Money

Missionaries who argued paying taxes is ‘against God’s will’ ordered to pay $1.6M

"A 'brother' and sister pair of Australian missionaries, who argued that it is 'against God’s will' to pay taxes to their government, were ordered by a court to pay more than $1.6 million they owed after they failed to convince the Supreme Court of Tasmania." - Christian Post 

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The Church Treasurer: Reporting, Credit Cards, and Other Tips

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My wife was in pre-op for delicate tear duct surgery this past Monday. Two surgeons were involved: an otorhinolaryngologist and an ophthalmologist. The younger of the two, the ENT doctor marked Kathee’s left eye – it’s this one. In walked the older of the two1 who announced, “I’m not a surgeon, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.”2 Well, he really is a surgeon and I’m not an accountant and I haven’t slept in Holiday Inn Express in years! But I am resolved to follow GAAP3 and EFCA standards on financial reporting:

ECFA Standard 3 - Financial Oversight:

Every organization shall prepare complete and accurate financial statements. …

The financial statements (and the disclosure of the financial statements) are key components of transparency, both within the ministry and to donors and the public. This flows directly from biblical principles: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19–20 NIV).

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Your housing allowance is safe for the forseeable future

"The group that brought the federal lawsuit against the cash version of the clergy housing allowance has decided not to appeal the unanimous Federal Appeals Court ruling that upheld the thing. They have a clever title to this news: Appeals Court Blesses Housing Allowance." - SBC Voices

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The Church Treasurer: The Transition and Assuming the Role

Twice I’ve had opportunity to manage the finances of another individual. The first was my son Roger’s deployment to Iraq. He was a student at Saint Cloud State and a reservist in the USMC when he was called up and had to deploy. It happened rather suddenly. He and I took these steps:

  1. We visited his bank and had me added to his accounts
  2. He reviewed with me his finances and bills and had all directed to my address
  3. We rented a garage to store his truck

Upon his return,1 all reverted back to him. (I was amazed that his ‘95 Chevy S-10 started with no issues having been stored for almost a year – “Like a Rock”).2

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From the Archives – Standard of Living?

One of the most telling characteristics of our culture is how we collectively determine an individual’s standard of living. The concept of a “standard of living” is something like a high-jump bar by which we gauge the quality of our daily lives. Some people cannot clear the bar and we say they experience a “low standard of living.” Others clear the bar with considerable room to spare and we declare that they enjoy a comparatively “high standard of living.” Those who fall between these two sub-sets keep jumping, but never seem quite sure if they clear the bar or not.

Irrespective of how high we are able to jump, one thing is certain: our culture naturally defines standard of living in terms of economic prosperity. The bar by which we gauge standard of living is hoisted to its current height by prevailing economic conditions and expectations and then we orient ourselves toward attaining that height—and then some.

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