Some general guidelines for collecting and distributing a pastoral love offering
1. COLLECT THE OFFERING.
If you receive one offering for both your general tithes and offering and an offering for the pastor, you will want to make sure you’re able to clearly separate them. You are still responsible for making sure the church will be able to cover its expenses before issuing the pastor the offering.
2. EVALUATE WHETHER OR NOT THE CHURCH CAN PAY IT.
Is the church operating at a profit? Or is it operating at a loss? You will want to make sure the church can cover its general expenses before the church pays the pastor the love offering. Your financial reports can also help with determining the amount of the love offering if it has not been previously approved in the church’s budget. Financial reports will give your church a breakdown of income and expenses and will provide the information to determine whether or not your church can give the love offering.
3. CHECK YOUR BUDGET.
Have you set up your budget to account for love offerings? If you haven’t, that’s OK. You can still use your financial reports to calculate an amount for the love offering. A budget reflecting expenses like a love offering is important. It not only helps you to determine an amount that your board considers reasonable but also enables you to make sure the church is staying within the predicted expenses.
If you don’t currently have a method of tracking your financial transactions, you need one. This is not optional for any organization. You are responsible for making sure that the church has financial transparency.
4. MAKE SURE THE BOARD APPROVES THE LOVE OFFERING.
One thing to note is that the pastor (as well as any individual related to the pastor) receiving the love offering cannot be part of the vote. Allowing them to vote on this decision is a conflict of interest. Your bylaws will outline the type of approval required to approve the love offering while still making sure you are in compliance with IRS laws.
As you hold the board meeting, make sure you have your board meeting minutes to back up the approval of the love offering. Board meeting minutes are proof of financial and governing decisions your board makes.
5. AFTER APPROVAL, BE SURE TO REPORT IT TO THE PASTOR’S PAYROLL COMPANY.
This payroll company will give you the steps on how to correctly give your pastor the love offering. If your pastor does not use a payroll company and receives checks, you can write him or her a separate check. Make sure the memo line says, “love offering.” This will help with tracking expenses in the future, if needed, and will help when you create the church budget for the following year.
First published on startChurch.com. Used by permission.