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 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 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: 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, visit or contact 424-228-8914 or
• For GivePlus, powered by Vanco, visit or contact 855-910-6066 or

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

Index of March 2020 Issue

Issue 69 of Administration Matters

ELCA presiding bishop addresses concerns about COVID-19

A caring response in times of public health concerns, resources and guidelines for worship and church gatherings, as well as Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s letter to the church can be found here.

Rostered ministers gathering – July 2020

Registration is now open for the 2020 Rostered Ministers Gathering, July 20-23 in Phoenix! All ELCA rostered pastors and deacons are invited as we gather under the theme  “Rekindle the Gift Within You” (2 Timothy 1:6). The gathering includes over 100 workshops, an expansive Interaction Center, daily worship and keynote presentations. Early registration is $245 (through May 20). Three conference hotels offer a rate of $139/night plus tax. A limited number of scholarships are available. Visit for more information.

Political activity and tax status

It is important for each congregation and its leaders to understand what political activity is permissible to maintain the congregation’s tax exemption. Being a Public Church is a guidance for churches and clergy participating in the electoral process, an effort to expand the role of the church in encouraging faithful and non-partisan voter participation by providing faith-based resources around voting. As a leader in your ministry, make sure you know what to say and do to protect yourself, your congregation and your nonprofit status. >More

ELCA technology discount program

This new resource describes discounts from trusted vendors for a variety of your congregation or synod technology needs: online giving, websites, mobile apps, messaging, church management, Microsoft software, PCs, laptops, tablets, peripherals, printers, copiers, scanners and faxes. >More

ELCA health plan takes another evolutionary step

This year’s new ELCA-Primary health benefits help members access quality health care more easily and cost-effectively, personalize their wellness journeys, and find new ways to lead resilient, healthy lives in all dimensions of the Wholeness Wheel. >More

Local travel reimbursement

This Q&A resource explains how staff can determine which local transportation expenses can be properly claimed as reimbursable and which expenses are personal. >More

Index of January 2020 Issue

Issue 68 of Administration Matters

Credit union offers valuable financial resources for ministries

The ELCA Federal Credit Union now offers a corporate credit card program and a small-loan program specifically suited to the unique needs of ELCA ministries. The ELCA Federal Credit Union World Mastercard for Ministry is a cost-effective alternative to standard corporate credit card programs, with flexible terms that include a shared/deposit-secured option. For ELCA congregations and related ministries looking to fund small projects or make purchases, the credit union extends loans of up to $50,000 at favorable rates.  >More

Parochial reports

It’s time to submit the annual congregational reports! Data from these reports is used in the ELCA Digital Directory. It also assists synods and the churchwide organization in monitoring trends and planning for ministry. Easy online filing is available at If you did not receive your password in the mail, you can retrieve it by calling your synod. Thank you for your participation!

2020 IRS mileage allowance

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickup trucks or panel trucks) is:
• 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one-half cent from 2019.
• 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down 3 cents from 2019.
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The business mileage rate decreased one-half cent for business travel and 3 cents for medical and certain moving expenses from 2019. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged. For more information, visit the IRS website.

Do not abbreviate 2020 when dating documents

When the year 2020 is abbreviated on official forms and documents, those looking to exploit unsuspecting people can easily manipulate those numbers and leave people potentially vulnerable to fraud. >More

Tax reporting can be complicated

Portico offers the set of annually updated Richard R. Hammar tax guides at no cost to pastors or congregations participating in the ELCA benefit program. Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches helps congregations understand federal reporting requirements. The Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide gives special attention to tax-related topics relevant to ministers.
EmployerLink: updated versions available. myPortico: updated versions available.

Annual report covers

Report covers for 2020 are available now as a free download from the website and can printed as needed for meetings, devotions or other events. >More