October 20, 2008
By Pastor Pat Binish
Resurrection Life Church, Grandville
What effect does a nursery have in a church and in families?
There are two very equal yet opposite view points of children in church. One says children should worship with their parents as a family unit through the entire service experience. The other view point says that children should have their own ‘children’s church’ where they can learn and grow in an environment geared around their age and learning ability. Both these view points are correct and should be respected as the parental belief and desire. These two view points have many variations in between such as having the children attend the Praise and Worship, and then are taken to their children’s rooms when the preaching begins.
So what is correct? I have been honored in observing and assisting thousands of nursery and preschool aged children advance in their understanding with God over the past 15 years. Like any other adult, I have formed a preference in which style is most effective for developing strong young teens and adults in later years, while fully respecting others styles and practices. But what does the Bible lead us to?
There is a passage found in Matthew 21:14-16 which says, “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” NKJV
Jesus quoted to them Psalm 8:2 which says “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” NKJV The words ‘ordained strength’ or ‘praise’ used here is defined as “Loud outward singing and shouting praises onto God”. Jesus’ response lets us know they were indignant with the children’s actions and words.
A church’s nursery and preschool areas are to be a ministry and not a daycare facility. Children in these early years are formidable and sponges to take in the Word of God. There is another scripture which does a beautiful job at describing how children should learn. Isa 28:9-10 and13 “Who does Isaiah think he is,” the people say, “to speak to us like this! Are we little children, barely old enough to talk? He tells us everything over and over again, a line at a time and in such simple words!” … “So the Lord will spell it out for them again, repeating it over and over in simple words whenever he can;” TLB
Isaiah’s words, applied to our churches nurseries, will bring God’s Living Word into children’s lives early and effectively. Bring forth the elementary teachings to children to build a foundation in them. Do it with repetition, simplicity and consistency. A nursery ministry fulfills Gods plan to bring His Word into the babes and nursing infants, and prepares them for a lifetime of serving Him.
August 28, 2008
The main retirement plan designed for non-profit organizations is the 403(b), but there are also several other options. Here is brief description on each of them.
This plan is similar to a 401(k) but is designed to be more flexible in order to make it easier for non-profit organizations to implement. An excellent benefit of this plan is how it allows for both employer and employee contributions but does not require either. Contributions are pre-tax and grow tax deferred similar to how a 401(k) would work.
Until recently, the 403(b) had very loose regulations. Beginning in 2009, the regulations are becoming tighter which will affect both existing plans and new plans. These new laws will increase the amount of annual administrative measures needed in order for a plan to remain compliant. For example, a plan document will now be required and a third party administrator will most likely be needed. Each year this will cost up to a few thousand dollars for the organization which will make this less appealing to churches of smaller staff size.
This is an employer sponsored plan for organizations of 100 employees or less. It allows for both employee and employer contributions. Compared to the 403(b) it is less flexible, but it does not have any administrative costs. Employees may contribute up to $10,500 in 2008 ($13,000 if age 50 or older). This amount is less than the 403(b) allows but greater than an IRA. The big restriction is a 3% match required by the employer. This would be a great option for smaller churches that would like to contribute to the accounts of the pastors and staff but would like to avoid the administrative costs of a 403(b). Churches have not used Simple IRA plans very much in the past but the new regulations will make this more attractive.
Payroll Deduct IRA/Roth
Given certain income limitations, each individual can open either an IRA or Roth IRA on their own. The maximum contribution is $5,000 for 2008 or $6,000 if age 50 or older. These accounts have similar tax advantages as the other options and are actually the easiest to setup. Unlike the other plans, an individual can setup these accounts without going through an employer. Some organizations may choose to have it run through payroll in order to be more convenient for employees. This would be a great choice if an employer does not desire to make contributions and wants to avoid administrative costs.
No matter which plan option is chosen, good underlying investments are important. The growth of the account is dependent upon the performance of the selected investments. When choosing the investment vehicle, all three of the following variables need to be considered: Risk, Return and Expenses. My advice is to look at an investments long term track record (10-20 years). Also, know what the total expenses are. Although annuities are often used, investing directly with a quality mutual fund company can be a more attractive option as the costs are typically lower. In summary, the investment is the most important decision when choosing a retirement plan.
Overall, there are several good options to choose from and a lot more details than what is listed here. The next step to select the appropriate retirement plan or decide on an investment would be to contact a qualified financial advisor.
Jacob Tuinstra is an experienced financial advisor at Royal Securities Co. in Grandville, Michigan. Royal Securities Co. is a full service brokerage firm. For questions concerning these options contact Jacob at 616-538-2715.
Past results of investments are not indicative of the future. Actual yields may vary based on market conditions and sales charges. Please read prospectus before investing or sending money. Investments are not FDIC insured as CD’s are and may lose value.