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abcgrad94
07-17-2007, 11:48 PM
For those of you who have ever lived in a parsonage, I have a question. Would you use your personal tithe to fix needed repairs at the parsonage if the church didn't want to pay for it? I'm talking about a church who has the money but wants to save it for the church building fund instead. Both the church building and the parsonage need legitamate repairs.

Joseph M. Smith
07-18-2007, 06:02 AM
Only as a last resort, after all the appropriate bodies have weighed in. What you propose to do circumvents the unified budget system, where we all agree that we will put our gifts into a common fund and make decisions, according to a budget plan, about how we will spend it. I think that should be honored as long as possible.

If these repairs must be made in order for you to have safety and comfort in the parsonage, then do so after informing the church's financial officers and the committees involved in these building decisions, and just leave it at that. I would not announce to the congregation that you are doing this, because that will sound defiant and will polarize people. Some will resent it and think of ways they can designate their gifts, and others will get into a "our poor pastor" mode and create an unnecessary stir.

Another option, if you can afford it, is to continue giving your tithe, but to make these repairs over-and-above and send the money for them through your church as a designated gift. That sends a more cooperative signal, I think.

TomVols
07-18-2007, 07:52 AM
Do you receive a housing allowance? If you do (and you should, your church is not being kind to you if you don't), this should be covered under that.

What is the church building fund monies for?

What kind of repairs are we talking about?

abcgrad94
07-18-2007, 10:05 AM
The building fund is for new siding for the church, which has been falling apart for the last several years before we came here. The church doesn't want to take out a loan, so my dh started a building fund. (We need a huge chunk of money for these repairs.)

The porch roof on the parsonage is rotting. Whenever it rains or snows, the water/ice drips down on the porch and all over the steps and causes a slipping hazard. Last winter we slipped on it several times. We have mentioned this twice but so far there's been no action.

Anyway, now that we're "saving up" to fix the building, every time the church needs to buy anything, no matter how small, people start complaining. It would be so much easier just to fix things and pay for it with our tithe than face all the questions and whining.

abcgrad94
07-18-2007, 10:09 AM
Another option, if you can afford it, is to continue giving your tithe, but to make these repairs over-and-above and send the money for them through your church as a designated gift. That sends a more cooperative signal, I think.

Thanks for the advice. Are you saying maybe set up a "parsonage fund" and give to it through the church?

TomVols
07-18-2007, 01:07 PM
If you receive a housing allowance, and you should be, that's what this could go for, if you can afford it.

Have you gotten an estimate on what it would cost to fix this? Sometimes people get antsy when faced with a debt without knowing how much it will be. Maybe some folks in the church could do it and donate the materials. Some churches have had other churches do things like this as a mission project. That's a possibility.

Obviously, this leak is only going to get worse. Have you brought it up at a business meeting or to the deacons?

I have pastored churches like yours. If a church is in buckle-down mode financially, just buying paper clips can be tricky. But if this will save money down the road, it needs to be done. I would not advise withholding your tithe to fix this. This will not be received well. If you're getting complaints and whining now, just wait :)

I wouldn't set up a fund and self-contribute to it unless as a last resort. This will be received poorly, too, I would guess.

By the way, you said your "DH" set up a building fund. What is that? A designated hitter? :)

abcgrad94
07-18-2007, 02:27 PM
If you receive a housing allowance, and you should be, that's what this could go for, if you can afford it.

By the way, you said your "DH" set up a building fund. What is that? A designated hitter? :)

DH stands for "dear husband" on most forums. Although, since mine is the pastor, I guess you could call him the "designated hitter.":laugh:

As far as a housing allowance goes, a certain amount of his salary is considered "housing allowance." If we spend that amount on the parsonage or "housing" it's not supposed to be taxed as income. But frankly, we can't afford to do this repair, as we need his salary to live on. I'm not sure if housing allowances work differently for different ministers? Is there a good book or website that explains all this?

By the way, in the past we've tried to get church members to help do repairs "to save the church money." But the jobs never get finished, etc. and we get stuck storing the materials in our basement. . .

TomVols
07-18-2007, 05:31 PM
Housing allowance is not taxed with income taxes, but you must pay SECA (Social Security) taxes on the amount. You must pay both on any housing allowance not spent on housing items. I recommend the book "Clergy Tax" by David Epstein, and if you're Southern Baptist, Guidestone has a free tax guide for ministers available if you call them or visit their website at www.guidestone.org (http://www.guidestone.org)

Hardsheller
07-23-2007, 09:59 AM
Repairs that are maintenance issues or mechanical breakdowns or just plain deterioration should be paid by the church, period. It's their house and they have a responsibility to keep it in good shape.

Repairs that are caused by or neglect, abuse, or accident on the part of the pastor or his family should be paid by the pastor.

Example: We have grandkids who are forever spilling things on the carpet. I look at that as my responsibility and pay the carpet cleaning bill.

When our dog tore up a door - we replaced the door.

When Toilets malfunction and need repair - the church pays the bill.

Analgesic
07-23-2007, 02:34 PM
As far as a housing allowance goes, a certain amount of his salary is considered "housing allowance." If we spend that amount on the parsonage or "housing" it's not supposed to be taxed as income. But frankly, we can't afford to do this repair, as we need his salary to live on. I'm not sure if housing allowances work differently for different ministers? Is there a good book or website that explains all this?
Then the issue here seems to be that the church is not providing enough for you folks to live on, and not that they're not providing money allocated for housing repairs.