At year's end, planned giving options abound

 
In the midst of the tree-trimming, gift-wrapping and caroling, it can be easy to forget about year-end giving. Not only is this the most wonderful time of the year, it is also a wonderful time to consider the many ways to enjoy the tax and income benefits of charitable giving. When many people think of charitable giving, especially at year's end, they think of making a cash gift. However, there is another way. It's called a planned gift. There are ...

Judge's block of overtime rule receives praise

 
A federal judge has blocked a looming Department of Labor overtime rule considered burdensome by Southern Baptist and other nonprofit entities. Amos Mazzant, a judge in the Eastern District of Texas, issued a nationwide temporary injunction Tuesday (Nov. 22) to prevent enforcement of a DOL regulation that would have increased the number of workers eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay by more than 4 million. The rule was scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1. The regulation would double the salary threshold for overtime ...

GuideStone strategist urges investors to 'stay calm'

 
The election of Donald J. Trump may have surprised political observers, but his election and the continued control of Congress by fellow Republicans could increase the odds for his major policy plans to be adopted over the next two years. Financial markets are likely to remain volatile over the near term—and possibly for months, said David S. Spika, CFA, global investment strategist for GuideStone Capital Management. Markets rallied in the days after a Trump victory, even after signaling ...

GuideStone Financial Services restructures its workforce

 
GuideStone Financial Resources has realigned certain job responsibilities and restructured its workforce as part of its effort to identify and implement new ways to become more efficient. It also announced last month three new executive officers promoted from within the organization. The restructuring dovetails GuideStone's update to its long-range plan, GuideStone 100, and flows from the 2015 theme "Year of Efficiency," when the Southern Baptist Convention entity sought new efficiencies in people, processes and policies. And the changes come as the entity ...

How to talk about giving so people won’t tune you out

 
When it comes to finances, many churches are just getting by. A recent study by LifeWay Research found a third of Protestant senior pastors say their church’s giving was under budget in 2015. LifeWay Research began studying the effects of the economy on churches in 2009, when the country was engulfed in economic woes. In October 2010, most pastors (80 percent) said the economy negatively impacted their church. That number dropped to 64 percent in 2012. In 2015, more than half (51 percent) of Protestant pastors ...

David Jeremiah: A solid investment

 
Millions of us have experienced the uncertainty of creating a solid investment portfolio as the stock market rises and falls like a rollercoaster. Individual investors, senior citizens with mutual funds, charitable institutions with endowments, and most people who have a pension plan—have all suffered from the fragile and fluctuating world economy. Not even the experts know what to do. "One of the funny things about the stock market," said the American publisher William Feather, "is that every time ...

Christians' views on payday loans studied

 
Self-identified Christians in 30 states -- from Alabama to Wyoming -- say it's a sin to lend money to someone who can't afford to pay it back. Most want the government to protect consumers from loans with excessive interest. Still, one in six Christians has taken out a high-interest payday loan, while few of their fellow believers know how such loans work or look to the Bible for guidance about fair lending. Those are among the findings of a new online ...

Budget shortfalls hamper 3 in 10 churches surveyed

 
When it comes to finances, the new normal for many American churches seems to be "just getting by." A third of Protestant senior pastors say their church's giving was under budget in 2015, according to LifeWay Research. One in five saw their finances decline. Overall, about half of pastors say the economy has negatively affected their churches. Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, says pastors are still uneasy about their church's finances. "Wages grew in 2015 and inflation and unemployment remained ...

Can church budgets be visionary & rewarding?

 
The church budgeting process ranks fairly low on the list of a minister's most motivating and inspiring experiences. Pastors will line up to deliver a message, shepherd the hurting, pray for the wayward and lead the body forward. However, if a pastor lies awake at night thinking of the church budget, it's often for the wrong reasons. For many churches, the budgeting process begins with ministry leaders submitting their annual requests for funds. Some underestimate their budget needs; others inflate ...