CAPITAL PLANS 101: What they are. Why you need one.

“We’re an old church; we just replace things when they break.”

This is the common response when I ask church leaders throughout the nation about their long-term capital planning strategy. While this statement might be true for many worship facilities, for many years, that doesn’t mean it’s the wisest form of stewardship for a church’s physical assets.


Church accounting basics: EMPLOYEE — to be or not to be


If your church is anything like mine, you are constantly trying to navigate the requirements of our nation’s employment laws. When researching the topic of “employee versus independent contractor,” what I find is consistently inconsistent. It’s easy to get lost in the lack of interpretation.


What are banks looking for?

Long-term interest rates appear to have bottomed out and are projected to increase by year-end. So, now is the time to consider borrowing funds to undertake important building initiatives or refinancing existing debt.


Finance & lending trends: time to expand to new location(s)?

As unemployment has declined and consumer confidence has grown, it appears that the post-meltdown reluctance to solicit donors for capital pledges for religious institution expansion is abating.

This is giving way to pent-up demand for worship space.


Best practices: insurance review and planning


The loan underwriting process is centered on determining the level of risk associated with each ministry. As a part of that risk management process, we inquire about the amount of debt, cash reserves, as well as the limits and type of insurance coverage the ministry maintains.


Does it make sense to refinance right now? (Even though you might be facing a prepayment penalty)


If you haven’t already heard while listening to the evening news, the 15-year historic graphs indicate that while interest rates are still relatively low, they might have bottomed and be on their way up. While many think rates are likely to increase in the future, no one knows how much they will rise or when. Now might prove to be a good time to refinance existing debt and secure a long-term fixed rate if possible.


Planning for retirement: it’s your choice


“Do I buy a car or lease one?” “Do I work to pay for my education — or my children’s — or do I take out a loan?” “Do I rent an apartment or buy a house?” For each of these questions, making the right decision depends on a number of factors that are unique to you. But one financial question leaves us with very few choices: “Do I save for retirement?”


Religious institution financing truths—regardless of the lending climate


As the business administrator of a religious institution, you don’t need to be an experienced commercial developer to get a construction loan — you just need an expert ministry bank.


Church audits: know the 4 V’s

Computing stripes with numbers. Costs, expenses, revenues and pr

Depending on your role at the church, you’ll hear the word “audit” and come to one of two conclusions:

If you’re the finance manager, you understand the need for the substantiation of the integrity of the data — even though an audit can add to your already busy workload.

If you’re the pastor, it comes down to one word: “Why?” The financials are written in what appears to be a foreign language, and they don’t seem to help as you try to make good, mission-critical decisions, anyway.


Protecting your church and religious organization against fraud


Now more than ever, all organizations are exposed to risk, including cyber security breaches and internal fraud. Religious institutions — which strive on building a trusting relationship with their members and employees on the foundation of religious beliefs, coupled with tight budgets and limited financial oversight — are even more vulnerable to fraud and abuse.