Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does the Pastor Profit from Tithes & Offerings?

Just so you know, I do not personally profit from the finances collected at PCC. Neither do any of our other employees. There is no personal gain in it for any of us. The reason is simple: it is illegal. Let me explain.

Pace Community Church is a NON-profit organization and is governed accordingly by state and federal laws to maintain its not-for-profit status. That means no person, persons, employees, or individuals may personally profit from any of the church’s assets (cash, property, or otherwise). The only provision that is allowed is for employees in the form of salaries, and even then only “reasonable compensation” is permitted by law. Any thing above a “reasonable” amount would be considered “profit” by the Internal Revenue Service.

What is reasonable compensation? Here’s how it is decided at PCC. We use an outside organization (which is impartial & unbiased) to determine the amount for each of our paid positions. This organization is the “National Association of Church Business Administration” which we are a participating member of. They publish a “Church Staff Compensation” survey, every two years, in which pay scales and salary amounts are provided for every conceivable position on a church payroll.

Factors in determining the salary ranges for each employee are: years of experience, education level, comparison with other professionals or vocations, leadership responsibility, and whether the employee is ordained or not. Also considered are unique factors about the church itself (that is, the employer) such as denomination (or nondenominational), location (urban, rural, or suburban), region (Southeast), church budget, and economic conditions. From all this information salary ranges (pay scales) are formulated. These tables have a low, medium, and high range for each position.

Armed with these impartial tables (that reflect no bias or favoritism) the directors of PCC are then able to assign salaries accordingly. No arbitrary decision can be made. No excessive amount given. No favoritism shown. No personal profit occurs. We are constrained by these pay scales. And in the interest of full disclosure, no employee at PCC is in the high range on the pay scales. All full-time employees are in the medium range.

The laws governing our not-for-profit status are so binding that it also means all church assets, land, buildings, cash, bank accounts, material, and equipment, are the property of Pace Community Church, Inc. No individual owns anything here. In fact, if our church were to go out of business and cease to exist, all the assets would have to be given to another non-profit organization, or surrendered to the federal government. Under no instance would any person be permitted to seize or use them for private use.

So when I ask our church family to give generously to Pace Community Church each week, there’s no personal gain in it for me. When I teach on the subject of giving and financial stewardship I do so in the authority and full conviction of God’s Word, not from self-interests. If our church’s income were to double, triple, or quadruple overnight it would not fatten my bank account; only our church would benefit. Some people try to squirm out of the clear commandments of God to support their church by complaining "it all goes to the preacher" - but that's just an excuse, often coming from those who are selfish or suspicious. And at PCC it certainly is not true. Except for "reasonable compensation" paid to employees, all tithes and offerings collected at PCC go directly to the church itself - nowhere else. Or, in the event of a special offering in which 'designated giving' is permitted, 100% of the funds given go directly to the desinated cause - nowhere else.

Therefore, receiving an offering is not about me. It’s about you.
  • #1 - Are you going to do what God commands you to do in regard to financial stewardship, tithes, and offerings?

  • #2 – Do you love your church enough to support it?

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