Monday, May 28, 2018

Stories of Enhancing Trust - Ron Blue Institute

Starting a Stewardship Ministry

Our relationship with money has a significant impact on our relationship with God and others. However, at the mention of finances, our first instinct is to make a polite yet speedy departure. We can’t afford to let something that touches nearly every aspect of our lives to go unaddressed in church. Michael Blue, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Ron Blue Institute, joined us on an ECFA podcast with tips for forming a stewardship ministry in your church.
  1.  Start at the top. Whoever is in charge for setting the direction of the church needs to be on board. To flourish, the spirit of this ministry needs to filter down from the top leaders into every other ministry.

  2. Identify a stewardship leader and begin to build a team. These people will lead in ways that others can’t, so don’t be afraid to ask about spiritual and financial maturity. People can be trained in technical aspects, but more important is a heart for generosity.

  3. Celebrate simple acts of generosity. Whether in a staff meeting or in church, give people an opportunity to see what it looks like to live a life of stewardship. Stories and testimonies can provide vital encouragement.

  4. Have a church-wide event to kick it all off. Start a sermon series or a bible study. Look for further opportunities to integrate the ministry throughout the church.

  5. Measure success in ways that matter. The most obvious standard is, of course, giving. However, that is a dangerous metric. Measure your stewardship ministry’s success as you would any other discipleship ministry: by hearts aligned with God’s in finances, spiritual maturity, and growth- not dollars coming in the door.
We want the church to be seen as the center of financial wisdom. For that to happen, we need to be willing to talk about it, and be able to speak from a position of confidence. A healthy stewardship ministry will minister to people on all levels, from struggling to surplus. The goal is to impart a biblical understanding of stewardship and create lasting change within people’s hearts.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Social Media, the Church, and the Law

Social media has greatly impacted the way we interact with one another and gather information. An active and accurate social media account makes it easy for your church to be found online and engage in further outreach.

For all its benefits, social media also introduces challenges that churches should be prepared for. Privacy, copyright infringement, negative comments, and even criminal activity are all issues that may arise from social media use. Your church should be aware of these potential pitfalls and have a policy that clearly establishes guidelines for your church’s social media presence. Adopting a social media policy at your church will help guide your social media use from the very beginning.

Creating a Social Media Policy for your Church

  1. State the purpose of the church’s social media accounts. Directly indicate that they are for the furthering of the church’s message and online outreach.

  2. Establish goals for using social media. Whether you are looking to find volunteers or engage potential members, be sure that your social media activity is in line with the mission of your church.

  3. Create a system for maintaining and monitoring social media accounts. Put rules in place for what can be shared and by whom. Be aware of what is being posted.

  4. Determine the roles and responsibilities of social media administrators. Designate individuals to keep your accounts active, accurate, and up-to-date

  5. Establish who is authorized to speak on behalf of the church online. Keep personal accounts of church staff separate from the church accounts.

Watch the full Webinar-On-Demand on this topic for more social media tips for churches.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, ChurchEXCEL!

ChurchEXCEL, ECFA's free resource community for churches is one-year-old this month! In honor of our first birthday, we are highlighting the Top Ten Most Popular FREE Resources. Have you seen them all?

  1. Financial Management Policies and Procedures Handbook - Easily customized for your church.

  2. 2018 Church & Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guides - Year-round reference guide for all your tax and reporting questions.

  3. Housing Exclusion eBook - Leverage this tax benefit.
  4. Governance Toolbox 3 - Conflicts of Interest - Engage at your next board meeting.
  5. Ministerial Expenses Webinar-on-Demand - Ministerial expenses can add up.
  6. Spanish eBooks - Same great titles, now available in Spanish (and Korean).
  7. ChurchPULSE eNewsletter - Top news items, blogs, and church resources.

  8. Large Church Trends Podcast - Insights from the recent survey.

  9. Cash Reserves eBook - How much is enough?

  10. The ChurchEXCEL app - All these great resources and more in the palm of your hand!

If you're already a part of the ChurchEXCEL community, we thank you! Be sure to visit to access the above resources and to see what's new

If you're new to ChurchEXCEL, click here to sign up for free!

Here at ECFA, we are excited about all that ChurchEXCEL has become and want to make it even better. Your feedback is important to us! Share your ideas to be entered in a giveaway for a $250 Amazon gift card.

Take the survey here:

We look forward to another year of serving church leaders. As always, we pray that this community is a blessing to you and your ministry. Happy Birthday, ChurchEXCEL!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Leadership Network 2018 Survey of Large Church Salary, Staffing and Benefits

After 17 Years of Studying Large-Church Salaries ….

Across 17 years of studying large-church salaries, Leadership Network receives continual questions like these:

  • Are we paying our staff too much or too little? 
  • How do we determine compensation for a campus pastor or an executive pastor (or another large-church role)? 
  • What are the trends in salaries and benefits for large churches like ours?

Good news: You can get dependable, current data through the feedback Leadership Network gives
(FREE!) to everyone who participates in their 2018 Survey of Large Church Salary, Staffing, and Benefits. But you need to participate by May 30 (midnight Pacific time).

Click this link to complete the survey, or just to learn more, including the list of helpful incentives for participants.

If you want a free sample of Leadership Network’s report from last time, just to see how much you would learn by participating, go to

Monday, May 7, 2018

Minister’s Compensation: The Tough Questions Podcast

Minister’s compensation can be a challenging topic, but you are not alone. Here are a few tips from a recent ECFA podcast, Minister's Compensation: The Tough Questions. Keep these objectives in mind when it comes time to wrestle this part of your church’s budget:
  1.  Take the “Big Three” into account. Social security, expense reimbursements, and the housing allowance are the three significant factors at play in minister’s compensation. Each can be leveraged for significant tax benefits. 

  2. Consider compensation studies in determining fair compensation. Compensation studies can provide helpful insight. Use them as general information rather than as a benchmark. Take a hard look at the church’s goals as well as the needs of the minister and his or her family.

  3. Designate a “champion” to communicate the minister’s compensation needs. This person can have open dialogue with the minister about his or her financial needs and present them to the determining body for consideration.

For these and more practical steps, tune in to the full podcast here.

Find more resources on minister’s compensation: eBooks, tax guides, and more at