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07 Dec 2017

The "Biggest" Board Meeting

Raul Rivera

It was the end of a great year of ministry and Pastor Johnson was excited about his upcoming board meeting. His excitement surrounded his announcements of all that God had done this year, and about his new vision for the coming year. 

He knew that God had surely blessed them, and while the new actions he wanted the church take to reach the city would require a budget increase, he was certain that this was the right direction to go. Next year was going to be a great year!

However, shortly after starting the board meeting that night, he quickly realized something was wrong - he was totally unprepared to answer the questions the board of directors had about the church finances; especially when it came to the new budget. 

It’s not that the board wasn’t in favor of his vision - everyone on the board was excited about the fresh initiatives God has placed in their pastor’s heart - it was that the board had questions and Pastor Johnson was not prepared to answer their questions. 

After about 45 minutes, he realized that this meeting wasn’t going where he wanted and that they would need to reschedule. While he was prepared to cast vision, he was not prepared to lead the “biggest” board meeting of the year.  

The importance of your church's “biggest” board meeting 

As we near the end of another year, many pastors are beginning to schedule their church’s “biggest” board meeting. This particular board meeting brings together a reflection of where the church has been and where the church is going. 

It is referred to as many things, but it is most commonly known as the “annual board meeting”, and it is typically held at the beginning of each year.

This is a very important meeting.

So important that this board meeting can help set the tone for how well your church does or does not operate in the year ahead. For this reason, it is important that you adequately plan and prepare for your annual board meeting before it arrives.

In this blog I want to provide you with three preparations successful pastor’s do for their church’s annual board meeting. Do these three things, and you will allow your board meeting to run more smoothly and help prepare your church for a fruitful year ahead.

3 preparations for the annual board meeting

1. Gather and reconcile church financial information

Most of your church's annual board meeting will center around financial decisions. To make these decisions, it is important that you provide clarity on the financial state of your ministry, going into this meeting. Having your financial “house in order” will allow you to confidently cast vision, answer questions and quickly help your board have a snap shot of where you ministry is financially. 

Being able to answer the basic questions of, “What money came in?”, “Where did it go?”, and “Where will it go next year?”, are questions that pastors must be prepared to answer. 

And that preparation starts now!

During this time of year, it is easy to shift gears into neutral and coast into the next year. But before you do, first take the time to reconcile your church finances for the year. Most notably, make sure you have your balance sheets, your profit and loss statements, and your bank reconciliation reports done before your annual board meeting. 

I understand that for many of you reading this blog the idea of reconciling your church’s finances is already bringing on a headache. If that’s you and you could use some help, don’t worry! We can give you the assistance you need through our Bookkeeping Service.

Several hundred pastors and church leaders just like you are utilizing the knowledge and expertise of our bookkeeping team, and they are taking advantage of the “Complete My Year” feature of this service. 

If you would like more information about this service, give us a call at 877-494-4655 or click on the link below.

Get Your Ministry’s Finances In Order Today!

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2. Create or renew required compensation agreements

Under Internal Revenue Code section 4958, the IRS has been given the ability to assess fees and penalties of up to 225% on churches and other nonprofit organizations that do not properly approve and document compensation.

For this reason it is imperative that any and all compensation paid by your church first be approved by the board of directors on an annual basis.

The perfect time to renew compensation agreements, and approve new ones, is during your church’s annual board meeting. This is also another reason why it is important to gather and reconcile your church’s financial records prior to your annual board meeting; you will have a better idea if your church can afford to give raises or bring on additional staff members.

Again, if you need assistance in creating and establishing pastoral compensation agreements, give us a call at 877-494-4655 or click on the link below.

Learn More About Ministers' Compensation Agreements

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3. Keep board meeting minutes

No matter what you do in your annual meeting, make sure you keep good board meeting minutes. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking board meeting minutes. 

In fact, when it comes to church audits, board meeting minutes are arguably a church’s most important document.

What are board meeting minutes? Think of board meeting minutes as a receipt. Without a receipt, you have little to no proof of purchase. In a similar fashion, without board meeting minutes, you have little to no proof of decisions being properly approved at your church. 

In short, a board meeting without board meeting minutes is merely fellowship.

To make this easy, our Minutes Applet, located in the Secretary’s Suite™, will teach you everything you need to know about taking board meeting minutes.

A gift for you and your church  

Before concluding, I want to leave you with a gift and a challenge. My challenge is for you and some of your board members or staff members to sign-up for one of our Ultimate Church Structure Conferences in 2018.

As a matter of fact, throughout the entire month of December we are offering a BOGO special on all conference registrations.

So what are you waiting for? In 2018, make it a priority to work ON your ministry, not just IN the ministry.

Click on the link provided below, find a conference in a city near you, and register today!

Don't Miss Out on Your BOGO Gift!

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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.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera

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About the Author

Church Planter. Speaker. Author. CEO. Raul Rivera has had ample experience in the church planting world. His current venture, StartCHURCH, has helped 1000's of churches to start right. Raul has compiled an array of manuals and software tools that help churches stay compliant with the IRS. He also hosts over 35 national conferences per year, training pastors on how to launch their churches. Raul is married to his wife Genel, and they and their five children live in Atlanta, GA.