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April 23, 2013

Three Risks Keeping Church Leaders Up at Night

These pitfalls can be avoided with the right preparation.

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Last month, Frank Sommerville, CPA, JD, visited Christianity Today and spent time with our team. Frank is one of our Editorial Advisors and he spent time with us discussing some of the top risks churches face each day.

A couple of days later, he spoke nearby at a National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) local chapter meeting. Between our on-site visit with Frank and his NACBA presentation, it became abundantly clear that there are critical, ministry-killing pitfalls that threaten every church, and leaders need to be better educated on these risks:

  • For instance, did you know that one in three churches is embezzled each year (the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners says 10 percent of occupational fraud cases worldwide were at nonprofits)? The average take more than $100,000. Prevent it from happening at your church--and if it already has, respond the right way.

  • Fundraising can be considered "unrelated business income." This Feature Report will help you determine whether your church's income-generating efforts are taxable.

  • Conducting background checks before hiring? If you do it too early or too often, your church could be sued for discrimination.
It's tough to keep up with the ever-increasing risks your ministry faces. But remember, everything you do today to protect your church will help ensure that your congregation thrives now and in the future.

Ashley Moore is assistant editor of Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Group.

Related Tags: background checks, bookkeepers, embezzlement, fraud, pastors, safety, taxes, treasurers

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