Congregational Resources

Finance and organizational forms and links

The Nebraska District offers congregations numerous resources to help keep the business behind ministry running smoothly, including information on compensation and benefits for church workers. Many of these resources are available to be downloaded from this site or from links provided by Synod. These resources are designed to answer questions that might arise and assist in the operation of your ministry.

The links below contain information which will assist you in matters of finance and other organizational matters.

Join us for our 2024 Stewardship Emphasis: Consecrated Stewards

This grace-based, biblical stewardship program is designed to energize members in their service to Jesus and His church.
Learn more HERE.

Compensation and Benefits Guidelines

Updated 8/18/23

The Compensation and Benefits Guidelines can be used by congregations as a guide for suggested salaries, reimbursements, and benefits for professional church workers. These guidelines are minimum suggested compensation levels. You are encouraged to go above the suggested amounts when it is appropriate. The guidelines are updated each year.

  • The updated version for 2024 is now available! CLICK HERE to access the 2024 Suggested Compensation and Benefits Guidelines.
  • CLICK HERE for a letter about the 2024 Compensation and Benefits Guidelines from the District Treasurer.

In addition, the Business and Finance Office offers three Excel worksheets to assist your congregation. The updated forms for 2024 may be downloaded by clicking on these links:

*Always check your worksheet for accuracy once completed.

Please note: Information on compensation for vacancy and supply / guest pastors can be found in the Compensation and Benefits Guidelines document above. Please refer to the sections “Vacancy Pastor Compensation” and “Guest Pastor Fees” which are listed in the table of contents.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact District treasurer Elijah Luebbe at elijahl@ndlcms.org.

Active Shooter Response Plans

We encourage congregations interested in security plans to make use of the following online resources provided by the LCMS Security Officer at Synod headquarters:

The Synod recommends that congregations work with their local law enforcement to put a plan into place that works for the congregation and for the local agency.

Background Checks and MinistrySafe Training (Protecting Your Ministry)

The Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) recognizes the need for continued vigilance in child protection. The LCMS recommends that congregations and schools affiliated with the LCMS utilize abuse prevention resources including tools, training, and instruction, as well as obtain criminal background check services for staff and volunteers. The LCMS has identified MinistrySafe as a valuable resource for LCMS districts and congregations that can be incorporated into a more all-encompassing program developed by each congregation, school, or ministry.

Memo about MinistrySafe and why we recommend it

LCMS Discount Rate Sheet

Protecting Your Ministry Handbook (start here)

Protecting Your Ministry 2023 Supplement (use this once you’ve completed the main handbook)

 

Calling Ordained and Commissioned Workers

Please note that the District needs to be notified:

  • every time a call is issued by a congregation, school, RSO, etc.,
  • when a rostered worker receives a call,
  • and when a worker accepts or declines a call

Learn more about calls and compensation here. Also includes information about supply (guest) pastors.

Church and School Admin Resources (Synod)

Informational resources are available on the Synod website to guide Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations and workers in managing church and school operations. CLICK HERE

Concordia Plans Compensation Decision Support Tool

Ministries can generate a compensation estimate for positions in the pastoral, parish professional, school administrator and educator segments. The estimate includes extensive information about compensation considerations including benefits, time off considerations, salary and tax issues and more. Learn more here, and access the tools below.

For more specific guidance on any compensation issue, please contact the district office. For more specific guidance on how to use the CPS Compensation Decision Support tool, please contact Dave Kuschel at Concordia Plan Services at david.kuschel@concordiaplans.org.

Concordia Plans HR and Payroll Services

HR Services through Concordia Plans gives ministries access to valuable resources and tools to help manage and solve HR issues. Certified HR advisors can help navigate complex HR situations and find solutions.

Concordia Plans has partnered with two of the leading payroll companies who can provide ministries accurate, time-saving payroll solutions.

Concordia Plans Benefits Administration

Concordia Plans has created resources for treasurers and benefits managers to guide them through administrative tasks associated with health, retirement and disability plans for their workers. Access the Employer Benefits Administration Toolkit. If you need assistance, locate your ministry’s account manager.

Ministries can also sign up for Concordia Plans’ monthly employer newsletter, Connecting the Dots, for information about things ministries need to do, things ministries need to know, and things to help workers. Sign up and view past issues here.

Concordia Plan Services and Vitality Wellness

 Information on Concordia Plan Services and the Vitality Wellness Program can be found on the CPS website.

Congregational Remittances Information

Congregations can support District and Synod through undesignated (unified) and/or designated (personalized) gifts to the District, and they can provide direct support to specific ministries. The undesignated and designated remittances to District and Synod are processed by the District in accordance with the congregation’s instructions as provided on the remittance voucher submitted with the remittance.

Congregation treasurers may open the remittance voucher found here, type the information requested, print the completed form, and mail the voucher to the Nebraska District Business Office with their remittance check. Please click here to view a memo from the District treasurer.

A list of designated (personalized) giving opportunities for congregations, schools, and individuals can be FOUND HERE. Other Nebraska District personalized giving opportunities may be made available. Please contact missions@ndlcms.org  for more options.

Click here to pay your congregation’s remittance via our secure online payment portal.

Employment Resource Manual

Provided to assist congregations and districts of the Synod to understand and apply sound employment principles. For the current manual, visit Synod’s Church Office Administration Resources page, scroll down to the “Personnel Matters” section, then download the Employment Resource Manual. Click here to access the Synod’s Church Office Administration Resources page.

HR Services through Concordia Plans can help ministries review and revise personnel policies and manuals or create new resources to help your ministry stay current and compliant with the changing employment landscape.

Guidelines for Revising Constitution and Bylaws

A church’s constitution and bylaws are a very important part of the congregation’s ministry. That’s why it is important to be sure your congregation’s constitution and bylaws accurately reflect your congregation’s mission and move your ministry forward.

The Nebraska District has a Constitution and Bylaws Committee in place to help congregations through the process of creating or revising these important ministry documents and to help make sure congregations are within the state laws of Nebraska.

Following are some tips on writing or revising your congregation’s constitution and bylaws.

  • Plan on taking some time. Understand your current documents, understand what you want to change, appoint a committee, and follow your old constitution for making changes.
  • Download Constitution and Bylaw Guidelines for LCMS Congregations by the Commission on Constitutional Matters by clicking this link, or visiting Synod’s CCM page to find an up-to-date MS Word document suitable for copying and pasting. The Commission on Constitutional Matters also provides an abbreviated version intended for small and developing Lutheran congregations.
  • Study these pages: general principles, simplicity, flexibility, timelessness, purpose, confessions, mission, boards & committees.
  • Send revisions/changes to the District Constitution and Bylaws Chairman for suggestions, comments, and revisions. The current chairman is Rev. B.J. Fouts:  pastorfouts@stjohnbc.net
  • Wait for the Constitution and Bylaws Committee to respond to your submitted draft.
  • Make suggested changes and adopt in your congregation. Submit adopted revisions to District Constitution and Bylaws Chairman for final review and submission to the Nebraska District Board of Directors for approval.
  • Receive notification of approval of constitution and bylaws, attach letter to document, copy and return one copy to District Office, one copy to Constitution and Bylaws Chairman.
  • Begin operating under new constitution and bylaws at next meetings of congregation, boards, council, etc.
  • File new/revised constitution (WITH DATE UPON IT) in folder labeled “CURRENT CONSTITUTION.” Shred old constitutions and bylaws, or at least destroy all old copies except one which goes into an archive file, so labeled. Distribute new copies and ask members to do same with old copies.

 

As you revise your constitution and bylaws, consider these three areas congregations should pay special attention to:

  • adequate notice given for special voters’ meetings;
  • quorum number for a voters’ meetings specified (e.g. 15%, no less than ten voters) and representative of your congregation’s size;
  • only biblical reasons for termination of a called church worker be used.

Thank you to the Wyoming District for sharing these guidelines with us.

You will find the bylaws for both The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and its Nebraska District linked here:

2019 Synod Bylaws

Nebraska District Bylaws (updated 2022)

Marriage Policy and Gender Identity Documents

These documents provide guidance for congregations in setting policies on use of facilities and eligibility for marriage services. They are intended to provide guidance, especially in addressing issues that may occur in regard to same-gender marriage.

Nebraska District Marriage Policy

Information on Marriage Policies for Member Congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Protecting Your Ministry Handbook   This document is meant to help congregations and schools be sure they have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves from sexual orientation and gender identity-related lawsuits. The Nebraska District encourages all congregations and schools to work through this document carefully. (Start with this document.)

Protecting Your Ministry 2023 Supplement (Use this once you’ve completed the main handbook above.)

LCMS Group Purchasing Agreement

The LCMS Group Purchasing Agreement (formerly the National Contract Program) is operated by the LCMS General Services Department as a service to the corporate organizations of the LCMS. Group Purchasing Agreements are buying agreements between selected preferred vendors for products and services that are widely used throughout the church. The concept is that by combining the buying power of the 8,000+ entities of the LCMS we are able to negotiate pricing that would not normally be available to individual organizations.

Services offered through this contract program include:

  • A/V Equipment
  • Background Screening
  • Online Event Registration
  • Office and Janitorial Supplies
  • Office Equipment/Technology Resources
  • Furnishings
  • Telecom Services
  • Moving Companies

Click on this link to visit the LCMS website. Here you can find more information on this program, as well as service descriptions, product information, LCMS pricing, and more.

Personnel Manual Prototype

The Personnel Manual Prototype is intended to be used as a general overview of procedures and policies established by the congregation for its employees, as well as an explanation of certain benefits provided with this employment. This link will provide a document useful for copying and pasting.

HR Services through Concordia Plans can help ministries review and revise personnel policies and manuals or create new resources to help your ministry stay current and compliant with the changing employment landscape.

Record Retention Recommendations

Many treasurers find the Record Retention Sheet from the Employment Resource Manual a useful guide.  For the current manual, click here to access the Synod’s Document Library, then search using the term Employment Resource Manual. Download the current manual and scroll to the chapter on record retention

Stewardship Resources

Visit our Stewardship Resources page for a variety of resources to help your congregation grow in its understanding and implementation of a life of stewardship.

Shareboard: Tool for Congregation Lay Leaders

Shareboard is an online LCMS community where lay leaders can connect and learn, as well as share information, best practices and experiences, to support one another nationwide. Hundreds of LCMS lay leaders have joined the Shareboard community, benefitting from this wide-reaching form of collaboration. It’s free to join and use, and can be a valuable resource to lay leaders in many different roles.

Thrivent Choice Dollars Program

Thrivent members become eligible for Thrivent Choice based on insurance premiums, contract values and Thrivent volunteer leadership. Eligible members are designated Choice Dollars that they can direct to enrolled charities. The Nebraska District is one of of those enrolled charities, as are many churches and schools. Thrivent Choice Dollars must be designated by March 31 of each year. Learn more by clicking here.

Taxes and Ministers Handbook

The “Taxes and Ministers Handbook” is designed to provide selective information for pastors and ministers of religion, including housing allowance information and reporting income and expense. This handbook is updated periodically, and the latest version should be available by visiting Synod’s Church Office Administration Resources page, scroll down to the “Financial Matters” section, then download the Taxes and Ministers. Click here to access the Synod’s Church Office Administration Resources page.

Treasurer’s Manual (Congregational Treasurers)

This manual presents tax, payroll, insurance, finance, and administrative matters that every church addresses at one time or another. It is written so every treasurer, no matter what the level of expertise, will be able to gain something from it. Follow the link to the LCMS webpage to download the current Treasurer’s Manual.