Beware of the Advice You Choose to Follow
There is a principle taught in Scripture that we should be careful of the counsel we choose to listen to and heed. When King Rehoboam ascended the throne as Solomon’s successor he received advice from the seasoned advisors who advised Solomon, and he received advice from young men with whom he was raised. He chose the advice of the young because it was what he wanted to hear—not what he needed to hear (1 Kings 12). The advice Rehoboam accepted caused a revolt of ten tribes and split the kingdom.
We find this same pattern in Absalom’s battle with his father David. Absalom rejected the advice of Ahithophel (David’s seasoned advisor who had never erred in his counsel) and chose the advice of Hushai whom David had planted among Absalom’s advisors. Absalom’s choice cost him victory and led to his demise and that of Ahithophel.
Still Happening Today
These same scenarios are played out before our eyes every day. People seek advice from more than one source, only to accept the advice which they wanted to hear, rather than what they needed to hear. Those seeking counsel today seek for someone to justify their actions—not to provide correction and direction. Some pay hundreds of dollars per hour for a therapist to help them make sense of their life, but when the therapist tells them what they need to do, if the counselee does not like what he or she hears, they keep shopping for counselors until one will tell them that which is pleasant to absorb.
Pastors and Church Leaders’ Dilemma
Pastors and Church Leaders across the USA are not much different than the general population in that they also want someone to tell them what they want to hear rather than tell them the truth.
As we crisscross the USA to instruct Pastors and Church Leaders as to what they can and cannot do, as dictated by IRS and Government regulations, many of these will seek for another voice to tell them what they want to hear.
How many times have Pastors told those in their congregations what Scripture clearly dictates, only to have those Church members leave the Church in search of another congregation which will accept their sin rather than preach against it. Sin is sin and it does not matter who tells you it isn’t. Just because a person has found someone to justify their sin does not mean God does and they will be held accountable accordingly.
This same holds true with the Internal Revenue Service. Their laws are strict, and just because a Pastor and Church Leaders can find someone to tell them they do not have to adhere, those Pastors and Leaders will pay a heavy price when confronted by the IRS.
I read a recent article where a firm who sells themselves as Church Specialists were telling their clients that now a Pastor could designate his or her entire compensation to Housing Allowance, thus avoiding federal income tax. THIS IS BOGUS! The most your Housing Allowance can be is fifty percent of your total compensation package (60% in some regions of the nation). It is appealing to a Pastor to think he or she can avoid paying any income tax, but not paying required income tax is tax evasion and illegal.
This is Why You Need Us
Chitwood & Chitwood has been advising Churches and Ministers for 80 years. WE ARE THE AUTHORITY! While we seek ways for a Pastor to pay as little income tax as possible, we WILL NOT violate the law. Our firm will tell you what you need to know—not what you necessarily want to hear. It is not what you know that will hurt you—it is what you don’t know.
Some are thinking that we are trying to scare Pastors and Churches. This is far from the truth. We are like the sunshine, butter, and clay. The sun shines the same—it is the makeup of the butter that causes it to melt while the clay becomes hard and brittle. We will tell you the truth. If that truth makes you afraid it is probably because there are some issues in your Church and ministry that could bring much harm to you. No one has anything to fear if they are obeying the law. If the truth we tell you brings fear, get your House of Worship in legal compliance and the fear will disappear.
Every Pastor and Church Leader in America needs to quickly register and attend the nearest Church Management and Tax Conference. For locations and registration information visit us at www.cmtc.org or call 800-344-0076. It will be the best investment you can make for you, your Church, and its Leaders.