Upgraded Call Phone Issuance Policy

For those churches that issue cell phones to staff I’m curious what your policy is if a staff member wants a higher level version of the phone. For example, the baseline phone we issue is an iPhone 11 base model. Right now, if someone wants an upgraded version of the base phone, say the iPhone 11 Pro, we would have the individual pay the difference. The downside is that it means staff may end up paying a good amount for a phone they don’t own and will have to turn in when they upgraded.

Are you running into this type of situation? If so, how are you handling it?

Hi Steve,

Many churches have turned away from providing phones and cellular accounts for two reasons:

  1. The staff person would likely have the same service if they didn’t work for the church, and probably wouldn’t stop their service if they left the church’s employment.

  2. The practice of providing these started because they were so costly in the early days of cellular service. That is no longer the case.

The best way to transition away from that is to stop offering it, and to add what their allowance or reimbursement is to the base salary of staff who currently have the benefit.

Hoping that helps,


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We provide staff a $200 “credit” towards the purchase of a discounted phone through our Verizon NASPO account. They are welcome to kick in more to get the phone of their choice. When they turn the phone back in to IT they are issued another $200 “credit” and the process continues. With the NASPO program they can “upgrade” every year.


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Like Jason, we use the Verizon NASPO account as well. We are in a bit of a different category as we are a group of Christian radio stations and I administer over 200 Verizon devices from phones to modems to Pep Links to Cradle Point Routers. For those that we must have contact with, phones are provided and for on-air staff, iPads with a microphone which have been heavily utilized March-May of this year so on-air staff could broadcast from home. Ideally, with NASPO, if we upgrade every 10-12 months we can resell the previous phone on the open market at a price similar to the discounted price we pay.

I know I’m late to the party. Our church does not provide cell phones to staff, however, certain staff receive a $75/mo cell phone reimbursement. We have the Verizon NASPO account mentioned in place but I’m the only staff member currently on it as the majority of the staff are on AT&T and don’t want to change so it is what it is. The church used to have a business plan for staff but since it wasn’t centrally managed at the time we had issues of staff members taking each other’s upgrades and that causes some major issues so the leadership decided to get out of the cell phone plan business and only does the reimbursement. I tried to push for the Verizon NASPO option because it could save the church $20 per person (Verizon NASPO is around $55/mo/user) versus the $75 reimbursement, but I haven’t gotten any traction. Since it’s still under the $75 mark, I get reimbursed for my $14.95/mo insurance plan on my iPhone through Apple. I upgrade to the latest iPhone Max every year. The Verizon NASPO plan saves you a ton on the cost of the phones. The plans themselves are now about the same as a regular business plan. The big savings is on the phone purchase.