“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders ….” (Colossians 4:5 HCSB)
Few would debate that our culture is rapidly declining in its enthusiasm for church and biblical teaching. If you were to step back and take a really close objective look at your own congregations, you might understand why.
There is a fog of divisiveness settling across the Southern Baptist Convention and it is spreading like a poisonous gas, and we must address it rather than allow it to linger and destroy our Great Commission calling.
There is a litany of issues causing the increasing tension that seemingly permeates every conversation taking place across our denomination and we no longer have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a problem. There is tension between national entities and state conventions, between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, between entity leaders and Southern Baptists, and the list goes on. It seems there is division almost anywhere two or more are gathered with differing opinions. If you doubt the veracity of my comments, check the news. Southern Baptists are making more headlines these days for our in fighting than for being known as a people of grace and peace sharing the gospel with a dying world. Continue reading “A Plea for Unity and Cooperation”→
Ever since I have been involved in church planting, I have heard you need to develop a core group, or in these days a launch team. These people come alongside you, help get your church plant going and help with various ministries in the church. Hundreds of church planters, myself included, had gathered a core group or team and used them to help start a church.
Risk management is a crucial issue if we are to be the best stewards for the cause of Christ. Here are four tips to help you be more aware of risks and make good decisions about insurance coverage in the local church.
Have a good working relationship with your agent and be sure your agent understands the exposures you have as a congregation. You should have confidence in your agent, but it is your responsibility to understand your coverage and to inform your agent of any unique liabilities you may have as a congregation.
It’s been said the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. It’s a tough point to argue. Take a guy like Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest fastball pitchers to ever play the game. Ryan unbelievably had a 27-year career and was still throwing the ball 95 mph-plus when he finally retired; ever the “Ryan Express” to the end.
Now, imagine standing in a batter’s box waiting to hit his fastball. Don’t wait too long; you only have four tenths of a second to make contact — that’s less than half a second. It takes a significant amount of focus and “keeping your eye on the ball” if you have the remotest chance of getting a hit. Allow distraction and you’ll strike out. Continue reading “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”→
In two previous articles (Pt. I | Pt. II), we examined churches and their exemption status under federal and Tennessee laws. Now, we look at the third level of church tax exemption – local property tax.
In Tennessee, property tax is actually a joint state and county matter. The state Board of Equalization ensures that property tax matters are handled consistently and based on state law. However, since the majority of the work on property matters is handled in county offices, most people consider property tax a local matter. Continue reading “Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 3 of 3”→
In our last blog post, we identified three levels of tax authority: federal, state and local. In this article we will look at the state of Tennessee and their taxing authority.
Tennessee is a “no income tax” state, which applies to individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations. However, Tennessee does raise revenue through a state sales tax. By law, churches are exempt from paying sales tax on items intended for “use, consumption or give away” by the church. Churches must apply for an exemption certificate from the Tennessee Department of Revenue to take advantage of the exemption. Continue reading “Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 2 of 3”→
Everyone knows churches are tax-exempt entities. However, very few people understand what this really means, the various levels of taxation and how they apply to churches.
In simplest terms, there are three basic levels of taxing authority that impact Tennessee churches: (1) federal government, (2) Tennessee government and (3) local governments. This article deals with churches and their tax exemption from the federal government. Continue reading “Churches and Tax Exemption – Part 1 of 3”→
Maybe you’ve been there, on a missions trip standing in the middle of the urban sprawl of one of the world’s great cities, cities like Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, Sao Paulo, London, Krakow, Rome, or Istanbul. There are people everywhere, bouncing off each other like pinballs. You may have even felt — like I have — very small and wondering what kind of a difference you could possibly make in such an ocean of spiritual lostness.
But we go anyway, don’t we? We have a Great Commission calling, and we know that despite the seemingly overwhelming odds, God calls us to wade into those concrete jungles to serve people and to preach the gospel. And we go knowing that He faithfully brings in the harvest. Continue reading “How Near Are You Willing to Go?”→