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Questions on a policy for parsonage

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by JoeKan, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. JoeKan

    JoeKan Member

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    Good morning, our church has received a house through an inheritance in which we're going to make it a parsonage/missions house. I'm not interested in living in it as we are happy in the house we're living in now. So for now, it's going to be a Missions House. Can anyone suggest a policy stating what would be the rules/regulation for any missionary staying here? I.e., how long should they stay? should they pay anything if their stay in longer than one month?
    What about when it becomes a parsonage? How long after should the pastor stay there when he resigns or is fired?
    I'm just trying to avoid any complications in the future and I think if we have a policy in place, it would spare the church, missionaries and pastor(s) any confusion.
    Thanks in advance,
    Joe
     
  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    As far as paying rent - the church might have to pay tax on that rent. You should talk to a tax expert.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Most churches have a 30-day resignation/move policy unless by mutual agreement for a pastor living in a manse owned by the church. The church is "money ahead" to own the property, even though they are responsible for fixing issues (like furnace, hot water heater, roof). It counts living/utilities are part of the salary package paid to the pastor.

    Unlike tax-free salary, the pastor must declare the $$ value of the parsonage as taxable income. Also, the pastor may labor 10 years and have zero equity when he leaves (the church has the equity). It is becoming a less-used option every decade.

    Churches also find a parsonage allows "easy come, easy go" short pastorates. Problems arise and there is no anchor/commitment holding the pastor. IF he owned a home, it might cause him to consider "staying the course" as an easier option than trying to put a house on the market, etc. Churches in our area that have pastors paid normally and buying a home usually up the severance to 60-days after resignation, allowing him to stay in town WITH an income to try to sell.
     
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  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Using this house as a "mission home" will open up all the "parsonage" barrel - repairs, upkeep, insurance, liability. But this is minor compared to the blessing of helping a servant of God on deputation or on furlough from the field.

    First Baptist in Dallas had many homes deeded to them as parishioners died. I remember a meeting where a policy was talked about for missionaries. IF a missionary went from the church (monthly support paid by the church, not the SBC), the family returning from 4-6 years overseas would be given a house for SIX MONTHS to live in with no other obligations. Rest, recuperate, time adjusting back to USA, time with family. Then SIX MONTHS more in the home to travel, share ministry, work in the church ministries.

    This revolutionized missions, giving "hope" and "joy" to those sacrificing so much for foreign lands that they would have security and rest when they returned. The IFB system of missionaries spending years going to churches trying to generate monthly support, then when they return spend every week reporting back to those churches, can lead to burn out and discouragement before men even go to the field.

    I would applaud your church turning that house into a "long-term" (6-month) HOME for missionaries who return and need just such a home.
     
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  5. JoeKan

    JoeKan Member

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    Salty and Dr. Bob, thanks for the great advice.
     
  6. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    We have three non-SBC missionaries that are given some support.

    The oldest, now in his 90’s has never spent a single day on “deputation” and is planning on staying on the field while gasping his last breath.

    The family tried to get him to retire, but from the moment God impressed upon him to go to the mission field, he left that very day.

    I wish that every church would have a number of homes that missionaries could use to finish their days on the field of the home church. Retirement of a missionary is hard not only in financial matters, but the feeling of loss of usefulness is terrible.

    What a marvelous resource for the home church!
     
  7. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    We have our "hospitality house" that was a house we purchased and moved to another plot of land that we use for missionaries, visiting speakers and at times, congregants who are in need. We used it one night when our furnace died, spewing carbon monoxide into the house and making the house unlivable that night. It was such a blessing! We've had missionaries stay in the house for periods of time and I know that it has been great for them to have their own space and a place to "get away from it all" as they try to regroup. I don't know that we have a written policy for how long someone can stay there but we've had people usually stay up to a month or two and that is about it. It isn't a pretty house or the most modern but it is warm, cozy and waiting for whoever needs it. :)
     
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