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Friends Missionary Support Policy

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Friends of Chinese Reformed Theological Seminaries

(Friends of CRTS)

 

A Pennsylvania non-profit supporting Chinese Reformed Theological Seminaries
Corporate Office: 2419 Trotter Drive, Allison Park PA 15101
Email: friends@crts.edu
 
 
Missionary Salary, Benefits, and Expenses Policy
= Approved by the Board of Directors, June 2004
= Last Amended, August 2006
 
1. Theological foundations
On the one hand, the Bible tells us that the worker is worth his wages. We are looking for very well trained and specialized workers. They must be sound in theology, very well educated, gifted teachers and pastors, able to teach in Mandarin, and be willing to move with their families to a mission field. To find and keep such men, we must allow them to earn what they are worth. On the other hand, the Bible tells us that with food and clothing we ought to be satisfied, and that the Apostle Paul often worked for a good deal less than he was worth. And so there must be some freedom in support levels.
 
2. Basic Principles
The Missionaries Friends of CRTS supports are not our employees, and we do not set their salary or benefit levels. However, we do decide the amount of support we will provide a missionary. And we determine maximum and minimum support level based on the guidelines given below. We will not support a missionary whose total support does not fall between these (i.e. a missionary who has sufficient funds from other sources or who does not have enough funds from any sources). 
 
All missionaries fill out a yearly financial report. Friends of CRTS provides missionaries with a detailed form for submitting their year-end financial statement. This statement contains a year-end personal financial report and a budget for the following year. The Missionary requests a support level for the following year. Based on the financial statement and other relevant information, the Board determines support levels for the following year, usually at its annual meeting.
 
The year-end statement must include the amount of support he received from all sources - including benefits and non-monetary support. If a missionary has support from other sources for his work, this support is subtracted from the maximum amount Friends of CRTS will provide. 100% of other mission support or of support from the seminary where he works is counted against this maximum amount, but only 70% of support that comes directly from the local Church in the country where he is serving. This is to encourage missionaries to work part-time in the local Church if needed, to develop a local Church that can support a Seminary, and as a way for missionaries who have extra expenses to cover them. Money earned by a spouse must be included in the financial report and is counted against the maximum support level, unless the missionary is applying to the Board to be treated as unmarried with respect to his financial reports.
 
If the missionary's total support for any given year exceeded the maximum allowable support level, the excess will be counted against his maximum support level in the following year.
 
We divide missionary needs into four categories:
 
1. Salary and housing,
2. Standard Benefits
3. Children's education and adjustment (a taxable benefit)
4. Business expenses (non-taxable under our accountable reimbursement plan)
 
Missionaries should use these categories and subcategories given below in their communications with us. (We provide missionaries with a form to use for this purpose.)
 
The figures given below are guidelines in determining maximum missionary support levels. They don't attempt to cover every possible situation. For example, a Ph.D. in Physics is not worth the same to a Seminary as a Ph.D. in New Testament, but we don't try to state all such qualification. The Board retains the right to interpret and apply these guidelines in a suitable way.
 
3. Salary and Housing
Friends of CRTS sets a base salary. The base salary assumes a Masters of Divinity, and a full time workload,. At least half of this workload must be directly for the Seminary; that is, it must be commissioned by the Board of the Seminary and be completely under that Board's authority and oversight. This base salary is increased based on either qualifications that make the missionary more valuable to the Seminary or family needs.
 
Base salary:                  20,000
Spouse:                         5,000
Degree:                          4,000 for Doctor of Philosophy
 2,000 for Doctor of Ministry
 1,000 for Masters of Theology
Teach in Mandarin:          2,000
Leadership position:        2,000
Children:                        1,500 for each dependent child ($750 in salary and $750 for travel)
Yearly increment:                500 per year of service as a full time Christian worker. 
 
A dependant child is a child who can be claimed as a dependant on the US 1040 Tax from. The spouse increment only applies to the head of a family. Leadership positions include service as the President or Dean of a program. The leadership increment is not primarily for time spent, but for the recognition it implies.
 
For housing in Taiwan, Friends of CRTS will provide $600 US per month for the missionary incremented by $150 US for a spouse and $60 for each dependent as listed on US 1040 tax form.
 
4. Standard Benefits
The Standard benefit package includes Medical Insurance, Life insurance, Disability, Social Security tax, Retirement, and Continuing education.
 
Medical Insurance - Every missionary must have medical insurance in a medical insurance program approved by the Board of Directors. Friends of CRTS will provide the actual cost of the insurance.
 
Life insurance - Friends of CRTS will provide the actual cost of a reasonable life insurance policy.
 
Disability - For those who participate in Social Security Friends of CRTS will provide 0.60% of annual compensation (salary and housing).  For those not in Social Security, Friends of CRTS will provide 0.85% of annual compensation.  (This is the cost of the PCA long-term disability plan)
 
Social security tax – Friends of CRTS will provide up to 7.15% of permissible salary plus housing for missionaries who pay the social security tax.
 
Retirement -- Friends of CRTS will provide 8% of the total of permissible salary and permissible housing (as calculated above). For those not in the Social Security system, Friends of CRTS will provide an additional 7% (the employer part of the Social Security rounded off).
 
Continuing Education - Friends of CRTS will provide for tuition costs of continuing education. The Board of the Seminary where they teach must approve the study leave and the program of study. The Board of the Seminary must also approve vacation, a Sabbatical or home mission leave during the fall or spring terms before Friends of CRTS will do so.  A Sabbatical year request must also included a definite research or ministry plan. 
 
5. Children's travel, education and adjustment
 
Children education - Friends of CRTS will provide 100% support for tuition costs at an approved School for K-12 grade education.
 
Children College Education - Friends of CRTS will provide up to $5,000 per year for undergraduate collage costs for dependant children. The support for part-time college studies of these children is calculated by percentage.
 
Children adjustment - Friends of CRTS will provide 100% support of the actual cost of programs designed to help children adjust to the transition from the US to a foreign culture or visa versa.
 
6. Reimbursable Business expenses
Reimbursable Business expenses are business expenses that a Missionary can be reimbursed for, and which are not included on the Missionaries annual 1099 Misc. report. There are very strict guidelines as to what can be reimbursed in each of these categories, and a missionary must follow these exactly to be reimbursed. Further, the expense must clearly be a non-taxable reimbursable business expense according to Internal Revenue Service guidelines and rulings. The details as to what Friends of CRTS will reimburse and under what conditions are found in the Friends of CRTS "Accountable Reimbursement Policy", which policy every missionary claiming reimbursable business expenses must read carefully. The business expense categories:
 
(a) Travel, lodging, and meals
(b) Books and professional fees
(c) Photo-copying, Printing, Mailing costs
(d) Hired assistants
(e) Moving expenses
(f) Office equipment and costs
 
Missionaries should be conservative in reporting business expenses. Although it is often hard to make this decision, they should report an expense only if it is clearly a business expense and not a benefit. When in doubt, they should ask the Board for a decision.
 
7. Mission projects
Missionaries may request of the Board that the Board support, from the missionaries own designated funds, mission projects that are related to the purpose of the Corporation.   The missionary must provide the Board with a full detailed description of the project, the amount of money he would like to donate, how the money will be donated, etc. For projects benefiting an approved Seminary, with the approval of the Seminary, the funds may be given directly from Friends of CRTS to the Seminary.
 
8. Minimum support
Minimum support shall be 80% of the base salary plus the cost of housing, medical insurance, estimated taxes, home leave expenses, adequate disability insurance, and planned business expenses. For parents, include children's education, children's increment, and adequate life insurance. Friends of CRTS will not provide support for a missionary on the field until the minimum support level is reached. Money paid by the Seminary or other mission organizations shall be included in determining if the missionary has met the minimum support level.
 
9. Administration fee
The goal of Friends of CRTS is not to take any administrative fees from missionary contributions. However, Friends of CRTS reserve the right to take an administrative fee of up to 10% from missionary contributions. This fee is usually taken only from missionaries who have sufficient funds in their accounts to meet both their needs and pay the fee. The administrative fee percentage is set only after consulting with the missionary involved.
 
10. Taxes
These regulations are intended to determine how much Friends of CRTS will support a missionary. They are in no way intended as a guide to filing his US taxes. The missionary is responsible to fill out his tax forms in accordance with US laws. Similarly, the missionary is responsible to file foreign taxes in accordance with the laws of the foreign government. We report to foreign governments in accordance with the laws of that government.