With each new year comes a renewed sense of hope to see God accomplish incredible things through your ministry. After making it through the challenges of 2020, it's time to take intentional steps toward the goals God has given you for 2021.
As you move forward with your new vision, you'll also want to make sure you are protecting your ministry to the best of your ability.
In today's blog, we'll address six questions every church and ministry should ask and answer to kickstart 2021.
How to Start Your New Year Right
Taking time to ask and answer the following questions will help your ministry start on the right track and set up 2021 to be a successful year.
Question 1: Do I have meeting minutes for all board meetings in 2020? Board meeting minutes are some of the most important documents that your ministry should maintain regularly. They are proof that your ministry is operating in a compliant and legal manner.
First, ensure that board minutes exist for all board meetings held last year. Next, confirm that your board meeting minutes accurately reflect what took place during the discussions, and check that each set of board meeting minutes was read and ratified at the following board meeting.
If some of your board minutes are missing, or you do not have any board minutes, your board may apply the concept of ratification of prior acts.
This is a temporary solution that will allow your board to document prior corporate decisions that should have been recorded in board meeting minutes. When ratifying prior acts, it is important to make your most accurate, good faith estimates of times and dates when previous decisions were made.
Question 2: Do I need to add or remove board members? It is important to have board members that work well together toward the same goals. The annual board meeting is an ideal time to update your board of directors. Depending on your bylaws, you may accept resignations, add new members and remove existing members on the board at the annual board meeting.
Question 3: Do I need to review and reapprove compensation agreements? The beginning of each year is the perfect time to review, restructure and reapprove any minister compensation agreements. Perhaps this is the first year your church will be compensating you or another staff member. If so, it is important to know whether or not the individual is a ministerial employee or a regular employee. Additionally, each individual's compensation must be approved before they receive it.
This will often be accomplished by creating a compensation package to be approved by the board of directors. If you need assistance or have questions about compensation packages, please call us at (844) 831-8108 or click the link below.
Question 4: Do I have a plan for how my ministry will handle donations in 2021? Do you know the difference between restricted and designated offerings? Do you know how to properly handle noncash donations? If a person wants to donate a vehicle to your ministry, do you know what to do? Does your ministry have a prescribed method for counting tithes and offerings?
Being able to answer these questions is an essential aspect of being a good steward. Properly handling donations is of utmost importance not only for church compliance, but also for the donors who wish to claim a tax deduction for their contribution(s).
Additionally, it is wise to use a program that tracks and manages your church's donations. If you do not use any program, consider using our cloud software, Kingdom Steward.
Question 5: Does my ministry have a plan to start saving money this year? The past year showed us that the unexpected can and will happen. Creating a budget with a savings plan will help protect your ministry from any unforeseen circumstances 2021 may bring.
Whether your ministry is financially soaring or experiencing setbacks, saving little by little is always a smart investment in your ministry's future.
As Proverbs 13:11 (ESV) says, "Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
Perhaps your ministry has an impressive "cushion" in its savings account. Have you considered how to best protect your ministry's savings?
When your savings become substantial, or when your ministry has valuable personal property, consider establishing a tax-exempt holdings corporation to protect your assets. The holdings corporation is an excellent line of defense for your church.
To learn more about establishing a holdings corporation, click here or call us at (844) 831-8108.
Question 6: How can we not have to rely on tithes and offerings only? Life is too short to live satisfied with the traditional way of doing things. There are "new wineskins" that God has for you and your church in this time and season.
Therefore, why not start a ministry-owned business and break out of the traditional methods of the past? Doing so can help create a new stream of revenue for your ministry, so you don't have to rely on donations alone.
A for-profit arm is a ministry-owned business that is established to make tax-free money, which is paid in the form of donations and dividends to the church. The for-profit arm exists as a regular for-profit business that is described in Internal Revenue Code section 502.
To learn more about starting a for-profit arm, click here.
We Have Answers
Pastors and leaders, we are praying for you as you step into the new year. If there is any way we can assist you with anything mentioned in today's blog or another area of church and ministry management, please give us a call at (844) 831-8108 or click the link below to schedule a call with a specialist.
Mariel Villareal is the digital content specialist at StartCHURCH. Every day she creates content to provide pastors and ministers with the resources they need to start and protect their dreams. Whether she is editing a blog or hosting an episode of Beyond the Call podcast, she is passionate about equipping and encouraging leaders in their God-given callings.
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