church office

Developing an emergency operations plan for your church

The recent shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs reminded us again that even sacred spaces can be unsafe. We should also be reminded that congregations of all sizes and locations should take steps to address the possibility that unimaginable violence could happen. So how can we “expect the unexpected?”

Create an emergency operations plan (EOP) designed especially for your church. While sample plans may help identify the scope of your plan, your church is unique in its location, buildings, schedule, activities, and culture. Therefore, you must develop your own plan with the help of others.

In creating a planning... [continue]

What the new overtime regulation means for your church-Updated 11/29/16

The new salary requirement for an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for overtime pay will not take effect December 1.

On November 22, a federal judge from Sherman, TX, issued an injunction halting the enforcement of a change to the "salary test" for an exemption to the FLSA rules for overtime pay. Currently, in order to satisfy the salary test a "white collar" employee must make $455 a week ($23,660 annually). That amount was set to increase to $913 a week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1. The district court ruling means that the salary test will not change, for the time being.

It is important for... [continue]

What the new overtime regulation means for your church

On May 17, 2016*, the Obama administration announced that it will increase the salary threshold for determining if an employee is eligible for overtime pay to $47,476.00 annually. This is an increase from the current threshold of $23,660.00 and this new regulation goes into effect on December 1 of this year.

This new regulation doesn’t change the duties tests for the various current overtime exemptions (such as administrative, executive, professional), but it does significantly raise the pay threshold and the pay threshold must be met in order for the duties tests to be in consideration.

What does this all me to our Texas... [continue]

Ministers, church employees invited to participate in 2016 SBC Church Compensation Survey

DALLAS — GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions, have opened the biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey for 2016. Ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad®. The survey and complete contest rules are available at

The survey's results will be made available in the early fall, in time for many churches considering their 2017 budgets. The survey is the... [continue]

Sufficient unto the day

In college, my Greek professor had a standard answer when worried students started asking about the next exam. With a wry smile, he repeated, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." In other words, don't worry about that yet. (Or as some of us learned to interpret it, today was to be enjoyed because exam day would be a terrible day of judgment … ). Yes, it's biblical. See Matthew 6:34 in your KJV.

Just as students may worry over an upcoming exam, our uncertain world may cause infectious fear and worry within our churches. Severe weather, violence on church property and industrial disasters are all very real threats we... [continue]

How the Affordable Care Act affects your church

As a convention, we seek to help meet the needs of our churches. As a church, you, in turn, seek to help meet the needs of your pastor and other ministry staff. One of the ways many of you care for them is through reimbursement for the premiums of health insurance policies. However, due to recent changes in government regulations through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this may no longer be possible beginning July 1, 2015.

If you allow this practice, called Premium Reimbursement Plans, to continue after June 30, your church could be subject to a penalty under the ACA of $100 a day per participating employee. That could add up... [continue]

Child abuse is everyone's business

Country singer Kacey Musgraves' single, "Biscuits," is gaining popularity. The message of the song can be summed up in the line that advises, "Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy." It's a catchy and clever restatement of the familiar idiom, "mind your own business."

In today's society, we've heard so many variations of this phrase that many people behave as though nothing that goes on in other people's lives is anyone else's business. When it comes to child abuse and neglect, the adage simply doesn't apply. Christians should be at the forefront in reminding society that child abuse and neglect are everyone's... [continue]

Legislature says “I Do” to Pastor Protection Act

On June 11, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called Pastor Protection Act that protects religious organizations and their employees from performing or participating in marriages that conflict with "sincerely held religious beliefs." The Christian Life Commission and its director of public policy, Kathryn Freeman, worked with faith leaders throughout Texas during the 2015 legislative session to get this bill passed.

The law will be added to Section 1, Chapter 2 of the Texas Family Code and will take effect Sept.1, 2015. The bill is timely because it comes ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage later in... [continue]

Summer symbiosis: A guide to ministry internships

Summer is upon us. As I write this in mid-March, I'm interviewing candidates for a handful of internships within the Convention's communications department. While it takes time and energy to establish a perennial program, the payoff both for our department and the interns themselves is well worth the effort. Interns bring boundless life, energy and awareness to our team, they tackle projects in new and creative ways, and while they collect only modest compensation, the experience, school credit and resume bolstering they receive can be life-changing.

Here are some tips if your ministry is considering a formal internship program this... [continue]