Reference Publications & Resources

Please know that the items on this page are not official recommendations from CB Northwest. They simply reflect resources that have come to our attention and/or that have proven helpful and useful in the past. We realize that each ministry and each of our churches is unique in terms of operation and staff background/expertise. Therefore, we hope that the contents of this page will provide a sound, positive, and constructive starting point in your search for the best possible tools to answer your questions and meet your needs.

The following publications are available by calling 800-222-1840 between 8 AM and 4:30 PM Eastern time or by visiting

The Church & Clergy Tax Guide

By Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

This guide which is updated annually helps treasurers, board members, bookkeepers, attorneys, CPAs, and tax practitioners:

  • Define "income"
  • Report business expenses
  • Apply charitable contribution rules
  • Handle designated contributions
  • Grasp federal tax reporting requirements
  • You'll find yourself referencing the easy-to-understand charts, sample forms, and real-life illustrations for all of your tax and legal questions.

This 700+ page reference volume is a wealth of information, compiled by a nationally recognized legal and accounting expert on the issues affecting churches.

Pastor, Church & Law

By Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

This four-volume series (which may be purchased separately or as a set) helps church leaders, board members, and ministers avoid many of the actions or practices that may result in legal liability.

  • Volume 1 covers legal issues for pastors (including the pastor-church relationship; authority, rights, and privileges; liabilities, limitations, and restrictions)
  • Volume 2 addresses church property and administration (including incorporation; church records; reporting requirements; officers, directors, and trustees; membership – up to and also addressing discipline and dismissal; all the legalities surrounding property ownership)
  • Volume 3 is an overview of employment law (including selection of employees; compensation and benefits; employment discrimination; termination; and other miscellaneous hiring topics)
  • Volume 4 deals with liability and church and state issues (including government regulation of churches; church legal liability; the present meaning of the First Amendment religion clauses; and significant First Amendment issues

The Compensation Handbook for Church Staff

By Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Updated annually as a result of an exhaustive national survey, this publication provides reliable church employee compensation breakdowns for part-time, full-time, church size, income budget, and geographical setting. With this information, you can compare your church's plan to the compensation packages at churches with similar demographics and a variety of staff positions. Compensation profiles are broken down by categories so you can easily determine:

  • Base salary
  • Retirement
  • Health insurance
  • Housing/parsonage allowance
  • Life insurance
  • Continuing education

The 4-Hour Legal Training Program for Church Boards

Train your board members on such legal issues as:

  • Legal Liability & Risk Management
  • Legal Liability and Fiduciary Duties
  • Church Documents and Records
  • Congregational Issues
  • Church Financial Issues
  • Personnel Issues
  • Reducing Legal Risk: A Proactive Strategy

Hire the right people for your ministry with tools such as:

  • The Selection and Screening Kit for Ministers
  • The Selection and Screening Kit for Church Volunteers
  • The Selection and Screening Kit for Church Employees
  • The Employment Application Sampler Kit

Are you planning to purchase property?

When Your Church Buys Property is a training resource designed to help your church develop a plan for this strategic investment. From legal a land buying checklist (with everything your church should know about a piece of property before you consider buying it) how to fund a purchasing plan, your church will learn all the steps you need to take before you put an offer down. This resource also reviews the benefits of "re-purposing" an existing building.

Miscellaneous "Critical Issues" Helps (Church Law "Special Reports")

  • Know Your Members' Responsibilities
  • Payroll Tax Penalties
  • Can Church Members Examine Church Records?
  • Are Your Church's Board Members at Legal Risk?
  • Does Unrelated Business Income Tax Affect Your Church?
  • What Church Leaders Need to Know About Embezzlement
  • Reducing the Risk of Transportation Accidents
  • Should Your Church Adopt a Cell Phone Policy?
  • Is Your Church Violating the Fair Labor Standards Act?
  • Purchasing Church Insurance: What Church Leaders Need to Know
  • Is Your Religious Freedom Being Restricted?
  • Inspection and Safety Checklists (These 12 modules for assessing and improving facilities and safeguarding events may be purchased individually or as a set)
    • Module 1: Building Maintenance and Accident Prevention Checklist
    • Module 2: Fire Prevention and Control Checklist
    • Module 3: Reducing Risks Associated with Cold Weather Checklist
    • Module 4: Crime Prevention Checklist
    • Module 5: Safeguarding Facilities for Infants and Toddlers Checklist
    • Module 6: Safeguarding Playgrounds Checklist
    • Module 7: Recreational Facilities and Equipment Checklist
    • Module 8: Reducing Risks Associated with Natural Perils Checklist
    • Module 9: Recreational Activities Checklist
    • Module 10: Transportation and Travel Checklist
    • Module 11: Work Days and Construction Projects Checklist
    • Module 12: Reducing Work-related Injuries: Ergonomic Considerations Checklist

The Financial Management Resources Kit

By Richard J. Vargo

These three volumes may be purchased together as the "Resources Kit," or each volume is also sold separately.

  • The Church Guide to Planning and Budgeting
  • The Church Guide to Financial Reporting
  • The Church Guide to Internal Controls

The Essential Guide to Church Finances

By Richard J. Vargo

In this new release, Mr. Vargo provides help for communicating, strategizing, organizing, measuring, and protecting your financial resources.

Church Finance Today

A review of accounting, financial, and tax developments affecting churches and clergy. This is a four-page information sheet published 12 times a year by Christianity Today International.

The annual subscription fee also includes one-year unlimited access to where you will find:

  • An extensive online legal library specifically for churches and clergy
  • Comprehensive training materials for your entire staff, all volunteers, and the members of your congregation
  • A complete "Church Safety Center"
  • Critical information for screening your workers
  • A powerful search engine that will enable you to find the most current legal information to answer your most pressing questions on risk management, safety, finance, and tax issues.

Payroll and Tax Resources The MinistryWorks online Resource Library offers articles on church employment, from employee overtime policies to payroll recordkeeping.

Elaine's Tax Tips for Nonprofits Blog: Nonprofit tax expert Elaine Sommerville posts helpful tax tips at

To obtain copies of the following publications, call the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability toll-free at 800-323-9473 or order through their e-store at

The Zondervan 2013 Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide

By Dan Busby, CPA; J. Michael Martin, JD; and John Van Drunen, JD, CPA

The 2013 edition includes:

  • Expert advice on handling charitable gifts
  • Risk management checklists
  • Easy techniques for simplifying financial policies and procedures
  • Tried-and-true steps for reporting financial information
  • Key steps in sound compensation planning
  • Examples of required IRS filings

One of the most understandable, easy-to-follow tax guides of its kind, this 200+ page volume explains complex tax concerns in plain language.

Preparing Tax Returns for Clergy: Federal, State, and Other Reporting Made Easy

by Messrs. Busby and Van Drunen

This publication is just short of 50 pages in length. It goes beyond other tax guides because it provides:

  • Complete tax and financial guides for ministers, churches, and nonprofit organizations
  • Recent and last-minute changes in tax laws
  • Easy-to-follow explanations (in plain English)
  • Sample forms and worksheets

Reporting Procedures for Congregations: Federal, State, and Other Reporting Made Easy

by Messrs. Busby and Van Drunen

This publication is just short of 50 pages in length. It goes beyond other tax guides because it provides:

  • Complete tax and financial guides for ministers, churches, and nonprofit organizations
  • Recent and last-minute changes in tax laws
  • Easy-to-follow explanations (in plain English)
  • Sample forms and worksheets

Miscellaneous "Special Interest/Need" Publications available from ECFA include:

  • The Independent Audit and the Audit Committee
  • Donor Restricted Gifts
  • Allocating and Reporting Ministry Expenses

Other Resource Publications

The Frieze Resource Library

The Frieze Resource Library provides:

  • Organizational Manual
  • Policies & Procedures Manual
  • Administrative Forms Manual
  • Internal Audit Checklists
  • Employee Handbook

This information along with other resources and services can be found on the Frieze Consulting Website,

Are you addressing policy issues and looking for sample documents?

If so, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company has a wide variety of sample policies (vastly beyond insurance-related issues) that have been compiled by their legal staff. To investigate the helps available to churches in this area (free of charge), visit their website at; in the search field on their home page, simply type in Sample Policy.

A church management consulting firm called Frieze Consulting has developed an exhaustive, church-oriented library of sample policies, checklists, and forms that cover the following areas in-depth: organization, leadership and management, personnel, finances, ministry, and general administration. For information on purchase options and pricing, contact them at: 407-251-5500 or visit their website –

Are you looking for a software package specifically designed for churches?

You may wish to investigate Servant Keeper. Used by thousands of churches nationwide, the software is designed to:

  • Track contributions and handle church accounting
  • Create reports and statements
  • Manage membership
  • Do mass mailings and e-mailings
  • Print directories
  • Export information easily to other applications
  • And more

For more information visit