisor for the ELCA churchwide organization, hosted a webinar on April 21, covering these topics: how to avoid phishing email attacks, protect sensitive data and prevent malware infections, and what to do if your data has been breached. > More

Weather preparedness

Learn how severe weather preparedness planning can protect your grounds, property and people. Discover what to do before, during and after a storm. Remember, summer storms can strike at any time without any warning. >More
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