It is a proven fact that Pastoring/Leading a Church can be very stressful. According to some reports, Pastors have the fourth highest suicide attempt rate in the USA. A question we should all ask ourselves is, “Why?”
Shouldn’t Ministry Be A “Piece of Cake”
If God called the individual into ministry and anointed them for the task, what could possibly be so stressful about it? That is the idea entertained by many who have never been involved in Ministry.
If all the Pastor had to do was preach two or three sermons per week, one could possibly hold to a view that ministry is the easiest occupation in the world. However, even if all the Pastor did was preach, according to one report from the Mayo Clinic, preaching a 45 minute message while under the anointing invokes as much toll on the human body as ten hours of hard physical labor.
Much More to Ministry than Preaching
Preaching is the least of a Pastor’s concerns—Bible College or Seminary trains a Pastor for that task. What the Bible College or Seminary does not do is train the new Pastor to step into the position of CEO of a major corporation. Yet, that is exactly what happens when someone accepts the role of Pastor.
Board meetings must be conducted; the Pastor must ensure that annual Board Minutes are recorded and maintained. There are legal and Internal Revenue Service issues which must be addressed in any given year. And if that is not enough, the Pastor must be a consoler, counselor, and financial advisor, while continuing to keep peace among a vast array of human personalities which attend his or her Church.
With this in mind, I felt it would be rewarding for the Pastor and Church Leaders if we could provide them with a few simple steps which would help make ministry less stressful.
Church Legal Structure
According to statistics from former Chief of the Non-Profit Division of the IRS, a large majority of Churches in America are not on a solid, legal foundation. This alone, is enough to push any Pastor into the need for anxiety or anti-depressant medication.
Questions which every Pastor and Church Leader should ask are:
- Is your Church legally incorporated in your state and is the incorporation up to date and in good standing?
- Does your Church have a legal set of bylaws which could withstand any court challenges?
- Are you maintaining complete, professional, and accurate records, including financial?
- What type of policy and procedures manual do you have in place?
- Does your Church have a legal 501(c)(3) with a Letter of Determination from the IRS?
Ensuring the above mentioned are in place and up to date will protect your Church from possible legal challenges as well as ensuring that donations made to your Church will be legally tax deductible for the donor.
What About Financial Accountability
Do you have written procedures as to how money is to be counted? Are Conflict of Interest Policies in effect for your Church, Board Members, and those counting the money?
Does your Church have a written Reimbursement Policy as outlined by Section 62? If not and your Church is reimbursing anyone, the amount of that reimbursement must be counted as income to the individual and is taxable and he or she must receive a 1099.
Invest in Your Church’s Future
In the fast pace world in which we live, things don’t change daily, but hourly. A Pastor and Church Leaders will only add to stress in their lives if they do not retain someone who can keep abreast of all the changes as they are happening. This is where we enter the picture.
Chitwood & Chitwood has 80 years of experience assisting Churches with compliance and Management issues. The best investment that your Church can make for its future is to enroll the Pastor and all Church Leaders into a one day Ultimate Church Structure and Compliance Conference. At this CMTC conference you will learn:
- How to Properly Structure your Church - How to Maintain Appropriate Financial Accountability - How to Protect your Church Against Possible Legal Action - How to Properly Set Compensation for Pastor, Musicians, and other Church Employees - How to Not Limit Your Ministry to the Weekly Tithes and Offerings - And Much, Much More
To register, visit us online at www.cmtc.org or call 800-344-0076. This will be the best investment you can make this year. We look forward to meeting you and helping you remove the stress from ministry.