CE jan feb 2015 digital edition

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JAN / FEB • 2015

H E L P I N G L E A D E R S B E C O M E B E T T E R S T E WA R D S .

Mari Beth Poor: Finding solutions by serving p8


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January / February 2015 CONTENTS COVER STORY

The CE Interview


By Rez Gopez-Sindac As iServe pastor at Mountaintop Community Church in Birmingham, AL, Mari Beth Poor oversees the “on the mountain” ministries that enhance the overall experience of people attending Sunday worship services. These include guest services, student ministries, children ministry, and worship and media. She also leads the church’s “off the mountain” community efforts and global outreach.



Building the Building Team


By RaeAnn Slaybaugh


NEW! Continuing Education


NEW! Finances & Administration for Church Leaders




The value of a pastoral relations committee By Rev. Dr. Sara Day, CFP

NEW! Church Management Software (CMS) Forum Designing Worship Areas

16 20

Worship takes shape: examining traditional sanctuary design — past, present and future By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA

NEW! Pastor-Friendly Sound Systems


Creative & Proven Strategies Never Again


Engaging Spaces

Facilities / Fundraising / Continuing Education Staff Management / Children’s Ministry / Outreach



Board duty is serious business! By Michael J. Bemi

PLUS! 2014 Church Executive Good Steward Awards

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


Get organized! The 3 P’s of a successful capital campaign By Paul Gage


DEPARTMENTS From the Editor From the Contributing Editor



Creating momentum for the generous heart By Chuck Klein and Dean Byler

Chronologically incorrect: a new approach to engaging first-time givers By Derek Gillette

Engaging sanctuaries: 3 design “musts” By Allison Parrott and Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP


Clear your path to a safe church By Amy M. Kimmes

Church Growth Essentials

Making sound (system) decisions By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller

NEW! Creating A Culture of Generosity

Safety Strategies

6 35 churchexecutive.com


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A real sea change

churchexecutive.com Volume 14, No. 1 4742 N. 24th St., Ste. 340 Phoenix, AZ 85016 • 800.541.2670 Judi Victor CEO jvfly@churchexecutive.com

This four-word phrase has been resonating in the offices of Church Executive for the past several months — and it’s a welcome, wonderful shift. Kicking off 2015, you’ll notice a complete redesign of the publication in this issue — and that’s just the beginning. As you flip through the following pages, you’ll also see a marked difference in our editorial approach. One of the most significant differences is the depth of our topical coverage. First, a little background Our 2014 Church Executive Reader Survey, which we conduct every summer, encourages you tell us what topics are most in-demand to you as church leaders. As a unique business management and leadership resource, we use this feedback to ensure we’re addressing those needs. In response, you’ll find several targeted series in this issue written by in-the-trenches subject matter experts. The resounding advantage this approach offer is the depth of the content. Rather than covering critical topics a few times a year — which only allows for a few different angles — multi-issue series coverage lets us deliver highly detailed, how-to takeaways we know you can really use, right now. Some series began in our November / December 2014 issue. Others are launching in this issue. Yet others will begin in future 2015 issues. What they all have in common is their origin: each series addresses one (or more) of your most in-demand most topics. For example: • Financial planning. We know they’re critical topics — not only for the church as a whole, but also for its key staff members. To that end, a yearlong series will examine the clergy housing allowance issue, salary negotiation, retirement planning and more. • Construction and renovation. Building projects are on the horizon for many churches in 2015. So, you’ll find series devoted to effective, engaging design from the worship area — of which there are so many different types and approaches — to lobbies, to small group spaces, youth facilities and beyond. • Risk management and safety. In today’s litigious world, churches’ most precious 6

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

commodity — their trust-driven, open-door cultures — is often their biggest liability. So, you’ll find a few different series committed to helping you mitigate the multitude of risks your churches face every day. • Generosity and giving. Funding ministry and church expansion ranks among our readers’ most desired topics. So, you’ll find series devoted to creating generous church cultures, whether the aim is a sustained giving base or an effective multimillion-dollar capital campaign. And, because we know so many of you will invest in essential ministry tools this year — among them audio equipment, video setups, continuing education and church management software — you’ll find expertwritten series devoted to all these topics throughout 2015.

Publisher Steve Kane, ext. 207 steve@churchexecutive.com Editor In Chief RaeAnn Slaybaugh, ext. 202 rslaybaugh@churchexecutive.com Contributing Editor Rez Gopez-Sindac 602.405.5317 rgopez-sindac@churchexecutive.com Contributing Editor Robert Erven Brown Art Director Stephen Gamble, ext. 133 sgamble@churchexecutive.com Account Executive Jeanette Long, ext. 122 jlong@churchexecutive.com

EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC Denise Craig Chief Financial Officer Abba’s House | Hixson, TN Mike Klockenbrink Chief of Staff Lakeside Church | Folsom, CA

Digital = even more depth Additionally, each series is compiled into its own cumulative eBook. With each series installment we publish in Church Executive, a new chapter gets added to that series’ eBook — along with, in many cases, interactive media (video tutorials, project walk-throughs and so on). You’ll also find relevant, digital-only “bonus” content. The eBook format not only makes these series topics come alive, but also ensures a fantastic digital resource to share with your staff. To get these (and all our other) Church Executive eBooks delivered to your inbox as they’re released, be sure to visit our homepage [ www.churchexecutive.com ] and sign up to receive our eNewsletters and digital magazine.

Dan Mikes Executive Vice President Bank of the West | San Ramon, CA John C. Mrazek III Executive Pastor Pathways Church | Denver, CO Sam S. Rainer III Senior Pastor First Baptist Church | Murray, KY Mark Simmons Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA Eric Spacek Senior Manager GuideOne Insurance | West Des Moines, IA Accountant Fred Valdez

All the best to you and your ministry,

A publication of:


LET’S CHAT: Email: rslaybaugh@churchexecutive.com Facebook: ChurchExecutiveMagazine Twitter: @churchexecutive.com

Church Executive™ (Copyright 2015), Volume 14, Issue 1. Church Executive is published monthly by Power Trade Media LLC, a subsidiary of Friendship Publications Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST) included, all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). Reprints: All articles in Church Executive are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Judi Victor at (602) 265-7600 ext. 125. Copyright 2015 by Power Trade Media, LLC. No advertisement or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed as an endorsement, and no warranty is made or implied by Power Trade Media, LLC. Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but no warranty is made or implied, and Power Trade Media, LLC is not responsible for errors or omissions.


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MARI BETH POOR iServe Pastor | Mountaintop Community Church | Birmingham, AL By Rez Gopez-Sindac

As iServe pastor, Mari Beth Poor oversees the “on the mountain” ministries that enhance the overall experience of people attending Sunday worship services at Mountaintop Community Church. These include guest services, student ministries, children’s ministry, and worship and media. She also leads the church’s “off the mountain” community efforts and global outreach. As part of the directional team, Poor says one of the strengths that she brings to the table is longevity, which, she adds, gives a person a unique perspective. “In a fast-paced culture, time is often underrated and undervalued,” she explains — and reminds church leaders that: • It takes time to form relationships that allow people to trust you; • It takes time to implement and change things; and • It takes time to give these things a true chance to succeed. What attracted you to join Mountaintop and serve there for these past many years? I came to Mountaintop at the invitation of a good friend when I was a junior in college. My friend had just been hired as the student pastor and he asked me to come and volunteer with the high school ministry. After volunteering for a few months, I was hired as an intern and eventually came on staff full-time, first as the student pastor. It’s hard to believe it has been more than 17 years since I came to Mountaintop! The reason I have stayed and served here, along with believing it’s where God has wanted me to be, is because of the people at the church. I know the stories of so many people. It has been a privilege to do weddings, funerals, dedications, baptisms, share coffees and lunches, laughter and tears with the people here. Anyone involved in ministry knows that it has its ups


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015



and downs, but at the end of the day I truly believe in the power of God working through the people of the local church. How do you think God prepared you for your current role? When I was 14 years old, I went to a youth conference. At that time, I had not really experienced any significant struggle in my life. I distinctly remember leaning over to my student pastor and saying, “I’m having trouble relating because I’ve never had a deep struggle.” Two months after that conference, I became very sick with an addiction that I almost didn’t survive. That experience completely changed my perspective and gave me the ability to empathize and relate to people no matter their struggle. It also expanded my understanding of grace. Finally, it helped me understand the importance of recognizing that God is the solution no matter what the circumstances. In missions, it’s easy for individuals and churches to think we are the solution, which can lead to unhealthy decisions. However, continuing to come back to the reality that God is the solution allows me to make healthy decisions and reminds me to seek Him for wisdom and direction in everything. How did your role as iServe pastor come about? Do you see it evolving in the near future? When our current senior pastor came on board, he made serving “off the mountain” (as we call it) one of the focuses of our church and asked me to lead our local and international efforts. It was perfect timing because I had been feeling a prompting to pursue missions. During my first few months in this position, I read the books Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts, both of which fundamentally changed the way we do ministry, both locally and internationally. My prayer is that over the next few years we continue to evolve in the way we do things. I also hope to bring the Business as Mission conference to our church so that we can connect more business people and their gifts and strengths to needs around the community and the world. What has been the toughest decision you had to make as iServe pastor? A few years ago, a friend advised me rightly that in order to be most effective in our serving efforts,

QUICK FACTS ABOUT MOUNTAINTOP Year established: 1992 Senior pastor: Doug Ferguson Denomination: Non-denominational Number of campuses: 1 Weekly worship service attendance: 1,000 Full-time staff: 40 Yearly budget: $2.8 million


we needed to focus on one thing as a church. We were offering many wonderful serving opportunities, but we were so spread out that we weren’t able to make an effective dent in any one area. My friend encouraged me to listen to the heartbeat of our congregation and let it help me determine what our focus would be. He told me it would take three years to listen, see the response, and decide what our focus would be. I remember thinking, THREE YEARS! That’s a century in the church world! However, he was right. It took all of three years to determine that our church best responded to anything involving children, particularly kids at risk. Therefore, our serving focus is now to “Kids at Risk.” This focus has made us a more effective partner to the ministries supporting that vision. However, it also meant that we had to stop doing some wonderful ministries that pulled us away from that focus. It was a tough decision to stop doing some of the ministries. However, having a focus as a church has allowed me to say “yes” to ministry partnerships that help us pursue our focus and “no” to ones that will pull us away. Yet even when I say “no” to something, I try to affirm the passion of the person or people bringing the idea to me and help them find a place to be involved with that passion. Regarding international missions, do you do it yourself as a church or do you work with an established organization? Why? As far as our international efforts, we partner with established ministries and missionaries on the ground in various countries. This ensures that efforts begun will be continued by the local people and leadership rather than them being dependent on us. Any leadership lessons you want to share with pastors in a similar role? The lessons that have helped me most are: • Pray for a focus as a church in regards to serving. • As you offer serving opportunities, see which ones your church most quickly responds to. • Don’t be afraid to say no to ministries that pull you away from your focus. • Be willing to give change time to work! • L isten, listen, listen. It’s tempting to want to be the one with the answers, but listening to others is so important. •B e willing to share your mistakes with others so that they can, hopefully, avoid them. You oversee multiple ministries; what do you do to stay creative, relevant and grounded? First, I have a great team that works with me and helps make everything run smoothly. I have found that working with others makes everything fun and typically leads to creative, viable solutions. To stay relevant, I enjoy going to conferences at other churches and learning new ways to do things. I also consistently ask my former seminary professors and other people who I admire to give me book and resource recommendations so that I can continue to learn and change as things are changing. As far as staying grounded, I recognize the importance of getting away and having down time — trusting that things will be handled. Time away brings me back to the reality that I am not the solution for everything.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE



An investment in yourself — and in your church. As a church executive, that lifelong learning is in your DNA. You’re passionate about your career. You know that an investment in yourself and your abilities pays dividends for your church — not only in your capacity to minister more effectively, but also in the efficient management of all your church’s resources: people, facilities, finances and beyond. Being (very) familiar with what makes church executives tick, we weren’t at all surprised to find that more than 25 percent of you will invest in continuing education in the coming year. This is according to our annual Church Executive Reader Survey, an invaluable tool that enables you, our readers, to tell us exactly where we need to focus our editorial efforts. In the following few pages, you’ll find the result of that insight — our brand-new “Continuing Education” Series. To do the best possible job, we’ve enlisted several continuing education content experts. This first series installment presents a variety of unique, targeted advanced degree concentrations that meet your leadership and spiritual goals. Along with these opportunities, you’ll learn critical questions to ask yourself before pursuing an advanced degree, as well as how to evaluate whether or not the faculty is a good fit for you. Keep an eye out for two more series installments in our May / June 2015 and September / October 2015 issues. We’ll focus on online options, the ever-adapting M.Div degree, and military chaplaincy training. We hope you enjoy the in-depth continuing education options spotlighted in this series. And, as ever, we encourage your feedback. — The Editors


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015



Leadership training Seminary training is more important — and obtainable — than ever. By Leroy Goertzen, D.Min. Ministry thrives where the unchanging Word of God intersects with a constantly changing world. Ministry is about reaching people — letting Jesus Christ transform our lives and communities. Then again, is this simply a nicely stated ideal, or is it a living, breathing reality? Ministry is hard and full of difficult questions, challenging situations and imperfect people. Seminary is not about answering every question a church leader might encounter; it is about developing a holistic biblical worldview and obtaining the right tools to understand those questions and discern the answers. It is about being prepared to apply biblical truth in a variety of social and cultural contexts. It is about speaking the truth of the gospel with humility and grace. Like a number of other seminaries, Corban University School of Ministry (SOM) is dedicated to providing training that equips Christian leaders to study the Word of God with integrity, and prepares them to face the challenges of everyday ministry. We offer three graduate degree programs designed to suit the unique needs of today’s pastors: Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Divinity in Church Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership. The latter builds on the foundation of a M.Div. and a pastor’s vocational experience in ministry. It provides advanced study in personal and ministry formation, expanding a pastor’s leadership capacity and effectiveness to take ministry to the next level 10 critical questions Before pursuing a D.Min. degree, seek solid answers to some important questions. #1: Why should I pursue this particular degree program? #2: What makes this seminary different from others? #3: Do I agree or strongly agree with its statement of faith? #4: What kind of accreditation does this seminary have? #5: How many students will be in my courses or cohort? #6: What are the residency requirements? #7: How will the course requirements impact my ministry? #8: How long does it normally take to earn this degree? #9: Does the seminary offer financial aid for a post-graduate degree? #10: Will I be able to use my VA benefit? Additionally, I strongly encourage pastors to carefully study the descriptions of each required course because D.Min. programs can vary widely. To become a more effective pastor, I highly recommend a focus on leadership. To that end, Corban University’s D.Min. program offers six courses that equip today’s ministry leaders for greater effectiveness: • The Spiritual Life of a Leader: How Leaders are Transformed • Personal Leadership Foundations: How God Shapes Leaders • Philosophic Foundations of Leadership: How Leadership Works • The Culture of Leadership: How Leaders Exegete Ministry Culture churchexecutive.com

• The Analytic Dimension of Leadership: How Leaders Develop the Strategic Plan • The Human Dimension of Leadership: How Leaders Manage the Strategic Process Upon completion of this leadership-focused coursework, D.Min. students undertake an involved research-oriented project that focuses on addressing a challenge or opportunity of ministry within their ministry context and experience. Typically, such students are required to: identify a viable challenge or opportunity in their ministry that deserves to be addressed; pose a researchable question and create a hypothesis that proposes a feasible answer; develop a biblical foundation for the project and interact meaningfully with literature in the field that informs our understanding of the central theme(s) of the project; conduct a methodology to test the hypothesis and evaluate and report the results drawing concise and accurate conclusions from the project that contribute to an understanding and practice of ministry; and submit a scholarly paper that presents the preceding points in a manner that meets high academic standards and can be presented publicly before one’s peers and constituents. Corban encourages its D.Min. students to publish their papers as books that will benefit other pastors across the U.S. and abroad. We also urge our graduates to apply what they’ve learned and teach others to do the same. Evaluating professors When it comes to evaluating a particular seminary’s faculty, academic chops are important — but no more so than five other often-overlooked factors. #1: What kinds of ministry experience does this professor have? #2: Is this professor currently involved in local church ministry? #3: H as this professor studied, taught and ministered cross-culturally and / or internationally? #4: D oes this professor know students personally, and is he willing to mentor them? #5: Does this professor keep in touch with former students? Take, for example, Jim Hislop, who earned a D.Min. at Willamette Valley, OR’s Western Seminary. When it came time to work on his dissertation, Hislop already knew his focus: how best to pass the baton from an older pastor to a younger one. Instead of retiring, however, he went to work part-time at Western Seminary. Now, he’s sharing more than 30 years of pastoral experience with current seminary students — no matter what their age. Whether you’re 30, 40, 50 or 60, the time could be right for you to pursue a quality seminary education. It’s certainly more important — and obtainable — than ever. Leroy Goertzen, D.Min., serves as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology & Director of the D.Min. Program at Corban University School of Ministry in Salem, OR [ http://grad.corban.edu/ministry ]

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


CONTINUING EDUCATION Presented by: Grand Canyon University

Leadership training Ring in the New Year and answer to a


A Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in ChristianStudiesdegreefromGrandCanyon University [ www.gcu.edu ] prepares students to lead in local churches and Christian organizations. The College of Theology [www.gcu.edu/College-of-Theology.php] at Grand Canyon University offers focused training grounded in biblical truth. It is our conviction that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, true and authoritative Word of God. This conviction shapes all that we do and provides a firm foundation for theological studies and ministerial preparation. “GCU seeks to bridge the gap between gaining an education and continuing in ministry by offering convenient online theology programs with a variety of emphases,” explains Dr. Jason Hiles, Dean of College of Theology. “This allows pastors and others in ministry to continue serving their local community while pursuing a graduate education through the College of Theology. “Whether you want to be a pastor, a missionary or serve in some other way, GCU’s programs will prepare you to response to the call God has placed on your life,” Hiles adds. Leadership education options Students can choose from a variety of College of Theology master’s degree programs: Master of Arts in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in: Christian Leadership: Many students work as church pastors, deacons, elders or administrators. Others who pursue this program work in the secular world and want to earn their MA in Christian Leadership to develop as Christian leaders within their business field. Pastoral Ministry: Prepares graduates to provide spiritual guidance and care to members of their church or congregation. Students include pastors, pastoral associates, health care chaplains, religious educators, retreat leaders and Bible study leaders. Urban Ministry: This program addresses specific challenges and needs within churches, nonprofits or as a startup in inner cities and suburbs.


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

Youth Ministry: Prepares students to serve and help our youth reach their potential through biblical guidance and teachings as young congregants grow personally and spiritually. Master of Divinity with an Emphasis in: Global Ministry: Sets the stage for ordained professional ministry and the foundational elements for a successful academic career and for work internationally in crosscultural environments.

Worship Leadership: Uses a deeper understanding of biblical and theological concepts toward leadership and ministry positions in churches and other religious organizations. “Students who complete (the Worship Leadership emphasis) will learn the biblical theology of worship will begin to develop worship leadership skills and learn to serve effectively in a variety of contexts, whether small leadership rolls or within a larger church,” says Dr. Hiles. “These students are going to learn the same sort of biblical and theological underpinnings that other students will learn, but they’ll learn to apply them in particular ways so that they’re effective and faithful worship leaders.” For more information, visit www.gcu.edu/churchexecutive . Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. (800-621-7440; www.hlcommission.org ) For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.gcu.edu/disclosures . Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. We will not provide your information to any third party without your consent. For more information, read our Privacy Policy. [ www.gcu.edu/Privacy-Policy.php ]


Step Into Your God-Sized Dreams Mark Batterson believes in dreaming big and praying bold prayers: “Keep growing, keep stretching, keep learning.” He says Regent University helped him sharpen his calling to Christian leadership. Our respected faculty and excellent programs will help you sharpen your theological and leadership insight too, with a focus on spiritual formation and biblical truth. Ready to move toward your God-sized dreams? We’ll help you take the next step.

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FINANCES & ADMINISTRATION for Church Leaders Presented by: MMBB Financial Services


value For many of us, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a time when we give ourselves permission to overindulge in rich dishes and irresistible desserts. January brings the time to take stock of all that feasting and make a resolution to lose weight and get in shape. Churches can also benefit from the opportunity that the New Year provides to re-think priorities. One issue to consider is how to improve communication between the pastor and the congregation. Among the most effective methods for strengthening the lines of communication is the formation of a Pastoral Relations Committee.

of a pastoral relations committee

By Rev. Dr. Sara Day, CFP® What is a Pastoral Relations Committee? A Pastoral Relations Committee is usually comprised of three to five people, in addition to the minister. The goal of the committee is to give support to the pastor and facilitate healthy communication with the congregation. The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the pastor and also advocates for the pastor’s leadership. In its advisory role, the Pastoral Relations Committee contributes to the church’s ministry by sharing the concerns and hopes of the congregation with the pastor. The Committee also acts as the primary support group for the pastor by conveying the needs and functions of the pastor to the congregation. For a church with a large staff, this committee can function as a Church / Staff Relations Committee, providing a liaison between all church staff and the congregation. 14

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


Why have a Pastoral Relations Committee? A Pastoral Relations Committee: Fosters spiritual health and connection between the pastor, congregation and staff When the body of Christ has a healthy way to share expectations and issues of concern, the life of the church is lifted up, and the congregation is likely to be more connected and engaged as a whole in the ministry of the church. The committee also offers an arena to address misunderstandings before they become more serious problems. Ephesians 4:15-16 states that “…we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint…makes bodily growth and up-builds itself in love.” This reminds us that there are multiple ways for a congregation to reach out, but the church is meant to be one ministry in Christ with diverse means of touching lives. Offers wide-ranging support to the pastor and church staff Pastors need to have confidence that there is ongoing support for their leadership and a real understanding of the high level of stress they experience. The committee provides a supportive environment for pastors — and their families. This is critical because a frequent cause of stress is negotiating the time and tension between pastoral duties and private / family life. This committee serves as the space wherein pastors and pastoral staff can honestly state their needs and concerns.

Provides an avenue for regular communication When communication between pastors and people is consistently conveyed and pastors feel supported amidst the stress of the multiple responsibilities they handle, the church is able to focus and respond to ministry needs with far greater impact and scope. The functions of the Committee include: • Advocating for the pastor in financial matters and assisting in communicating to church members about issues such as compensation, housing, ministry-related expenses, benefits and flex-spending accounts for health and dependent care. • Understanding the responsibilities of ministry, the role of the pastor and other staff persons in relation to the congregation and its ministry. • Serving as mediator in matters where conflict arises and discerning when outside assistance needs to be brought in to resolve escalating tensions. • Participating in the pastoral and staff review process. This includes establishment of performance goals, assessing job performance against these goals, making recommendations on compensation, and advocating on behalf of the pastor and staff to the budget committee or other group responsible for personnel. • Supporting the pastor in broadening his or her knowledge and skills through continuing education opportunities. • Assisting with hiring and departure of staff. This is especially critical as pastoral transitions can be one of the most vulnerable times in the life of a church. Select Committee members carefully Both the pastor and congregation need to have input in selecting the committee, but it is essential that the pastor has a good relationship with all members. The pastor needs to be able to share with the utmost trust, safety and confidentiality — to “remove their robe” without judgment. Committee members need to: • Be examples of Christian character and integrity • E xhibit a love and knowledge of Christ and commitment to the congregation • B e supportive of the minister, but also sensitive to the concerns of the congregation and minister • B e patient and discerning listeners, aware of body language and tone; skilled in active listening • B e knowledgeable Upcoming installments in this muchabout human relations, needed new series will focus on: communications and • The clergy housing allowance issue • Retirement planning — how to conflict resolution know if you (and your staff) are on • Operate with the utmost the right path confidentiality, including • Negotiating compensation without with spouse and partners emotion • Be free from conflict • Year-end tax & portfolio planning for pastors of interest with other • More! groups in the church; in other words, they should not sit on the church Finance Committee.


When the Pastoral Relations Committee partners with the pastor, meets regularly, remains focused on good communication and brings an open spirit, it provides long-term value to the church’s ministry. As you think about your New Year’s resolutions, why not consider placing the formation of a Pastoral Relations Committee at the top of your list? Rev. Dr. Sara Day, CFP ®, is Director of Employer Relationship Management for MMBB Financial Services [ www.mmbb.org ] in New York.


January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Church Management Software (CMS) Forum

Your biggest administrative tool. A significant investment. Church management software (CMS) is the most powerful administrative technology at your church’s disposal, and it has perhaps the biggest impact on operational efficiency. By design, CMS is the “engine” that enables you, as church leaders, to keep everyone connected: staff, volunteers, members and guests — often from one centralized platform. It isn’t surprising, then, to learn that nearly 1 in 4 of your churches will purchase CMS in the next 12 months, according to our annual Church Executive Reader Survey. Because this investment is imminent for so many of you (and considering the critical role CMS serves), the value of “getting it right” when choosing CMS is clear. With those driving factors in mind — along with the tribal knowledge that many valuable CMS functionalities are less than maximized — we committed to launching this brand-new editorial series: our “Church Management (CMS) Forum.” In every issue, you’ll find invaluable insights and practical, how-to takeaways from in-the-trenches CMS subject matter experts. With these thought leaders’ help, this series will deep-dive on the most critical functionalities CMS can perform for a church. The “Church Management Software (CMS) Forum” begins in the next several pages, with a laser focus on financial management applications. Future chapters will drill down on giving / donation tools, first-time visitor-engagement functionalities, and scheduling and volunteer management applications. Finally, we’ll wrap up 2015 with our CMS content partners’ best advice for choosing the right CMS for your church when it’s time to upgrade. In short, we want to help you learn your CMS program (and the ones you’re considering) inside and out. We hope you’ll read every installment — and we welcome your feedback. — The Editors


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


Church Management Software (CMS) Forum Presented by: Elexio Church Software

Financial management Q&A: a pastor’s perspective Mark Kitts served as a founding pastor before establishing People Driven Software, which merged with Elexio Church Software. Today, Kitts is Elexio’s Lead Software Architect. Mark Kitts

How does church management software help churches with financial management and what are the most important functions? Kitts: At our company, we’ve chosen not to concentrate on all areas of accounting and financial management. We integrate with Quickbooks because they’ve mastered accounting software. Budgeting, general ledger, accounts payable — those things aren’t unique to the church. But managing accounts receivable is unique within the church, so that’s where we focus our financial management efforts. Like many CMS providers, we make it easy to collect and manage money coming in from donors through traditional giving methods — as well as online — through a mobile app, on a kiosk, or via text and then understand what all this means to the church. There’s no purpose in putting that information into the system if you’re not planning on getting it out in some more organized or summarized fashion. That’s why flexible reporting tools that make it easy to analyze giving trends are so important. A CMS should also integrate with the various giving methods a church uses so contribution information is automatically recorded and staff members don’t need to manually enter it. We approach financial management with a pastoral perspective rather than a business person’s perspective only. You certainly need those accounting tools to run a good church, but we see giving as a point of engagement and involvement in the church. Show me all the people who’ve given in the last year — by age group or geographical area. With a CMS that understands the pastor’s point of view, you can see where giving is really coming from. Churches can delve even further into the data to see what methods work for different demographics. Who in the church can benefit from these financial management tools? Kitts: Integrated financial management tools will benefit everyone in the church community. Donors will benefit because it’s not only easy to give, but they can also access their giving history at any time online or through their mobile app. churchexecutive.com

Church staff will save time entering giving data, compiling reports, and preparing annual contribution statements. Pastors can easily use the information to identify giving trends and evaluate the health of the church. What is one of the most underused CMS tools / features for financial management? Kitts: Even with a variety of giving options, many churches still receive a large number of paper checks each week but don’t take advantage of check scanning. But they should, for a few reasons: • It could cut data entry time by 40 percent to 50 percent • It allows donors to pull images of their checks online • It deposits electronically so staff members don’t need to take checks to the bank • It’s more secure than multiple people handling paper checks. Why is good financial management support through a CMS important to the church? Kitts: Good financial management involves the church’s integrity and stewardship. Churches are accountable—to God and government — for every dollar they receive. They already face skepticism that they only care about money, so ensuring that donations are spent wisely and accounted for is critical. Pastors are often concerned about the income of the church because they need to make payroll, but giving is also a spiritual indicator for the church. If contributions are down, pastors should be able to run a report to help them determine why. Is attendance dropping? Is it too difficult for people to give? Is there a deeper issue that needs to be addressed? Healthy things grow — and giving within the church is no exception.

Mark Kitts is Lead Software Architect at Elexio Church Software

[ www.elexio.com ] and lives in North Carolina.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Church Management Software (CMS) Forum Presented by: Shelby Systems, Inc.

questions to ask when evaluating financial applications in your CMS By Alfred Johnson

Church members not only look for spiritual leadership from their pastoral staff, but they also have expectations that donations made will be widely used. Often, they expect leadership to provide financial reports produced from a reliable accounting package, verifying their trust. Evaluating financial applications Fortunately, pastors and church leaders do not have to be accountants to find out if a product is a good fit for their ministry — they just need to ask the right questions. The following list of evaluation questions should be helpful to most ministries. 1. Is the product designed for nonprofit organizations? Most accounting packages are designed for businesses, and businesses are required to keep records to satisfy federal and state income tax laws. On the other hand, churches and religious organizations have very different needs that are no less complex than for-profit businesses. As long as the church does not have unrelated business income, it does not have to file income reports with the IRS. However, it is accountable to the membership, donors and, occasionally, to a foundation or other organization that has provided a grant. These donor groups have expectations that donated funds will be used for the intended purpose. For example, some donations are received for a particular ministry, activity or building project. Therefore, nonprofit accounting software needs to be able to track and report on each of those activities. 2. Does the chart of accounts accommodate a structure that complies with FASB and GAAP requirements? Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) provide guidance for acceptable tracking of transactions and related reports. These guidelines are used by public accountants and auditors when advising or auditing records. A common requirement of nonprofit groups is to have a place in the balance sheet within the capital section devoted to multiple closing accounts. (Forprofit software often has one closing account labeled “retained earnings.”) Reports then use information from the net asset area to show the funds available for distribution. (See illustration above) 3. Does the payroll application correctly handle clergy compensation and Form W-2? A payroll application should be designed to easily handle the complex pay package that many clergy have and also accommodate all of the payroll requirements of non-clergy staff. It should also be able to produce required federal and state tax reports, including Forms 941, W-2, W-3, as well as the set of reports required under the Affordable Care Act. 18

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4. Does the software have a method to keep sub ledgers in balance with the general ledger? The review of a set of books usually includes a check of accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and contributions against the general ledger. This is usually done by creating a report from, say, accounts payable for a given month, and then comparing it to a statement of financial position (balance sheet) for the same period. Allowing changes to AP or GL without involving the other should not be allowed. 5. Does the general ledger restrict changes to finalized entries? If the software uses a checkbook-style ledger, or allows changes to finalized transactions, then it becomes easy — and perhaps tempting — to manipulate the books. 6. Does the software track changes? Most auditors check to see if there are changes made to original entries. Therefore, it is important that the software limits that type of activity and tracks any changes that are allowed. 7. Does the software’s standard reports allow omission of transactions? Some software packages only have drill-down reports with various filters, which can produce reports that might not include all transactions, thus skewing the financial picture. 8. Does the software provide a method to generate consolidated reports for committees, congregation, individual ministries, etc.? Most churches need a set of presentation reports designed for select groups. If the software does not have this option, then the staff is usually forced to create them in Excel. It truly is fortunate that most pastors do not have to be accountants. But, they do need to be wise in their leadership roles, ensuring church finances are correctly handled. Alfred Johnson is the Sales and Training Manager at Shelby Systems, Inc. [ www.shelbysystems.com ] in Cordova, TN.

How to get the most out of your accounting package As long as your accounting package provides tools to align with FASB 117 and GAAP guidelines, then you might find the following tips helpful in using your current software. • Do not readily accept someone’s view that the software cannot perform a needed function. Verify by checking with the supplier’s support and / or training department. • Invest in annual refresh training often available in webinars, online videos, remote courses or special onsite consulting. • I nteract with user groups and online discussion communities. • Verify that controls are in place to enforce segregation of duties. • Review your chart of accounts at least every three years to keep reporting in step with ministry needs / focus. • After an audit, make changes in account structure per auditor’s notes. Having a set of books that are easy to audit can cut audit expenses.


Church Management Software (CMS) Forum Presented by: ACS Technologies

Where ministry meets monetary By Michael Jordan

While churches might have to be run like businesses, there are specific needs and flexibility which non-CMS financial management applications just cannot provide. For some, the leading secular accounting software might be the answer — but we suggest otherwise. Here’s why. Integration for a “whole-church” solution Having an accounting module that integrates with your CMS should be an essential item for churches. You should have a time-tested accounting module that can communicate directly with your congregation-facing software. Secular software, to current knowledge, does not integrate with any membership database or service. Having software that can “communicate” saves time, money and manpower. More detailed reporting, an audit trail and zero fraud There are guidelines for reporting required of nonprofits. The standard advice is that all non-profits must be able to produce a balance sheet by fund and other financial statements. Although secular accounting software can provide you with a procedure for determining your fund balances, it cannot give you a Statement of Financial Position (balance sheet) by fund / class report. In addition, it is imperative to have controls in place through your financial applications that allow for no alterations. For example, if you post an expense to the wrong account, a journal entry should be required to fix it, thereby creating an audit trail. In typical software, you have the option to turn off this feature, opening the invitation for fraud. This cannot happen with certain CMS. The heart and soul of church accounting Church accounting software should be flexible and easy to use, with a double-entry accounting system that adheres to non-profit accounting standards and offers either a cash or accrual basis. It is imperative to be able to create a unique chart of accounts for your church that can interface with all the other financial modules (as well as people modules) and specific church-related features offered through church CMS (such as those provided by ACS Technologies). By being able to interface, you can track budgets and spending by fund, department, committee and project. Budgeting and reporting shouldn’t have to be a chore. Things to look for when researching CMS options include security, accuracy, flexibility, system-wide data integration, built-in Automated Clearing House (ACH) option, Microsoft Excel interface capabilities, and the abilities to keep track of what your church owes and pay your bills on time. Your church software should be the church’s complete check-writing and vendor management program. It should have a sound accounts churchexecutive.com

payable application that can save you time and coordinate the way church staff pay bills and issue 1099s. It should also be able to centrally process your outgoing funds, print checks, store vendor information, and keep track of your invoices. In short, if you’re transferring funds or documents anywhere, it should flow through your CMS. Save valuable time and avoid confusion by handling all types of payroll procedures with one central solution Financial management software (especially through a CMS) normally handles the specific needs of churches and pastors, from housing allowances to insurance. It should also be able to accommodate multiple cost centers, so payment is charged to the appropriate areas. With a dedicated CMS, your church can customize with additions and deductions to pay. In addition, with the proper software, you’ll have everything you need to pay church employees with consistency and accuracy. The CMS you choose should be able to provide: multiple cost centers; customize additions and deductions; print W2s & 941s; direct deposits; track vacation, sick and leave; Federal and State tax e-Filing; and the tools you need to help manage your spending. Purchase orders are another key component to a good financial management application. To help prevent overspending, it’s imperative to have a system that allows for the automation of your church’s cash-flow planning process. It should also be able to help you easily cross-check and reference your purchasing.Keys here include: manage cash-flow and spending; automate spending plan; cross-check purchase; and set spending alerts. A reliable, centralized asset inventory and management system Financial management doesn’t end with dollars and cents, though; good CMS needs to include a central inventory system for managing your organization’s equipment. A strong fixed assets component to your CMS tracks specific asset details, from acquisition, to depreciation, to maintenance. It is important to have this when your church needs to budget, document insurance claims and / or generally support good stewardship of plans and property. Effectively manage your outgoing billings and incoming payments Whether on a cash or accrual basis, a solid accounts receivable program should automatically integrate with every single other aspect of your CMS and accounting software modules. With a customized, unlimited revenue center, you can ensure accurate posting to the correct accounts, billing codes that offer easy handling of recurring invoices to given customers, and payment codes that enable efficient crediting of payments for multiple accounts at one time. It should also allow you to create unlimited revenues and connect income to specific accounts. In short, unlimited charge items — with customized frequencies — mean fast and accurate billing. Using process automation will enable you to quickly produce batch invoices. Keys here include: define an unlimited number of revenues; customized income frequencies; batch invoicing; unlimited charge items; and process automation. It’s about accountability, not just accounting The key behind the importance in the Great Commission was not to go make disciples for a day, a year or a decade, but a lifetime. By fostering a healthy, productive and influential church, choosing the right tools to help your church minister and grow is imperative to reaching this goal. Michael Jordan is a marketing strategist for ACS Technologies [ www.acstechnologies.com ] headquartered in Florence, SC, with offices in Phoenix and Seattle. January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE




Presented by: MNB Architects

Worship takes shape Examining traditional sanctuary design — past, present and future

By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA

As Part 2 of this “Designing Worship Areas” series begins, let’s reiterate a primary concept from Part 1: Every church is different. Having restated that precept, let’s now look at the traditional worship space and the elements through which it contributes to a person’s worship experience.

Calvary Baptist Church — Tupelo, MS (Photo courtesy of MNB Architects) 20

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Collierville United Methodist Church — Collierville, TN (Photo courtesy of MNB Architects)

of the “fan-shaped” room into the worship area design — a space in which seating sections are laid out in concentric rings, or segmented arcs, focused on the platform and interrupted by aisles leading people from the back toward the front of the room. Initially, this layout was seen as much less formal. For several decades, it continued to be used in rooms seating larger numbers of people, all for one primary reason: It brought a large number of people closer to the platform. This model has grown to be regarded as the traditional design solution for large rooms, typically with a seating capacity of 700 or more. SOME THINGS NEVER (AND SHOULDN’T) CHANGE

A COMFORTING CLASSIC We are all too familiar with the historical basilica-plan church. For centuries, it was the standard of worship design. Over the centuries, this plan type has evolved in terms of the materials used, as well as the increasing knowledge of how to maximize those materials. Some cathedrals embody the best of these features: soaring heights; expanses of stained glass; and long, reverberant atmospheres created within the structure. The continuation of this plan design to western culture and the United States is still seen in many of our older houses of worship. Even in the 21st century, worship rooms which seat up to 700 use this plan. This size and type of room — with a platform or chancel area hosting the pulpit and / or lectern, choir and instruments — is not only expected by many churchgoers but is seen as a stable and soothing environment for worship. While the ceiling heights might not rival those of the cathedrals, they are representative of the room size and contribute to the environment of a special place for a special purpose. It is not uncommon for such a room to have windows filled with beautiful storied stained glass. Seating is generally pews, and technology is limited. The church I grew up attending — about an hour outside Memphis in a rural farming community of Eastern Arkansas — fits this description. The place said “church,” and worship was a strong lifeelement for my family and the community. Whether you grew up in a similar environment, you have seen pictures of (or possibly worshiped in) a room like this before. With all its interior finish elements — coupled with regular and special worship services, baptisms, communion (Lord’s Supper), weddings and funerals — it created a centralizing place for my family and my community.

With the increased use of technology in church, the elements evoking worship have begun to include quality audio systems, creative lighting systems, video systems, and even the use of TV broadcast and Internet streaming. Why all these changes? One can find the answer in a simple statement: There is a need to communicate to people in a clear, effective, multimedia manner such that the Gospel — the good news of Jesus — can be shared and received. To reach worshippers in this post-church culture, their expectations must be exceeded. So, how does all this help you, the church executive, create a worshipful atmosphere for the people? We can distill it down to a few key conclusions. Conclusion #1: We are living in a post-church culture. We can trace the need to change with the advent of new engineering, new technologies, and new methods of communication. It all keeps changing, and fast. What has not changed is the message of the Gospel, regardless of a church’s type, denomination or “flavor.” Conclusion #2: The concept of “tradition” has changed — and will continue to do so. How we embrace this change will determine whether or not we return to the place I reminisce about: the church as the centralizing element of the family and the community, regardless of its architecture. Curtiss H. Doss, AIA is principal of McGehee Nicholson Burke (MNB) Architects in Memphis, TN. [ www.mnbarchitects.com ] Doss has consulted with church clients for more than 20 years, and his architectural practice spans more than 30 years.

Fan-shaped at its finest: University Baptist Church — Fayetteville, AR (Photo courtesy of MNB Architects)

FAN-SHAPED PHENOMENON Compared to centuries of traditional basilica design, the more recent history of larger rooms is primarily shaped by one construction feature — the ability to span large rooms with steel structures — and one desire: to keep the congregation close to the pulpit area for communication and intimacy. Though not connected, these two elements have begun to change the landscape of the traditional worship space. Being able to span large rooms with steel structures has allowed the implementation churchexecutive.com

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE




Presented by: Renkus-Heinz, Inc.


MakingSound Decisions It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good sound system to your church. Few things are more critical than getting the message across. A service that fails to communicate and inspire will not keep its congregation for long. By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller What defines good sound? While some might argue that the concept is subjective, there are certain aspects of a good sound system that we can all agree on. Spoken word should be intelligible. Musical performance should be clear and full-range. And sound should be consistent, everywhere in the house. Of course, addressing these goals will vary widely from one church to another. Are you welcoming your flock in a 1,000-seat sanctuary? Clearly, your needs will differ from a congregation meeting in a 300-seat chapel, an auditorium, or a converted warehouse space. Consider your space Larger, traditional worship spaces — with their soaring walls and tiled floors — tend toward a natural reverberance that’s ideal for enhancing pipe organ and choir, but less so for speech intelligibility. Echoes from reflective surfaces can add up to a massive cacophony, particularly for those seated further away from the source. Another effect of reverberant spaces is a loss of directionality. Every listener should be able to tell where the sound is coming from. The sound system must be positioned and time-aligned so that imaging is consistent — if the piano is on the right and the guitarist is on the left, listeners should be able to distinguish this, even with their eyes closed. Consistent coverage is equally important, and equally challenging, in many worship spaces. Ideally, every seat will receive the same level of sound and the same tonal balance. Architectural considerations can make this difficult to achieve, with peaked ceilings, windows, balconies and other reflective surfaces creating hot spots and dead zones throughout the venue. Consider your style Another defining factor in choosing a sound system is your style of worship. A traditional liturgy, with the sermon supported by choir and organ, will have markedly different sonic needs than a contemporary service sporting amplified instruments and multiple singers. Even within the realm of contemporary worship, system needs will differ for a service featuring a light semi-acoustic duo versus a nine-piece amplified praise band. While it’s obvious that a system designed for music will require greater performance than a system for speech, the differences are not as great as one might think. Despite the classic connotation of “speech systems” as low-budget paging horns, producing human speech with good intelligibility and minimal distortion requires a system capable of excellent, full-range fidelity. The only major difference is that the music system requires greater low-frequency response and greater volume levels. Volume requirements are another consideration. A good sound system will be capable of getting loud enough to project the presentation — whether it’s a sermon or a praise band — to the back rows without distorting. 22

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READ “PASTOR-FRIENDLY SOUND SYSTEMS” IN EACH ISSUE! Future installments in this innovative new series will cover:

• System components • Loudspeaker system types • The process of specifying a system • Do you need a consultant? • Maintaining your investment

The perfect system While it’s easy to get caught up in marketing hype and sound system envy, it’s important to realize there’s no one-size-fits-all loudspeaker. The right system for one room will be entirely wrong for another, so don’t make the mistake of choosing a system based on what you’ve heard in other venues. As stated earlier, your acoustical environment will largely dictate your sound system priorities. A large, acoustically designed theatrical-style venue might be an ideal candidate for a concert-style line array. That same system might be largely ineffective in a smaller sanctuary, where a point-source system might be a better choice. Many larger, more traditional spaces have benefitted from a relatively new technology: the digitally steered array. These digitally steered systems are capable of tightly focusing their output, directing the sound toward the listeners, while keeping it away from walls, ceilings and other reflective surfaces. Aesthetics is another important consideration. Particularly in more traditional settings, both congregation and clergy will object to a large cluster or array of loudspeaker boxes hanging from the ceiling. Many of the newer steered array systems offer a slim profile that will more easily blend with your sanctuary’s architecture. Often, these boxes can be painted to match the décor, or even concealed behind grilles, rendering them nearly imperceptible to the casual congregant. Go with a pro It’s often been said that a church will purchase two or even three sound systems before finding the right one for its space. While this is frequently the case, these days it’s a scenario that can easily be avoided. The science of loudspeaker design has evolved to the point where we can accurately predict the performance of a system before hanging a single speaker. That’s why even the smallest sanctuary will benefit from working with a professional systems designer. With today’s acoustic modeling software, a competent system designer can not only identify the best loudspeaker choices, but where to place them for optimal performance. Being able to predict the performance of different loudspeakers before installing them in the room goes a long way toward streamlining the decision-making process. The money invested in hiring a good systems designer can more than offset the expense of installing the wrong system, and can even make the difference between installing a good system and installing a great one. Rik Kirby is Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Renkus-Heinz, Inc. [ www.renkus-heinz.com ]. Located in Southern California for over 35 years, Renkus-Heinz is a manufacturer of high-end professional loudspeaker systems. Daniel Keller is CEO of Get It In Writing, Inc.® [ www.getitinwriting.net ]. churchexecutive.com

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE



Generosity Presented by: eChurchGiving & Pushpay

Chronologically A new approach to engaging first-time givers By Derek Gillette

I recently conducted a small Facebook test. Survey participants were asked to answer three questions about giving. Here’s what I found: • 96% of people consider themselves to be generous • 80% of those same people want to be more generous than they currently are • 92% feel held back by a lack of money These findings represent a strange tension between who we are, who we want to be, and our perceived lack that stands in the way.


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The relationship between our treasure and our heart For those of us who’ve grown up in the Church, we’re intimately familiar with the instructions Jesus left us in regards to storing up our treasure. But I’d like to offer a spin on the story. 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV For where your treasure is … there your heart will be also. We think about this passage in chronological order. If our hearts are correct, and in submission to God’s will, then we will be obedient with where we put our treasures. In response to this belief, we craft sermons and campaigns around obedience, teaching about how much we are supposed to give and that God rewards a giving heart. There is nothing wrong with this approach — but how well is it working? Problem: engaging new and young givers Surveys show that 80 percent of church giving comes from 20 percent of the congregation. And, in another study, 80 percent of churches baptized less than two young people a year. Finally, in preparation for this article, I spoke with Dustin Hite, campus pastor for Geist Christian Church in Indianapolis, IN, and he expressed this sentiment to me: “As for connecting first-time folks / guests, that’s a challenge my friends and I have constantly struggled with and still don’t have the answer to.” What if we switched the order? Perhaps it’s time for a new view of the order of the parable. What if we switched from trying to connect with the heart first, to trying to remove the barriers to obedience? The original Greek text for the verse reads out in English like this: “Where indeed is the treasure of you, there will be also the heart of you.” The word “treasure” there speaks more towards a container than it does an object. It’s the greek word, “thésauros,” which is the root of the English word “thesaurus”, meaning a storehouse for synonyms — and in this case, for precious things. So when you read “treasure,” replace it with “storehouse for precious things.” Where your storehouse of precious things is, there your heart will be also. Or, in other words, where you have chosen to put your money — and where you’ve chosen to invest it — is where you heart will be stored and invested, as well. churchexecutive.com

A change on the inside We know that something happens inside of us when we give something of value away to a person in need. Even if our heart is in completely the wrong spot, and we have no intention of deeper relationship, there’s this connection that’s created. This happens because we have taken our money (something of worth) and invested it into a storehouse. In doing so, we’ve brought along a small piece of our heart, as well. Now they are stored together in this safe place for precious things. Living in Seattle, I see homeless individuals asking for money on a daily basis. But when I think back on all of these encounters, I can’t see any faces. I don’t remember any of them, except for one. I was at a softball game with some friends when a homeless woman approached us. She asked for money, and I was in a terrible mood. I countered her offer with one of my own: “I don’t have any money for you, but I’ll buy you a meal if you’re actually hungry.” I was thinking that this would send her along her way, but instead she readily accepted. It was her, I, my sister and a friend of ours at Shari’s, a 24-hour diner. The homeless woman ordered a full breakfast meal and a chocolate shake and ate the entire thing quite quickly. As I sat there, I felt something strange. Even though I wasn’t doing this out of generosity, I felt my heart drawn to the outcomes of this woman. I asked her where she was staying, what her name was, and told her that she was special and that Jesus loved her. And now, probably 10 years later, I still remember her face. A piece of my heart is still stored up and invested in her outcomes. This happened not because my heart was in the right place to begin with, but because there happened to be a Shari’s in the same parking lot and I happened to work there, and it was an easy dismissal for me to make the offer. The barriers to acting out in generosity were incredibly low. Once I gave, my heart quickly followed. The truth is that giving changed me, even in just a small way, for the better. Make the barriers as low as possible This brings us back to our original problem: How do we engage and connect with young and first-time givers in a way that builds a longterm relationship? The answer: Create an emphasis within your teaching, culture and operations around making that initial gift as easy as possible. Ask yourself these questions: #1: How easy is it for a church member to give for the first time? #2: Can a young millennial member use his or her phone to give in 30 seconds or less? #3: H ave you created an emphasis around giving for the first time, making the gift as easy as possible? As new members attend your church and decide if they will stay, will there be a portion of their hearts that is stored up and invested with your church? Derek Gillette is Communications Manager for eChurchGiving [ www.echurchgiving.com ] and Pushpay [ www.Pushpay.com ] in Seattle, WA.

READ “CREATING A CULTURE OF GENEROSITY” IN EACH ISSUE! This brand-new series will zero in on giving trends, statistics and relevant, practical — and innovative — giving strategies for forward-thinking churches.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Engaging Spaces Presented by: Ziegler Cooper Architects

Engaging sanctuaries: 3 design


For most churches, the sanctuary is the most important space on the entire campus. Its design should reflect this. By Allison Parrott and Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP

The altar of Atascocita United Methodist Church in Atascocita, TX, is the focal point of the entire room. The surrounding architecture of the space leads the eye directly to the communion table and altar.

More people will pass through your sanctuary than any other space. Its visual impact becomes a big part of the memory of their experience at your church. The design of a Sanctuary must ultimately be functional: lighting, acoustics, sound systems, accessibility, seating, views, platform flexibility, video feeds — all have to work when and how you need them to. When something doesn’t work, it detracts from the worship experience. Aside from practical needs, though, the architecture of a sanctuary attempts to celebrate the goodness and majesty of God and should aid your leadership as they invite people into God’s presence. Depending on the culture and style of your congregation, your sanctuary might look more traditional or more modern — there are many ways to express the beauty of Christian worship. Despite these differences, however, there are some common design elements that are useful in creating an engaging sanctuary, no matter what your worship style might be.

The Ziegler Cooper project team was able to create a strong visual focal point at Christ Community Church, an adaptive re-use of a 1980s speculative office building in Houston, TX. The intimate sanctuary incorporates video technology and design textures and materials from the entry lobby (reclaimed barn wood), and balances house and accent lighting with the light from existing windows. 26

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#1: A strong visual focal point A strong visual focal point is one of the simplest ways to create order in a large, open room like a sanctuary space. As soon someone walks into the sanctuary, his or her eye should be immediately drawn to the focal point of the room, whether that is a baptistry, stained glass, a cross, a lectern or video screens. Having a strong focal point gives the viewer a place to rest the eye and orients him or her to the organization of the room quickly and easily. This focal point also is an opportunity to express your church’s ideals, personality and vision in a way appropriate to your expression of faith. For the majority of the time when the sanctuary is in use, all eyes are looking to this focal point, this is where you should spend some time and thought planning and designing. This is the main visual cue of the room that tells people: This is a sacred space; come and worship. St. John Lutheran Church in Houston, TX, uses a combination of lighting sources controlled with mechoshades to draw attention to its central altar.

#2: Use lighting thoughtfully

Thoughtful lighting use in the Sanctuary renovation of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. The design team used a combination of natural light, decorative house lights and accent lighting to emphasize the focal point of the space.

#3: Balance intimacy vs. anonymity One of the trickiest aspects of sanctuary design is finding just the right combination of intimacy and anonymity for participants to feel comfortable during a worship service. No matter how large or small your sanctuary, no one wants to feel lost in the crowd. When someone sits too far away from the speaker or the visual focal point, he or she might become disinterested or distracted. Alternately, feeling as if you are too close to the action is uncomfortable and makes it hard to focus on the speaker and the other activities of the service. Often, in our design solutions, we find a modified gather-around seating arrangement allows for a sense of intimacy while maintaining a comfortable distance from the focal point of the room.

Another way to create an engaging atmosphere is through the use of lighting. A mixture of controlled natural light, theater lights, decorative lighting and accent lighting will work together to create both a functional and inspiring space. Natural daylight illuminates a space in ways artificial lighting never can and is necessary if you choose to have stained glass in your sanctuary. Even without stained glass, though, the use of natural daylight can help make a room feel more expansive and grand. And, studies show natural light simply makes people feel good. However, the structure of your worship service — the use of special lighting and video screens, for example — might require that daylight be limited or strictly controlled. Theatric lighting will allow you to place visual emphasis where it is needed; but, relying solely on theatric lighting will result in a “flat” room. Decorative house lights and accent lighting at special areas of the room help to round out the visual experience of the space, making it more inviting and engaging. Future installments in this series will offer truly engaging design strategies for: • Children’s ministry spaces • Youth facilities • Adult classrooms • Small group areas • Entry and wayfinding

Above: Austin Chinese Church (Austin, TX) uses lighting and color to create a strong focal point of its altar.

There are numerous other aspects that make the design of a sanctuary quite complex. Even so, keeping these three tenets in mind will help you to begin to create or modify an engaging worship space for your own church. Allison Parrott is the Project Manager for the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects in Houston [ www.zieglercooper.com ]. She is married to a church-planter and pastor and is blessed to be able to serve other churches through her professional work. Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP is the Principal-in-Charge of the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects. He has lectured around the country on the changing nature of the church lobby and has been working with churches for more than 35 years.


First Baptist Church Pasadena (Pasadena, TX) is quite large, with a 2,800-seat sanctuary. The design challenge here was to accommodate the large congregation while maintaining a sense of intimacy. This was done through the use of tiered and gather-round seating. Photo shown is taken from the furthest point of the sanctuary. January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


SAFETY STRATEGIES Presented by: Church Mutual Insurance Company

Clear your path to a safe church By Amy M. Kimmes

READ “SAFETY STRATEGIES” IN EACH ISSUE! In coming issues, this vital new series will offer expert strategies for mitigating a variety of top-ofmind risks for church leaders: • Playground safety • Social media • Cyber security • Bullying • Crime prevention


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


The aisles that guide your congregation to a higher power could lead to slips, trips and falls if you’re not careful. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council. Those injuries accounted for about 8.8 million visits to the emergency room in 2013 — a nearly 500,000 drop from about 9.3 million visits to the emergency room in 2011. Even with the recent decrease in visits to the emergency room, falls still are the leading cause of nonfatal unintentional injuries in the U.S., according to Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council. Further, falls are the No. 1 cause of injury at religious organizations. Serious injuries often are associated with falls from elevated surfaces — think choir risers, outdoor decks, stages and bleachers. And church festivals can bring an added risk for slips and falls at places of worship. Church Mutual customers in 2013, for example, experienced a variety of claims involving employees and the general public. Within both groups, a common cause of loss involved slip / fall claims. Slips and falls among employees accounted for 35 percent of the workers’ compensation claims and 53 percent of the dollar losses that year. In comparison, trips and falls involving volunteers, guests and members accounted for 66 percent of the general liability / medical payments claims and 61 percent of the losses. Some of these losses occurred during festival events, indoors and outdoors. As Church Mutual insures nearly 100,000 organizations — churches, schools, camps and senior living facilities, for example — it reasonably presumes churches across the country have similar experiences regardless of insurance company. Routine maintenance of your building and grounds, however, can help keep your church slip- and trip-free. Areas to maintain should include: Sidewalks, curbs and walkways. They should be inspected regularly. Seasonal changes in temperature and regular wear and tear can affect their condition. Mark places where the level of the walking surface changes. Carpeted floors. Check regularly for frays, tears and loose edges. Tile, wood and linoleum floors. Smooth surfaces require constant maintenance. Keep floors clean and free of water, oil and grease. Entries, stairwells and steps. Light them up! And keep them dry and clutter-free. Add sturdy handrails on both sides of steps when possible. Steps should have the same rise and depth with visible edges. Keep the areas free of grease, snow, ice and other clutter, such as boxes. Lighting. It’s crucial to slip-and-fall prevention. Keep your grounds well lit. Amy M. Kimmes is editor of Church Mutual Insurance Company’s Risk Reporter newsletters [ www.churchmutual.com/94/Risk-Reporter ] for religious organizations, schools, camps and conference centers and senior living facilities. churchexecutive.com

Slip / fall hazards at worship center festivals • Tie-downs and tent stakes • Electrical cords across walkways and hallways • Uneven walking surfaces — think grass, gravel, dirt and dance floors, and moving from one to the other • Stage platforms and steps • Exposed tree roots and stones and even animal holes in the ground • Congested areas around game booths, dunk tanks and inflatable jump houses • Haphazardly arranged tables and chairs • Poorly lit parking lots, sidewalks, stairways and festival areas Note: This list is not all encompassing.

Ladder safety • Never substitute a table, chair or box for a ladder. • Equip extension ladders with anti-slip safety shoes / feet. • Repair damaged rungs and side rails before use. • Don’t overreach. If your belt buckle reaches past the top of the side rails, you’ve gone too far. • Always face the ladder and maintain three points of contact while climbing. • Do not use metal ladders near electrical power lines, service panels or other electrical sources. • Make sure your ladder extends at least 3 feet above the point of contact of a roof and is secured to help prevent slipping. The base of the ladder should be spaced 1 foot away from the building for every 4 feet it reaches up — about a 75-degree angle.

Resources Church Mutual Insurance Company offers a variety of resources to help prevent slips, trips and falls, including two videos: Improving Safety at Your Worship Center and Preventing Workplace Injuries is No Accident. Visit our website — www.churchmutual.com — and click on “Safety Resources.”

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Church Growth ESSENTIALS Presented by: Impact Stewardship Resources, Inc.

CREATING MOMENTUM FOR THE GENEROUS HEART By Chuck Klein and Dean Byler In the September / October 2014 issue of Church Executive, we launched our discussion on “Church Growth Essentials” by explaining how heart transformation sets the tone for church growth [ churchexecutive. com/archives/church-growth-essentials ]. We built on that in the November / December 2014 issue by looking at the role generosity plays in fueling growth, as viewed through the lens of “Big Picture” thinking [ churchexecutive.com/archives/church-growth-essentials-2 ]. In this issue, we wrap up our three-part series by exploring how to create momentum in the heart of the generous giver. COMMUNICATE VISION If you were to ask a random sampling of your staff and key lay leaders to write out your church’s vision and / or mission, how varied would their answers be? Many churches think they are doing a good job articulating these concepts, but we routinely discover otherwise. How often do you ask your churchgoers this question: Do you “get” what we’re trying to accomplish? How well is your church really doing in communicating vision? Do you even want to wrestle with the answers? Anyone with resources — whether believers or not — will only give generously to what they understand and value. If your givers can’t articulate the result, or if they don’t fully support the outcome that their gift is meant to achieve, they won’t give much. Typically, they won’t give consistently, and they certainly won’t give lavishly or at great sacrifice. Clearly communicating vision provides both the roadmap and the destination for the generous heart. Over-and-above giving will be sustained in your congregation only when individual motivation aligns with corporate vision. Generous people must know where you’re going as a ministry, while grasping a clear understanding of the process you propose to get there. Consider taking your church through a “Vision” series, or invite your leadership team to a weekend “Vision Retreat.” Use your Sunday school and / or small group environments to foster discussion on how this topic relates to your church, to households, and to individual destinies. PROMOTE CREATIVE GIVING Many people, when challenged on the topic of giving generously, respond similarly: “I’ve been a believer (or attended ABC Church) for 25 years, and I know how to give.” While that is probably true with respect to giving out of their income, we have found that most donors have never been informed or challenged in the area of creative giving. Even though income is a logical place to start, for many in your church there’s already too much month at the end of their money. Most households work with a finite amount that can be given out of income. In our work with churches, we bring great focus to this topic. We invest significant time developing a fresh perspective within their giving base. From tax-beneficial asset contributions, to numerous “why didn’t I think 30

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

“[I]f your church is growing simply because more people come in the front door than leave via the back door, then it’s time for a serious look at why — and how — you do what you do.” of that” ideas, we nurture prayerful creativity. Our training prompts people to consider the following points, among others. Appreciated assets given directly to your church entitle the donor to avoid paying any capital gains tax while still getting a fair market value deduction based on its current value. Land, homes, investments and retirement accounts are just a few of the possibilities in this category. When it comes to “stuff,” we move it, we store it, we insure it, and we dust it. Items in this category might be collectibles such as stamps, coins or memorabilia, or perhaps valuable antiques, art or jewelry. How about giving a 1966 Mustang Shelby GT worth $200,000? (Yep. True story!) We talk “sacrifice,” but we need to walk it more purposefully. According to USA Today, the average family eats out more than four times per week. Five-hundred families giving up a typical $40 meal, every week for a year, can increase campaign or general budget giving by more than $1 million! SERIES SUMMARY: ASSESS > ADJUST > ADVANCE Forgive the cliché, but if your church is growing simply because more people come in the front door than leave via the back door, then it’s time for a serious look at why — and how — you do what you do. Church growth must be assessed in the context of advancing God’s Kingdom, which is inextricably tied to making disciples. Givers who grow in relationship with God and with others, and who buy in to your vision, are going to be inclined to stick around, get involved and actively support what you’re doing. If that’s not happening, ask the hard questions and take the bold steps needed to move your church off the status quo treadmill, and start making true forward progress. Chuck Klein leads Impact Stewardship [ www.impactstewardship.com ], a capital stewardship ministry headquartered in Nashville, TN. Serving churches for more than 15 years, he brings a seasoned perspective to all aspects of church financial health, guiding churches to fulfill their vision through heart transformation and radical participation. Dean Byler serves as Impact’s Education Coordinator and Director of Business Development.


For many churches, a new facility a massive (and unfamiliar) undertaking. Even so, there’s no need to “start from the ground up” — many churches before yours have navigated successful building projects. They weren’t experts either. They made mistakes. And, with a little professional help, they also learned what works. Here, two construction experts — Charlie Daniels, president of Broken Arrow, OK-based Churches by Daniels, and Jennifer Wise, the company’s marketing director — talk about what makes the best church building teams tick. Charlie Daniels

From a construction management perspective, how are church projects different than commercial projects? Charlie Daniels: The three big differences between commercial and church projects that we see are: #1: Budgeting. On a commercial project, the funds are decided and available up front. On a church project, it’s based on giving. We recommend that churches put a lot of time and effort in — early — to determine how much they can afford to build, and then enter into the designing phase, keeping that budget as the center point of the process from beginning to end. Many times, churches begin planning, only to find out when they send their plans to bid that they’re not able to afford the building they’ve spent a lot of money designing. #2: Planning. On commercial projects, we usually only deal with an owner and maybe a few other people the owner has involved in the process. When working with churches, there are often many more parties involved in decision-making. While some churches are pastor-led and the pastor is the main decisionmaker, others are board-led or committee-led. Others churches involve the entire staff in the process. The more people involved, the more difficult it can be to arrive at decisions. Enlisting more people can also make it difficult to schedule regular meetings, given the variety of schedules and because many of the building team members are volunteers. #3: Technology. One of the biggest differences between commercial and church projects these days is the use of technology. It has exploded in the church market! Many contemporary churches are like performing arts centers. But, implementing this type of technology requires more coordination between design elements early in the process. For example, speaker loads need to be coordinated with the structure of the building, and lights and video need to be coordinated with the electrical plans. The list goes on. Embracing technology also means church projects require more specialized management. Many of the technologies come with their own advantages and disadvantages; it will serve the church best to enlist team members who understand the cause-and-effect relationships between these elements, and then mobilize that input during the planning stage. It doesn’t cost extra to make the right choices during the planning stage. Redesign, however, can be costly and time-consuming. churchexecutive.com

What are the most common mistakes you’ve seen churches make when embarking on a construction project? Charlie Daniels: First, they often start with a budget instead of design. It’s so important to know what you can afford first. Go to your lender and find out what you can borrow; get a pre-approval letter. Then, take that amount and design to that budget number. Use that budget number as a guide for decisions made about the project. If the number is less than what your church imagined, consider waiting and raising more money before you start planning. Or, you can break the vision into phases, which allows the church to begin working on the vision. The second most common mistake we see is that churches often enter the building process not understanding how it works from beginning to end. This causes them to make costly mistakes that could have been avoided. I like to tell people that the building process is marathon, not a sprint. I also tell church leaders to make sure their building teams are comprised of people they like, and who like each other. The building process is like a marriage in that the construction team will spend a lot of time together. They’ll go through a lot of ups and downs. And, they’ll be making a lot of big decisions together.

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MSCM.Villanova.edu January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


“…they need to be team players.” — Charlie Daniels Jennifer Wise: In my experience, many churches build new facilities without carefully thinking through the purpose of each building and the needs of the ministries that will be housed there. Naturally, the main purpose of each building should be to advance the kingdom of God — but this won’t happen automatically. Also, as [Daniels] pointed out, many churches have a budget number in mind, but it’s not always in line with what they can actually accomplish or afford. Every church should start with a realistic budget and accurately understand the importance of cost before design. There are many hidden sight costs and building requirements for which churches don’t budget. When you think of the ideal church building project team, who’s on it? Charlie Daniels: Key church members. Each church is different: Some will have committees, and some will have boards. Some churches will include only the pastor and / or his or her spouse on the project team. In other churches, the building team will be just the pastor and the staff. In any scenario, the critical element is that the project team members are able to separate their emotional attachment to the church and make decisions that are best for the church as a whole. They also need to be committed to the process, which can be long and time-consuming. Lastly, they need to be team players. Owners representative. It’s important for the church to have one person who filters all the information and handles questions while always keeping the budget and schedule in front of both parties to keep things on track. The owner’s representative should make sure decisions are made by the church team in a timely manner and have regular meetings with


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

the construction professionals, communicating that information back to the church team. Having an owner’s representative in place helps to streamline the process and keep the project on schedule. A design-builder. Although we believe working with a design-builder is the ideal way to build, it’s not the only way. A church can choose to work with a separate architect and contractor. From our perspective, the designbuild process offers one source of responsibility and real-life budget numbers during the design process, saving time and money upfront. Engineers. Engineers are always involved in the construction process; many times, they are part of the design package. Your civil engineering package is usually separate and will need to be done early, especially if it’s a new site. Interior designer. Though not required, an interior designer is definitely an important part of my ideal project team. A good interior designer can take a building a whole new level. Just make sure dollar figures are assigned to the designs as they come out so the interiors don’t send the project budget sky-rocketing. Jennifer Wise: At our firm, we build our team starting with the designbuild process. What distinguishes this process is its single source of responsibility; it combines both architect and builder into one entity. This allows the builder to assign actual numbers to the drawings throughout the design process and provides the owner with more realistic project costs. Designbuild enables the church building team to value-engineer the project through the design phase. Ultimately, this offers the potential to save time and money. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh


Creative & Proven

STRATEGIES Presented by: The Gage Group

READ “CREATIVE & PROVEN STRATEGIES” IN EACH ISSUE! In future installments, Paul Gage will discuss expert strategies related to the remaining three phases of capital campaigns: the Campaign itself, Commitment and Giving / Follow-up.

Get organized! 3 priorities for a successful campaign In this series installment, Paul Gage — who has consulted more than 500 church capital campaigns, with results exceeding $1 billion — focuses on the second phase of a campaign: Organization. According to Gage, the three most critical components of this phase are Prayer, Presentation and Preaching. Generally speaking, when a church does a good job in the Organization phase of its capital campaign, what does that look like? Recently, I concluded a very successful campaign with a church in Fresno, CA. They needed to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art children’s facility — the largest project in their 25-year history. With a campaign strategy, calendar and leadership team in place as part of the first phase (Preparation), I started to meet consistently with the leadership team to begin the Organization phase. The church is large enough — running about 2,000 in attendance — that it was a staff-led campaign. That meant the leadership team had full-time, dayto-day responsibilities. Pursuing a major capital initiative would require of them additional time, expertise and work. So, it was imperative that the Organization phase of the campaign be designed to ensure they had appropriate time to complete the work. Over a 90-day period, we were able to have numerous on-site meetings to train and organize each team. I provided the training materials and communication resources they needed for this phase of the campaign. During the time I was away from the church, the leadership team had one or two meetings on its own to mobilize the plan. The goal was to organize the team, meet regularly, and communicate frequently to hit targeted deadlines and avoid taking any shortcuts. How does the PRAYER component of the Organization phase shape up? It all begins with prayer, and it is paramount to everything we do in this spiritual journey. We make prayer a priority, which means that everyone participates. We ask churches to establish a prayer emphasis during the public-facing phase of the campaign. Usually, that ranges from three to four weeks. During the 90-day Organization period, we get all prayer materials prepared for distribution. Depending on the church, prayer / devotional guides must be written, produced and printed so they can be handed out during worship service. Some churches use social media and websites to post daily or weekly devotions. Churches that are advanced in their data collection practices can distribute the prayer / devotional guides electronically via email, text or even their church app.

#1: Purpose. He addressed the “what” and the “why” of the campaign. (What: building a new children’s facility. Why: to meet a growing demand for children’s ministry, to reach the next generation, and to bringing new families into the church.) #2: Timing. In this same church — once the congregation knew the “what” and “why” — they wanted to know when. There had to be a finish line. When do we break ground? How long will it it take to build the facility? When can we invite our friends and the community to be a part of it? #3: Ministry benefits. When a presentation is effective, the audience walks away knowing everything they need to know to support the campaign. In the Fresno church, the pastor talked about safety and security measures for the children, and how the brand-new, state-ofthe-art facility would improve methods and classrooms. It would have a theatre atmosphere, using art and music. It would be more enjoyable, more exciting and their experience will have a lasting impact by hearing the life-changing message of Christ. #4: Financial plan. Once people are excited and “all in,” they want to know how the church plans to pay for the project. Key questions: What’s the cost? Will there be any financing? If so, can the church afford additional debt? And then, it gets personal: What’s expected of me? To pray? To seek the Lord in this level of commitment to generous giving? Will I be asked for a one-time gift, or can I give over a period of time? How has the PREACHING component of the Organization phase evolved or changed over time?

In your experience, what 3-4 PRESENTATION elements are most effective, whether a pastor is speaking to the entire congregation or a small, select group of givers?

Leading up to a capital campaign, pastors are doing a better job casting the vision — getting people spiritually prepared, and conveying how the campaign will help fulfill the church’s mission, locally and globally. They’re also doing a lot more teaching and instruction. While the Fresno church pastor delivered a preaching series — which was very powerful — he also shared a video series of life-changing testimonies and introduced the future impact the church will have in the community. One Sunday service, he invited the children’s pastor to present the new children’s programs and cool things the church would be doing in the new space. Members got a lot more than a sermon; they got a real visual aid for how this project would reach children, families and the community for generations to come. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh

In the Fresno church, the objective of the presentations was to get the pastor in front of as many people as possible to communicate four things:

Paul Gage is founder and president of The Gage Group [ www.thegagegroup.com ] in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX.


January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


NEVER AGAIN Presented by: The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc.

BOARD DUTY is serious business!

Before saying yes, be sure you understand the duties — and how to abide by them. If not, you and your ministry could pay a high price. By Michael J. Bemi People of faith are frequently mission-driven and ministerially THE DUTY OF FIDELITY oriented. For many of these, volunteering is often considered more This duty demands that directors always function in a manner that privilege than obligation. remains faithful to the mission of the Church and the board’s specific When such folks have managerial or leadership experience, or when ministry, and also that is consistent with and obedient to the Articles of they possess special expertise or have Incorporation, Bylaws and other legal received professional education and documents associated with the board. training, it is not uncommon that It is paramount to understand “It is paramount to understand they volunteer to serve the Church that even when the Church agrees that even when the Church agrees via board membership and activity. to indemnify directors of boards to indemnify directors of boards to to the maximum extent allowed It is critically important to recognize, however, that even the maximum extent allowed by law, directors remain personally highly educated, skilled and by law, directors remain liable for their actions that breach experienced people do not board duties. This is primarily why personally liable for necessarily understand what Directors’ & Officers’ insurance their actions that breach board service entails and requires coverage exists. An example of an board duties.” of them. The consequences of actual breach should help drive the such ignorance can be very costly point home. to the ministries of the Church, THE MISDIRECTED BEQUEST and also to the individual An international mission society directors themselves. This is because statutes and legal precedents in all jurisdictions board was ecstatic when informed of a very large, high-six-figure bequest impose several legal duties upon directors of boards. These duties are: left by a gentleman who had always admired the Christian outreach and 1) the duty of care (sometimes referred to as the duty of due diligence); 2) service provided to impoverished and disadvantaged people served by the duty of loyalty; and 3) the duty of fidelity (also known as the duty of the society’s African missions. However, the society’s board noted that the African missions were currently well-funded and resourced, so the obedience). Let’s examine each in turn. decision was made to divert the funds to the Asian missions, ignoring THE DUTY OF CARE the fact that the legal bequest was earmarked solely and specifically for This duty demands that directors always act in good faith, in a manner African ministry use. that the director reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the Sometime thereafter, the deceased gentleman’s children — who were Church (or specific ministry of the Church). This requires that directors not people of great faith and religious devotion — asked for evidence of how attend all board meetings and all committee meetings that they might be the funds had been put to use. When they learned that the funds had been involved with; that they read and review board materials and are prepared directed in conscious violation of the legal bequest, they demanded that the to participate in meeting deliberations via their questions, comments and money be returned to African ministry use. Sadly, the money had already vote; and that they seek and pursue further education on complex matters been spent. The children then sued. After negotiating a partial recovery before the board. with the insurance carrier (which could have denied the claim as an THE DUTY OF LOYALTY intentional breach) and including legal defense costs, the society ended up This duty demands that directors serve with undivided loyalty and with an actual net expense roughly half the amount of the original bequest. attention to the interests of the Church and the stakeholders of the The cautionary moral is: If you intend to serve on a board, fully specific ministry; that they scrupulously avoid conflicts of interest; understand what your duties are, and then faithfully and diligently abide by and that they never disclose confidential information regarding them. Otherwise, your ministry — and you — might pay a high price! undertakings of the board. Michael J. Bemi is president & CEO of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. (Lisle, IL) — a recognized leader in risk management. To learn more about available coverage — and to get valuable tools, facts and statistics — visit www.tncrrg.org .


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015



Do I pull the plug, or do I push through? The start of a new year prompts many church leaders to take stock of their ministries to determine if what they’re doing still points to God’s vision and calling. Often, when programs aren’t working despite best efforts, or when a leader feels unfulfilled despite some significant success in ministry, one question that rises to the top during this period of assessment is, Do I pull the plug, or do I push through?

Seeing what God sees Dr. Nathan Baxter, founder of Lead Self Lead Others [www.leadselfleadothers.com], came to this crossroad years ago as an executive pastor. He says when it became crystal-clear to him the calling that God had for his life — which took him two years to figure out — he made the decision to leave his church position to focus on his passion: helping men and women finish well. As an executive coach, Baxter says he works with many church leaders who are very competent and very successful in ministry, but they struggle because they’re sensing that they’re supposed to be doing something different. What Baxter does is help these leaders get rid of all the “dead and weak wood” and get back to solid footing. “Solid footing is when we get back to that call, back to those passions, back to our unique particular purpose,” Baxter explains. For example, if a pastor is faced with a decision to continue or kill a program, or whether to stay or leave, Baxter says his job is to help the pastor take a fresh look at the current circumstances in light of the hard questions: What has God called you to do? What has He revealed to you as the senior leader of this church? Where do you see Him faithfully work? What do you think He’s going to continue to do in the future? Do you believe that you can fulfill what God has called you to do in this place? “When you have clarity of vision, what you’re saying is, ‘I see what God sees for my life,’” Baxter says. Seeking new challenges For Jay Mitchell, search consultant at Vanderbloemen Search Group [ www.vanderbloemen.com ], the primary indicator that it’s time to make a change is boredom. Mitchell was a former executive pastor of a large church. His job was extremely challenging, he says, but it just didn’t excite him anymore. As a consultant, Mitchell says he sees the same uneasiness in many church leaders. “They’re bored in their role and are seeking a new challenge.” Mitchell cites the example of a senior leader who planted a church and grew it into a significant size. “But he began to take more time away from his church to go overseas to work with a mission agency that had captured his passion. The organization tried to adapt to his absence (unsuccessfully), but in the end it was clear that it was time for him to step down and pursue that passion rather than try to straddle both callings. Both the church and their former senior pastor are happier and more fruitful as a result of the change.” As for programs, Mitchell says it’s time to kill them when (a) they no longer meet the need for which they were created; (b) they no longer churchexecutive.com

achieve the goals and metrics established (assuming those goals and metrics were clear); and (c) when there’s no reasonable, cost-effective way to change them in a way that will allow them to adapt to changing culture or needs. In business, Mitchell says, it’s relatively easy to discontinue a program or project because it’s usually about whether the revenue exceeds expenditures. Not so in ministry, he adds, because church leaders often don’t have the hard data to work with. “But if leaders are diligent in setting measurable goals on the front end, and regularly evaluate the ministry against those goals, it will make the decision much easier.” Defining success At The Village Church [ www.thevillagechurch.net ], key to determining whether or not to discontinue a program or some aspect of its vision is knowing what success really means, says lead pastor Matt Chandler. Chandler says the programs at The Village serve the purpose of making disciples and are tools for progressive sanctification. When the “what” is no longer meeting the “why,” then it’s time to make a change. Years ago, the church shut down its Vacation Bible School because it had become more of a babysitting service for the community, which wasn’t the intended purpose for the ministry. The church also discontinued its Mother’s Day Out program because it didn’t succeed in meeting the purpose for which it was created. “We look at all vision programs through the lenses of you have the theological piece and the theological piece shapes your philosophical piece and your philosophical piece shapes your practice,” he explains. This grid, says Chandler, helps the church to not start things that it will have to shut down two months or a year later. Chandler says it’s important to do a lot thinking and praying upfront. “Then, man, take big risks and step out and try to assess that often.”

Rez Gopez-Sindac

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


JAN • 2015


B E T T E R S T E WA R D S .

Facilities / Fundraising / Continuing Education / Staff Management Children’s Ministry / Outreach


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


Table of Contents FUNDRAISING

Powhatan Community Church Powhattan, VA Granger Community Church Granger, IN

39 40


Cross Timbers Community Church Argyle, TX



First United Methodist Church of Orlando Orlando, FL



Lufkin First Assembly Lufkin, TX



St. Joseph Catholic Church Wapakoneta, OH



Corban University’s School of Ministry Salem, OR



Gloucester County Community Church Sewell, NJ



Faith Baptist Church Spokane, MO



January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Good Steward Awards: 2014 The third-annual Good Steward Awards program by Church Executive Magazine celebrates churches that demonstrate best practices and innovation in several categories, from facilities to fundraising. The Good Steward Awards also spotlight suppliers who come alongside these recognition-worthy churches to make these efforts possible. (No man, nor church, is an island.) This year, you’ll find a variety of case studies. • Two of the churches recognized demonstrate fundraising excellence. In Virginia, one church is on budget to make the most aggressive budget increase in 10 years, thanks to the fundraising initiatives it put into action. In Indiana, another has conducted three different capital campaigns in the past eight years — with fantastic results. Find out what worked. • A t a Texas church, a thoughtfully designed children’s facility has not only prioritized ministry to the youngest members, but also helped to retain first-time visitors and generate enthusiasm and connection among long-time members. • In Orlando, a forward-thinking church has built an energy-efficient, LEED-certified chapel and multipurpose facility — definitely the exception, not the rule, when it comes to church construction projects. Find out why they chose the road less traveled and the benefits they’re enjoying as a result. • In Texas, a well-thought-out church café promotes connection between members and guests, and also generates revenue to fund and promote ministry. • A church in Ohio overhauled its wood pews, breathing new life into the space and giving parishioners more “room to maneuver.” It even worked with its supplier to match the pews’ 100-year-old wood stain. • In Oregon, a Christian university has expanded and adapted its continuing education offerings to meet pastors’ busy schedules and increasing need for leadership and management training. • In New Jersey, a church has taken its once-cumbersome, in-person volunteer leadership development training processes to the Web. This flexibility has upped enrollment and course completion. • A Missouri church has found a way to meet its members and community’s outreach needs with free supplies — from office products to sporting goods. If your church is doing exceptional things in the areas of FACILITIES, FINANCE, FUNDRAISING, LEADERSHIP, SAFETY & SECURITY OR TECHNOLOGY, resist the urge to be humble: submit a nomination form today. Your church’s story might spur another church to follow that good stewardship lead. Or, maybe you’re a supplier to church market who has an exceptional church client or case study to share. We want to hear from you, too. Nominations are now open for our 2015 Good Steward Awards. The deadline is September 30. All the best to you and your ministry,

TALK TO ME: Email: rslaybaugh@churchexecutive.com Facebook: ChurchExecutiveMagazine Twitter: @churchexecutive.com


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015


Fundraising Excellence Powhatan Community Church — Powhattan, VA On May 18, 2014, Powhatan Community Church (Powhattan, VA) enjoyed its largest single giving day in the church’s 13-year history. And, founder and Senior Pastor Brian C. Hughes reported that the church was on budget to make the most aggressive budget increase in 10 years. All this exceeded the giving increase for which Hughes and his staff planned and prayed.

Brian C. Hughes

Having enlisted the coaching of Suwanee, GA-based The Charis Group in late December 2013 — and Mark Brooks, its founding partner and president — Hughes says giving at PCC is “up in the stratosphere.” True: average year-to-date giving at the church is up more than $70,000 (an 18-percent increase) compared to the same period last year, and up 10 percent over 4Q 2013. So, what worked? We asked Hughes to loop us in. May 18, 2014 was the church’s “largest single giving day in its history.” For what was the church raising funds at that point? Hughes: We had a very aggressive budget goal for 2014 — almost a 30-percent increase over 2013. We had worked very hard to promote and teach better stewardship, and people responded. What they were giving to that day was our general offering. On a coaching level, with whom on the church staff was / is Brooks working? Hughes: Primarily just me, as senior pastor. But he has done a little work — at my request — with the rest of my senior staff. Looking back on the process, what are the most instrumental tenets or takeaways you’ve gained? Hughes: The most significant teaching we’re received — by far — is the “connecting of the dots” every single Sunday. We used to treat offering time as sort of a pause in our service. [Brooks] helped us to see that this can be a significant and motivating moment if we’ll help people see that when they give here, great things happen! churchexecutive.com

Second, he helped us see the power of a coordinated, multilayered communication approach when it comes to stewardship and giving awareness — through emails, social media, “snail mail” letters, program information, et cetera. He helped us develop a coordinated approach. Third, [Brooks] helped us emphasize and invigorate our online giving. When he began working with us, our online giving represented between 3 percent and 4 percent of total giving. Now, it’s at 16 percent! What kinds of increases has your church seen in its giving as a result? Hughes: Giving increased in 2014 by almost 30 percent — $370,000. What are most rewarding ongoing aspects of this generosity coaching? Hughes: First, there’s a renewed sense of energy and a reduction or elimination in the sense of dread when it comes to talking about money, giving and generosity in our church. Second, we’re far less stressed about making our budget from week to week, as there’s now some margin. Finally, there’s great inspiration in the stories we’re hearing about people who are learning the blessing of being a generous giver.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Fundraising Excellence Granger Community Church — Granger, IN Granger Community Church (Granger, IN) underwent capital campaigns in 2007, 2011 and 2013. “[Our consultant] focused less on money and more on raising disciples who are generous,” recalls Tim Stevens, who served as executive pastor at GCC for 20 years. “And, they didn’t bring a cookiecutter, one-size-fits-all solution.”

True to form, Joel Mikell, president of Dallas-based RSI Stewardship, says bringing in a team of subject matter experts was one of the creative things the firm did when working with GCC. First enlisted to come alongside GCC for the first campaign in 2007, this team was comprised of Executive Vice President Bill McMillan, as well as Dan Marengo and Doug Turner. Throughout all three campaigns, this team worked with Stevens’ entire leadership team, as well as many of GCC’s pastors and directors leading various departments. Here, Stevens and Mikell talk about what worked, consistently. What projects was the church funding with these three campaigns? Stevens: We raised money for a new commons addition that provides casual space for our congregation to use on the weekend and for the entire community to enjoy throughout the week. This “hotel lobby”-type space has greatly increased the number of nonchurched people in the building every week. Additionally, we funded our 2016 vision, which has helped to plant churches in India and to develop an entirely new discipleship strategy. What are the most instrumental generosity-focused takeaways you and your team gained? Stevens: Stewardship is not solely about raising money. It’s a deeply spiritual activity that reflects what Jesus is doing in your heart. Spending more money on marketing and printing a slick color brochure doesn’t result in a successful campaign. At the core, it’s about having a compelling vision and nurturing ongoing relationships. You have to meet people where they are, and tap into their passions and interests. This is possible when a campaign is highly relational.


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

Joel: Stevens credits you and your team with “bringing innovation and creativity to every campaign” and “focusing less on money and more on raising disciples who are generous.” What does that look like in practice? Mikell: Regarding creativity and innovation, GCC is one of the most creative and innovative churches in America. You can’t work with them on any level and not bring your best in those two areas. That’s who they are and what they expect of their partners. Regarding raising disciples, giving is a matter of the heart. Matthew 6:21 reminds us that “where your treasure is, there will also be your heart.” Our faith (heart) and our resources are connected. If you focus on the heart, the resources will follow. If you focus on the changing the heart, you change the giver for a lifetime, not just for the season of the campaign. Can you share a few examples of how you and your team “brought fresh ideas to the table” — and their outcomes? Mikell: We focused more on vision and life change and less on the actual project and physical aspects of the campaign throughout the communication initiative. That helped people think of the project as a means to an end, not the end. The end is all about reaching people with the love of Christ; the project was simply a tool. We elevated the importance of sharing personal stories of giving and generosity. I don’t mean stories that included amounts, but rather stories of process and journey. This helped people see their giving as a spiritual journey rather than a financial transaction. We encouraged people to make their commitments online and write their story on the campaign website. We encouraged the senior leadership to have strategic conversations with the financial leaders in the church. As a result, many of those blessed with significant resources made a significant investment in the vision of the church. We focused less on “big, expensive events and more on the worship services to carry the message of the campaign. We engaged the core leadership and answered their questions before we ever launched the campaign. churchexecutive.com

Children’s Spaces Cross Timbers Community Church — Argyle, TX At Cross Timbers Community Church (CTCC), engaging the youngest members is clearly a priority. The proof is in its thoughtfully designed children’s facility.

This impressive space was created by Argyle, TX-based Worlds of WOW! “We’re unique in that we provide theming and play, together, under one roof,” explains President and CEO Reagan Hiller — but why does that matter? According to Hillier, it’s critical for two big reasons: budget and continuity. “We’re one company, one design team, working together to maximize your dollars and achieve maximum impact,” Hillier points out. “Our background is in the amusement industry, so we bring the ideas and quality from that world into churches.” What primary objectives did CTCC have when it contacted your firm? Hillier: The church wanted to create a family-friendly environment and a lasting first-time impression of its kids’ ministry. It wanted to develop new branding, a color palette, and a timeless theme for its newly renovated space. Leaders asked us to design with multiple campuses in mind so that same theme and branding could be installed in multiple sites, including portable ones. In response, we chose a strong, simple theme that can easily be replicated at multiple campuses, as well as portable signage. What has been the church’s feedback? Hillier: We’re told it’s been a huge success and has helped the church retain first-time visitors. It has also generated enthusiasm and connection among long-time members. churchexecutive.com

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Energy-Efficiency First United Methodist Church of Orlando — Orlando, FL The congregation at First UMC Orlando constructed its first building in 1882. Today, this forward-thinking, cost- and environmentally conscious church is home to a new LEED-certified chapel and multipurpose building, which was designed to replace less efficient older building no longer suited to current ministries.

According to Paulla Shetterly, RID, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC — an associate principal and director of Interior Design at CDH Partners, Inc. in Marietta, GA — the architecture, engineering and interiors firm that made the church’s vision a reality — the contemporary design that was chosen “articulated the bold choice the church was making to be good stewards of the environment.” That bold choice is highly functional, too: It houses multiple ministries, a contemporary worship space and educational classrooms, as well as staff and administration offices. Here, Vernon Swartsel, chair of the church’s building committee for the project, talks about the process. Your church’s new LEED-certified chapel and multipurpose building was designed to replace less efficient older buildings that no longer suited current ministries. What “signals” were these outdated facilities sending to church leaders? Swartsel: Through a sale of real estate for a new performing arts center in downtown Orlando, we lost one of our education buildings and decided to replace another one so that we could build more efficient space — all contained within one city block and with up-to-date features that would reduce our utility costs and lessen our energy footprint. Shetterly describes the new facility’s design as “contemporary.” Was this a departure from the church’s existing facilities? 42

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Swartsel: As part of the project, we retained the magnificent existing sanctuary and adjoining cloister garden. But otherwise, we asked our architects to “blow up” the remainder of the building and replace it with large, glass walls and open spaces so that “we would see the City, and the City would see us.” Did church leaders always have an LEED-certified chapel and multipurpose building in mind? Swartsel: Before we undertook the project, a large group in the church presented a petition to the church’s leadership requesting that the new building be built to LEED specifications. The board of trustees directed the building committee to do just that. We knew it was the right thing to do and that we would benefit in many ways from more efficient energy use. What are the most rewarding ongoing aspects of opting to build a LEED-certified chapel and multipurpose building? Swartsel: Our energy / utility bills have dropped significantly from what we paid for our previous buildings. Our use of LEEDcertified flooring, wall coverings, bathroom facilities and the like has benefited us. Visitors and guests appreciate our commitment to a “cleaner” and smaller footprint, and members of our congregation are quietly proud that we have accomplished this.


Food Service Lufkin First Assembly — Lufkin, TX At Lufkin First Assembly (Lufkin, TX), members and guests can truly connect in an efficient, effective church offering: Café AROMA.

It’s a proficiency Mike Bacile, president of Dallas-based The Daily Java, has been honing since founding his company in 1995. “We do more than provide products and equipment — we really focus on building a café that promotes fellowship and provides a revenue source,” he explains. To this end, he and his team coined the phrase quick-hit café. “We understand that a church café can’t be set up and run like a normal café and still be successful,” he explains. Here, Bacile expands the differences, as well as what makes a church café uniquely successful. Let’s talk about a client you feel truly showcases your team’s knowledge of churches’ unique café needs: Lufkin First Assembly. Bacile: The church needed help developing a café space for fellowship where its community could gather after and before services. They had no idea how to put together or lay out a café that would be successful in building fellowship and revenue. The church had a lot of fear about running a café. No one knew the first thing about it. We supported them throughout the process, from layout / design, to equipment, installation, menu, training, products and ongoing support. What are a church’s most common misgivings about setting up a café? Bacile: Most of all, churches don’t initially know the “what” and churchexecutive.com

“why” for a café. We take the time to understand their needs and listen to their fears and questions. Then, once we’ve gathered information about the church community — as well as its vision for the café space and objectives for the operation — we systematically answer each question / fear with what the church needs and why it’s important to the success of their vision. Many times, we find that less equipment and menu items are needed than most churches initially believe. What feedback have you received from Lufkin First Assembly regarding its café (in terms of longevity, ROI, ministry benefits and revenue)? Bacile: We’ve received very positive feedback. Usually, the return on investment, or ROI, for a café — for equipment — is anywhere from four to 10 months. Like most of the churches we support, Lufkin’s café runs on a volunteer system, with only one paid staff member. The reduced labor cost really helps speed up the ROI. As for building fellowship, we’ve had many pastors tell us that the café has created a go-to place for community. One pastor even called the café the “bridge from the outside world into the sanctuary.” Many churches use their cafés to fund and promote ministry trips, partially by serving coffee from that country. The benefits are endless.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Interior Elements St. Joseph Catholic Church — Wapakoneta, OH Overhauled seating elements breathe new life — and more “room to breathe”—into the 100-year-old sanctuary seating at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wapakoneta, OH.

Founded by Erie Sauder in 1934, Sauder Worship Seating (Archbold, OH) has completed more than 31,000 installations in the United States and Canada. “[Erie] found his calling in the building of quality, solid wood furniture for local congregations,” explains Product Manager Crystal Rodriguez. Today, the company continues Erie’s legacy by striving to provide an excellent, care-free furniture-buying experience. “[The company] was founded under the principles of servantleadership,” says Worship Market Manager Amanda Opdycke. “We carry the servant-leadership mentality from sale through customer service by providing a dedicated internal team for every project.” Tell us more about the company’s beginnings. Opdycke: Our first church pew project was completed by Erie Sauder at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran church in Defiance, OH, in 1934. The church continues to use those pews to this day.


CHURCH EXECUTIVE • January / February 2015

In what ways does the St. Joseph project reflect your company’s ability to come alongside churches and meet their unique needs? Opdycke: We provided custom pew ends to match the church’s stained glass windows, as well as balcony kneelers, and customized Unity all-wood chairs (stackable). We also modified the kneelers so patrons had more room to kneel and provided custom stain match to the church’s existing, 100-year-old wood stain. We worked with Architect Kasey Corbet of Garmann Miller in Minster, OH. They’re very pleased with our service and have already used us on a courtroom project. What objectives was St. Joseph hoping to meet when it contacted your company? Opdycke: Aside from all the above (matching the stained glass design to the pew ends, matching the 100-year-old wood stain and so on), the church wanted to replace its stationary balcony kneeler. Through the development of the custom pew ends, we were able to create the curved balcony kneeler the church wanted. churchexecutive.com

Continuing Education Corban University’s School of Ministry — Salem, OR Under the leadership of Sheldon C. Nord, Ph.D., president of Corban University in Salem, OR, the university’s School of Ministry now offers more options than ever for senior pastors, executive pastors and other church staff (and future pastors) to earn a Certificate of Biblical Leadership, B.A., M.A., M.Div., or D.Min. Additionally, Corban University has partnered with Mars Hill Church to provide a fully accredited one-year certificate in Biblical Studies.

Sheldon C. Nord, Ph.D.

It’s for both these achievements that Nord was nominated for a “Good Steward” Award by the university’s director of institutional marketing, David Sanford. Sanford describes Nord as “godly, humble, good-humored, very smart, Christ-centered, and committed to educating church leaders — and future leaders — to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.” Here, Nord (humbly) accepts the award and talks about the uniquely pastor-focused leadership offerings his university offers. How long have you been with Corban University’s School of Ministry? Nord: I began serving as Corban University’s president-elect in July 2012. I began serving as president in July 2013. As president, I oversee Corban’s School of Ministry. I also oversee our University’s School of Education and Counseling, Hoff School of Business, School of Professional Studies, and School of Arts and Sciences. According to Sanford, the university’s School of Ministry “now offers more options than ever” for senior pastors and executive pastors. What options are new for this unique group? And, do these reflect a business management / leadership focus? Nord: Besides the traditional M.Div. programs in church ministry and biblical languages, we offer M.A.s in leadership with emphases in spiritual formation, teaching, and non-profit management (overlapping some courses in our MBA program). Plus, we have a unique D.Min. cohort that allows pastors to study strategic leadership under the mentorship of Dr. Gary McIntosh, director of the Church Growth Network. Our M.A. in churchexecutive.com

non-profit management and our D.Min. strategic leadership cohort certainly reflect more emphasis on executive skills. Our other two M.A. programs within Corban’s School of Ministry also have a leadership core. What’s more, a number of pastors have completed our MBA in nonprofit leadership program. What course / degree options are tried-and-true (i.e., perennially popular) among senior and executive pastors? Nord: Our M.Div. programs in church ministry and biblical languages are the perennial choices. For many years, pastors have said either that they wished for more language training or far less language and much more ministry leadership. Since in higher education we can’t be “all things to all men,” we have created two distinct options. Our biblical language track has a large block dedicated to Greek and Hebrew instead of ministry management. It’s an ideal option for those wanting to go into academics or wanting to be a teaching pastor. Then again, our church ministry track focuses on leadership and church management rather than languages. It’s the best of both worlds for future and current senior and executive pastors. As you know better than anyone, senior and executive pastors are incredibly busy. In what ways is the university’s School of Ministry meeting their hectic schedules? Nord: Our M.Div. and M.A. programs are available online, full- or part-time, with lots of flexibility, so students don’t have to move or upend their schedules.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Staff Management Gloucester County Community Church — Sewell, NJ At Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC) in Sewell, NJ, volunteer leadership development training was once a multi-week, inperson commitment. Today, an alternative online version has ramped up enrollment and course completion.

The demand of keeping staff and volunteers up to speed on policies, responsibilities and how to use church equipment and software is demanding. Things are always changing — including a revolving door of volunteers. To address this challenge, Gateway Learning & Development in Overland Park, KS — founded in 2010 — designed Solomon Learning Management System (LMS), which equips churches to put these processes online. Built-in quizzes and tracking can help church leaders verify the people are learning, and then issue certificates of completion. According to President and Co-Founder Rick Gibson, “There’s really no one that does what we do.” While he estimates there are at least three service providers who provide a subscriptionbased video training library to churches (all of which include some remedial training tools), Gibson says Solomon is the only product designed to equip churches to create and deliver their own training content. “It’s also the only one that’s totally custom-branded, and provides a complete learning management feature set for tracking, reporting and certifying,” he adds. As a case study in the platform’s effectiveness, Gibson offers up the example of Gloucester County Community Church (GCCC) in Sewell, NJ.

They decided to add an alternative online version of the course to increase participation. GCCC composed a video and PDF-based version of the course and made it available to its members. What results is the church seeing today? Gibson: Enrollment and course completion is up. Some participants are going through the entire course online, while others are choosing to take certain modules online as it best fits their schedules.

What primary challenges was GCCC hoping to overcome when it contacted your company? Gibson: GCCC was having a hard time getting members to enlist in the volunteer leadership development training. It’s a multi-week course taught at the church, and people these days are too busy to commit or complete. 46

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Innovative Outreach Faith Baptist Church — Spokane, MO Leaders at Faith Baptist Church (FBC) in Spokane, MO, are stretching the budget — and offering enhanced outreach — in a unique way: with free supplies provided by gifts-in-kind organizations.

Office and art supplies. Janitorial. Sporting goods. Tools, toys, software, books and media, personal care items, party goods and more. With gifts-in-kind organizations, church leaders can browse catalogs of donated supplies from U.S. corporations and request what they need, saving on supplies and limiting their out-ofpocket costs. According to Gary C. Smith, president and CEO of National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) — a well-established gifts-in-kind organization — this approach is a given for church leaders. “With budgets tighter than ever, churches need to be creative in doing more with less,” he explains. “Many dismiss this very real resource because they’re convinced there must be ‘a catch.’ But, it’s not too good to be true.” One participating church is Faith Baptist Church in Spokane, MO, an NAEIR member since 2006. Pastor James Mohler says people riding down the highway often just stop in to the church for help — and he’s ready to offer some. Mohler frequently scans the catalogs of merchandise looking for items he can give people in need. Even simple items are deeply appreciated: cleaning supplies, writing paper, pens, pencils and crafts. Tools and clothing are among the most in-demand offerings, he says. To save on shipping costs, Mohler sometimes drives to the distribution warehouse in Illinois to pick up larger orders. As a result, he estimates his church serves more than 1,000 people with free merchandise — individuals the church likely wouldn’t otherwise be able to accommodate. Here, NAEIR’s Smith walks church leaders through the ins and outs of this unique setup. For church leaders in our audience who might not know, please explain what a “gifts-in-kind” organization does, how it’s structured, etc.? Smith: “Gifts-in-kind” refers to gifts other than cash. NAEIR is structured like any other 501(c)(3), with a staff and a board of churchexecutive.com

trustees. Gifts-in-kind organizations spend their efforts looking for product to pass on to other qualified recipients, like nonprofits, schools and churches. How does a church go about enrolling as a member of this gifts-in-kind organization? Smith: Participating organizations must agree to act in accordance with IRC section 170(e)(3), which states that merchandise must be used for the care of the ill, needy or minors. It can’t be bartered, traded or sold. The merchandise can be given directly to qualifying individuals served by an organization or used in the administration of the organization. What are some recognizable organizations providing the products / supplies to churches? And, why do they do it? Smith: 3M, Hallmark, American Greetings, Reebok, Rubbermaid, Stanley Tools, Xerox, Gillette, SC Johnson and Louisville Slugger, to name a few. In many cases, the motivation to donate is the abovecost Federal tax deduction; but, clearing out warehouse space, properly managing slow-moving inventory, and protecting their product brands are a few of the reasons companies donate — other than simply being good corporate citizens that want to help those in need. And, instead of clogging landfills, they’re putting unused goods to use. What is the pricing structure for membership in NAEIR, as well as typical shipping and handling costs? Smith: We have a dues structure to fit organizations of all sizes, and many of those offer free shipping. Since the products can’t be sold, there are small handling charges for the product received. Membership fees vary depending on the size of the organization, its budget, and which program is best for that group.

January / February 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE


Are you finding it a challenge to make the budget weekly? Are you tired of not having the funds you need for the ministry you feel led to do? Your church, your mission, your message is too important not to be fully funded. Without proper funding your ability t o r e a c h y o u r c o m m u n i t y i s negatively impacted. It doesn’t have to be that way…ever again! Mark Brooks The Stewardship Coach can provide you with all the tools you need to take the worry out of being fully funded. Get the coaching you need to increase your giving now!

Dr. Ronnie Floyd recommends Mark Brooks to be your Stewardship Coach “Mark Brooks has provided valuable coaching to me personally as a pastor and to my church towards helping us be fully funded. His expertise and knowledge of the trends in giving always keeps us on the cutting edge. Now you too can get the same type of help that my longtime friend Mark provides for me. I wholeheartedly recommend Mark Brooks to be your Stewardship Coach!” Dr. Ronnie Floyd President Southern Baptist Convention Senior Pastor, Cross Church, Northwest AR a top 100 church Here is what you get… · Weekly offering talks written and delivered directly to your inbox so you don’t have to do a thing. Just use what we give you and watch your giving increase week after week. · Real life, ready to use, successful templates for letters, email blasts and Social Media posts. Our easy to use materials do all the work for you AND will increase your giving immediately! · Weekly access to the Stewardship Coach himself, Mark Brooks, where you can ask questions and get personalized help. No other giving plan provides this kind of personalized support! · Weekly newsletters providing you with giving talks, giving sermons, sample letters and much more…All designed to increase your giving NOW!

Pastor Brian Hughes calls The Stewardship Coach “Phenomenal!” “Since we started following your coaching our giving can be summed up with one word: phenomenal! In fact our giving is up 30%+ this year. This has been life changing for our church as we no longer scrape around for money every week.” Pastor Brian Hughes Powhatan Community Church Powhatan, VA

“I have made my stewardship coaching…Affordable, Easy and Effective! Any church can afford my plans and EVERY church will see an increase in giving! Help your church be fully funded by going to: www.moremoneyformychurch.com

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benefits consultant understands me.” If life itself is a journey, then financial planning is a road on the journey - and one that needs to be carefully navigated. At MMBB Financial Services, we’re a ministry that offers, among other services to the faith-based community, financial planning - we understand where you need to go as well as where you’re coming from. In other words, we’re with you every step of the way. Our benefits consultants will create a plan that is tailored to meet your financial needs - the financial needs of a pastor, which means affordable benefits. And we’ll help you develop sensible strategies that can lead to a comfortable retirement - one that is richly deserved. To find out more, visit us at MMBB.org/journey. Or call 1-800-986-6222. And by the way, we’re happy to involve wives, husbands, and family members, too, in your financial plan. After all, it’s not just your financial well-being that we want to help secure.

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