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 September 2019 Issue

Issue 66 of Administration Matters

Workers’ compensation insurance
In almost every state, employers are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance, both to protect employers from lawsuits that result from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents. >More

Confidentiality and health-related information
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act deals with health care privacy concerns. Privacy rules restrict the use of medical records and health information maintained by hospitals and other health care providers but generally do not cover ELCA congregations. >More

The inherent risk of guest Wi-Fi access at your congregation
With the myriad of wireless devices in constant use, many churches provide Wi-Fi for the convenience of employees and guests. However, this complimentary benefit can come with a heavy price if security is taken for granted. You may want to forward this information to your IT support specialist before deciding to provide Wi-Fi access to your congregation. >More

Records retention schedule for congregations
It is important to know which records and information a congregation or synod should keep and which can be removed. Some records need to be maintained permanently, and others can be discarded periodically. >More

Valuable tips to protect your identity
Identity theft has become a common problem in the United States, with an estimated 9 million people affected annually, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Here are important tips to protect your identity. >More


Index of July 2019 Issue

Issue 65 of Administration Matters

ELCA Churchwide Assembly — livestream
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the church’s primary decision-making event, is a process of communal spiritual discernment — a time for us to be the living body of Christ, guided by the Spirit and conformed to God’s will. Watch our livestream of the 15th Churchwide Assembly, Aug. 5 through 10.

ELCA Annual Report
Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America share a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person — questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world. View or download the ELCA Annual Report – 2018 in Review video.

Political activity and tax status
501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from certain kinds of political activity, so your congregation must understand what is permissible and what is strictly prohibited in order to maintain its tax-exempt status. >More

Electrical safety — preventive maintenance
Preventive electrical maintenance is cost-effective in many ways, improves equipment efficiency and reduces utility bills. >More

Data security — protecting your congregants’ information
Data security is the critical process of protecting your congregation’s confidential information against unauthorized use. Data such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, banking information and more lie at the heart of the organization. Keeping this data protected demonstrates responsibility and increases donor confidence. >More

Spring and summer weather events: Get ready!
Each part of the country has its own warm-weather risks, so prepare your property and your people accordingly for spring and summer in your region. >More


Index of May 2019 Issue

Issue 64 of Administration Matters

ELCA Churchwide Assembly observers and volunteers
The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly will take place Aug. 5-10 in Milwaukee, Wis. Each congregation of the ELCA may register one congregation observer. Congregation observers will be seated in the observers’ section of the plenary hall and have access to the ELCA Guidebook app as well as materials distributed on the plenary floor to voting members.

Are you interested in serving as a volunteer at the assembly? In the upcoming months, the Greater Milwaukee Synod will be recruiting about 600 volunteers to greet guests at the airport, help with worship services and work as microphone pages. Learn more.

Contingency planning for congregations
Your congregation is humming along, and out of the blue — the unexpected happens. It could be a decline in offerings, a long-term bad weather situation, a natural disaster or something else. It’s important to be prepared to respond to the unexpected. >More

Legal issues — background checks
Background checks are part of the screening process for new hires. Make sure to consult with reliable sources to ensure that these checks are a useful tool. >More

Reducing legal liabilities
America is more litigious than ever before. Knowing where your organization stands in terms of its legal liabilities will help you be prepared for potential pitfalls. Liability lurks everywhere, from everyday occurrences to more inherently hazardous activities. While you may not be able to avoid all legal risk or anticipate every legal threat, there are steps you can take to reduce liability. >More

Painting and working with chemicals
Painting may expose you to potentially hazardous situations, such as chemical use, climbing ladders, slippery surfaces and more. The guide below outlines some of the hazards associated with painting and provides information on how to work safely on your project and properly dispose of any waste. >More

The inherent risk of guest Wi-Fi access at your church
With the myriad of wireless devices in constant use, many churches provide Wi-Fi for the convenience of employees and guests. However, it is important that congregations assess the security measures that should be considered when providing this benefit. Should you find the resource below to be somewhat technical, we suggest you contact your IT support person to answer any questions. >More