Resources for Congregations

COGO provides congregations with the supportive tools and resources they need. This helping hand gives congregations help with staffing care, pastoral search committees, Church health and growth and so much more. Let’s be better, together!

COVID-19 UPDATES

A Pastoral Response to COVID-19: Hosted by Pastor Geremy Dixon with Bishop Timothy Clarke and Pastor Rod Stafford.

Video March 13, 2020

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“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32:8

Finding a Pastor

The search for a new pastor may seem daunting, but the process can be joyful, too. It’s a time to refocus, refresh, and reconnect with God’s vision for your congregation. COGO is committed to helping you by providing guidance, resources, and prayer.  

Below are some resources to help guide you through the process.

 

 

Pastoral Search Resources:

Steps Used in the Process for Finding a Senior Pastor:

  1. Notify Ohio Ministries of the Church of God of the need for a pastor. Associate Director, Rev. Demetrius Booker (740-747-2916, demetrius@ohchog.org) is the contact person.
  2. Establish a Pulpit Committee following the guidelines of the congregation’s by-laws and/or policies. If none exist the committee of no fewer than 3 and no more than 7 persons shall be appointed by the leadership of the congregation (i.e. Church Council, Elders, Board of Trustees).
  3. Clarify the assignment responsibilities with persons selected.
  4. Ratification of Pulpit Committee by the congregation.
  5. Pulpit Committee meets and organizes; selection of Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary.
  6. Develop a prayer ministry for committee and candidate.
  7. Appoint a Counseling Pastor (work with Esther Cottrell or your district credentials chair).
  8. Arrange for interim and pulpit supply. Esther Cottrell can provide a list of potential interim or pulpit supply. Seek to have an interim in place within 8 to 10 weeks.
  9. Assess needs of congregation. Ohio Ministries of the Church of God can assist you.
  10. Pulpit Committee develops Job Description from the congregational assessments, balancing what the congregation wants with what she needs.
  11. With input from the Trustees or Governing Board create a financial package to propose. Be flexible so it can be worked out with the new Pastor.
  12. Sources for potential Candidates:
    Decide how you will advertise your search. Church of God Ministries Norma Armogum (narmogum@chog.org) can list the church in a private online available only to seeking, credentialed Church of God ministers.
    Resumes may come from the congregation, Ohio Ministries of the Church of God, pastors that you seek out AND Unsolicited resumes.
  13. Develop criteria for evaluating resumes established from the job description and assessment of the congregation.
  14. Evaluate resumes, matching the needs of the congregation with the gifts and strengths of potential candidates. Ohio Ministries has assessment tools to help you in this process.
  15. Select the THREE TO FIVE strongest candidates for initial interview. (Are they still looking/interested in your congregation?) All candidates that you contact ought to be kept abreast of their status with you.
  16. Check ALL references. Have Esther Cottrell check on their standing in ministry and credentials.
  17. Actual interviews.
  18. Pulpit Committee comes to an agreement on a person to present to the Governing Board.
  19. Perform a Criminal Background and Credit report. Ohio Ministries can assist you.
  20. Prepare material on candidate. Submit candidate’s name to Governing Board for approval.
  21. Send name and biographical information to the congregation.
  22. Arrange for Candidating Weekend.
  23. Schedule Congregational Business Meeting to vote on the candidate. Unless by-laws prohibit, this is best done the Sunday of the Candidating Weekend.
  24. Inform candidate and congregation of the vote.
  25. Plan and execute Installation of new pastor.

10 Biggest Tax Mistakes Made by Congregations

  1. Congregation does not report clergy compensation.
    Every congregation is responsible to report clergy taxable compensation to the IRS. A Form W-2 should be used in nearly every instance.
  2. Congregation pays or reimburses for out-of-pocket medical expenses without establishing a proper plan.
    The selection and adoption of an appropriate plan by the congregation is the starting point for medical expense reimbursements. Different rules govern flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  3. Congregation makes payments to clergy investment accounts and the payments are treated as tax-free. If a congregation remits contributions under a Section 403(b) or 401(k) plans for clergy, these amounts are generally tax-deferred for clergy. However, payments by a congregation to clergy personal investment accounts are fully taxable and should be reported on Form W-2.
  4. Congregation reimburses clergy personal commuting miles. A congregation may reimburse clergy for congregation-related miles (at a maximum rate of 54 cents per mile for 2016). But a congregation should not reimburse personal commuting miles.
  5. FICA tax is deducted from clergy salary and matched by the congregation. All qualified clergy are subject to self-employment social security tax (using Form SE). A congregation should never withhold FICA-type social security tax from clergy pay and match the amount withheld. FICA-type social security only applies to lay employees.
  6. Congregation reimburses clergy expenses without adequate documentation. Clergy expenses should not be reimbursed by a congregation unless they are adequately documented. The why, who, what, when, and where of expenses should be documented.
  7. Congregation does not formally designate a housing allowance, but treats clergy as having a proper housing allowance. Unless a congregation has formally and prospectively designated a housing allowance for clergy, a housing allowance should not be excluded from clergy Form W-2s.
  8. Congregation distributes benevolence amounts based solely on donor’s designation. Contributions to a general benevolence fund without a donor’s designation of the benevolent recipient generally constitute tax-deductible contributions. However, gifts that are restricted for a particular benevolent recipient are typically not tax deductible.
  9. Congregation acknowledges property gifts and values them for the donor. The donor is always responsible to value any gifts of property (except for certain gifts of autos, boats, or airplanes). A congregation should simply acknowledge a gift of property, identifying the date of the gift and describing the gift without providing valuation data.
  10. Congregation receives a gift of services and receipts the gift with a stated dollar amount. Gifts of services are not tax deductible to the individual who performed the services. While a congregation can express appreciation for gifts of services, receipts should never be issued for them. Published by ECFA; excerpt from Tax and Money Series-Reporting Procedures for Congregations