HELPING LEADERS BECOME BETTER STEWARDS
JUNE/JULY 2014 MARCH/APRIL 2014
NEW-SCHOOL GIVING OPTIONS | 26 RISK MANAGEMENT: CYBER SECURITY STRATEGIES | 34
MOBILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA | 12
JOHN MARK COMER
A VOICE FOR THE EMERGING GENERATION | 8
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COV ER S TO RY
John Mark Comer By Rez Gopez-Sindac
FE ATURES “ENGAGEMENT IS EVERYTHING”
HAVE PHONE, WILL TRAVEL
KEEP IT IN THE FAIRWAY
NOW IS THE TIME
NEW-SCHOOL GIVING OPTIONS
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GOOD STEWARD AWARD WINNER: FIRST MOUNT ZION BAPTIST CHURCH
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THE CE INTERVIEW
SERIES CONSTRUCTION MULTI-SITE SOLUTIONS
RISK MANAGEMENT A BLIND HINDU, AN ELEPHANT — AND A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY? By Robert Erven Brown
CYBERCRIME: NOT JUST A “BIG BUSINESS” CONCERN By Rick Schaber
HOW TO MANAGE PRIVACY AND SOCIAL MEDIA RISK By Steven Robinson
REFRAMING THE DEBT-REDUCTION CAMPAIGN 41
DEPARTMENTS EDITOR’S LETTER
4 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 03-04/2014
HOW DEBT-ELIMINATION CAPITAL CAMPAIGNS CREATE MARGIN FOR MINISTRY
FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
By Rev. Dr. Perry Hopper
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Is your church using social media to grow its ministries? Likely so. But, chances are, you’ve spent less time considering: • The security risks involved in its Tweets and Facebook posts • Whether or not the church’s insurance coverage addresses risks related to social media use • Whether or not an established social media policy is in place • If a plan has been formulated for dealing with a data breach or hacking event. If so, you’re not alone. While the practice of social media outreach is common in today’s large churches, all indicators say that the action plans and policies related to their use are not. Case in point: Our interview on pages 12-13 with Stephen Morrison, a consultant to Vision of Twelve, an organization launching Going Digital for His Kingdom [goingdigitalforhiskingdom. com], a brand-new, six-city conference for senior pastors, online pastors and others sharing the faith through social media.
Our conversation with Morrison focused on how churches can mobilize social media for mission trip engagement. Morrison confirms that this kind of sharing is an integral part of the experience, now. However, when asked how many church groups have formalized, structured approaches to its use in place before they depart, he says he’d “dearly love to hear a good answer” himself. “I’d say the lack of ability to give you any kind of estimate is why [our conference] is so important,” he explains. “Conversations about formalized, structured approaches to social shareability — formed well ahead major events — just haven’t been had yet at scale.”
So, the need is clear Having identified the risks related to social media use as an underserved topic among our readers, the Church Executive team set out to change that. As a result, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected to lead a panel discussion — “From Texting to Twitter: Risk Management Essentials” — at the 2014 National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) 58th Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. This panel discussion will be moderated by Robert Erven Brown, coordinator of the Nonprofit Practice Group at Ridenour Hienton & Lewis, PLLC in Phoenix. Brown is a regular contributor to our Generosity Series, and also our “Risk Management Realities” blogger on ChurchExecutive.com. Our panel includes premier experts in church marketing, security, law, insurance, risk management — and, of course, social media. Together,
these thought leaders will analyze the impact of recent court decisions stemming from social media use. In addition, they’ll offer sample social media policies, procedures and practices.
While the practice of social media outreach is common in today’s large churches, all indicators say that the action plans and policies related to their use are not. At the conclusion, attendees will take home a “starter kit,” including insightful articles, sample policies, checklists and more. For those of you planning to attend the 2014 NACBA conference, be sure to join us on July 15, 2014 from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for what’s sure to be a forward-thinking meeting of the minds, full of practical advice and tools. We’ll share additional details with you soon. All the best to you and your ministry,
RaeAnn Slaybaugh Editor TALK TO ME: Email: email@example.com Facebook: ChurchExecutiveMagazine Twitter: @churchexecutive.com
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THE CE INTERVIEW
JOHN MARK COMER Lead Pastor | Bridgetown: A Jesus Church | Portland, OR | By Rez Gopez-Sindac
Since 2011, John Mark Comer, 33, has been the lead pastor of Bridgetown: A Jesus Church, which is a part of a family of churches in the Greater Portland area. Half of the congregation is in their 20s — and, as Comer explains, it’s not because the church is designed for millennials; it’s because it values opportunities other churches might consider less important.
THEOLOGY OF LOVE In his new book, Loveology (published by Zondervan), John Mark Comer talks to 20-somethings about what God says about marriage, sexuality and romance. When asked why it’s important for young people to have a biblical theology of love, Comer explains: Love, marriage, sex — this is the thing that most young people think about 24/7. It’s all-consuming for a lot of singles. The Scriptures have so much to say about all of the above, but sadly, the church has said so little. The church has done a great job of saying, “Don’t”! “Don’t have sex before you get married. Don’t move in together. Don’t download porn.” All that is true, but we haven’t done a great job at giving young people a theology of love and marriage and sex, and a way to think about this from God’s vantage point. Meanwhile, Hollywood has done the exact opposite. Its propaganda is loud and ubiquitous. It screams at us everywhere we go. So, the church has got to step up, tackle the hard questions, and help people to think about marriage and sex from the Scriptures, and in line with Jesus’ vision for human flourishing. My prayer is that Loveology is a voice into a much larger conversation.
QUICK FACTS BRIDGETOWN: A JESUS CHURCH
Raised as a pastor’s kid, Comer says he saw church — and his generation’s experience of it — from an interesting vantage point, which has helped shape how he reaches out and ministers to young people today. “We’ve always been a church that really feels called to invest in the emerging generation,” says Comer. “They aren’t the future of the church — I hate it when people say that. They are the church, right now.” Prior to co-planting the family of churches with his father in 2003, Comer served as a megachurch college pastor in Southern Oregon and played in a band signed by BEC Recordings. How do you attract and engage the millennials, especially those who have no church experience at all? Well, “attract” is a nebulous word. That said, there are some values that I think God has used. The first is the millennials themselves. When we started 10 years ago, we looked at the topography of the church in America and saw a missing generation. There are all sorts of reasons for that, but one is that a lot of churches don’t value college students and 20-somethings. They don’t tithe — and if they do, it’s not enough to run a church. They’re transient and don’t stick around long-term. They can be a tad flaky. So, a lot of churches just write them off, which is devastating for millennials and for the church. So, from the beginning, we wanted to be a church that valued what other churches maybe didn’t value all that much. How do you reach out to young people who grew up in church but ended up walking away from their faith or from church? People come to church from all sorts of places. But, as a general rule, millennials reach millennials. Part of that is like attracts like, but also because millennials are a hyper-relational generation. We want to be together. A church with millennials kind of feeds off of its own kinetic energy. They invite their friends, who invite their friends, and so on. That said, when they show up, there has to be a church that makes sense. We see a ton of kids who grew up in traditional, conservative evangelical churches; but when they came of age, they said goodbye. So, we work really hard to right the mistakes of the previous generation. Every generation has strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure we have a ton that we’re blind to. But, I think the generation before me made some mistakes that really hurt us. It merged American conservative culture with kingdom culture; it thought of God as a Republican; and it had a high view of the Bible, but a semi-low view of hermeneutics. (To clarify, I’m all for the first part of that, but we also need a high view of hermeneutics.) So, we want to be a good, healthy, biblical church, one that’s wrestling with the Scriptures — what they say (and don’t say), and what it means to be Jesus’ people in our city and our time. Our church doesn’t have it all together. But, I think there’s an authenticity and, hopefully, a humility that millennials are drawn to. What do millennials want in a church? They want Jesus. I think they want a vision of the kingdom that’s as wide and large and expansive as Jesus’ vision of the kingdom. A lot of us grew up with a truncated gospel and, therefore, a truncated understanding of the kingdom and the church’s role in it. We know deep down that there’s more, but we don’t always know how to put a finger on what it is that’s missing. We’re rediscovering all sorts of values that aren’t “new.” They’re rooted in apostolic faith, and they date back to the first century and the writings of the New Testament! Stuff like family-level community, justice, radical generosity, the life of the mind and the place of theology, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. None of this is new; it just got drowned out by some other stuff over the years. What are some of the well-meaning but bad strategies churches do to attract the millennials? I think sometimes we try too hard to be “cool,” which isn’t all bad; but, often churches do it without the input or leadership of young people. Thus, it ends up being
Year established: A Jesus Church family of churches is 10 years old. Bridgetown (the one Comer leads) is four years old. Denomination: Independent Number of full-time staff: 45 across all three churches Yearly budget: $5.8 million Number of locations: 3 Combined weekly attendance: 6,000 adults and 1,000 kids across all three churches
what the older generation thinks millennials think is cool! And it just comes off weird. For starters, the church isn’t all that cool. And, second, if you’re going to shoot for cool, make sure you let young people speak into the culture of your church. Give them a loud voice. But, the fact is, young people want more than cool music and coffee shops. They want the same thing all followers of Jesus want — a church that’s at least close to what Jesus had in mind. As the lead pastor, how do you connect with the young generation in your church? I’m a millennial myself, so that helps. Also, I try to spend time with them. The older I get, the more I have to make sure this doesn’t slip. Simple stuff like having coffee with a college student can really help me feel the pulse of my church. And, I always try to involve them in decision-making and vision stuff. I want to know how a decision or idea will hit a 22-year-old, not just a mid30s young dad like me. How can church leaders invest in the spiritual growth of the millennials and build deeper relationships with them? One of the best things church leaders can do for millennials is to have a church that has all ages. We’re a fatherless generation. I grew up with a great dad and healthy family, but that has become odd now. Most of our millennials are craving for spiritual parents — people who can teach them how to follow Jesus and to be a good person; how >> 03-04/2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 9
THE CE INTERVIEW to get a job and keep it; how to get married; how to handle money. The family in the U.S. has disintegrated to the point that we need to go back to the basics. We need to re-teach people (not just millennials) how to be good humans. For this, a church needs scores of older, wiser men and women to mentor, parent, love, serve and walk with the emerging generation. What can churches do to help
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their 20-somethings step up to leadership roles? Yes! I’m so glad you asked this question. Getting millennials into leadership roles is one of the first and most important steps that, I think, every church needs to take. But, young people don’t usually nail it the first time. They will make mistakes. They will misspeak. They need mentorship and a rebuke or two.
They need lots of encouragement and freedom to grow up on stage. Jesus modeled this so well. Most of the disciples were probably teenagers. Jesus himself was 30 years old or so. The image of Peter, James and John as 40-year-old men with gray beards is so misleading. I imagine lanky kids with scruffy beards trying to figure it out. And, they made mistakes — a lot of them. But, Jesus spent a ton of time with them, taught them, sent them out, let them fail, corrected them, and encouraged them. He gave away power and authority to people who couldn’t do as good of a job as he, but, in the end, could carry his kingdom work forward. How is your church making a positive impact on the millennial generation? Hopefully, the same way we’re making a positive impact on Gen X and Baby Boomers: by teaching and training them to follow Jesus in the city. If all we do is give people a pep talk every weekend, and get lots of millennials to come, that’s really not much to write home about. My hope and prayer is that, as a result of a few years in our church, people learn more of Jesus and his teachings, become more like Jesus in how they live and work and love, and carry on Jesus’ work in the world. That’s how I would define discipleship. What’s heavy on your heart for the leadership of your church? I really want to see us break the chains of consumerism and its hold on the American church. All generations have been deeply entrenched in a culture of spectatorship, a culture that’s built around sex, shopping and entertainment. We carry this messedup worldview over into the church. If we don’t change how we come at church, we will die. We have to stop thinking of God as a commodity and the church as religious goods and services. We’re not consumers. We’re disciples of Jesus. And we’re family. My hope and prayer is to call the church to repent of consumerism and become the people God created us to be … to become a “great” church, as defined by Jesus — a church of servants.
Mobilizing social media for mis
Stephen Morrison (Twitter: @imstephenvictor) has variously worked in local church ministry, as a songwriter and worship leader, creative director, journalist, actor, director, design strategist, researcher, bartender, record producer, video editor, motion graphic designer, social media strategist, and all-around loving advocate and creator of new media. (He hasn’t done Kung Fu Warrior
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quite yet — but probably that’s next.) Morrison is also a consultant to Vision of Twelve, an organization launching a brand-new conference for senior pastors, online pastors and others sharing the faith through social media: Going Digital for His Kingdom. It kicks off in Dallas this month and continues to five other cities this year — Chicago, Washington, Nashville,
GOING DIGITAL FOR HIS KINGDOM Get all the details about this six-city social media and technology conference! On the Web: goingdigitalforhiskingdom.com On Twitter: twitter.com/DigitalforGod
Las Vegas and Tampa, FL. So, when the topic arises of how a church can mobilize social media for mission trip engagement, Morrison comes by his insights honestly — and he’s passionate about sharing them with his peers in ministry. Is social media an integral part of the international mission trip experience, now?
I think of it in these slightly storified terms: I have friends who regularly seem to swear off media like Facebook and Twitter because, variously, “It’s not real” or “I’d rather connect with you in real life.” They treat what’s essentially the new version of the telegram or USPS as if it were ripe for dangerous addiction. But, Facebook isn’t “the new thing” — it’s the new >>
03-04/2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 13
way of doing a very, very old thing. When we say that social media, as communication, isn’t “real,” we might do well to wonder if the first audience for photographs — or early daguerreotypes, for that matter — met the technology with declamations of, “But, it’s not really me! It’s only a picture, and I’m giving it up for Lent.” That’s a little strong, I admit. And when it comes down to it, I don’t mean to question someone else’s convictions arrived at through prayerful searching of God’s will. But, the point still stands: Social media is as real as the world we live in, because it’s very much a part of that world. So, the question isn’t so much, Is it common practice for churchgoers to share missions activities? Rather, those churchgoers are often already sharing almost everything. As believers, let’s talk about whether we can get more, and deeper, value from this thing we’ve been doing constantly without consideration. I believe wholeheartedly that we can — and are! Among the churches that do use social media in this way, how many have a formalized, structured approach to its use mapped out before they depart on a mission trip? This is a beautiful question, and I would dearly love to hear a good answer to it. I’d say the lack of ability to give you any kind of estimate is part of why Going Digital for His Kingdom is so important. Conversations about formalized, structured approaches to social shareability — formed well ahead of major events — just haven’t been had yet at scale. We’re a part of the rise of that conversation in the local church.
On the Jesus Youth Pilgrimage 2013 (Rome, Assisi, Padre Pio), social media surely played a huge part in keeping the church back home — as well as friends and loved ones — involved in the experience. (Video courtesy of Vision of Twelve / Going Digital for His Kingdom and Jesus Youth Pilgrimage)
In an era when division and segmentation has plagued the Church, and the world, it’s difficult to overestimate the potential impact of a Body expansively connected, open and transparent in the ways that social media not only permits, but encourages. And, that last word — “transparency” — watch that one become a bigger and bigger deal this year, and in years to come. I think the Church has positive things to offer here. Before a mission trip, what practical steps/ groundwork should a group leader ensure are in place? Social policies in groups and organizations are important. Guidelines should be agreed upon and established beforehand to clarify who will and won’t be posting, when, how often, to what media channels, and what kind of things are and aren’t good for posting. Each social media outlet is unique — good for some things, not so good for others — and each has a particular audience. Consider where your people are and how you want to have a “conversation” with them, and focus your efforts. Don’t try to cover every single medium. There would, of course, be mission fields where security (both of the team as well as the locals) should be taken into consideration. Whether or not people should and are willing to be “tagged” in posts is important. Scheduling certain group members to post on certain days could be an exciting perspective for the audience. Also, there are real plusses to having the entire team direct the attention of their own network to a central feed set up expressly for the purpose. It can energize the community, centralize engagement/conversation, and give the team a chance to keep the engagement they build through the trip to grow the experience back home, as well. Asking questions like what “voice” things should be communicated in (for example, verbal style and visual style) can have great repercussions for how aware people are of themselves and each other because, ultimately, the voice of a social media feed should be the honest voice of the person or people using it. It can be a great way for a team to consider what unique gifts they have to offer. What an affirming process! What are some common ways churches are already using social media for missions trip engagement? Pictures are big. In fact, shareable pictures might be one of the cornerstones to good social policy. Some media — like Instagram or Pinterest — are almost only about sharing
images. Facebook posts will get exponentially higher engagement with a photo involved. And now, with things like Vine, as well as video having arrived to Instagram and Facebook, most of us are now walking around with high-quality cinema tools in our pockets. Why not enrich the experience by making little, lightly edited movies right there in your hand? Artifacting the experience like this has lots of upsides, among which is an amazing experience for people tuned in online. And, it’s a great source of memories and moments for trip-takers once they’re back home, which can be used both as personal moments, as well as thank-you’s for sponsors, or outreach for increased involvement in the church program later on. It’s an odd twist on the axiomatic advice that it’s more effective to show than to tell. We need to pay attention to how we share our stories. This is how the Gospel gets told.
We all know how acrimonious Facebook threads can get. What kind of sign would it be if the Church showed love and gratitude for every connection someone made? Treat your pages as your church building. We sometimes struggle to get people to visit our services. How ecstatic would you be if suddenly they all showed up to have the most real conversation they were capable of? You might find the mission field stretching farther — and closer to home — than you imagined. Everything is a conversation. If Nicodemus were around today (and in a way, he really is), he’d be tweeting back and forth with Jesus from an inscrutable user name, and it would be as “real” as ever. And we could all follow along, as we do now. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
Have you observed any particularly creative uses of social media to this end? None come to mind. But, if you or your readers see any, PLEASE share them with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages. We LOVE hearing about this stuff. Are there any overarching “do’s” and “don’ts” for mission trip leaders? Beyond what I mentioned? There’s really more than I can fit into this paragraph. (Which is why we’re gathering the best of the best of the best on social media in the Church for these conferences!) But, I will note this: Engagement is everything. Whenever anyone interacts with your posts or pages, et cetera, view it as an incredible opportunity. Affirm the good. Bless the negative, anyway. Use social media as just another medium for communicating grace and love and patience.
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TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS general trip itinerary and what a “daily schedule” might look like, he adds. Using phone and notification technology for group notification (to or from the traveling group) might also supplement other tools, such as Skype or Kik messaging. By educating travelers and other members of the church community, the leader can give assurances how the group can be reached in emergency and routine situations.
What’s your motivation? As to the technical capabilities of using a notification service like One Call Now, it’s simple, according to Wolfe: As long as the traveling group can access a country’s international long-distance code, and subsequently dial the One Call Now 800 number, communication back to the home church should be quick and easy. Conversely, if the church (or even subgroups in the church) would wish to send messages to member of the traveling group, again, dialing into the company’s system will allow those members stateside to send messages to phones anywhere. A group leader traveling to one or more countries might want to explore the ability to place international calls from anywhere in that country.
An untapped resource
Wish you were are here! BY RAEANN SLAYBAUGH When a church group travels within the United States, cell phone-based notification technology comes in handy in a variety of ways — for last-minute schedule changes, transportation issues, lost people, security concerns, safety announcements (weather threats and so on), and the coordination of daily events (meeting times and locations, important messages/instructions). What many church leaders don’t consider is that these same capabilities are also useful for international trips. According to Bob Wolfe, senior marketing manager (religious/non-profit markets) for One Call Now [onecallnow. com/religious] in Troy, OH, it’s important to educate both the travelers and their loved ones about communication expectations, capabilities and limitations. A mission leader might want to indicate how often and under what conditions communication will be likely, Wolfe advises. That leader would also want to highlight potential technical limitations of cellular service in foreign countries, differences in time zones, and perhaps some idea of the
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So, the case for using notification technology on international church group trips is clear — but it’s not common. Wolfe has some thoughts about why. “I’m sure many church groups simply don’t understand that services like these are available to them,” he says. “Or, it’s possible — because of the easy, intuitive capabilities of smartphones these days — that the group members automatically assume that they’ll have universal connectivity. I have places in my yard where I can’t access 4G on my phone. “The same kind of understanding of the real-world technical limitations of phones and networks is probably wise,” Wolfe adds. “But, once you’ve got access to our notification hub, you should be able to send messages anywhere.” Wolfe says he suspects another reason church groups don’t often consider group-oriented emergency notification as part of their planning is because they feel it’s sufficient to maintain communication with a group leader only. “Churches might elect this communication protocol to cut down on confusion, and because they’d rather the traveling members focus on the trip itself rather than ongoing communication with friends and families back home. This is probably wise from a leadership standpoint,” Wolfe says. “We just want people to know that regardless of which communication protocol a church and traveling group might choose, if they can reach the 800 number, they can reach just about anyone on their roster. And that gives people peace of mind.”
(Photo courtesy of America Israel Travel)
Jerusalem, Israel at dusk
For many church leaders, the idea of a group trip to Israel is compelling. However, the logistics of planning such an excursion can strike fear in the heart of even the most adventurous pastor. To quell the hesitation, Noam Matas — general manager of the Calabasas, CA-based America Israel Travel (AIT) — walks you through the planning process, step-by-step. First things first: How prevalent is church group travel to Israel right now? Tourists to Israel are coming mostly by plane, and mostly from North America. That’s why our main offices are in Israel and Calabasas, CA: because 90 percent of our travelers go to Israel. In fact, 2013 was a record-setting year for tourism in the country, with 3.54 million visitors from around the world — a new all-time high. Overall, it has been a consistently popular destination. What are the most commonly cited motivations — and expectations — expressed by pastors when considering a faith-based group trip to Israel? They want to understand the Bible better. They want to walk where Jesus walked. They want to visit biblical sites and the churches which commemorate those sites. There’s also a social aspect to consider. A lot of bonding and fellowship happens between congregants and pastors over the course of an Israel trip. When should pastors and church groups start fundraising for an Israel trip? For large groups of travelers (200 to 600), I’d recommend planning a year in advance. This ensures we can secure all the hotel and airline accommodations.
David’s tower (citadel), the old city of Jerusalem, Israel (Photo courtesy of America Israel Travel)
But, our average group of travelers ranges from 30 to 50. They’re our bread and butter. For these groups, we recommend fundraising up to a year in advance — nine months, minimum. For small groups of 15 to 20, two months is sufficient. How can pastors ensure they’re getting the best possible value when they travel? We find that when pastors decide who to enlist to plan their church groups’ travel, referrals from other pastors are often accepted at face value. That isn’t a cost-effective approach. With faith-based travel groups, the end decision seems to be based a lot more about trust than on price. That’s actually to a detriment; pastors can’t get the best value if they don’t explore all their options. Our company offers wholesale pricing — about $3,000 on average, round-trip to Israel, from any city in the United States. When is the best time to travel to Israel? Ninety percent of our groups go in March, April, May, October and November — basically, spring and the fall. The fall season in Israel is wonderful because of the great weather and better airfare deals. Any advice for first-time trip planners? The process is much easier than they might think. More often than not, planning the trip isn’t nearly as time-consuming or labor-intensive as they anticipated. Those are our most rewarding clients, actually. They should also know that travelers to Israel typically come back to us to plan a second, third or fourth trip. Over time, many of the pastors who travel with us enlist other church groups to come along, because they already know how easy it is to plan, and they want to go back again and again. That’s not always easy to do with their own church groups, since many of their congregants will have taken an Israel trip within the past few years. So, joining forces with other church groups makes frequent trips to Israel more accessible. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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Fresh ideas for a tried-and-true connection tool
Generally, are mission groups mobilizing phone tree systems? Yes; routinely. Mission teams can call in remotely and distribute messages with updates on their trip. Anything they want or need to be communicated — including prayer requests, updates and changes in schedule — are as easy as a single call. A group leader can use any touchtone phone to start a new contact job, without having to be in the office. These systems can also offer a pre-recorded message which people can call in to hear.
Among the churches that aren’t using these systems in this way, what do you think is holding them back? Often, customers buy it to use for one reason, and they don’t realize all its other applications. For example, it used to be that mission group leaders coming back from a trip had to activate a manual phone tree to spread a change of arrival time. Today, it’s as easy as making a single call, recording a message, and activating the distribution. That mission group leader also gets a report with confirmation of who got Jill Bailey, Senior Marketing the message. Specialist, PhoneTree
If a church group heads to a foreign country, is using these systems still an option? Yes. Group leaders can call the remote access to send messages. Or, they can place a pre-recorded message on an info line. How else are churches creatively using their phone tree systems to drive ministry? A church leader in Georgia comes to mind. He uses his system to deliver a message to homebound congregants on Sunday mornings. To do that, he records an abbreviated version of the sermon. A homebound member told him she gets dressed as if she were going to church, sits in her chair, and waits for her church to “come to her.” From that moment on — even if the technology had no other purpose than connecting the disconnected to the church — it was worth any cost to him. CE Based in Winston-Salem, NC, PhoneTree offers a church phone tree system that sends automated phone, text, email and social media messages to everyone in a church’s communication network.
— Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh 20 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 03-04/2014
KEEP IT IN THE
Some fundamental “mechanics” can help a religious organization determine if it’s prepared to borrow.
There seems to be a recurring question in the religious community: Is this a good time to borrow money for expansion projects? The answer has less to do with the market and more to do with the dynamics of the specific institution. Over the past several decades, religious institutions in America have grown, built and borrowed in every economic cycle. During the double-digit interest rates of the ‘80s, religious institutions in our portfolio grew, built and borrowed. More recently, we experienced the Great Recession, with interest rates falling to historic lows — and religious organizations still grew, built and borrowed. So, the question is best answered by assessing each religious institution’s preparedness, not by assessing the market.
Is your religious institution ready to borrow? On a recent trip to Florida, my family and I stayed at a resort near a golf course. While there, my youngest son discovered a new pastime: golf ball hunting. Each evening, about an hour before sunset, he walked the perimeter of the fairways looking for golf balls — those that didn’t end up where their owners thought they would when they put them on the tee. He returned one evening with about 75 golf balls. As he was counting and cleaning them, he asked, “Why do so many of these end up off-course?” I could have struggled with a novice’s response. Instead, I chose to pose the question to a teaching pro. His answer was swift and simple: mechanics and timing! He paused for a moment to emphasize more clearly the importance of fundamental mechanics. He said he could often tell if the ball had a chance of making the fairway before the swing was started. A flawed approach will likely be “in the rough, at best — and possibly out of bounds.” The resurgence in the religious institution construction market, coupled with the current economic realities, has elevated the importance of understanding and implementing good “mechanics and timing.” Here are some fundamental Balance Sheet/Financial Statement questions you should be prepared to answer:
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BY MARK THOMAS
Does your institution have two to three months of general operating reserves? Carefully differentiate between operating reserves and cash on hand designated for the construction project. What’s your current equity position? Most lenders will require a “market value” appraisal of your existing buildings and an “as-complete” valuation, which is based on the architectural plans for the proposed new buildings. Loan commitments are typically limited to between 70 percent and 75 percent of the combined values. Further, “market value” appraisals must take into consideration both the cost to build the new structures (or replace existing buildings), as well as actual recent sales of other religious properties. Consequently, the depressed property valuations of recent years will result in your new building being valued at less than your cost to build. This varies by market, as some regions were hit harder than others during the economic downturn. Prudent early planning should assume a valuation 10 percent to 20 percent below actual cost. How much debt can your institution service based on the current excess operating cash? If your institution doesn’t have enough excess cash flow to qualify for the desired additional indebtedness, what’s the plan for boosting cash flow? If your religious institution plans a generosity initiative (capital pledge campaign), will the effort be
internally directed, or will you engage a professional fund-raising consultant? In either case, you should determine the optimal length of the generosity giving cycle (one, two or three years) and whether the context of the effort will be focused exclusively on physical plant expansion or encompass total institutional operations. What amount of designated cash-on-hand will you require yourselves to have prior to starting construction? Finally, remember: “There is safety in a multitude of counselors.” Ideally, all the above assumptions would be based upon both the expertise within your leadership team and considerable input from seasoned market specialists. Lenders with deep experience in lending to religious institutions, as well as experienced fund-raisers, can help you to anticipate best- and worst-case
scenarios, including factors such as higher-than-current-market interest rates and lower-than-expected fundraising outcomes.
What about timing? Depending on the size and scope of the project, a religious institution can invest 12 to 24 months in design-development before it can stick a shovel in the ground. One aspect that seems to be underestimated when considering a construction start date is the timing of the fundraising and loan approval. Usually, seasoned fund-raisers will encourage an institution to begin planning for a generosity initiative at least nine to 12 months prior to the date by which pledged contributions will begin to be received. Also, lenders often want to see how fundraising efforts are performing prior to approving the loan. Prudently, construction would not begin prior to an additional four to seven months to allow for sufficient demonstration of donor commitment. The best way to assure your institution lands in the fairway — and avoids ending up in the rough — is to get the mechanics and timing right. Consider these factors before your swing, and your flight will be true, your project on course. CE Mark Thomas is Vice President and Relationship Manager in the Religious Institution Division at Bank of the West, a $66-billion-asset bank based in San Francisco. Thomas has more than 13 years of experience in banking and finance. Opinions rendered in this article represent the author, not Bank of the West.
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Now is the time Considering a new loan, or refinancing an existing one? Here’s what you need to know. BY THERESE DeGROOT
Right now, long-term interest rates continue to be low. So, many church leaders are wondering if it’s a good time to refinance existing debt or apply for a loan to undertake important building projects. From my perspective, it makes good sense in the current economic environment. The most important factors to consider regarding loan refinancing are (1) the current interest rate on the existing loan, and (2) how much money (if any) will be saved by refinancing to a lower rate once the costs incurred by refinancing are added in. Refinancing should absolutely be considered now — while fixed rates are still low — to fix a floating or adjustable rate loan. Securing a fixed-rate loan enables proactive budgeting, predictable cash flow and debt service. It also ensures that ministry and outreach programs will continue to be funded and expanded. Refinancing almost always makes sense when the proposed fixed rate is 1 percent lower than the current fixed rate — and most certainly if a church needs additional funds for a building, renovation or remodeling project. If the project will expand sanctuary seating or increase muchneeded parking, improve child care facilities, or enlarge the fellowship area to encourage increased attendance, then the project should certainly be considered. Thought should also be given to projects that will update and improve facilities, as well as the overall impact the project will have on the church’s ability to reach out to the community. Equally important in this process is finding a financial partner who’s experienced in religious lending, committed to the market and financially stable. It’s critical to find a financial institution that understands the unique nature of how religious organizations operate and is well-capitalized and liquid. Otherwise, the loan might be structured as a real estate loan and not be mindful of the cash flow nature of churches. This can result in a loan that’s too large for the congregation to service debt or too small to build out the vision, resulting in covenants which are either too restrictive or irrelevant for a church, or perhaps an interest rate that’s higher than it should be based on a perceived high level of risk.
Best foot forward In preparing the loan request package, presentation is everything. A well-organized, professional and thorough loan package — one which represents how important the church considers its stewardship responsibilities to be — is critical. The better the quality of the
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church’s information, the more successful it will be in securing the best financing available. To foster lender confidence and secure the best possible pricing, a church must make the lender feel confident that checks, balances, process and procedures are in place. Lenders want to be sure the organization has proper accounting and financial reporting systems in place, accompanied by appropriate controls to guard against possible embezzlement or fraud. As a best practice, quality financial statements should be kept and shared with the lender to keep the church’s financial condition transparent. When requesting financing, it helps if the lender knows this is an important part of the church’s stewardship responsibility.
Refinancing or increasing a church’s debt now provides not only the opportunity to fix and lower the interest rate, but also to consider other important initiatives — building projects to expand program development and community outreach, for example. Doing the necessary prep work and due diligence to determine if refinancing is a cost-effective option requires effort, but it’s worth it. A lower rate and the right financial partner
will support a church’s vision. It will also establish a relationship with a lender the church can trust through the expected — and unexpected — challenges it faces. CE For 25 years, Therese DeGroot has developed and managed religious lending programs for numerous banks which now specialize in lending to churches, nonprofits and schools. She is managing director of First Bank’s Community First Financial Resources Division in Lake Forest, CA.
Financing for construction When financing is needed for a building project, a building plan and budget should be developed and submitted to ensure the project can be funded and completed on time and on budget. The budget shouldn’t exceed total loan proceeds and cash on hand. One option is to break down large building projects into smaller phases. In other words, the church might consider building only what the congregation can afford while continuing to grow ministry and outreach programs. A church should avoid overburdening its congregation with too much debt, which stalls growth as funds are redirected to debt service and away from programs. An important part of any building plan is a fundraising campaign to let the congregation participate — even for small projects. Doing so not only minimizes the amount of debt required to complete the project, but it engages the congregation in the process. If the vision is compelling, people will give to expand it; they won’t give just to build a building. Restating the vision and presenting a well-crafted case (with a call-to-action) will provide a solid starting point. Program development should be incorporated into fundraising initiatives, as well as into financial and community outreach goals.
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NEW-SCHOOL GIVING OPTIONS
Expert advice for accommodating the next generation of generosity ELIOT CROWTHER
Pushpay Designed as a fast, simple, secure, tactile — and fun — new-school giving option, Pushpay is distinct from other solutions in how it draws givers into the mobile experience, according to Co-Founder Eliot Crowther. “We realize that it’s mobile giving which is encouraging a lot of the increase in a church’s budget,” Crowther explains. “So, we’ve designed our entire platform to funnel givers in that direction.” Because givers expect simplicity, Crowther says user engagement and ease of use have been the targets for every step of the tool’s development. “We understand that a person’s desire to give shouldn’t be overcomplicated with sign-up or sign-in procedures,” he points out. “With Pushpay, new givers can make an initial gift and get set up very quickly, no matter which digital entry point they start with.” Here’s more from Crowther. When you hear the term “new-school giving,” what technologies and platforms come to mind right away? There are many “new-school” giving options available through a range of platforms. People expect simplicity in their everyday lives, so Pushpay’s approach has been to create a simple and uniform experience across all the giving touch points of a church. Our online and kiosk platforms feed straight into the mobile experience. And, after a fast initial setup, church members are then able to give in 10 seconds. It’s a little like iCloud in that you can expect to engage with the same experience across all your devices.
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For churches, how critical is it to make giving easy? The importance of removing barriers to give is vital. We’re seeing a generation of givers coming through who’ve never written a check before. And, though they’re less likely to carry cash, they always have a mobile phone on them. It shouldn’t matter if you’re in church or at home; you should be able to give whenever and wherever you feel moved to do so — without having to jump over barriers. We’re seeing a remarkable statistic that shows 39 percent of giving through Pushpay happens on days other than Sunday. This is where our church partners are seeing dramatic increases in generosity from both new and existing givers. >>
Are there any hard-data figures or research that speak to the giving opportunities that could be lost if the giving process is too complicated? If mobile giving takes longer than 30 seconds, 85 percent of people will abandon the transaction. That’s why we’ve designed our mobile solution to take just 10 seconds to complete. Furthermore, a recent survey showed that the average online giving experience for the 50 fastest-growing churches across America took more than three minutes to complete. This astounded us! We figured we could tackle this problem and achieve two wins in the process. First, we could transform online giving so that it takes less than a minute to complete. Second, we could migrate those who give online into the world of mobile generosity. This is accomplished via an invitation text, which is sent after an online gift is completed. This approach has been a game-changer. In fact, we’ve found that 35.4 percent of all people who give online will go on to download the app and give to their church that way. What’s holding some churches back from offering new-school giving options? There’s sometimes a resistance to something new. But most times, there’s a perception that it’s going to cost a lot to implement all this new technology. While there are some fees associated with implementing a ministry-wide program such as Pushpay, the true value comes with a reduction in administration time and costs (through our integration with church databases) and the considerable increases in giving. So, the investment in this tool is a very small fraction of what a church sees back in cost savings and giving increase.
“We’ve seen our online transaction count double since switching to Pushpay, compared to the previous year [without the tool]. That’s a lot less internal processing to do, which is valuable for the time it saves us.” — Pastor Joshua Reeve, The Cause Community Church (Brea, CA)
Using innovation and technology, Pushpay comes alongside churches to remove barriers to giving and fund the visions and outreaches they’re using to impact their communities.
If you could prescribe a recipe that drives optimal giving in a church, what would it include? Make online giving simple. Simplicity is king. When somebody wants to give, they should be able to do that first, and then fill in a minimum of details after the fact. It has to be a pleasant experience. For an example of how simple it can be, see this giving page. Here, Pushpay seamlessly integrates with ONEchapel’s online presence. Have one solution at each touch point of a ministry. This makes sense for both the church and the giver. So, whether you prefer to line up for a kiosk, give online, or engage with a mobile app, your congregants’ needs are catered to. Implement well. This last step is vital — our implementation teams are all ex-church staffers and understand what it takes to implement a new program in a church. They work with our partners to provide an optimal launch, continued support and tasteful promotion of the platform. CE Any other thoughts to add about new-school giving options for churches? There’s no doubt that the giving landscape is changing. We believe churches should be positioning themselves in such a way that they’re ready to encourage and support the next generation of givers. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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NEW-SCHOOL GIVING OPTIONS
Senior Vice President
inLighten inLighten’s products encompass all the ways individuals can give and make payment — cash, check, credit/debit, online — in a single, integrated kiosk or tablet-based solution.
inLighten’s iGive digital donation kiosk
inLighten’s iGive digital donation kiosk
When I hear “new-school giving,” I think about … Technology that’s interactive, multifunctional and self-service. We translate that into touchscreen solutions — wall-mounted or mounted on a countertop or desk or as part of a freestanding kiosk — that accept all payment types (cash, check, credit/debit and online payment forms). These solutions should be accessible at all times. It’s critical to make it easy for members to give because … Giving at one time, in one place, won’t work for every member. Some want to come to the giving moment directly and intentionally; others will find their way to it spontaneously or incidentally. One certainty: If the opportunity is available at all times, participation will increase. That’s where technology plays an important role. If the user experience is intuitive and comfortable, members and visitors will make it a habit to use these conveniences at church in the same way they’re using such technology in the other parts of their lives.
We know new-school giving options are effective because … Anecdotally, the visibility and accessibility of products such as giving kiosks at public events held in church facilities — concerts, athletics and community events — has driven donations at times when no overt call to give was made. It also enables churches to reach more visitors and invite them to learn more about the church. Some churches haven’t offered newschool giving options because … They don’t want to replace traditions. However, these tools add to them. They’re reflections of a much more mobile, technologically engaged portion of the membership. If I could prescribe a recipe to drive optimal giving, it would include … Adequate time for integration. Let congregants know what’s coming. Educate them on the advantages and benefits. Eager, enthusiastic early adopters. You’ll want them front-and-center, helping less confident members learn how to use the products. Around-the-clock, one-to-one assistance. Conveying the differences the product has made is also critical — increased giving, more giving by visitors, increased event and activity registration, and so on. My final advice for churches considering new-school giving options is … They’re the result of the creative, imaginative, problem-solving impulse with which we’re all imbued by our creator. They express a desire to carry out the mission in a way that engages the world around
Wall, a church whose website runs on this system gets the benefit of built-in online collection tools, plus the ability to easily integrate a website with virtually any online payment system.
When I hear “new-school giving,” I think about … Online giving — but, that’s a broad topic with many different applications. The important thing is to find a solution that’s practical and appropriate for your church.
LightCMS is an all-in-one content management system (CMS) platform. According to Marketing Manager Tim
It’s critical to make it easy to give because … Actually, giving is an act of obedience and sacrifice. No
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Vice President – Sales & Marketing
MinistryLinq MinistryLINQ offers a single-deposit capability for all payment types through its SmoothPay model. Another functionality — DonateQ — allows multiple giving pages with completely divergent theming, and easily supports different gift-scheduling options for each giving page. When I hear the term “new-school giving,” I think about … Solutions that fit donors’ lifestyles — by mobile phone, online or kiosk. They want an easy experience that allows them to give to areas of their choice. It’s critical to make it easy to give because … Otherwise, a church risks losing donors to organizations that have made giving simple. For example, some options require givers to create an account first. The number of steps this entails can greatly impact how many donors actually complete a gift. We know new-school giving options are effective because … The average gift using an American Express account is more than $400; gifts using other cards average $200 to $300. So, churches that don’t accept credit card donations because of the associated fees are missing out on a significant portion of revenue during year-end giving. Additionally, a Giving Rocket survey of more than 1,000 churches found that only 14 percent exceeded budget. Among these churches, commonalities include an emphasis on recurring (automatic) giving and the availability of online giving, a personal finance ministry, giving kiosks and a quarterly financial report.
technology or tool is going to make it easy for people to give away their money. Rather, it’s the church’s job to facilitate giving, with tools that are practical for its members. Some churches haven’t offered new-school giving options because … They have legitimate concerns about how they’ll implement and support them, long term. With any new giving option, there will be hard costs for their implementation, plus costs related to personnel and support. While it’s possible these solutions can pay for themselves, it’s not a certainty. So, a church should consider its congregation’s
MinistryLinq’s Qsuite homepage
Some churches don’t offer new-school giving options because … Aside from the fear of members incurring debt by accepting credit cards, churches want to avoid the fees associated with accepting gifts online. In reality, people forget to bring their checkbooks on Sunday, or they go on vacation and forget to mail their gifts. An automated system that allows eChecks never forgets to process a payment — even when a donor isn’t physically there. If I could prescribe a recipe to drive optimal giving, it would include … Six unique ways to communicate the giving program. Because it takes an average of six touch points before a giver understands the program, the first announcement should be from the pulpit. (“I’ve made an online gift — and if I can do it, anyone can.”) Follow this with bulletin inserts, email campaigns, newsletters, fliers at the door, and more pulpit announcements. CE
likelihood of embracing and using them. Many churches also have concerns about security. True, this must be a top priority; but, with the right measures in place, online giving can be much more secure than collecting physical offerings on-premises. My final advice for churches considering newschool giving options is … Just because something is trendy and new doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your church. Consider the costs and benefits, and — most important — how likely your congregation is to use the technology. CE 03-04/2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 31
NEW-SCHOOL GIVING OPTIONS
STU BAKER Director of Sales
SecureGive SecureGive — a pioneer in the next-generation-giving space — offers giving kiosks and has even created a church giving app in iTunes. “We live in a cashless society,” says Stu Baker, Director of Sales. “And giving shouldn’t be limited to those who carry cash or checks.” When I hear “newschool giving,” I think about … Meeting donors where they are. We do this by pro-
viding giving kiosks, online giving, mobile giving and text-to-give applications. Our software allows donors to save their payment info, so they can give in just seconds. As our world grows more and more into a technically driven one, we believe the church should grow with it. It’s critical to make it easy to give because … If your systems aren’t easy or user-friendly, people won’t use them. Forgetting to stop by the ATM or bring the checkbook limits donors’ gifts to whatever cash is in their pockets — or stops them from giving altogether.
We know newschool giving options work because … Most of our customers report a 20percent or higher increase in giving. The SecureGive’s giving platforms average donation amount among church members is $175, compared to the $20 bill they might have in their wallet. And, just as important, 27 percent of our registered users are first-time givers. Some churches haven’t offered new-school giving options because … Often times, the costs of doing business can blind the vision of fully funding the ministry. But, there’s a reason why every thriving business in America accepts cards as a means of payment. Sure, there are costs involved — but the rewards far outweigh them. If I could prescribe a recipe to drive optimal giving, it would include … A roll-out plan. This includes simple announcements, graphics or handouts. The goal is to notify donors that this giving option is available. Consistency. At my church, we communicate the multiple ways to give every week. Reinforcement. Our system has automated thank-you emails built in. Affirm and appreciate generosity, and let givers know they’re making a difference. My final advice for churches considering new-school giving options is … Embrace this technology. It means your church can reach more people and make a difference in your community. That’s what it’s all about. CE
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Negotiating pastor salary BY THE REV. DR. PERRY HOPPER For pastors, discussing compensation is a necessary — but often stressful — conversation. This sensitive topic isn’t just about the means and resources a pastor needs to secure the well-being of his or her family while performing their spiritual duties; it also reflects how much the church values its pastor.
3 steps to “yes” 1) Do your homework. Fair compensation takes many factors into account — the individual’s education, experience and performance; the cost of living in the area; salaries offered by comparable church-related employers; and salaries for those with similar responsibilities, education and experience in the community-at-large. When considering the cash compensation for a senior pastor, for instance, take a look at the package provided to a local high school or middle school principal. This person often has education, responsibilities and experience com-
parable to that of a senior pastor. Also look at the budget which that principal administers. The closer the budgets, the more comparable the pastor’s compensation package. Speak with church leaders at other churches of similar size. The more information you have on “comparables,” the more likely you’ll be to negotiate effectively — and without emotion. Finally, a word about evaluating performance: Don’t get personal; set goals instead. Assessing specific, measurable goals for a pastor is much easier than assessing effectiveness. Goals also ensure the pastor is focused on the areas of ministry the church thinks are most important. 2) Maintain a positive relationship. Open, honest and effective communication is crucial. Pastors shouldn’t hesitate to discuss their needs. After all, compensation is a benefit to both pastoral leaders in a church, as well as to the congregation. To create a pathway for constructive communication, churches should establish a Staff Relations Committee. Comprised of five to six members who have good relationships with the pastor, this committee exists to discuss staff needs and to advocate on the staff’s behalf for fair compensation. It provides a valuable platform to gain agreement on compensation and other personnel issues before bringing them to the broader church community. Many church staff members — especially pastors — find it difficult to advocate for their own compensation. It seems to go against the nature of the job. They might wonder, How can you provide spiritual leadership if your focus is salary and benefits? The truth is, accepting a compensation package that’s less what you feel you deserve or need makes it more difficult to provide spiritual leadership. It creates additional stress and can create resentment that gets in the way of performing pastoral duties. Church staff must learn to be their own advocates for fair compensation. 3) Get to “yes.” Salary negotiation can be a positive experience, if the discussion is focused on objective factors: • What does the church want to achieve? • What skills and experience does the pastor bring to the job? • What do those in comparable positions in the community earn? • Has the pastor reached the church’s goals? Pastors should offer their constructive input and remain present when compensation is discussed. Face-to-face negotiations foster a greater sense of trust and ensure that all parties are in agreement on any decisions made. The Rev. Dr. Perry J. Hopper serves as associate executive director and director of denominational relations of MMBB Financial Services. He also serves as an associate national secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA.
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A BLIND HINDU, AN ELEPHANT — AND A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY? BY ROBERT ERVEN BROWN John Saxe’s short poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” poignantly describes an important truth about how one’s point of view: It can dramatically distort perception of reality. As in the poem, depending on your point of view, an elephant can look and feel like a broad wall, a long hose that smells like fresh peanuts, or — if you grab its tail — a skinny rope that doesn’t smell at all like fresh peanuts! In the world of church governance, the policies formally adopted by the church board establish the paradigm — or, the perspective — through which a topic is viewed. These procedures then establish the boundaries, the “cookbook,” and the practicalities of how something like social media can be used. They provide the roadmap for the practical implementation and use of social media.
The 8-track generation For church leaders in their 50s and 60s (let alone their 70s), the phrase “social media” can easily make the eyes glaze over. The topic includes a constantly evolving set of new jargon and concepts which are completely foreign to those who completed their education without the benefit of an iPad, a cell phone or the Internet. Like the Hindu who viewed the elephant as being a skinny rope that doesn’t smell so good, social media appears to the 8-track tape player generation as unsettling, mysterious, and not particularly inviting. On the other hand, emerging church leaders — certainly those currently leading our youth groups — grew up with a cell phone (and, increasingly, a smart phone) as an integral part of their wardrobe. Texting and Tweeting are simply assumed to be part of the conversation. This group grasps these tools, and is profiting from them. As Wikipedia notes, “The benefits of participating in social media have gone beyond simply social sharing to building reputation and bringing in career opportunities and monetary income.” That sentiment rings loud and clear to this generation.
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Integrating paradigms with the law Merging these conflicting worldviews into a coherent set of policies and practices is the challenge facing church leaders today. Another important part of this challenge is being realistic about the risks which these important social media tools carry with them. Our legal system is racing to catchup with evolving questions, including: Can our church Google applicants? How do we handle a cyber-bully? What are appropriate limits for Internet posting and use of videos and photographs? What types of potential losses could arise from a cyber security breach? How much would it cost to repair these damages? Do we have appropriate cyber security insurance to cover these types of lawsuits? Should we allow each person to bring his or her own device into our system, without a common security protocol? Who is responsible for dealing with a data breach? What types of resources are available to our church in planning coherent set of policies and procedures for dealing with our social media? As you work through answers to these questions in the context of your own church, it will become increasingly obvious that we can no longer ignore the need for an evolving social media policy. CE Robert Erven Brown is an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona. He and his nonprofit practice group work with nonprofits and churches, helping them manage key operations connected with their missions, visions and causes. As permitted by local Rules of Ethics, they collaborate with attorneys who are licensed in states other than Arizona. He is the author of Legal Realities: Silent Threats to Ministries, which describes his Campus Preservation Planning© initiative — a comprehensive program designed to manage the wide array of risks facing non-profit organizations. silentthreats.com This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. “From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.” Simply reading this material this does not create an attorney/client relationship with Brown, as this article is general legal information, not legal advice. A formal attorney/client relationship will not be established until a conflict check is completed and an engagement letter has been signed by both the attorneyand the client. No “informal” legal advice will be provided by telephone. Simply sending an e-mail to Brown will not create an attorney/ client relationship.
IS YOUR CHURCH AHEAD OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA CURVE? If so, send Robert Erven Brown a copy of your social media policies and procedures — he’ll share them on his “Risk Management Realities” blog at ChurchExecutive.com. And, the social media discussion continues! Brown and Church Executive will lead a panel discussion on social media risk management at the 2014 National Association of Church Business Administration annual conference in July. Stay tuned for details.
CYBERCRIME: NOT JUST A “BIG BUSINESS” CONCERN BY RICK SCHABER
capture sensitive data with the intent to use it in a fraudulent manner, causing financial harm to the person or organization whose data was stolen. Any organization that collects and stores sensitive data has the legal responsibility to protect that data. Religious organizations of all sizes have a great deal of sensitive data — although many don’t realize it. The typical information kept on members is name, address, telephone and email; but, it can also include date of birth, anniversary, credit card information and bank account information. If there’s a children’s ministry, the organization can have health care insurance and provider information on each child. Volunteer drivers
Religious organizations of all sizes have a great deal of sensitive data — although many don’t realize it.
Cyber criminals are turning their attention to easy targets — including religious organizations. Although cybercrime at Fortune 500 companies continues to make the headlines, more than 70 percent of data breaches are occurring at small businesses and organizations. “Criminals are targeting small businesses because they’re soft targets when compared to more security-conscious larger businesses,” says Tom Widman, president and CEO of Identity Fraud Inc., a California-based company specializing in providing data breach remedies and insurance coverage for small businesses. “Religious organizations fall into this category. And, like small businesses, they need a big-business mentality concerning their identity and protection of their employees’, volunteers’ and members’ data.” The objective of most cybercrimes is to access and
should provide their driver’s license and automobile insurance information to the organization. Employee records also will include payroll, taxes, retirement plans, Social Security numbers and other personal information. “Before you can begin to implement security measures, you must first determine what data you need to protect, the value of the data, and where it is kept,” Widman says. “The necessary starting point for data risk management is to identify and classify your data assets.”
The cause — and the solution Although technology has heightened the risk of cybercrime, it also offers many of the risk management solutions. This includes encryption, firewalls, anti-malware, scanning software and other system maintenance. Data encryption secures the data by making it unreadable to those who don’t >>
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RISK MANAGEMENT CYBERCRIME (CONTINUED)
have the key to decrypt the data. One valuable type of encryption and important layer of security is keystroke encryption. This software program encrypts data as it’s entered. “A recent data breach involved 130 million records that were exposed when keylogging malware was able to penetrate a system,” Widman says. “A keystroke encryption program would have blocked this.” Malware is the industry term for any malicious software designed to harm computers or steal data. Keylogging malware can infiltrate your system when you click on an unknown link in an email that has malware. This technique is known as “phishing” or “spear phishing.” “Encrypting data can provide a safe harbor, depending on specific data breach laws,” Widman says. “However, not encrypting data — and suffering a breach — almost guarantees you’ll be facing a significant hardship.” A firewall is the protective layer between your computer and the Internet. It can be hardware or software and is placed at the point where the Internet enters your organization. “Every laptop should have a bidirectional (inbound and outbound) personal firewall installed as part of its standard configuration,” Widman advises. “This will provide protection against the vulnerability of wireless and other thirdparty networks.” Anti-malware also should be installed on every computer, laptop and mobile device as this offers another layer of defense from cybercrime. This includes programs that can scan your equipment for problems. Protecting the data your organization has in its possession is important, but
so is protecting the data specific to your organization. “Identity fraud is no longer just a crime targeted at individuals — it also targets organizations,” Widman says. “The methods a criminal will use to steal your organization’s identity are similar to those used to steal the identity of an individual, but the stakes are often much higher.” In addition to gaining access to an organization’s sensitive data, criminals will run vendor scams by posing as an organization and diverting deliveries to another address; “business phishing” through what appears to be employee email requesting sensitive information; “pharming,” which redirects traffic from your website to an imposter website; and “vishing” — using your organization’s telephone system to leave voicemails seeking sensitive information. Recipients usually trust your organization and are more likely to provide the information. Finally, there’s extortion. The criminal steals or threatens to steal your data and demands a ransom to prevent the records from being sold or otherwise used. Cyber-liability insurance financially protects your organization if you’re a victim of a cybercrime and lawsuits, fines or penalties result. Data breach response coverage exists to pay for crisis management, forensic audits, notification and credit monitoring your organization will incur as a result of the cybercrime. CE Rick Schaber is manager of CMIC Specialty Services in Merrill, WI, a specialty commercial insurance agency owned by Church Mutual Insurance Company.
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MISSION-CRITICAL How to manage privacy and social media risk for religious and non-profit entities
One can’t browse a news site without seeing a story about cyber-crime. From website intrusions and social engineering scams, to political “hactivism” and electronic theft, these incidents have become commonplace. The unauthorized release of private information is a threat which even the most profitable businesses are facing. So, what happens when the business isn’t in the business of profit? Unfortunately, churches aren’t insulated from these risks.
Vulnerabilities Non-profit entities are vulnerable to the theft of laptops, mobile storage devices, servers and smart phones. Hacking incidents have made recent headlines, as have phishing, social engineering and malware infiltration. Consider the following scenarios: • The resources spent on internet security are rendered useless because the infor mation now rests in the hands of a document disposal company. • A staff member sends benefits informa tion for employees to the wrong email list. • A laptop containing health information is stolen from a pastor’s car. Churches hold sensitive giving records — bank information, credit card data and background checks. What happens when that privacy is breached?
Consider “cyber” insurance A rapidly growing element of comprehensive church risk management programs is Cyber, Privacy and Network Security Liability Insurance. Through physical files, networks, laptops, mobile devices and websites, there are access points and areas of risk for churches that traditional insurance policies don’t address. Organizations which people trust and support can also be prime targets for those who wish to profit at the expense of their goodwill. A unique relationship exists between a church and its members, and there’s a responsibility to ensure that private information remains confidential. A properly structured Cyber Liability insurance program — including the coverage outlined below — is critical. Privacy Breach Coverage addresses claims against an organization for the unauthorized release of the private information of its members / parishioners, volunteers
BY STEVEN ROBINSON
and employees. The expense of notifying members or employees that personal information has been exposed can be among the costliest for organizations. Remediation expenses can also include member notification costs and legal advice to ensure compliance with various state privacy laws. IT forensics expenses can run as high as $600 per hour. Credit monitoring, call center hotlines and public relations assistance are additional expenses to consider. Costs have been estimated at $59 per record. Increased focus must also be given to Online Copyright and Media Liability exposures. Through live streaming of church services or copyright infringement of music or videos, our access to media opens the door to legal exposures. Today’s churches often neglect to take proper measures for securing permission for copyrighted brands. A study by charity DYNAMICS and Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) found that 35 percent of donors visited their favorite charity’s website a “few times a year” to “daily.” Additionally, 22 percent of donors commented on their Facebook page, and 16 percent received a Tweet from the charity. As social media plays an increased role, new avenues are created for libel, slander and defamation. The standard General Liability policies for churches contain specific exclusions for personal injury when conducted in an online environment. Network Security covers liability when a network under the organization’s control is responsible for introducing a virus, malware or other harmful code to others. With mobility and convenience comes increased security risk; a church might be unaware for weeks that its network has been attacked. A lack of knowledge, though, doesn’t absolve the organization from the liability.
An area of opportunity Churches represent many of the most significant risk categories that Cyber policies address. From the nature and volume of information they hold, to the accessibility of the data, Cyber insurance coverage is critical to protect members, employees, volunteers, the church’s reputation and its financial health. It’s important to select a broker who understands this and can provide appropriate protection. CE Steven Robinson is Area President of RPS Technology & Cyber, a division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which works closely with the company’s Global Religious Practice. He is based in Cambridge, MD.
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multi-site solutions There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for multi-site church expansion. A variety of options are available, from the conventional — existing church buildings and new-build facilities — to the unconventional: former car dealerships, strip malls and vacant warehouses. To help church leaders negotiate their next steps, Church Executive spoke with Rodney James, director of business and finance for Churches By Daniels Construction, Inc. in Broken Arrow, OK [churchesbydaniels.com]. What are the signs that it’s time to consider multi-site expansion? Normally, there are two motives: planned and proactive, or organic and reactive. The first is usually the result of strong vision and leadership to expand the ministry.
A church construction expert weighs in on what to buy, build or renovate for maximum ministry.
The second is more of a forced move based on various factors, including growth versus space, the need to reach other demographic or geographic groups — possibly even decline and subsequent need to survive. What are the main motivations to go multi-site? It affords more opportunities to reach new people for Christ — opportunities that likely wouldn’t happen at an existing campus or location. It opens up better opportunities for members to serve, often closer to work or closer to home. Meanwhile, existing members’ spiritual growth is enhanced, as they’re able to step out and start the new work. (Perhaps they might even join the staff.) Finally, going multi-site opens up opportunities for different types of worship styles, or different ministries.
Option A: an existing church building What are some common hurdles a church might face? The cost of renovations, plus adding new audio, video and lighting equipment, and tackling existing maintenance issues. The church might also have to overcome existing perceptions about the previous occupants of the building. If the facility is still operating as a church, the merge might be extremely challenging; existing members might have a hard time giving up control, comfort, familiarity and so on. Are there cost-based pros (and cons)? On the up side, a church will face fewer upfront costs — no land to purchase, no infrastructure to build (site, parking, utilities), and no building costs and time delays associated with a new-build facility. On the other hand, the church might face possible hidden costs, such as a failing HVAC system or faulty roof.
Option B: a brand-new facility What barriers can a church expect to encounter? Every construction process has hurdles. That’s what building is — a process of solving problems. The most important component is to find a building partner who will share the church’s vision, not just build its building. Too many times, churches seek out a design, not a solution. This can be very costly and drain much-needed building funds to
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pursue a beautiful design the church can’t afford to build. Are there cost-based incentives (and disincentives) for brand-new buildings? The good news is, your church controls the cost — if the facility is designed and built correctly by a good construction partner. In this approach, the church can even control future maintenance costs. The bad news: It always costs more to build a new facility, considering site and infrastructure costs.
Option C: an outsidethe-box structure What structural cues indicate the space might work well for church use? A church should look first at the structure. If the building has multiple columns throughout, this can be a challenge; they won’t want columns in their worship space. Next, it should consider ceiling height. Worship spaces need high
Believers Church (Tulsa, OK) — a commercial-building remodel — is praised by its ministry staff for its efficient use of space. (Photos courtesy of Churches By Daniels Construction, Inc.)
ceilings for the best aesthetics and acoustics. False ceilings can often be raised, but many factors need to be considered to know for certain. The building needs to have sufficient parking, and a church should keep in mind that plumbing, electrical and water requirements are much more significant for public meeting facilities than for warehouses, lumber yards, grocery stores and so on. OK, but are there cost-based pros to this option? Yes; there are no land development costs. And, if parking and utilities are sufficient, this is a significant savings over having to develop that infrastructure. The actual cost of building versus buying provides a savings, as well. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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Of clones and unicorns: I was an eager beaver new believer. I could talk to anybody about my new-found faith anytime, anywhere — yes, even inside an overcrowded bus on a sweltering day! Impressed by my zealousness, the leader of our evangelism team repeatedly urged me to “duplicate” myself. So, I tried. Well, surprise, surprise! I couldn’t find anyone who was just like me or who wanted to be exactly like me. Instead, I met creative types who loved God just the same, but who were way smarter in their evangelism approach. They had some relevant skills I could only wish to have. They were so cool I wanted to be just like them! (Of course, I didn’t tell them that.) Despite some differences in our preferences, we teamed up and built an outreach ministry that brought scores of young people to our young church, including a charming geologist-musician who would later become my husband. Today, whenever I’m thrust into an opportunity to build a great team or find a great new leader, I remind myself of lessons learned during the early days: Don’t make a copy; find an original. It appears I’m in good company. Last January, Tim Spivey — lead pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, CA, who also is an author, adjunct professor, church consultant and regular contributor to Church Executive — posted a blog titled “Replacing a Great Leader Without Replacing Them.” Spivey says when replacing a great leader, churches and organizations tend to look for a successor with similar gifts. Not always a smart move, he argues. What he recommends is building a system that allows all kinds of leaders — not only the uberpastors — to thrive. “Don’t build a unicorn stable,” he warns. “Instead, transform the unicorn pen into a horse ranch that can host quarter horses, mustangs, thoroughbreds or … unicorns.” One extraordinary leader who knows quite well what makes for a great successor is Bob Russell. His transition story is one for the books. Russell pastored Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, for 40 years. I interviewed him in 2005, one year prior to his retirement. At the time, he had been mentoring his replacement, Dave Stone, whom he described as “different than me — sanguine, evangelistic, youthful, humorous; a quality guy, more talented than I.” Russell was also doing the rounds, speaking at leadership gatherings about his church’s succession plan, which, he stressed, wasn’t for people with strong egos. I was lucky to have a copy of Russell’s succession notes. Here are some notable quotes: “Your successor ought to be better than you,
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Jordan Ashley Photography
Some thoughts on succession
or have the potential to be better because he’s got to take the church to the next level.” “My task is not to clone me, but to recognize and enhance [Dave’s] gifts.” “The biggest compliment to my ministry will be if Southeast Christian does well when I’m gone.” It has been eight years since Russell’s send-off party. Yet, by the look of things, the party just keeps swinging. Russell serves countless ministers through the Bob Russell Ministries. He travels and speaks to congregations and conventions, conducts monthly pastors’ retreats, produces Bible Study videos for small groups, and writes a weekly blog. Meanwhile, his former church, under the leadership of his successor, has grown to three campuses, reaching people by the thousands. Different folks, one unicorn of a mission. Makes for a successful succession.
Reframing the debt-reduction campaign The right approach can recast a church’s vision and pave the way for future growth.
BY JOEL MIKELL
A few years ago, something I read in an article More common than you might think really caught my attention: “Donors don’t give to pay In the past two years, about 80 percent of the down debt.” I agree; asking people to give because the campaigns our firm has conducted have involved debt, church has debt rarely — if ever — inspires sacrificial either as the primary focus or a significant one. Prior giving. to 2008, these represented closer to 30 percent of our However, having been personally connected to firm’s work. dozens of debt campaigns which raised in excess of We believe the reason for this drastic increase $170 million, it’s clear that people will give sacrificially is twofold. First, many of our church clients simply to address the issues and restrictions caused by debt. didn’t have a choice. High mortgage payments — By their very nature, debt campaigns bring paid through the general budget — often created a attention to something that happened in the past. giving deficit and took away any margin. As overall The reality is, most churches church giving plateaued or carrying debt are doing so decreased between 2009 Our people didn’t regret from a past ministry need and 2011, debt campaigns their earlier decision to expand. which resulted in expansion, were a means of survival in Instead, they saw dealing with renovation or some other many churches. debt — through a debt-reduction ministry-focused project. S e c o n d, many campaign — as a way to finish The real challenge in raising churches have conducted what they’d started.” funds for debt reduction or debt campaigns in the past debt retirement is connecting several years in an effort — Brian Swain, administrator, Central United the debt campaign to future to position themselves Methodist Church (Fayetteville, AR) ministry opportunities. for future growth. Rather than moving ahead with Timing is key expansion projects in a soft market, it has simply made To decide whether or not it’s time for a debt sense to pay down the debt now, and be in position to campaign, a church leader is well-served by asking five move forward as the market recovers. questions: Today, we’re beginning to see a shift in the 1) Has our debt had a negative impact in any way on direction the wind is blowing. While we’re still seeing a our ability to meet current operational needs? good number of campaigns for debt reduction, more 2) Has our church been forced to cut back or churches are beginning to move forward again with restrict ministry resources to service the debt? building projects — renovation, expansion and multi-site 3) Has the debt had a negative impact in any way locations. on our ability or willingness to start new, relevant The appeal is simple: As with any capital campaign, ministries? a debt campaign is an opportunity to recast the church’s 4) Could the money currently being spent to service overall vision. It paves the way for future expansion and a debt obligation be re-appropriated to new ministries — new ministry opportunities. A debt campaign sets a ones that could inspire and encourage our church, and good example; it encourages families and individuals to possibly attract new families? be debt-free, and teaching them how to live with margin 5) Is there a mixed message being sent with respect is practiced in many churches we work with. CE to the manner in which our church is responding to debt, Joel Mikell is president of RSI Stewardship in Dallas. and how the membership is challenged to view and manage personal debt? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then addressing the debt is imperative.
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How debt-elimination capital campaigns create margin for ministry BY JOSEPH SANGL AND CHAD AUKLAND
Churches today are facing substantial challenges as a result of debt. Prior to the economic downturn, it was easy to obtain financing for major projects. With the economic downturn and resulting lending restrictions, these churches are experiencing budget crunches and refinancing challenges.
This, combined with individual giving declines, has sent many church leaders on a hunt for solutions to their debt woes. Many have used capital campaigns as a key step in addressing their debt. In fact, nearly 80 percent of capital campaigns led by our company have included debt reduction. Any church looking to address its debt issues must start by asking a key question: Does the current debt impede your church’s ability to do ministry? If the answer is “yes,” it creates urgency to address the issue. This urgency will provide the impetus for the entire church to take action and address the situation.
Less debt = more ministry Recently, Pastor James Sunnock and Victory Life Church in Battle Creek, MI, experienced this exact scenario. His church embarked upon a debt retirement campaign, and God showed up in a very special way. The congregation clearly understood the urgency of the need and sacrificed together to accomplish the vision of dramatically reducing the church’s debt. Even more, the church set attendance records during their campaign, and 93 people were saved. Vision clarity is vital to the success of any capital initiative; this is never truer than during a debt-reduction campaign. The communication and messaging of the vision must be focused on how debt reduction helps the church accomplish more ministry. We care far more about life change than we do about reducing $1.2 million in debt. Be sure to connect the dots on how the elimination of debt will result 42 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 03-04/2014
in changed lives. Instead of saying, “We’re going to eliminate $1.2 million in debt,” communicate how the church’s $7,919 monthly mortgage payment could be used for more ministry. Can you really place a dollar amount on a changed life? It might be difficult, but one can certainly share it this way: “When this debt is eliminated, we’re going to be able to add a full-time children’s pastor and fully stock a food shelter. Our children and our community are going to experience the love of Jesus through our church because we sacrificed together to accomplish the vision of debt freedom.” Banks are also driving many churches to conduct debt retirement campaigns to refinance existing debt or to reduce the bank’s exposure. This can be a great thing for the church — when the congregation unites to address a real issue. Additionally, a successful campaign can result in additional financial margin for the ministry and improved interest rates on debt. Debt can weigh down church leaders and cause them to challenge the vision God has provided. However, once the bonds of debt are broken, leaders have the freedom to look to the future with great hope and certainty as their mindset shifts from “what we could do …” to “what we can do.” CE Joseph Sangl is the president and CEO of INJOY Stewardship Solutions. Chad Aukland is the director of ministry relationships for ISS. A free report — 5 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Church Fundraising — is available at injoystewardship.com/5mistakes.
Portable wheelchair lifts ensure the worship experience is intact and dignified. When it comes to creating a welcoming, inclusive environment, many of those in the religious community are going beyond what’s minimally required by law. With portable wheelchair lifts, they’re providing full stage access to their employees, congregation and community. Here, Gabriela Cervantes, marketing manager at Tucson, AZ-based AGM Container Controls, Inc. — maker of Ascension portable lifts — tells us more about this effort. What makes the house-of-worship market a particularly appropriate one for wheelchair lifts? The use of any accessibility system in a worship facility is event-driven; so, a wheelchair lift might not be needed all the time, for every service, on a regular basis. With a wheelchair lift — especially a portable wheelchair lift — someone simply has to move the lift in place (usually in front of a small stage) and use it whenever and wherever it’s needed. For example, an Ascension wheelchair lift can easily be moved where it’s needed, since the lift sits on casters and just needs to get plugged into a regular wall outlet. There’s no need for building modifications or for rearranging the floor space. How do wheelchair lifts compare, cost-wise, with portable and permanent ramp systems? Wheelchair lifts tend to have a higher upfront cost. However, an Ascension portable wheelchair lift, for example, would only have that cost associated with its use. Every time the lift is used, there’s no need for additional installation, labor or setup, aside from moving it in place and plugging it into a wall outlet. A portable ramp system might have a lower expense to start off with; but, the fact that it can take several labor hours to set up each time quickly adds up the costs associated with a portable ramp system. Additionally, a permanent ramp system eliminates valuable floor space that would otherwise be used to seat additional congregants, among other things. What are some of the unique advantages — particularly in a church — of opting for a wheelchair lift as opposed to a portable or permanent ramp? Portable wheelchair lifts don’t require installation. They’re simply moved into place by one person, plugged in, and are ready to use within minutes. Portable ramps must
be set up and dismantled every time by multiple people, requiring several hours of labor time and expenses associated with this labor. Portable wheelchair lifts are used whenever and wherever they’re needed. Permanent ramps reduce the amount of valuable floor space that the worship facility could better use for something else, such as increased seating space for its congregation. Portable wheelchair lifts don’t attract attention from the congregation. Because the Ascension wheelchair
Portable wheelchair lifts rise and lower vertically like a permanent lift, but can be moved as needed to multiple locations — and even used with portable stages.
lifts are quiet, blend with the building’s interior and have a low profile, users don’t feel like they’re the center of attention. So, the worship experience remains intact and dignified. Imagine a choir member with a walker stepping into one of these lifts, pressing the “up” button, rising quietly while protected by crystal-clear sides, and then stepping out onto the chancel platform a few moments later. Now, imagine sitting in the congregation, grimacing at the effort, and enduring the time it would take the same person with a walker to struggle up a 24-foot-long ramp to a 2-foot-high stage. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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A “Good Steward” Award winner in the area of Innovative Outreach, in 2009, First Mount Zion Baptist Church — under the leadership of Pastor Dr. Luke E. Torian — began working closely with Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, director of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia. Their goal: to develop a Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry at the church. Today, seven more congregations in the community have joined the effort, expanding the ministry’s reach to parts of Northern Virginia. Additionally, First Mount Zion provides cancer awareness to Latinos in the community by way of an interpreter and Spanish-language publications and materials. The ministry team includes a medical oncologist/ advisor and nurse oncologist. Meetings are held on the fourth Saturday of each month at the church, with an average attendance of 35 to 50 cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers. Education is provided, and Pastor Torian delivers words of encouragement. Ministry members also participate in community outreach projects. “It’s very encouraging to see that
First Mount Zion Baptist Church (Dumfr
Pastor Dr. Luke E. Torian provides new and used DVDs to children in local hospital pedi Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry community outreach.
Pastor Torian wanted to provide a safe and encouraging environment for members who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as family members or loved ones who have been touched by cancer. Over time, the ministry has expanded to meet the needs of the greater community. Seven additional congregations have joined the ministry: Christ Chapel of Woodbridge (Pastor: Bill Roberts); Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Pastor: Rev. Michael Bazan); Bethlehem Baptist Church (Pastor: Rev. Dr. Darrell White); Jericho City of Praise (Senior Elder: Linda Pyles); United Methodist Church (Pastor: Joseph Shoop); Montclair Tabernacle Church (Pastor: Rev. Gary Caruthers); and Greater Little Zion Pastor Dr. Luke E. Torian and the leadership members of First Mount Zion’s Spiritual Cancer Baptist Church (Pastor: Rev. Dr. James Support Ministry Murphy). Our church’s theme is “Ministry Beyond individuals and their families — who’re undergoing the Walls.” We embrace this theme and love serving God challenges themselves — are willing to help others in and His people. need,” says ministry spokesperson and church member Sheila Coverson. What do these meetings look like, in practice? Here, Coverson tells us more about this much-needed What kinds of discussions/presentations take place? outreach. The meeting opens with scripture reading, followed by an opening prayer, announcements, the featured In 2009, what spurred the formation of this speaker, closing comments and, finally, a closing prayer. cancer support ministry? We’re known for getting in a few laughs during the
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meetings, as well. The Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry also participates in community outreach projects, such as providing blankets and DVDs to pediatric wards. We provide resources to help out in Africa with school supplies and building wells. Since 2009, Pastor Torian has been working closely with Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, Director of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia. Rev. Dr. Barry has helped the ministry to gain a better iatric wards as part of First Mount Zion’s understanding of forgiveness and its relationship to healing. Last year, the ministry was invited to attend the Release Now Seminar hosted by Rev. Dr. Barry. Pastor Torian was asked to be on the panel. The seminar was very informative, and all the guest speakers received a private tour of CTCA’s Eastern Regional Medical Center. Our ministry also works closely with Rev. Dr. Barry’s assistant, Rev. Aking. On Sept. 21, 2013 — in partnership with CTCA and Rev. Dr. Barry — our church hosted the Forgive and Live Concert, which included singer/songwriter Kevin Levar. The event was open to the community, and more than 500 attended. How did the church go about getting a medical oncologist/advisor and nurse oncologist onboard? Pastor Torian stated he wanted the ministry to be informative and educational. In 2010, we were blessed to have Dr. Geoffrey D. Moorer, a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist, give a presentation to our ministry. Our church is very blessed that God brought Dr. Moorer to be a part of the ministry, and we’re blessed that he’s part of our family. For the past few years, Dr. Moorer has been the medical adviser for the ministry. He’s a partner with Virginia Cancer Specialists, a medical group which serves cancer patients in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC metro area. He has been instrumental in helping facilitate the group. Pastor Torian and Dr. Moorer host a wide variety of
speakers, including doctors, nurses, cancer navigator specialists and nutritionists. They cover a range of topics, such as stress management, pain management, fatigue, nutrition and more. The subject and materials are reviewed by Pastor Torian and Dr. Moorer prior to meetings. Pastor Torian has stated he wants to ensure ministry members receive accurate information. Pastor Torian also assigned Michele Stanco, an RN who specializes in oncology. She works with Virginia Cancer Specialists and provides presentations to the group, plus helpful tips on skin care and other questions families might have while undergoing cancer treatment. What’s the next step for the church’s cancer care ministry? We’re expanding outside the Northern Virginia region. We hope to continue to expand and provide information on cancer prevention, early detection, nutrition information and faith-based cancer support to individuals and families touched by cancer. We’re now assisting external agencies within Prince William County with cancer awareness programs. Also, the ministry hopes to continue helping with outreach programs such as Kid Flicks, an organization that collects new and Dr. Geoffrey D. Moorer, a boardused DVDs for hospitals throughout certified medical oncologist and hematologist, has been the medical the world. We provide new and adviser for the Spiritual Cancer used DVDs to children in local Support Ministry for the past hospital pediatric wards that might few years. be undergoing cancer treatment or treatment for other chronic illnesses. Within the last two years, our ministry has collected hundreds of DVDs to provide to two local hospitals. We want everyone to be aware of ways to reduce the chances of getting cancer through cancer prevention, education and action. Additionally, we want everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, because early detection and treatment saves lives. Finally, we want everyone to know that they’re not alone — that the Community-Based Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry is here to support individuals and loved ones dealing with cancer in any way we can. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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A “Good Steward” Award winner in the area of technology, Grace Church models a standard for accessibility in its outreach to individuals with special needs. For weekly worship, Tech Director Troy Hillstrom uses a Williams Sound assistive listening system consisting of a base station transmitter and personal receivers for listeners. He says it’s a necessity — not only for those with hearing loss, but also for language access/translation in the 4,200-seat worship center. “In a large space, clarity is a huge issue,” Hillstrom explains. “We make a conscious effort to provide the message to all listeners.”
TECHNOLOGY Grace Church (Eden Prairie, MN)
receiver because he uses it every week. When [Hillstrom] glances over to see him using it, he’s smiling and he’s engaged. That’s the payoff.” Here, Beckman tells us more about what makes this church so inclusive. When you call Grace Church “progressive,” what makes you use that word in particular? Grace Church is forward-thinking in how it reaches out to impact the world for Christ. Through a wide range of ministries, it’s leading the way when it comes to not just being a big building where people come together. As [Hillstrom] stated, “The church is supposed to meet people’s needs.” The assistive listening system is a big part of their progressiveness. They get it. They know that if people who come to their church can’t understand what’s being said, what’s the point? [Hillstrom] stated that while the system is required by law, it’s more than that — it’s really a necessity. What type of assistive listening system is available in the main sanctuary? The Personal PA™377 FM Assistive Listening System. It consists of one base station transmitter (PPA T35) and Personal PA Select (PPA R37) receivers for listeners. The system was installed in August 2002.
Tech Director Troy Hillstrom (Photo courtesy of Williams Sound)
For language translation in the youth ministry, Hillstrom uses portable body pack transmitters and headset and lapel microphones. In the Hispanic youth ministry, personal receivers are used. Even overseas missionaries benefit from assistive listening technology; they use it for language translation. “[Hillstrom] mentioned that when they hand out the receivers in the worship center, people are usually shocked to have something available to help them. They’re happy, and they come back,” adds Janet Beckman, vice president of marketing for Williams Sound. “One gentleman keeps his 46 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 03-04/2014
What was the impetus for its installation? In various listening situations, background noise, reverberation and distance from the sound source can make hearing the intended program or individual difficult — not only for an individual with a hearing loss, but for the general population. Often, a hearing aid or an implant isn’t enough for these settings. Assistive listening systems allow the individual listener to sit anywhere in the coverage area using a FM receiver to hear crystal-clear sound directly from the sound source. As Hillstrom has noted: “In a large space, clarity is a huge issue. It’s hard to achieve clarity of sound at the same level for everyone. If it’s too loud, people tune out. If it’s too soft, people can’t hear. Grace Church makes a conscious effort to provide the message to listeners so it doesn’t get lost. “ What kinds of tools is the church using for language translation in the youth ministry? The church uses the Williams Sound FM portable body pack transmitters, (PPA T36), headset and lapel microphones, and the Personal PA Select receivers (PPA R37) for the individuals listening to interpretation in their Hispanic youth ministry.
(SPECIAL NEEDS) How does the church market the availability of these tools? Signage is placed in the worship center, which seats 4,200, and in the chapel, which seats 400. The church will also be using a pre-service slide announcing availability of the assistive listening receivers to its congregation for future services. Are there other ways â€” aside from the ALS in the main sanctuary and language interpretation for the youth ministry â€” in which Grace Church accommodates individual with special needs? Grace Church reaches people with special needs
in many ways. In particular, its Mission program uses a Williams Sound Personal PA FM portable body pack transmitter (PPA T36) and Personal PA Select Receivers (PPA R37) on missions trips to assist in language translation in their overseas missions. The church also provides Spanish interpretation in its large worship center as a part of the weekly worship service offerings. Additionally, Grace Church reaches individuals with special needs through other programs such as the Barnabas program, which helps families with children with special needs. They also have a community dinner on Thursday evenings to serve those in need in the suburban area. CE
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“FROM TEXTING TO TWITTER: RISK MANAGEMENT ESSENTIALS”
A Panel Discussion presented by Church Executive Magazine at NACBA 2014 Social media is rapidly changing how churches communicate. While texting and Tweeting have their purposes, they can also cause major challenges for your church. Learn how to recognize potential social media hazards before they become catastrophic. Please join us at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 from 3:45 – 5:30 p.m. at the Gaylord Palms. Our panel of trusted experts in marketing, security, legal, insurance, risk management and megachurch social media will share their best practices and insights. Moderated by: Robert Erven Brown Nonprofit Practice Group Coordinator Ridenour Hienton & Lewis, PLLC
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