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Your Most Important Meeting of the Year

By Christine Bove

The holidays are fast approaching! That's why now, more than ever, it's vital for churches and ministries to get everything in place to start the New Year with momentum.

As you take the right steps to finish the year with confidence, you'll want to include a plan to hold your most important meeting of the year: the annual board meeting.

During this meeting, you and your board will cover many essential topics and decide on various decisions that set the course for the year to come. As you take care of this behind-the-scenes planning, you'll set your ministry up to be even more effective for the Kingdom of God in 2021.

In today's blog, we'll give you a breakdown of everything you need to cover in your most important meeting of the year, including a few surprising tips...

Establish your board meeting minutes

How does a ministry or a church make sure they are starting 2021 in the best ways possible? To begin, your board needs to reflect and dialogue on what has happened in the previous year. The board can do this by reviewing the last year's board meeting minutes.

Nonprofit organizations heavily rely on their board meeting minutes. Not only are they considered legal documents of your church or ministry's past decisions, but they also hold the organization accountable.

Should your church or ministry find itself in an IRS audit, what your minutes do or do not reflect will impact your church and how the IRS responds.

There are many topics to cover within a board meeting, such as:

    • Salaries and any compensation for pastors, staff, and board members
    • Approval of love offerings taken up for the pastor
    • The ordination of all ministers of the church
    • Financial reports of the income and expenses for the church
      • You must show that the directors have reviewed income reports. And there must be proof of their approval through a voting process as outlined in the church bylaws.
    • Approval of policies and procedures
      • For example, does your church have an accountable reimbursement policy that aligns with IRC section 62?

For the topics listed above and any other topics you cover in your board meetings, you must have all details documented within your board meeting minutes.

If you've never had a board meeting about these topics or haven't stayed up to date on these topics, you don't have to worry. We have the resources you need to help you get started.

One helpful resource in determining a pastor's salary is our Pastor's Compensation Package, which includes housing allowance and more. Give us a call today at 877-494-4655 or click the link below to get started today!

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Hold a prior acts approval board meeting

Ideally, a nonprofit would have thorough and well-organized records of all meetings and all decisions made from the very start of legal operations. Since this isn't always the case, there are ways to safeguard your church or ministry and bring it to compliance.

In addition to your annual board meeting, hold a meeting specifically for approving prior acts. One will typically hold this type of board meeting if your church has neglected board meetings and taken board meeting minutes. This particular board meeting will apply the concept of the ratification of prior acts. This is when the board meets for the sole purpose of retroactively approving decisions made in the previous year.

You are not able to take board meeting minutes for a board meeting that happened in the past. However, you can approve the decisions that were made in the past and have new board meeting minutes.

Holding this type of meeting will help your church or ministry remain in legal compliance.

How to ratify prior acts in a board meeting

1. Do your research

When holding a board meeting to approve prior acts, it is essential to research as much information about all previous actions as possible. The more information you can gather, the better, such as the dates and names of board members present at the time.

The following questions will help you prepare:

    • When did you meet?
    • Where did you meet?
    • Who was present?
    • What topics were discussed?
    • What was voted on?
    • What was decided?

Additionally, review calendars, previous emails, and notifications to the pastor and the board. This will help piece together acts from previous board meetings that weren't recorded in the board meeting minutes. If precise dates and times are unknown, you may use the best estimate for such instances.

2. Review the last discussions and decisions

During prior acts approval board meeting, your board should discuss when past decisions were made. This will require more than just research. Make sure your board re-discusses the topics. Give the time and space needed for all present board members to remember their decisions. They will want to think through the way they voted and why they voted the way they did.

It is encouraged for them to take notes to help them remember, discuss, and for the secretary to then take a record of the board meeting minutes.

3. Take a vote

During this meeting, be sure to take a vote to approve those acts retroactively. It is important to remember that you are giving legal precedence to the decisions you made at a board meeting. The best way to do this is through a collective vote of the board of directors. Use the standard voting procedure of your church. Take note of who was present, what was voted on, and how each person voted.

If you need help leading your board meeting and recording board meeting minutes, check out our Minutes Suite! The Minutes Suite walks you step-by-step through creating board meeting minutes correctly formatted to meet state and federal law. Board meeting minute creation, notification, and storage have never been easier. To learn more, click here or give us a call at 877-494-4655!

Plan your board meeting

Whether you are scheduling for the prior acts' approval board meeting or your annual board meeting, please plan and organize it in advance to ensure all board members have time to prepare and can attend.

Send an email in advance on the topics needing to be covered and the expectations for either meeting. If it is for the prior acts approval meeting, it helps create a list of the past decisions and topics to be covered and re-discussed. For the annual board meeting, encourage your board members to come prepared with ideas and questions on anything upcoming for the church or ministry.

You want to make the most of the time you are spending with your board members. Come prepared with a plan or itinerary of discussion topics and areas that will require voting. Maximizing your time with your board members not only honors the time they are giving for the meeting but also best sets everyone up for success for the meeting.

Start 2021 with Confidence

While it's easy to get caught up in the holiday bustle, you'll want to make sure you lay a strong foundation so your next year can be a success. Holding your annual board meeting will help you accomplish this task!

At the same time, we understand that legal compliance for churches and ministries can be overwhelming. That's why at StartCHURCH, we are honored to provide you with the tools and resources you need to help you keep your church or ministry in compliance!

If you have lost track or have not been keeping good board meeting minutes, we encourage you not to delay any longer. Hold your annual board meeting and the meeting to ratify prior acts to help your church or ministry back on track.

If you need assistance, we are here to help! If you're unsure of your next steps, give us a call at 877-494-4655! Our team of specialists would love to help you sort through the appropriate steps to take to start 2021 with confidence. Click the link below to schedule a call with a specialist!


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