Policy & Procedures

Background Checks

Information and forms for congregations related to background checks.

Compensation Guidelines

These guidelines offer guidance regarding the minimum levels of compensation that are appropriate for pastors, rostered lay leaders, Synodically Authorized Ministers and non-rostered employees of congregations in the synod. These guidelines are designed to be a resource to assist church leaders in compensating church workers in ways that are fair, supportive and mission-driven.

Guidelines for Writing Synod Assembly Resolutions

The following information will help you prepare resolutions for consideration at the assembly.

HIPAA and the Retention of Insurance Policies

Periodically the bishop and members of the synod staff hear various concerns expressed about risk management issues in congregations. Here are a few resources on these topics.

IRS Mileage Rates

The current IRS mileage reimbursement rate, based on actual miles driven and reported by the pastor using his/her personal vehicle for business, medical, moving, and charitable work, should be used by congregations. Congregations are advised to stay abreast of current IRS regulations pertaining to auto expense reimbursement rates.

Model Constitution for Congregations

The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved several amendments to the Model Constitution for Congregations. These amendments need to be added to your constitution and approved by a simple majority vote of those voting members present and voting at any legally called meeting of the congregation, provided the congregation council has submitted by mail notice to the congregation of such amendments, together with the council’s recommendations, at least 30 days prior to the meeting.

Sabbatical Guidelines

All persons in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America engage in a holistic and systemic approach to life-long learning and development. For rostered persons, this includes extended study and renewal of a minimum of one to three months every three to five years in present call. For rostered persons involved in the First Call Theological Education program, this three to five year period begins upon completion of that program.

State and Federal Employment Laws for Congregations

Religious organizations are not immune from being sued, and must understand how the various state and federal laws regulating employment practices apply, or do not apply, to them.

Synod Constitution

Constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions as adopted by the Constituting Convention of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations

The IRS has a detailed document called Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. This document explains the benefits and responsibilities of churches and religious organizations under the federal tax laws. It is highly recommended that congregational treasurers and bookkeepers familiarize themselves with this document.