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30 Apr 2019

Don't Avoid Your Spring Cleaning!

Christine Bové

It's that time of the year where many of us work hard to get a fresh start for the spring season. We roll up our sleeves for spring cleaning, shoring up what's essential and getting rid of the clutter that doesn’t belong.

The same can also be said for churches. Spring cleaning for churches is shoring up the important things, like planning for near and future budgets and updating internal policies. Staff members often also “clean out” and edit old policies and governing documents that need to be updated.

When it comes to spring cleaning for churches, there are a number of different things that need to be taken care of, especially when it comes to administrative documents and processes. 

Keeping up with the administrative tasks of your church can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t as familiar with what is expected. And not taking care of these tasks, or even being late to attend to such tasks, can cause some major issues for your organization in the long run.

If you create a strong, internal system, you'll find your administrative tasks will be less overwhelming. 

Let’s look at a few actions to keep on the agenda for this time of year:

  • Hosting your annual board meeting
  • Filing your annual report
  • Pulling together your board meeting minutes
  • Updating important internal documents
      • Bylaws
      • Statement of Beliefs
      • Doctrines
      • Policies
  • And finalizing your budget for the upcoming year

Making sure these items are taken care of will ensure a more compliant organization as well as building a solid foundation for the upcoming year. 

Board meeting minutes

For most churches, the board of directors is the governing body that discusses and makes all major financial and governing decisions for the church. These decisions should be voted on and documented in board meeting minutes. 

These board meeting minutes are recognized as legally binding documents by the state and the IRS. You can read more about the IRS record keeping compliance here. 

The state and the federal government will not recognize changes or beliefs without the proof of the board meeting minutes. 

Board meeting minutes are the documentation of important final decisions, or votes, of your organization. Important decisions may include appointed board members, financial decisions, doctrinal decisions, policies, salaries, and more. All of which are validated by voting and recording within board meeting minutes.

Because they show a record of decision making and governance, board meeting minutes are of the utmost importance for your church and must be maintained.  

Need help making sure your board meeting minutes are in order? Give us a call today at 877-494-4655. 

Updating internal documents

Within the first few months of the year, organizations should review their governing documents to make sure they are current. 

These internal documents include:

    • Bylaws. Core document that details the structure, ideas, culture, and principles of the church. 
    • Statement of Beliefs. This is your collection of documented fundamental truths. 
    • Doctrines. Written doctrines explain in detail how your core truths, your statement of beliefs, will be implemented.
    • Policies. These are documented systems and processes for implementation and accountability. Policies determine the outcome of decisions.
    • Contracts. These could include income taxes, compensation packages, and housing allowances.

Whether or not significant changes occur within your church, keep in mind that politics and culture change. Be sure your internal documents match the changing climate of politics and the shifts in culture. 

A church should never have to compromise their beliefs because they didn’t update their internal documents in time. 

Finalizing your budget

If your church or organization has not already set up a system of accounting of the finances, then now is a great time to implement one. 

Creating a budget is vital. By putting one together and getting it finalized, you can make clear the expectations of financial needs. And because the governing body is involved, there is accountability for the responsible use of those resources. 

After the approval of the budget for the upcoming year, your church will want to establish a system of keeping track of those resources. Keeping your finances on track will help keep your organization in IRS compliance. 

One of the easiest and most effective methods of budget accountability is using a bookkeeping service. Whether you outsource a CPA or have an accountant on staff, it is important to have designated people to oversee your resources.

If you are interested in a bookkeeping service, look into our qualified ministry bookkeepers. They are specifically qualified to deal with IRS compliance and ministry financials. 

Simplify Your Church Budget Today!

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Hosting your annual board meeting

Your annual board meeting is the compilation of the information we covered above, and so much more. 

This meeting is important because of the number of decisions that need to be voted on and the pertinence of the information shared. What gets approved at your annual board meeting affects your ministry for the next year. Until newly approved changes are implemented, your ministry carries out the voted decisions. 

Your annual board meeting is comprised of your governing body. At these meetings, you will cover a wide range of topics and decisions. This is largely dependent on what content you and your governing body choose to go over. 

Annual meetings should typically cover:

    • Budget for the new year, 
    • Approval of updated internal documents and doctrines, 
    • Approval of your board meeting minutes, and
    • Vision decisions for the church or ministry.

Just like a regular board meeting, meeting minutes must be taken for an annual board meeting. 

From this meeting, you will then have completed content to send to your state. Many states require an annual report, and each state has its own specific requirements for the report. Typically, it includes name, board members, and contact information. 

At StartCHURCH, we have a service that not only helps with preparing your annual reports but also provides annual board meeting minutes and updated internal governing documents as well. If you are interested in our KeepRIGHT Service, call us today at 877-494-4655. 

Learn About Our KeepRIGHT Service

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Ensuring a firm foundation

Handling these essential administrative, compliance tasks can be overwhelming. From making sure your documents are set up correctly, to maintaining them, and filing information with the state, annual compliance is a lot for anyone to handle, especially if you’re working through this process on your own. 

The good news is you never have to do it alone! 

At StartCHURCH, we are here to partner with you and make sure everything works together so your ministry can be the best it can be. Unlike other companies, we care about the success of your ministry as we believe in what God is calling you to lead. Call us today at 877-494-4655 to learn more about how we can partner with you to make your ministry better than it is today!

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

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