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 2021 Issue

Issue 78 Of Administration Matters

Youth Gathering July 2022 – Registration opens Sept. 22

Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the ELCA gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.
The 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering will take place July 24-28 in Minneapolis, with our pre-events, MYLE (Multicultural Youth Leadership Event) and the tAble July 21-24. Registration opens Sept. 22 via the Gathering website. There are limited funds available to offset registration fees. Visit the Financial Assistance section of our website to learn more or apply. While on the website, we encourage you to sign up for the gNews, our monthly newsletter filled with tips, resources and reminders as we prepare for next summer. Also, be sure to visit the Key Dates section of our website to see what deadlines are approaching!


SBA launches a new portal to simplify the forgiveness process for PPP loans of $150,000 or less

The Small Business Administration’s new streamlined application portal will simplify forgiveness for many small congregations that obtained loans from the Paycheck Protection Program to survive the pandemic. The majority of borrowers waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000 and have been challenged by an overly complicated forgiveness process. The new portal will simplify the process and deliver forgiveness more efficiently. >More


Portico Benefit Services — three important 2022 annual enrollment details

Annual enrollment will be here before you know it, and Portico wants to ensure that you have the information needed to make the process go smoothly. 1) This year your organization’s enrollment window is earlier and shorter, Oct. 4-15. 2) Employers who don’t make a health benefit selection by the deadline will be assigned Silver+ paired with the Level A health savings account (HSA) employer contribution. 3) Several resources have been created to support a successful enrollment season.


ELCA Federal Credit Union issued 360 PPP loans to congregations and ministries

Last year, the ELCA Federal Credit Union quickly pivoted its operations to become an SBA-certified lender and offered special assistance to ELCA congregations and ministries that struggled to make payroll during the pandemic. Read about how this program had an impact on our church, our members and the ministry we share. >More


Public service loan forgiveness expanded for clergy and religious workers

Rostered ministers and other church employees with federal student loans may now be eligible for loan forgiveness. When religious workers apply for forgiveness, the form must be completed by their direct employer. Synods cannot complete forms for congregational staff, and the churchwide organization cannot complete forms for synod or congregation staff. >More

Severe weather safety

Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning? Do you have a designated place to gather during a severe storm? Severe weather may consist of hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flooding and flash flooding. >More


Index of the July 2021 Issue

Issue 77 of Administration Matters

Why a church plan makes good sense

At this time of year, many organizations are reviewing their budgets — and the price of their benefits. Watch this short video conversation between an ELCA pastor and the president of Portico Benefits to understand how Portico’s approach to pricing supports the ELCA’s national community of congregations ‒ financially and biblically.

Records retention information

It is important to know which records and information a congregation should keep and which can be tossed. Some records need to be maintained permanently, whereas others can be discarded periodically. More

Safety outside your worship center

Your worship center is an invaluable property, monetarily and spiritually, and its protection and upkeep are an important obligation. >More

Amending or ending gift restrictions

From time to time, restricted gift purposes cannot be fulfilled as expected. When this occurs, charitable organizations should take all proper steps to repurpose or amend restricted gifts. >More

Prevent and eradicate vandalism

Every year, churches incur significant losses due to vandalism. Vandals often act impulsively. In other cases, vandals are seeking an easy target for their mischief, such as a building often empty at night. >More


Index of the May 2021 Issue

Issue 76 of Administration Matters

Organizing insurance policies and records

Insurance records take up space and are rarely used. Why, then, is it so important to keep your insurance records on hand? The truth is that sometimes, to protect your organization, you’ll need to produce insurance records — even from years past – with very little notice. >More

Tornado safety

Tornadoes are violent; they can destroy well-made structures, uproot trees and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles. Although severe tornadoes are most common in the Plains States, they can happen anywhere. Learn how to stay safe during a tornado.>More

A mental health reminder from Portico

Living through a pandemic has stretched us past our normal limits. During Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Portico Benefit Services is offering the two-minute video “Get Yourself Some People,” in which ELCA pastor Melissa Pohlman talks candidly about the support system she relies on to keep her centered and resilient. Portico is offering other mental health resources this month on its Facebook page and encourages you to follow the page and share these tools with your ministry team.

Tips for virtual audits

We received a question regarding tips for remote audits. We recognize this article is from the United Kingdom, but thought it was the most helpful.
During the pandemic, office workers have been required to work from home when possible, and this has had an impact on audit work, which has been carried out remotely. For organizations planning to reopen their premises to their workforces in the near future, accommodating an audit team could be a challenge, meaning that, for many, remote arrangements are likely to continue. >More

Stay safe using social media

You can promote your organization in a number of ways, but one method you shouldn’t ignore is using social media. This is an excellent and cost-effective way to reach a wide audience. However, there are several do’s and don’ts you must keep in mind. >More

Hurricane season starts May 15

Plan for hurricane season and be ready to take action. Today you can determine your hurricane risk and review and update your insurance policies, make a list of emergency supplies and prepare your facilities. >More