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Administration Matters

Index of the July 2022 Issue

Issue 83 of Administration Matters

ELCA Churchwide Assembly Pre-event: “Embody the Word” Bible study sessions

In preparation for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, ELCA members are encouraged to participate in a series of online Bible studies. Participants will explore the meaning of “embodiment,” from Luke 24, and get the chance to engage with the presenters. Sessions take place Sunday afternoons in July from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Central time, and they can be streamed live or on-demand in the Churchwide Assembly Playlist of  the ELCA YouTube channel. The presenters are:
• Rev. Jay Alanis (July 10).
• Sally Azar (July 17).
• Man-Hei Yip (July 24).
• Denise Rector (July 31).
Register for the live Bible study sessions.

Get a jump on your Portico Annual Enrollment

Health benefits are critically important to the ELCA’s rostered ministers and church staff. Want to help your organization select its 2023 health benefit option? Download Portico’s 2023 Annual Enrollment checklist and complete the two July tasks now. EmployerLink users will receive more enrollment-related information in August and September.

Prepare for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday with new resources

On Sunday, Sept. 11, congregations of the ELCA will join for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, our dedicated day of service. As you explore opportunities to participate, visit ELCA.org/DayOfService for planning resources including a tool kit, worship material, videos, posters, social media graphics and a special hymn for the day. As we continue our tradition of service to our neighbor, we remember the words of Martin Luther: “Our faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing.” Plan your day of service.

New mileage rate July through December 2022

The Internal Revenue Service announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes. For the final six months of 2022, the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of the year. This new rate becomes effective July 1, 2022. The IRS provided legal guidance on the new rates in Announcement 2022-13, issued June 9, 2022.

Cyber liability insurance

Cyber insurance is a specialty insurance product intended to protect businesses from internet-based risks and, more generally, risks related to information technology infrastructure and activities. The cost of containing and repairing system damages, coupled with addressing customer fraud and damage claims, can cripple a small business. Insurance against cyberattacks can help a small business cover the resulting liability and damages. >More

Choose your payroll provider wisely

Outsourcing payroll services has become a common practice for small and large organizations. This helps them to reduce costs, follow all tax laws and obtain expert solutions to pay their employees accurately and on time. The Internal Revenue Service provides tips on how to choose a reliable and trustworthy payroll service. >More

Index of the May 2022 Issue

Issue 82 of Administration Matters

ELCA Churchwide Assembly

The 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly will take place Aug. 8-12 in Columbus, Ohio. Under the theme “Embody the Word,” the assembly will meet around word and water, wine and bread, to carry on its work on behalf of the entire church. A key action during the assembly will be electing a vice president. Live video of worship and plenary sessions will be accessible at Churchwide Assembly — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org).

4 things you can do to keep your organization cyber-safe

Cybercriminals don’t just focus on “the big guys.” Whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, human error is easily exploited by cybercriminals, and in fact a large percentage of cyberattacks are caused by human error or behavior. Therefore, employees need to understand why protecting sensitive information is important and how to recognize threats. Here are four things you can do to keep your organization cyber-safe. >More

New videos on Portico’s billing process now available

New treasurers or congregation members responsible for paying their church’s monthly Portico bill should check out three new videos available on EmployerLink to illuminate our billing process. The topics are:
• Reviewing a sample bill.
• Paying your bill.
• Specific situations regarding your bill.
Transcripts of the videos will also be available. Look for these updated videos in the “What to Do” tab on the “How to Work With Us” page.

Creating a congregation mission statement

A well-written mission statement should clearly and concisely communicate the congregation’s purpose for existing and can provide the focus and motivation it needs to carry out its mission. >More

New E-book: The Four S’s That Keep Church Leaders Awake at Night

Our world is constantly changing, and the issues the church faces tomorrow will be different from those it faces today. The Four S’s That Keep Church Leaders Awake at Night, a new e-book by Kenneth Q. Tan, a partner at CapinCrouse, delves into four key topics — sustainability, succession, structure and security — that leaders must address to prepare their churches for the challenges and opportunities presented by this ever-changing landscape. This free e-book includes checklists, best practices and discussion questions for your leadership team. You’ll learn how to:
• Assess and address key sustainability factors such as differences in generational giving, strategic resource planning, and budgeting and forecasting.
• Plan for effective leadership succession.
• Be proactive with governing documents and policies that provide additional structure as you grow.
• Implement the right controls and procedures to improve security.

10 essentials of severe-weather preparedness

When disaster strikes, it’s too late to think about what you should have done to prepare; before disaster strikes, that preparation can be daunting. This guide walks you through the essentials of severe-weather preparedness. >More

 

Index of the March 2022 Issue

Issue 81 of Administration Matters

Create engaging virtual ministry with Vanco

Your church might already offer livestreaming, but this Lenten season you can take your virtual ministry up a notch with Vanco. During this important season, discover how to build on your existing online ministry to drive engagement and generosity (without breaking the bank).
Download your free copy of How to Have a Successful Online Church Ministry to learn . . .
• How to build or expand upon the foundation of your virtual ministry without spending a fortune.
• Which easy-to-use tools, such as Vanco Live, can help you set up an online church and drive meaningful interactions.
• How to keep the conversation going with members and guests after virtual services.
Get the eBook. Vanco is a preferred vendor of the ELCA.

Protecting offerings: Who would steal from us?

Large or small, congregations are often easy prey for would-be thieves. An offering-plate theft can be devastating for a congregation’s reputation, regardless of its size. Ministry leaders can strengthen their ability to protect their property and contributions by taking a fresh look at current procedures. >More

Make sure the right people are receiving Portico notifications

Many congregations have new council members starting at this time of year, so make sure your organization’s contacts are up to date in Portico’s EmployerLink. Portico sends important notifications to those in your organization that are registered on the site. These users can access your organization’s account information, including plan member benefit and compensation details.
Take a moment to deactivate people who no longer need access and register new users, using your organization’s unique 11-digit access code. We suggest registering at least two people, including the person who will make your organization’s benefit selection during annual enrollment. >More

Avoiding credit card fraud

Credit card fraud is a common identity crime. If you are like most people, you own, carry and use a number of credit cards. Please consider the following tips, which may apply to your unique needs and situation. Though not every risk can be controlled, there are a few things you can do to prevent and manage credit card fraud. >More

Recommendations for congregation secretaries

Every congregation requires a secretary. The secretary is arguably the most important officer, responsible for organizing, assimilating and disseminating information within and without the organization. They need to be organized, hardworking and intelligent, with excellent writing skills. Here your congregation’s secretary can find some recommendations/guidelines for performing their duties efficiently. >More

 

Index of the January 2022 Issue

Issue 80 of Administration Matters

 

Tithe.ly introduces new rate

ELCA congregations using Tithe.ly’s online platform for giving will now enjoy a lower credit card processing rate. Effective Dec. 10, 2021, the rate for processing credit card donations has been reduced to 2.3% for Visa, Mastercard and Discover transactions. As an ELCA preferred vendor, Tithe.ly offers digital tools to engage members, encourage giving and manage congregational membership data, with special pricing for ELCA congregations. This rate reduction was made possible by the high volume of ELCA congregations using Tithe.ly’s suite of products; working collectively through ELCA preferred vendors brings benefits across congregations.

Start the benefits year off right with this checklist from Portico

Review this checklist from Portico for important January tasks to keep your 2022 Portico benefits program running smoothly. It includes reminders on payroll updates and links to the complimentary Hammar tax guides for clergy. Employers may sign in to EmployerLink to view the checklist, and individuals can access the Hammar tax guide for clergy at MyPortico.

Don’t be left in the cold — inspect your heating boiler

A regular boiler inspection will help ensure that your boiler is operating at its highest level of efficiency and providing the most heat for the least possible cost. State and local laws often require boiler inspections, and failure to comply may result in fines or other penalties. >More

Are employer-provided cell phones a fringe benefit?

If your organization provides employees with cell phones for business use, both their business and personal use of the cell phone is a nontaxable fringe benefit. Likewise, reimbursement stipends and cell phone allowances that cover employees’ personal cell phone costs are still nontaxable benefits. >More

2022 IRS mileage allowance

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2022 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and charitable, medical or moving purposes.:
Beginning on January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
• 58.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 1 cent from the 2021 rate.
• 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the armed forces, up 2 cents from the 2021 rate.
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2021.

The business mileage rate increased 1 cent for business travel and 1 cent for medical and certain moving expenses from 2021. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged. For more information, visit the IRS website.

Index of the November 2021 Issue

Issue 79 of Administration Matters

Invite a friend to subscribe to Administration Matters!

Over 13 years ago a group of staff at the ELCA churchwide organization got together with an idea. They wanted to offer church leaders a tool that would provide support in facilitating the management and administration of their congregations and ministries. So, Administration Matters was born.

Administration Matters addresses common, practical issues, including finance, governance, risk management, tax and legal concerns, and other topics of interest about day-to-day operations and management in church settings.

We hope you find its articles interesting and useful and ask that you share them with colleagues, partners in ministry, neighboring churches and congregation staff, inviting them to subscribe. Subscription is free, their names won’t be added to any other mailing lists, and they may unsubscribe at any time if they decide to opt out. Just forward this issue to their email address, and they can subscribe using this link. Thank you for being a loyal subscriber to Administration Matters.

“Stories of Faith in Action”

We are pleased to share with you the latest issue of “Stories of Faith in Action,” filled with inspiring stories from this past year. “Stories of Faith in Action” connects us as church and illustrates how, through your generosity, God is at work across the ELCA. It highlights how a portion of your offering, called Mission Support, advances the ministry of our church, helping the ELCA nurture Christian community, raise up leaders, serve our neighbors and strive for justice. Most importantly, it’s one way to thank you for your faithful generosity to your congregation, your synod and the churchwide organization ― by showing your offering at work. The magazine’s PDFs, flipbook and resources can be found at ELCA.org/SOFIA.

How to report the clergy housing allowance

The housing allowance is an important tax advantage for clergy. However, your congregation must officially designate the amount in writing each year, before compensation is earned, that might be used for housing expenses. As you look ahead to 2022, be sure to take action to document this amount. >More

Keeping up with a changing cybersecurity landscape

Your organization works tirelessly to achieve its mission, often with limited staff and resources. It’s important to consider how a strong technology strategy and security can help you achieve your goals. It is critical to stay current in order to keep your information secure. >More

IRS requirement for churches — Form 8822-B

In a July 30, 2021, news release, the IRS issued a call for entities with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to ensure that the IRS has the entity’s current “responsible party” on file. The IRS believes maintaining current responsible party contact information is critical to its efforts to fight identity theft and other fraud related to EINs. >More

Dell Technology Discount Program

Buy directly from Dell and enjoy great discounts, monthly and limited time specials, discounted ground shipping, and 24-hour hardware tech support. Take advantage of everyday specials on systems, laptops, software, printers, scanners and other peripherals, and receive a discount of up to 12% on selected Dell desktop and notebook systems.

Upcoming membership sales events:
• MPP Early Access — Nov. 15, 2021
• Black Friday Week — Nov. 22-27, 2021
• Cyber Monday offers start Nov. 28, 2021.

To place an order or obtain product info, visit Dell’s Membership Purchase Program website at www.dell.com/mpp/ELCA or email Jarrett_Parsons@Dell.com. Please use the ELCA Member ID GS74878907 when emailing.

Annual report covers

Annual report covers are now available online for congregations that are preparing for their annual meetings. The document includes a letter from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, a hymn and litany and a story about how change and creativity have helped shape congregations this past year. The digital covers are available as pages or as spreads and can be found at ELCA.org/SOFIA#relevantresources.

 

 

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