Knowledge Center

The Knowledge Center provides access to hundreds of documents including policies,
procedures and a wealth of research on topics such as charitable gifts, expense
reimbursements, board governance, fringe benefits, and much more.
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This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.
“Good Is the Enemy of Great”

When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.

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5 Technology Advances for Governance Excellence

This document, authored by Vonna Laue and Michael Martin, offers five strategies some churches and ministries utilize to reap the benefits of technological advances.

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7 Ways to Avoid a Financial Train Wreck

The clear communication and understanding of church finances is a key to avoiding a financial train wreck and helping a church be a positive witness for Jesus Christ.

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A Board Prayer

“Dear God . . . Grant us the joy of arriving at adjournment closer to one another because we are closer to You.”

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Accountability and the Great Commission

Steve Douglass powerfully communicates how accountability supports fulfilling the Great Commission. As Steve suggests, “When people perceive a ministry and its leaders are accountable, they believe in them more.”

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Address Absentee Board Member Syndrome

There are three unhealthy ways that many church boards respond to empty chairs at board meetings.

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Alert! The ER Factor Causes Value Extraction

Beware of the ER Factor in the Boardroom—ego and rivalry.

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Apply for a Staff Position and You Can Deal with That Issue

Help board members not to cross the line into operational details.

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Ask the Gold Standard Question

A “pruning moment” can improve your board meetings.

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Back Off the Ledge of Dysfunctional Mayhem

When dysfunction reigns, healthy board members head for the door.

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Be Intentional About Your First 30 Minutes

Does your board meeting need a refresh—so you experience holy moments more frequently?

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Before the Board Meeting

Collaborate, then wisely build the board meeting agenda.

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Best Practices in the Boardroom

5 Steps to More Effective and Accountable Leadership

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Big Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand

Church boards have a natural gravitational pull toward issues that should be reserved for the church staff.

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Board Chair - Sample Position Description

Board Chair position description

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Board Ethics Sample Policy

A board's commitment to biblical, ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct

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Board Member Application

Sample form to be completed by a prospective board member

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Board Member Commitment Pledge

Sample annual pledge of service for board members

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Board Member Resources

A list of resources to help board members to excellence

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Board Secretary – Sample Position Description

Board Secretary position description

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Board Self-Evaluation Form - Full Board Evaluation

Evaluating the board as a whole

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Board Self-Evaluation Forms - Board Member Evaluation

Evaluating a fellow board member

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Board Self-Evaluation Overview

Discusses board self-evaluation and includes links to sample board self-evaluation forms

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Board Service: An honor or a duty?

Outlines the importance of effective board service as both an honor and a duty

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Board Treasurer – Sample Position Description

Board Treasurer position description

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Board Vice Chair – Sample Position Description

Board Vice Chair position description

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Board Voting by Proxy

Discusses the implications of board voting by proxy

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Break Bread, Not Relationships

Building a 24/7 healthy board culture takes time. Don’t skimp on meals or relationships.

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Caution! Understand the Governance Pendulum Principle

You have limited time to act when the pendulum oscillates in a positive direction.

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Checklist for Churches Demonstrating Integrity in Compensation-Setting

Steps to integrity in compensation-setting

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Church Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement

A discussion of the annual church board member affirmation statement

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Church Board Sample Minutes

Sample minutes for a church board meeting

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Church Governance Resources

Resources on church governance issues

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Common Misconceptions of Board Members

Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness.

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Conducting Effective Board Meetings

Outlines the important role of the board chair in planning and leading effective board meetings

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Conference Call Board Meetings

Includes a compilation of state government legislation on teleconferencing

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Conflicts of Interest Questionnaire

Sample questionnaire for determining conflicts of interest for board members

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Conflicts of Interest Sample Policy

Discusses conflicts of interest and related-party transactions, and includes a sample conflicts of interest policy and related documents

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Corporate Documents

Discusses the bylaws and articles of incorporation for a nonprofit organization

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Covenant of Confidentiality

Nonprofit boards may use this sample covenant of confidentiality to protect the confidentiality of a ministry

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Creating the Vision for the Next Board

Creating a vision for and drawing the blueprint for the future board is one of the most important legacies of a board.

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Defending Risks Everywhere Is Not a Strategic Plan

You must discuss the risk elephant in the boardroom.

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Do Not Interrupt!

Don’t assume board members know how to listen.

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Do Unwritten Board Policies Really Exist?

Can’t find that 10-year-old policy? You need a BPM.

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Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!

What’s worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? A boisterous board member at a prayer meeting.

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Don’t Stretch Credulity with BHAGS and Stretch Goals

The actual achievement of audacious goals is very uncommon.

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Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles

Keep your leaders on track with a one-page Prime Responsibility Chart.

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Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant Hat Expectations

Understand the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant.

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Every Church Needs a Conflict of Interest Policy

Boards often become convinced they are making a decision in the best interest of the church, but they fail to consider how the decision will appear on the internet and social media.

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Executive Compensation Policy

A Board’s determination of the nonprofit’s senior staff members’ compensation is one of its key tasks. 

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Finance Committee Sample Charter

Sample Finance Committee Charter

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Fraud in Ministries: How to Respond

What to do if you detect fraud in your organization

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Fraud in Ministries: Real Examples and Red Flags

Ministries can implement a few simple internal controls to remove temptations from employees and protect resources from misappropriations.

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From the Pen of Olan Hendrix

ECFA is pleased to offer excerpts from Olan Hendrix's writings as a part of our Knowledge Center. Please find below many great topical articles that we hope will be a blessing to you in your ministry.

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Governing Board Culture

We are confident we need to address our current governing board culture but we are not sure when and how to proceed. What do you suggest?

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Governing Board Minutes Sample

Board Minutes - Sample

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Guarding Your Pastor’s Soul

Senior pastor moral failures are devastating to churches. Wise boards invest time—up front—to ensure the pastor’s soul is not neglected.

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Handling Conflicts of Interest

Practical approaches to assist boards in understanding real or perceived conflicts of interest

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How Many Board Members Are Present in Your Boardroom?

It’s more than just answering the roll call.

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How to Avoid Three Common Board Mistakes

You may have been on a board where one or more of these three mistakes were made. Avoiding these mistakes will improve the effectiveness of your board.

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Improving Your Church Board—One Step at a Time

Article by Dan Busby

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Independent Board Members

Outlines ECFA's requirement regarding independent board members

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Individual Board Members - Sample Position Description

Describes responsibilities and characteristics for individual board members

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Internal Control Resources

Publications that include information on internal control

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Is Your Board Color Blind to Hazardous Condition Signs?

What color is your boardroom flag?

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Is Your Ministry Too Close to the Edge?

Discusses various forms of risk management for nonprofit organizations

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Keeping the Boardroom Afloat

Are too many staff causing the boardroom to capsize?

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Legal Risk Evaluation Tool

The Legal Exposure Evaluation Tool will help you more clearly understand your church’s current risk profile.

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Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom

Invest 80% of your board work on future ministry opportunities—not rehashing the past.

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Listen to the Wisdom of Many Counselors

Don’t ask board members to vote against God!

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Looking for Consensus but Finding Division

Finding consensus on challenging issues requires deft handling and a flexible approach by the board chair.

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Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship

What happens in the boardroom must stay in the boardroom.

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Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table

Boards need advance preparation to fully address complex issues.

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Pastor Pay—It’s About More than Just Money

Getting the compensation-setting process right must be a priority.

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Prioritize Prayer Over Problems

Create space for prayer—serious supplications for serious work.

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Public Access to Church Board Meetings or Board Meeting Minutes

Discusses any legal requirements and the propriety of granting public access to church board meetings or board meeting minutes

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Quality Financial Reporting

Outlines a nonprofit board’s responsibility for quality financial reporting

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Ready for a Board Breakthrough?

Announcing 3 Transformational Tools for More Effective Governance

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Recording Church Board Minutes

Outlines the importance of and procedures for recording board meeting minutes, including a sample set of minutes

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Recruiting Board Members

Outlines some helpful board recruitment strategies to develop and maintain an effective board

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Renewing Your Vision

The importance of keeping God’s vision for ministry in focus

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Serving on a Ministry Board with Excellence

Boards seem to give little thought to qualities that separate good boards from the very best

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Spiritual Discernment

Dr. Stephen Macchia is one of the leaders of a growing spiritual discernment movement.  As Steve says:  “No matter who joins you at the discernment table, they bring with them their hearts . . . the condition of their hearts directly impacts the discernment process.”  May you bring a burning heart to the discernment table.

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Staff and Volunteer Ethics Sample Policy

A nonprofit's staff and volunteers' commitment to biblical, ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct

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Tap! Tap! Tap!

Does the Spirit hear a busy signal when nudging your board?

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Term Limits for Boards

Outlines the importance and strategy of term limits for boards

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The Audit Oversight Process

Details adequate financial oversight and how it is one of the central responsibilities of effective board governance

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The Bully in the Church Boardroom

??God, the pastor, the board chair, and other board members must neutralize the board bully.

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The Executive Committee and Its Role for Ministries

Describes the potential role of an executive committee of a ministry board

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The Impact of Founder's Syndrome

Visionary leaders do not just experience personal stress but can also cause great organizational distress. Founder’s Syndrome occurs when an organization is driven more by the personality of the founder than by its own mission. It is an organizational problem more than a personal one. All institutions face this danger, but it is especially complicated in Christian settings, where founders often function as spiritual leaders as well.

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Thrive with Four Kingdom Values

Pastor Carlos said he didn’t have the spiritual gift of church board meetings!

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Top Five Intellectual Property Issues Webinars-On-Demand

This Webinar-On-Demand will focus on, Top Five Intellectual Property Issues with John Anthony, attorney for Anthony & Middlebrook, P.C.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn about:

  • Copyright
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Areas of intellectual property
  • Trademark
  • Trade Secret
  • Patent
  • How to protect the church
  • Avoiding infringements

 

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Tough Decisions for Boards

Discusses elements of making effective board meeting decisions

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Travel Expense of Board Members and their Spouses

Outlines the issues surrounding board member and spousal travel reimbursements

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Unmistakable Integrity Starts with the Tone at the Top

Integrity appears in both very small ways and very significant ways.

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Wanted: Lifelong Learners

Would you trust a surgeon who stopped learning?

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Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel

Golden opportunities are missed when a board’s eyes are wide shut.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Prepare your board now for the possibility of future accusations and investigations.

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media

Conflicts of interest always sound more questionable on the internet and social media.

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You Made Me Better Than I Was

Church board experiences should leave all participants better than they were.

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