JULY / AUGUST • 2017
Lorimer & CHRIST PLACE CHURCH:
Beating the construction budget — and exceeding expectations
6 PLUS Youth-friendly design advice p 10 3 ways to engage the millennial giver p 12 How to prevent financial fraud p 14
A R C H I T E C T U R E | P L A N N I N G | I N T E R I O R S | S T R AT E G I C P L A N N I N G
C R E AT I N G S PAC E S TO CONNECT.
FROM THE EDITOR
A familiar focus, confirmed
churchexecutive.com Volume 16, No. 4
As we return this week from The Church Network 61st Annual Conference in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., we’re more convinced than ever that we’re “onto something” by consistently providing thought leader-driven content tackling church leadership and management challenges. As any magazine editor will agree, there are few moments more gratifying than when a reader says, “Thanks for what you do.” Having attended The Church Network conference more than a dozen times myself, I can tell you for sure: it never gets old. Granted, at Church Executive, we’ve been covering these topics — from finance, to risk management, to effective church design and hiring right — for more than a decade. But, when we can call upon the expertise of the professionals who spend their days on the front lines of these challenges, we can do it better. With the right partners, we’re able to take the same top-of-mind topics and not only cover them, but get way down ‘into the weeds.’ Perhaps no new offering in this issue better demonstrates this dynamic than Leadership training for pastors, a remote roundtable discussion. In it, three experts in advanced education for church leaders talk about the most in-demand offerings they’re fielding — and accommodating — at their seminaries and universities. Think emotional intelligence. Organizational change training. Conflict management. Authentic and multicultural leadership skills. Being able to keep your staff engaged, enriched and able to serve for the long term. It’s safe to say the job description for a pastor today looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. In this insightful discussion, you’ll learn what your options are for advanced training in these areas, but also how you can make it work with your busy schedule.
Then, in the latest installment in our very popular “Church Financial Wellness” series on page 20 — Retirement planning for millennials — the authors acknowledge that this might not be the first age group that comes to mind related to retirement planning. For one thing, they collectively face a staggering amount of student debt. They also have relative difficulty finding a job. Even so, as the article points out, they’ve remained optimistic. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, nine in 10 millennials believe they have enough money, or that they will eventually reach their longterm financial goals. With that in mind, over the next decade — as the first millennials begin to reach middle age — it’s likely they’ll prioritize retirement as other generations have. To help them on their way, the authors of this article will help you really understand their challenges, perspectives and goals on preparing for life after paid work ends.
4742 N. 24th St., Ste. 340 Phoenix, AZ 85016 • 800.541.2670 RaeAnn Slaybaugh Editor in Chief firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Gamble Art Director email@example.com Joyce Guzowski Assistant Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Judi Victor CEO & Publisher / Director of Sales email@example.com Mitch Larson Business Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Blair McCarty Senior Sales & Marketing Coordinator email@example.com Hollie Broadbent Marketing & Sales Associate firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these (and the other carefully curated offerings) in this issue. We’d also like to invite you to take our 2017 Annual Reader Survey at https:// tinyurl.com/ReaderSurvey2017. This and every year, your feedback will be crucial for formulating the most relevant, beneficial content possible — and your church could win a $50 Amazon gift card (way more than a penny!) for your thoughts.
Denise Craig Chief Financial Officer Abba’s House | Hixson, TN Mike Klockenbrink Chief of Staff Lakeside Church | Folsom, CA 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 West Bradenton Baptist Church | Bradenton, FL
All the best, You’re also going to find a few different articles devoted to meeting millennials where they’re at. Also known as Generation Y, millennials are, of course, those individuals born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s to 2000. The latest “Intelligent Church Giving” series installment (3 ways to engage the millennial giver, page 12) tackles a big challenge facing just about every church and church leader. After all, as the experts who penned the article point out, they’re the nation’s largest living generation. “[To] truly engage the millennial giver, we must engage their hearts in a cause like no other: knowing Jesus and making him known,” the article advises. To do this, the authors offer up three principles that will refocus and realign your efforts to engage the millennial giver: cause, convenience and conviction. churchexecutive.com
Mark Simmons Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA Eric Spacek Senior Manager GuideOne Insurance | West Des Moines, IA
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Church Executive™ Magazine is published bi-monthly by Power Trade Media, a division of The Producers, Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription rates for non-qualified subscribers, single issue prices and pricing for reprints of 100 or more are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org. All articles in Church Executive™ Magazine are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. Copyright 2016 by Power Trade Media. No advertisement, sponsorship or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed an endorsement by Power Trade Media, and no warranty is made or implied. Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but is not guaranteed, and Power Trade Media is not responsible for errors or omissions. Opinions expressed in Church Executive™ Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or sponsors or advertisers. Content addressing legal, tax and other technical issues is not intended as professional advice and cannot be relied on as such; readers should consult with their own professional advisors.
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
July / August 2017
Retirement planning for millennials When discussing the need for retirement planning, millennials might not be the first age group that comes to mind. However, over the next decade — as the first millennials begin to reach middle age — it’s likely they’ll prioritize retirement as other generations have.
By Colin Nass, CFP®, AEP®, RICP®
Cover photo by Icon Creative Group
CHURCH FINANCIAL WELLNESS
MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED ON THE COVER : RICK LORIMER / LEAD PASTOR / CHRIST PLACE CHURCH / LINCOLN, NEB.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS How transparency, ministry experience, integrity — and a lot of patience! — delivered a $7.2-million church construction project under budget
It’s time for churches to join the mobile boom
Church growth of 142% over eight years. Five (soon-to-be six) campuses. A children’s ministry that sees 120% growth. When Senior Pastor Rick Lorimer of Christ Place Church (CP) in Lincoln, Neb., enlisted the expertise of Broken Arrow, Okla.-based Churches by Daniels, these were the challenges — blessed as they were — that he and his team were facing.
By Jayson D. Bradley
Moving beyond insurance — and staying there! (Stay “risk aware” or beware!) Our series on moving “beyond insurance” has identified and examined all the critical elements and related processes to enable an insured entity to “move beyond” insurance.
What engages youth? Youth face many challenges in our current culture, where feelings often trump facts and reality is the latest tweet gone viral. Even so, they’re still fundamentally on a formative journey of discovery; they’re still seeking their places in the world. We need to reach out and engage them if we’re to effectively guide and encourage them on this journey.
By Mark R Ashcraft with Bruce Woody, AIA
INTELLIGENT CHURCH GIVING
The writing’s on the wall, and churches need to pay close attention. Mobile devices are here to stay — and they’re changing the world. It’s time for your ministry to take them seriously.
NEVER AGAIN: BEYOND INSURANCE
By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
CREATING A CULTURE OF GENEROSITY
Reality dictates, however, that even if you substantially self-insure your risk (i.e., employ “alternative risk financing”), and no matter what form of self-insurance you pursue (individual self-insured account; participation in a self-insured pool; captive insurance company; risk retention group; cell captive; etc. — “alternative risk mechanisms”), you’re still employing / buying insurance … just from yourself!
By Michael J. Bemi
3 ways to engage the millennial giver Today, millennials are the demographic on the top of most organizations’ priority list. It’s no surprise that brands are reinventing the way they market in order to reach the fastest-growing generation in the workforce and marketplace, and officially, the nation’s largest living generation.
By the Generis team
CHURCH HIRING & STAFF MANAGEMENT
5 ways to recruit and retain the right people One of the things that I’m asked most often is how to recruit and retain the right people for the right role. Over the years, I’ve identified five things a potential candidate is looking for in his or her next church.
By David A. Miller
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
Accurate, natural sound: essential to a true worship experience Close your eyes. You’re at a worship service. The visuals are gone, and all you have left is sound. That’s where the information happens.
By Vincent Gabriel Antonini, CTS
FEATURES HOW TO PREVENT FINANCIAL FRAUD AT YOUR CHURCH
CPA and non-profit consultant Vonna Laue helps to identify why churches fall victim to fraud, how you can recognize it — and what you can do about it.
By Joyce Guzowski
PROTECTING THE GREATER GOOD FROM VIOLENCE
NEW! CONTINUING EDUCATION
The pursuit of advanced education: a full-time church leader / student’s story Clay Barrow — pastor of Clapp’s Chapel AME Church in Whitsett, NC, and an Itinerant Elder in the Western NC Conference of the 2nd Episcopal District of the AME Church — talks about how affordability and flexibility helped him earn his D.Min. (specialty in Pastoral Theology and Care) from Hood Theological Seminary.
CAPITAL PLANNING FOR CHURCHES
Intentional planning, practical action: cost-effective strategies for managing infrastructure The problem with new buildings lies in the myth that they don’t need maintenance because “they’re new.” Even clients with older buildings tend to forget that just because an asset is working, that doesn’t mean we ignore it until it stops working.
By Matthew Swain, RS
How do we reduce the risk of violence in our churches? Three experts weigh in on how to spot the warnings; handling an intruder; and communications during a crisis.
by Joyce Guzowski
DEPARTMENTS From the Editor
CHURCH TRENDS & STATISTICS
• 10 surprising church giving facts • Financial motivations of Christians • Christian Growth Index Annual Report • Bible-minded cities • Daily life of religious Americans
By Joyce Guzowski
NEW! CLOUD-BASED, COST-EFFECTIVE CHURCH COMMUNICATIONS Hold the phone!
More often than not, phone service and Internet is bundled and rarely thought of again … until it falls short of what the church wants it to do. From an efficiency — and even ministry! — standpoint, it makes sense to move your phone system to the cloud. (Don’t worry: it’s easier than it sounds.)
By Keith Goodling
CHURCH FACILITY STEWARDSHIP
How running to failure affects churches’ facilities While the church’s primary mission is to spread the gospel, we must take care of our most expensive assets if we’re going to have the resources, long term, to fulfill our mission. While the physical building isn’t “the church,” it is the launching pad for everything we do. By Donovan Loomis
Creating a café with purpose There are many tangible elements that go into the making of a successful church café. But, even if you can achieve all these elements, you’ll still need one intangible element to succeed: a purpose.
By Mike Bacile
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
RICK LORIMER / LEAD PASTOR / CHRIST PLACE CHURCH / LINCOLN, NEB.
Exceeding expectations How transparency, ministry experience, integrity — and a lot of patience! — delivered a $7.2-million church construction project under budget By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
Photos on this page by Icon Creative Group
Church growth of 142% over eight years. Four (soon-to-be five) campuses. A children’s ministry that sees 120% growth. When Lead Pastor Rick Lorimer of Christ Place Church (CP) in Lincoln, Neb., enlisted the expertise of Broken Arrow, Okla.-based Churches by Daniels, these were the challenges (blessed as they were) that he and his team were facing. There were somewhat surprising developments, considering the church is more than 40 years old. “But, a majority of our attendees are new to Christ,” Lorimer explains. “More than half were either unchurched or had walked away from church prior to coming to Christ Place.” With so many people (big and small!) coming and going at CP every day, it stands to reason Lorimer and his team were looking to add more space, and also make better use of the facilities they already had. To make both objectives a reality, they embarked on a $7.2-million renovation and expansion project.
The right approach, first Specifically, Lorimer and his team were looking to enlist a church design-build company, versus taking a design/bid/build approach. “I didn’t feel like we had the time or resources to stay as involved as we would need to be if it were design-bid-build,” he explains. “I liked the idea of having one company working with one group and letting them manage everything else from that point on.” Also, he points out, the church wanted a guaranteed maximum price for the project — something that seemed much less likely with a designbid-build approach. Among several firms, the choice came down to two, both specializing in church design and construction. A list of pros and cons ultimately informed the decision; all things considered, Churches by Daniels [www.churchesbydaniels.com] had the edge. 6
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
From the beginning, Lorimer says, he appreciated Business Partner and Vice President of Business and Design Rodney James’ upfront and personal approach. “The fact that he’s a former senior pastor who’d taken his church through previous building projects was a bonus,” Lorimer adds. The firm’s open business policy was a selling point, as well. “At any given time, we could look at their books for our project and know what we were being expensed for,” he adds. “They only billed us what the subs actually cost.” Additionally, CP leaders could look at any time to see which companies were bidding on the work. And, per Lorimer and his team’s wishes, local contractors were given preference. With the right partner onboard, the church focused on meeting several areas of need at its campus: churchexecutive.com
Lead Pastor Rick Lorimer
Photo by Icon Creative Group
Children’s spaces kids (and parents) can love
A bigger, better worship space Exponential growth at the church meant its current worship space couldn’t accommodate everyone. So, the church divided worshipers between the main sanctuary and a secondary video venue. Meanwhile, the children’s ministry space was maxed out (more on that in a moment). “We could either build a new children’s wing and keep having our adult services in two areas, or build a new auditorium and turn the present adult spaces into children’s ministry space,” Lorimer explains. After Churches by Daniels did some feasibility studies, it was clear that the latter option represented better economics. churchexecutive.com
To accommodate more and more kids at the church, the old auditorium was renovated into the CP Kids auditorium for Kindergartners through 5th grade. The previous ministry space for infants through 5-year-olds was converted into a nursery. The former K-5 area became a brand-new space for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. As CP converted its former adult spaces into kids’ ministry areas, three main objectives guided the project. Each space needed to be: Visible, accessible and practical. Children are welcomed into three designated areas at the same end of CP’s main building. All are highly visible from the church’s two main entrances. Secure and safe. Every room is digitally recorded and features motiondetection technology. Check-in and check-out processes are consistent across all three spaces, and only parents are allowed to drop-off and pick up their children. Highly functional. As Lorimer explains, the church wanted its kids’ ministry teams to not only have the flexibility to host large groups and small groups, but — importantly — to enjoy being there! “We wanted them to be fun places to serve in,” he says. “Plus, we can accomplish the ministry goals we have on any given weekend or mid-week. That’s what I mean by ‘highly functional.’” The new spaces were designed with quite a bit of input from parents and staff, many of whom in the latter group entrust their own children to the church’s care every week. July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Several teams of parents within the church were selected, and informal and formal surveys were conducted. “We leaned on that feedback, as well as the informal input,” Lorimer points out. “Whenever I was just rubbing shoulders with parents, I would just ask questions, and so would they. ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ Or, ‘If we were to check your kids in, is there something you’d recommend we do differently?’” Having a young staff with children also helped a lot. “I’ve got young dads and moms, and their input was as important as anybody’s,” Lorimer says. “They’re so invested. They wanted it to be the best kids’ ministry possible.” Lorimer credits that culture of improvement with driving the excellent end product. “We just want to keep getting better,” he says. “When we got to the place where we were ready to build, we already had an idea of what an ideal ministry space, for us, would look like.”
More efficient people flow on Sunday mornings The church also knew what “ideal” didn’t look like — and the inefficient flow of people through the lobby was a good example. Especially on Sunday mornings, it was, as Lorimer says, “a real headache.” “Initially, we had two primary children’s check-in areas [in the lobby] where parents would digitally check-in and drop-off their kids,” he recalls. “Both were major bottlenecks, no matter how many staff we had working it.” Not only did this create efficiency issues when it came to checking in and checking out children between services, it also meant everyone else had to wade through a line of (patient, thankfully) parents and kids to get to the restrooms. Fortunately, there was a lot of space to work with in the large foyer when Rodney James and his team came in and did a traffic-flow study on CP’s services, highlighting the major points of tension. “While most of what they found wasn’t a revelation, they didn’t stop there — they also dreamt with me on our options,” Lorimer recalls.
A potential project-ending requirement As with most building projects, an unforeseen challenge was bound to arise. In CP’s case, it emerged during the feasibility study: a $2-million road improvement requirement from the City of Lincoln — the expense of which would fall to the church. “It was a potentially project-ending amount,” Lorimer recalls. The project manager, Tracey Bradshaw, met with City officials. “He got all the different parties talking to one another,” Lorimer explains. In doing so, it became apparent that the super expensive road improvement would be moot in several years, according to a future plan to completely change the intersection to which it connected. “They were able to help these committees understand that it’s not a great use of funds to spend $2 million, knowing it would be torn up in four years for another city project.”
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
As a result, Bradshaw was able to help convince the City that what it wanted to do could be accomplished with a budget of $200,000 or less — a savings of 90%!
On time and under budget From the beginning, a guaranteed maximum price for the project was a priority for Lorimer; it offered peace of mind. In the end, the Churches by Daniels team not only adhered to that price, they delivered under budget. That’s worth noting, Lorimer points out, as many companies would likely find a way to spend all the funds. “I don’t know that I counted on us coming in under budget,” he says. “And I think that speaks real highly of them.” For his own team’s part, CP leaders didn’t make a lot of changes after committing to what they wanted. And, he credits Bradshaw and his team for working hard to get the best competitive price while ensuring the quality desired. Lorimer is also grateful for the patience he was granted, even though he admits he asked a whole lot of questions along the way. “Commercial construction is not native to most pastors,” he points out. “They did a great job understanding this and heeding the learning curve.”
Words of wisdom for other project-leading pastors For what it’s worth, Lorimer remains a big advocate of asking plenty of questions, if you’re a pastor embarking on a construction project. “Communication is essential, and so is clarity, clarity, clarity and more clarity,” he advises. “I think pastors have to ask questions, because we’re not always speaking the same language as our construction partners.” He also advises not sweating the details. “Things happen, but you shouldn’t let them ruin your day,” he says. “Some things are going to be more expensive than you anticipated, but then you’re going to save money in other areas.” “Daniels was great at that,” he adds. “They kept a calm demeanor; they were patient; and I think that’s why we ended up, ultimately, coming in under budget.”
QUICK FACTS ABOUT CHRIST PLACE CHURCH Year Established: 1975 Location of main campus: Lincoln, Neb. Number of locations: 5, plus a new campus launching in Omaha in September Number of staff (full- and part-time): 34 Combined weekly attendance: 2,281 2017 Budget: $3.8 million
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What engages youth? By Mark R Ashcraft with Bruce Woody, AIA
Youth face many challenges in our current culture, where feelings often trump facts and reality is the latest tweet gone viral. Even so, they’re still fundamentally on a formative journey of discovery; they’re still seeking their places in the world. We need to reach out and engage them if we’re to effectively guide and encourage them on this journey. So, what makes a space engaging to this group? Let’s talk about it. Seating and gaming at multiple levels provides opportunities to connect at First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas (Photo by Peter Calvin)
Think about spaces you enjoy — that coffee shop around the corner, or your favorite venue — and then ask, What is it I like about this place? Chances are your answers will have similarities to the typical teen. It needs to be active. It needs to be relational. It also needs to be authentic. These are three essential aspects for a space to be engaging.
Multipurpose venue that allows for worship, fellowship and learning at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. (Photo by Henry Ambrose) 10
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
Be active John 10:10 says “...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” — what an exciting statement full of anticipation! Youth are spontaneous and driven by experiences. They seek out fun, but they also long for deeper meaning. Yet, with limited attention spans and being bombarded by social media, they can be difficult to engage. Play to this by designing flex space that allows for the impromptu challenge of churchexecutive.com
Café open to the community at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. (Photo by Henry Ambrose)
the day, or for small group discussions, or even for an intimate moment of prayer. Letting activity “happen” sets an environment that allows teens to be expressive and bring their creativity. First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas, uses an open concept with seating and game tables on multiple levels to create this sense of space. An assembly space directly off the commons helps reinforce a free-flow environment. Nothing creates more excitement than seeing a space full of activity. It pulls you in and creates an immersive experience where you can begin to form connections on a deeper level. Be relational Youth are emotive beings. A space that speaks to their needs and adapts to their wants will be successful in capturing their attention. It needs to be open and welcoming — a place where they want to hang out. It needs to be a refuge from the busy-ness, worry and pressure of their daily lives — a place they’ll feel comfortable and accepted. It needs to allow for connection with each other and with ministry leaders — a place where they can explore their faith. At Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco, Texas, the youth space is easy to find, both from the main commons and direct from the exterior. The hang space is designed with a variety of movable seating and game tables that can be set up as needed, becoming a place youth call their own. It has the ability to spill outside into an adjacent plaza if the moment calls for it; and when it’s time for worship, a dedicated venue provides the setting and opportunity for connecting. Be authentic Authenticity of your messaging is important to maintaining integrity. Youth are looking for ‘their’ place. Designs that connect youth to the wider church family, that encourage a multigenerational mix, create more opportunities to communicate to teens their value and allow for deeper connections in their faith journey. The Connection Center at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., is a good example of bridging generations while still reaching each group individually. Stacked basketball cages, multiple seating areas, a community café, and a multi-use venue are used throughout the week by the church family — youth, college and adults. There is natural overlap in use of the space, while maintaining a sense of ownership for each user group. It reaffirms the desire for everyone to know Him and grow in their faith. churchexecutive.com
Youth Hang space showing flexible space/ connection to outside at Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco, Texas (Photo by Peter Calvin)
Youth worship venue at Preston Trail Community Church in Frisco, Texas (Photo by Peter Calvin)
Parting thoughts By creating space for youth that allows for activity — a space that creates energy; a space that can be a place of respite; a place for connection — we can continue to engage each new generation and help shepherd them on their journey into a stronger relationship with Christ. In Psalms 25, David writes: “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Inspired words that should help us reach the fullness of life offered to all. Mark R Ashcraft is a senior associate of HH Architects in Dallas, Texas [ www.hharchitects.com ]. He serves as the Creative Director for the firm and has been blessed to work with many ministries during his 16-year tenure. Bruce Woody, AIA, is the president & CEO of HH Architects. He speaks around the country on the importance of campus master planning and has been working with ministries for more than 30 years. July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
to engage the millennial giver By the Generis team
Today, millennials are the demographic on the top of most organizations’ priority list. It’s no surprise that brands are reinventing the way they market in order to reach the fastest-growing generation in the workforce and marketplace, and officially, the nation’s largest living generation.
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
The millennial generation, which comprises those born between 1981 and 1997, grew up more digital, open-minded and information-hungry than any previous generation. They are more connected than ever before — except to faith. Twentyfive percent of American millennials are unaffiliated, describing their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular.” According to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, this percentage is double that of baby boomers as young adults in the 1970s. While there’s urgency, there’s also hope. Though increasingly disconnected with the church, they are still the fastest-growing demographic in your church, and their generosity and desire as a generation to connect with and give to causes they care about demonstrates their potential to connect — and give — to you. The 2015 Millennial Impact Report found that 84 percent of employed millennials donated to a charity in 2014. There’s no mistaking that they are, and must be, the future of your church in attendance and giving. As older generations near retirement, and face financial insecurity from medical concerns and fixed incomes, your church’s current income streams might decline. As that happens, millennials will continue to grow in skills and talents that make them higher earners. Millennials will be the main source of funding for your church. It’s crucial for churches to employ strategy; but to truly engage the millennial giver, we must engage their hearts in a cause like no other: knowing Jesus and making him known. These three principles will refocus and realign your efforts to engage the millennial giver: #1: Cause It’s imperative for millennials to know what their financial gifts support directly. The best non-profit organizations excel because they embrace the power of transparency in fundraising, by letting donors know what their funds will accomplish even before they sign a check or click the “give” button. Churches must share where money goes once it leaves the offering plate. Transparency cultivates trust. It also harnesses the millennial desire to make an immediate difference. Millennials believe that the world needs changing and that they’re the generation to make it happen. They passionately get behind causes the church supports — serving the homeless, feeding the hungry, ending sex trafficking, and supporting under-served children around the world. Connect their generosity to the greatest cause of all — the spread of the gospel — and outline how the local church uses financial resources to make that happen. CAUSE TIP: Marinate your church in stories about life change from your ministries. Mission statements and budgets fail to capture the heart. Without a heart-capture, generous giving (from any generation) is unlikely. Demonstrate concrete life results through your project and church. #2: Convenience Digital lifestyle is increasingly normal for everyone, but it’s all this generation has ever known. They can’t remember the last time they handed a friend cash for their half of the dinner, a road trip or concert tickets. This is all online, in smartphone apps — and usually described with an emoji. According to the Federal Reserve, checks accounted for 15 percent of all non-cash payments in 2012, and that number is getting lower. Technology is getting safer, cheaper, faster and more fun. Services that can help automate spending and giving are a huge help. They allow budgets to stay steady and encourage giving to be a normal, expected part of life. Incidentally, recurring giving is one of the most convenient things for your admin and finance teams, too. churchexecutive.com
Apps, online giving portals and text-to-give options might seem radical to a traditional church. But when checks became the norm instead of cash, people were leery until they became status quo. Then, we began using little plastic cards to pay for items. Now, the center has shifted again; the majority is marching to a digital drummer. CONVENIENCE TIP: Use your offering moment to showcase how to give digitally. The more we “normalize” the practice, the more inclined people will be to give it try. #3: Conviction Now, we’re at the heart of the issue. To truly engage the millennial giver, we must ensure they know the one to whom we are giving. As Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Ministries, says, “We talk about money not because of what we want from you, but because of what we want for you.” Leading millennials to be generous should be an overflow of their pursuit to know and follow Jesus. Giving to the church is a result of a heart that wants to be aligned with what the Father wants. To develop a generous culture, churches must disciple young believers to know the generous ways and commands of Jesus. Do your messages communicate that giving is an act of worship, a way to be used by God in the lives of others and demonstration of a grateful heart? CONVICTION TIP: Church leaders engage in discipleship by emphasizing and remembering the supremacy of Christ in all of our life affairs, including finances. How we respond to the character of God reveals and molds how we live. The faith-and-finances conversation is essential to caring for people’s hearts and spiritual maturity. The primary goal of developing a generous spirit among millennials in your church is developing their spiritual maturity. The secondary goal is to financially resource your church mission. If we treat millennial’s hearts like a caring shepherd (the first goal), engaging them in funding the mission actually comes more easily (the second goal). This article was compiled by the experienced guides of Generis. To learn more about Generis’ passion to partner with ministries on giving projects with God-sized vision and Kingdom implications, please visit generis.com. July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
How to prevent financial fraud at your church CPA and non-profit consultant Vonna Laue helps to identify why churches fall victim to fraud, how you can recognize it — and what you can do about it. Why do churches fall victim to fraud? Trust: It’s the baseline. If you don’t trust your employees or volunteers, you need to address that. I would expect that you trust everyone who’s on staff or working with you; however, as a friend of mine says, “Trust is not an internal control.” We can’t rely on it alone. Limited time and staff: When we’ve got limited time and staff, sometimes we take shortcuts. Or, we make mistakes. When this happens, it’s an environment ripe for fraud.
Lack of controls: Likewise, when we have limited staff or volunteers, it’s easy to say, “I don’t have enough people to be able to have good internal controls.” At one point years ago, I used to feel sorry for smaller organizations on this front. Then, I saw internal controls done well in several places — regardless of size — and realized we can’t use that excuse anymore. A dynamic environment: A dynamic environment is certainly another factor contributing to fraud. By this, I mean when we’ve got new personnel or new software; maybe we’re converting from one church management software program to another, or we’ve got significant growth. Those times are when it’s easier for fraud to occur. As churches, we might have policies and procedures in place that are effective. Then, we train someone new; they leave, and someone steps in on an interim basis. Then, we get a full-time person to replace them. Pretty soon, we’re three iterations down the road. Things are especially fraught with risk when there are software changes underway, which obviously disrupt everything. We don’t know how the new software works. There are mistakes, and an uncertain environment. That transition time can lead to problems, whether they’re intentional or accidental.
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What is a “fraud triangle,” and how does it come in to play when fraud is happening? There are three different factors that allow fraud to happen: opportunity, motivation and rationalization. There’s only one which you and church staff have any control over — opportunity. Rationalizations when someone commits fraud include sentiments like, They owe it to me, or I’m underpaid, or I’m undervalued, or I’ve worked here a long time, and they haven’t given me raises. Motivation is, for example, when someone’s spouse has recently lost a job. Or, that person might face significant medical needs in their immediate family. Opportunity is what we’re providing when we don’t have good internal controls. It’s when we allow the opportunity to access these funds and let it go undetected. We can’t do much about motivation or rationalization. So, we need to focus our efforts on opportunity. What do financial control best practices do? Having best practices in place protects the church’s assets and reputation. You want to make sure there’s no easy access to assets. If the people in your church find out that funds were misappropriated, you’re facing a significant reputational risk. You also want to protect the individuals involved. I worked with a church business administrator who was being considered for a position at another church. Her requirement of that church was that they have an annual audit. She said, “I want to make sure somebody else is looking over my shoulder. I’m going to be fully responsible for a lot of what happens here; I want to be protected.” Good internal controls allow us to detect mistakes as they happen. When we have checks and balances in place, those will be detected — and corrected — quickly. What do good internal controls look like? The first element of good internal controls is segregation of duties. We want to make sure that three components of any given process are separated: custody, authorization and recordkeeping. The main areas where funds come in to and go out of your church are through cash receipts, cash disbursements and payroll. So, if we take cash disbursements as an example, and we think about custody of the assets, we’re referring to the check stock. Who has access to the check stock? The authorization would be the people who sign the checks. Also, who is authorized to pay funds out of the bank account? Recordkeeping refers to the individual who’s keeping track of those funds in the accounting system, such as QuickBooks. The point is that we don’t want any one person to have access to all three. What are some good processes to follow pertaining to cash receipts? Dual custody of uncounted funds: We want to make sure that when the funds are gathered, they’re not in the custody of one person before they’re counted. And it’s not just the cash that we have to take care of; it’s also the checks. We want to make sure that we never have a person who has full custody of uncounted funds. We also don’t want someone to have sole access to the safe. Restrictively endorse checks as soon as possible: Make sure you’ve got a stamp that reads, “For deposit only,” with the bank account information for the church. When those checks come in, be sure that’s done as soon as possible, as it helps protect against those checks being misdirected. Timely deposits that undergo a proper process: We need to cut a check and have the right person approve that and sign it. We do that so we have a proper accounting of things and we know the gross receipts and gross expenses, not net. churchexecutive.com
Listen to the webinar! “How to prevent financial fraud at your church” Available on-demand NOW at www.churchexecutive.com/webinars Donor statements: These can be a very good financial control best practice, because individuals can look at them and make sure they’re in agreement. Do these annually, semiannually or quarterly. Include year-to-date amounts so you have a control that you’ve deposited the amounts donors say they’ve given. What are examples of good processes, or controls, for cash disbursement? Don’t pre-sign checks. Even if you have two check-signers, there’s always the risk that they could both go out of town at the same time. It becomes an easy habit to say, “If I just keep five or six of these signed checks around, then I don’t have to bother them.” We need to make sure that we’re not leaving ourselves open to risk, here. Review and approve invoices before payment. Did someone actually order that? Why? Was it approved, and is it the right amount? You’ve probably been challenged or concerned about some purchases that were made. If people know we’re paying close attention, it minimizes questionable charges. Review canceled checks. This should be done by someone who’s outside the day-to-day processing. If we have a good process in place for signing checks, we can be sure the checks aren’t going back to the preparer and being altered after the fact. That’s why we’d have a review of canceled checks. No checks made out to “cash.” Even if it’s a petty cash reimbursement, it can be made out to an individual, just like any other expense reimbursement. Likewise, we need to make sure we’re reconciling petty cash. Also, church credit cards need to have the same controls in place as any other expense we’ve discussed. What are some examples of payroll-related controls? Make sure there’s a review of payroll before it’s processed. A lot of people do this already (i.e., ensure they’ve “got a second set of eyes”) because it ensures everyone is being properly paid. After payroll has been processed, not only should a change report be reviewed, but it should be verified that what was approved prior to processing payroll agrees with the final payroll reports. Someone should review changes. These happen when you add or remove an employee, or change a pay rate. Beyond these circumstances, it really shouldn’t be happening frequently. Also be sure your church is reconciling its W-2s or 941 quarterly reports to payroll expense. This is one way in which misappropriation or financial fraud has been detected in several churches; those amounts didn’t reconcile.
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
What’s the benefit of performing a risk assessment at our church? When you’re thinking about the risks your church faces, start with your leadership. Brainstorm for an hour, and I think you’ll be amazed at how in-depth and comprehensive your list of risks actually is. Identify those risks, and then review the list with governance. Consider all areas — financial, legal, HR, facilities and reputational. That last risk — reputational — is one of the most significant; however, if there’s a lapse, it will affect nearly every area. How do we proceed after identifying our risks? Next, you’re going to look at those risks and prioritize them. If there’s a risk that might cost $5 to fix if it happens, it goes towards the bottom of the list. Likewise, if there’s a risk that the entire Sunday offering could “walk away,” that goes at the top. Then, determine your mitigating controls. For some risks, you’ll want to ensure dual control or segregation of duties. Ask yourself, Is this a process issue? Do we just need to have a policy in place related to this? Review and update these items annually. Things change; we can’t put them on a shelf and say, “The risk assessment is done.” We need to make sure it’s being updated, just like the segregation of duties. We should have documentation of the processes we have in place for cash receipts, cash disbursements and payroll. Someone else might need to come in and do that. What should we do before we discover fraud in our church? Have a discussion with the church board about what you would do if financial fraud occurred. A few policies should also be in place, such as a whistleblower policy or a conflict-of-interest policy. Consider having an audit or an external review of your financial statements, or at least your processes. This can give you suggestions or offer an outside perspective on your controls and processes, and whether they’re effective or not. They can also identify if you’ve missed something. How do we recognize fraud? The Association of Fraud Examiners puts out a report every other year. The most common fraud detection method is tips, followed by management review, internal audit and by accident. Lack of internal controls contributed in almost 30% of identified cases. Forty-one percent of those cases weren’t reported to police. Behavioral red flags existed in 79% of the cases of fraud included in the survey — things like a person living beyond his or her means, exhibiting excessive control issues (not letting anyone else do their job), a recent divorce or family problems, or an attitude change. How do we respond to fraud? Get an attorney involved early. If it truly looks like fraud, enlist a certified fraud examiner. If there’s a chance it will become a legal action, make sure you’ve preserved the evidence and that interviews have been conducted in the right way. Don’t make any assumptions, good or bad; you don’t want your board of trustees or elders to find out through the rumor mill that something like this is happening. If anyone asks about it, say, “This is a confidential matter; we’re investigating. We don’t know all the details at this time, but we’ll give you more information when we have it.” If it turns out to be fraud, two things: (1) Learn from it. How did it happen? How can you put policies or procedures in place to prevent it in the future? (2) Consider that what a person confesses to, or what you find in your initial investigation, is likely less than the actual amount taken. Continue to monitor everything, and make sure that controls that are in place, stay in place.
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More questions? Moderator Eric Spacek dives deeper Spacek: (Attendee question) How do we develop a standard operating procedure for our online giving process when only one person handles the process? Laue: Probably the biggest risk I see there is a change in the bank account. Online giving is processed by an organization and then deposited into the bank account. We Eric Spacek Director of Risk Management need to know who has access to change where the bank account can be directed. It’s possible and Loss Control GuideOne Insurance it could get changed for three or four days, and then changed back. It would be great if someone like the board treasurer had that ability — if he or she was the only one who could change where those funds go. That person could be separate from the person who is actually downloading all the transactions, putting them into the donor system, etc. At the very least, make sure there’s someone else who has readonly access to be able to look at those donation reports from the online giving module and compare them to deposits in the church bank account. Spacek: (Attendee question) Any tips for handling cash from the Sunday offering? Laue: Have two people count the cash, and have them both sign off on a count sheet. Then, if the collection is going into a safe where we’ve got dual control, that’s great. If not, let’s make sure it’s at least going into a sealed bank bags. Or, self-sealing envelopes (like the ones FedEx uses) are good, too; that way, no one can get into the envelope without it being detected. As far as petty cash, I’d encourage you to keep as minimal an amount as possible on hand. Spacek: (Attendee question) How does the church go about finding an independent auditor? How often should independent audits be done, and when are they absolutely required? Laue: Don’t just find a CPA that does audits; find someone who understands churches. You’re unique in that you take a Sunday offering. No other business besides nonprofits has restricted funds that come in which need to be spent for that purpose. You need to have a partner in your auditor who understands that. In terms of what would require an independent audit, oftentimes it’s a loan covenant or your bylaws. It might be something that’s denominationally driven. If there’s a requirement to have an audit, it should be done annually. Even if you’re not required to have an audit, I think it’s important to have a third-party, independent person who looks at your processes. A review is smaller in scope than an audit and, therefore, less costly. As you work with CPAs who are very knowledgeable in churches, they should be able to help you identify the level of ser vice you need. — Reporting by Joyce Guzowski
5 ways to recruit and retain the right people By David A. Miller
One of the things that I’m asked most often in my role at Slingshot Group is how to recruit and retain the right people for the right role. Over the years, I’ve identified five things a potential candidate is looking for in his or her next church. Church leaders, keep these things in mind when searching for the right fit for your team. #1: Location Your church location can be one of your biggest assets or one of your biggest drawbacks. When interviewing someone, look for something that connects the candidate to the city or region. It could be that the candidate grew up in that area or has family nearby, or simply that he or she follows the local baseball team. Though it’s wise to search for connections, it’s also important to treat each candidate as an individual. Some of the best hires I’ve facilitated have been candidates moving across the country to a region they have no connection to, and yet they fit.
#2: Influence Many candidates want to know ahead of time if they’ll have a seat at the leadership table with their new position. While the answer varies from role to role, it’s important for church leadership to make clear the “voice” a new hire will have on the team and in the church. Churches often look for a “leader of leaders” when they’re filling a position that serves as a manager of something that already exists. This becomes an issue when you’re looking for a “charge the hill” personality for a role that will ultimately have little to no influence in the entire church. If you want to encourage a leader to stay on your staff long-term, give them influence with his or her role.
#3: Upward mobility Mobility is the opportunity to move from role to role within the organization or church. When it comes to filling positions, many churches fail to realize that they can use upward mobility as a recruitment tool. Lateral moves can be unattractive to candidates. When someone ends up working in a similar environment and in a similar role to their last, they get bored quickly. They continuously make comparisons and begin to feel dissatisfied, as though they’ve taken a step backwards. Many strong candidates are looking for what’s next in their ministry career. It’s important for church leadership to embrace this.
“Property Brothers” has taught me anything, it’s that we always want more house than we can afford. Don’t wait until the very end of the interview process to talk about money. As a general practice at our company, we discuss the candidate’s salary expectations at the beginning of the interview process to maintain clarity and keep everyone on the same page.
#5: Unique mission or culture Take a moment to identify what’s unique about your church. For some, you’re in a location that causes you to think outside of the box. For others, there’s something unique about the way your staff interacts and cares for one another, or the way you train and resource. When a church understands what makes it unique, it has a higher possibility of attracting the candidate it’s looking for. When it comes to recruitment and retention, remember that fit matters most, and when you find that right fit — hold onto it. Many of the best team members consistently think about these five things. If we as leaders don’t address these aspects of a role, we will lose them to another church that sees their potential. Create an environment where the people on your staff couldn’t imagine leaving.
So, how are you doing?
Take a few minutes to self-evaluate these five things. Although most churches won’t be able to score 100-percent on each, you can work towards optimizing the one or two areas in which your church is naturally strong. Think of these areas like a bar graph: If you’re low in numbers 2 and 5, then numbers 1 and 3 should make up for the deficit.
When it comes to salary, make sure that the candidate’s expectations and your church’s expectations are in the right place before you move forward. The goal is to find a candidate who meets the majority of what you’re looking for, who you can afford to pay. It’s like buying a house — if
David A. Miller is Lead Associate of the Coaching Division at Slingshot Group [ http://slingshotgroup.org ]. Over the past 15 years, Miller has had the privilege of serving as a pastor, mentor, speaker and teacher in thriving multisite churches and parachurch ministries.
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
A God-sized vision,
(and then some!) In 2009, after leading churches in Oklahoma and Texas — and spending time overseas as missionaries — Senior Pastor Bill Langley and his wife, Sheri, found themselves called back home to Severns Valley Baptist Church (SVBC) in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Bill Langley Senior Pastor Severns Valley Baptist Church
Born and raised in the church, it was a true homecoming. Langley’s late father served as a deacon. His mother still lives there; so do his brother, sister and their families. When Langley visited, he was invited to preach.
Yet, when SVBC’s pastor resigned, Bill and Sheri made the move only after prayerful consideration. Blessings awaited … but so did challenges. “Coming home — well, that can be a disaster,” Langley says. “It’s a prophetic statement: ‘A prophet is not without welcome, except in his own hometown.’” However, when the church voted unanimously to bring him on as senior pastor, it was an affirmation. In 2009, he and Sheri headed home to Elizabethtown. When Langley took up the reins, the church’s 70 acres of land had been paid off, but had significant debt on the current facilities. Though $9 million remained on a 30-year mortgage, SVBC retired the debt within 10 years of his arrival. “’The burning of the note’ tied the past to the present and future,” Langley recalls. “We could say, ‘The Lord did lead us. We followed. We’ll do that again.” “Let’s do it again” The next phase at SVBC is a God-sized project — including a new worship center, spacious welcome center and outdoor plaza that will cost $16.5 million. Even so, Langley and his team aimed to raise $7 million over three years, and were prepared to finance the rest. With a building project of this magnitude, they knew they needed help, so they interviewed numerous potential capital campaign partners, and met face-to-face with four. Paul Gage, president and founder of The Gage Group, was among them. His was a familiar face; Gage and Langley worked together when Langley led a growing church in Oklahoma. Their campaign was a great success. So, it was natural that Langley and his team sensed Gage would be the right fit again. “It was his creative and confident rapport,” Langley says. “It was the integrity and his extraordinary track record of successful campaigns with dynamic churches”. churchexecutive.com
The elements of success First and foremost, the campaign involved 21 days of intensive prayer. Prayer journals and daily devotionals were prepared for families. On Sundays, small groups took time to talk about what the Lord had taught them that week, followed by group prayer. “It helped people understand that this is a God-sized project,” Langley says. “For a church to vote unanimously for a new building project and spend $16.5 million, that’s a work of God. And if God is for us, who can be against us?” From the beginning, Gage embraced this vision — and offered strategic expertise, including a focus on team building, church-wide participation and connecting with high-potential donors. It was a new approach for Langley, who chooses not to know what individuals or families give to the church. As such, Gage’s partnership and coaching was key. “We locked shields together, for sure,” Langley recalls. “I didn’t feel like I was inventing the wheel.” SVBC’s financial administrator identified key givers, and Langley met with them in groups. He led, of course, with prayer: “All I did was say, ‘You’re here tonight because you care about this church. We know you’ve invested in its ministry. We’re going to ask you to really pray and seek God and see what he leads you to do.” Above and beyond expectations As the campaign concluded, the results (like the goal) were God-sized: $12.2 million — more than $5 million beyond the goal. Now, although Langley and his team were prepared to finance the remaining $4 million, they’re confident that — with Gage’s help — they can raise that $4 million over the next few years. It speaks to a question they asked every firm in the beginning: How do you maintain momentum? “Paul has strategies in place that I feel are stronger,” Langley says. “Some candidates had no answer, but he had several.” In pursuit of that goal, they’ll mobilize those strategies, keeping the vision at the forefront (and celebrating victories along the way), together. Paul Gage President and Founder The Gage Group
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Retirement planning for millennials By Colin Nass, CFP ®, AEP ®, RICP ®
When discussing the need for retirement planning, millennials might not be the first age group that comes to mind. Millennials — also known as Generation Y — were born after 1980, and they’re the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. Typically, researchers use the early 1980s as the years when the first millennials were born and the mid1990s to 2000 to mark their ending birth years. In 2016, the Pew Research Center found that millennials have surpassed baby boomers to become the largest living generation in the United States. This is important to note as we discuss retirement planning for millennials. Retirement planning is basically the same for all generations; it refers to the planning one does to prepare for life after paid work ends — not just financially, but generally. The non-financial aspects include lifestyle choices, such as how to spend your time in retirement, where to live, and when to stop working completely. The emphasis on retirement planning changes throughout different life stages. For millennials, or those beginning their working lives, retirement planning is about getting an early start on saving for retirement. Even though research has shown that millennials are joining the workforce during a tough economic time, they’ve remained optimistic. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows roughly nine in 10 millennials believe they have enough money, or that they will eventually reach their long-term financial goals. 20
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A few key characteristics Unlike previous generations, millennials will likely have several jobs over the course of their lifetime. They prefer urban living (or the flexibility to relocate in pursuit of their professional goals) and choose to rent versus own a home. Millennials might also be burdened with a staggering amount of student debt and have difficulty finding a job, delaying any thoughts of saving. Many find the concept of retirement abstract and distant. They grew up with the financial crisis of 2008, the housing bust and subsequent recession, which might explain why many of them are not as interested as prior generations in investing or in home ownership. Statistics from a UBS Wealth Management survey show that for more than 39% of millennials — a higher percentage than any other group — cash is the preferred way to invest money they won’t need for at least 10 years. That’s three times the number who chose to invest in the stock market, even though the S&P 500 has gained approximately 15% over the past year while most cash investment yields remain below 1%!
Millennials also differ from previous generations when it comes to researching financial products and services. They turn to their online networks when making purchasing decisions. As the first generation of “digital natives,” growing up with computers, smartphones, tablets and access to the internet has shaped how they shop for products and services. They are accustomed to having instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews from their mobile devices. A recent article in Forbes Magazine, “10 New Findings About the Millennial Consumer,” reports that 33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books. The article also points out that millennials turn to social media for an authentic look at what’s going on in the world, whereas older generations rely more on traditional media. How does this information affect the way financial planners work with Millennials? Traditionally, financial firms have emphasized the management of assets, estate planning and minimizing taxes. Millennials don’t want to overly commit to one long-term goal, such as retirement, at the expense of lifestyle goals, such as purchasing cars and saving for and planning vacations and weddings. Traditional financial planners or advisers charge fees based upon assets under management, and millennials frequently don’t have significant assets. Thus, they’ve become the digital do-ityourself retirement generation. A recent Investment News article found that 70% of millennials believe they would get higher returns from a “robo adviser” than a live adviser, and 84% expect to receive more objective advice from a digital advice platform. Typically, they don’t need access to information; they need access to knowledge and expertise. Financial planners, therefore, need to function more like a personal trainer or life coach — helping them to stay focused on their goals — rather than a traditional financial planner, focusing on investment management, retirement and estate planning. One of the biggest financial obstacles this generation faces in achieving financial independence is debt. More than 60% of those surveyed recently by TD Bank say that becoming debt-free would make them feel like they’ve “made it,” financially. Creating other income streams will be critical for millennials to reduce the amount of debt they’re carrying. A side job that earns $500 a month today could build to provide $1,000 a month in a few years and $2,000 a month in five or 10 years. A good example of this are bloggers, a field that didn’t exist 20 years ago, which now provides the opportunity to create a steady stream of additional income that can help millennials reach their financial goals. The bottom line is that millennials face additional challenges, including student loan debt, job insecurity, the need for mobility and flexibility, and juggling multiple goals that compete for limited resources. Over the next decade, as the first millennials begin to reach middle age, it’s likely they’ll prioritize retirement as other generations have. The result will be that millennials will have fewer years to plan for and save for retirement. Colin Nass, CFP®, AEP®, RICP® is the Senior Wealth Manager in the Financial Planning Division at MMBB Financial Services. He uses his 20+ years of financial planning and investment experience to assist members in achieving financial goals. Footnotes were omitted.
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Protecting the Greater Good from Violence
How do we reduce the risk of violence in our churches? Expert advice from a recent webinar presented by Church Mutual Insurance Company, in conjunction with Firestorm — a nationally recognized leader in crisis management — and ALICE Training Institute
Part 1: HOW TO SPOT THE WARNINGS Suzy Loughlin, co-founder of Firestorm
It is difficult to think of the unthinkable — especially when it comes to violence. Yet, just as insurance functions as a means to plan for a bad event, risk management serves a strong purpose when it comes to unexpected violence in the church. Suzy Loughlin, co-founder of Firestorm®, has been helping churches to manage risk for the past 15 years. Her goal is to make sure that these things don’t happen — but if they do, how to manage it while minimizing the impact felt through the church. Firestorm recently asked 500 businesses, “How many of you are concerned about violence in your workplace?” Ninety-two percent of those who responded said that they are worried. “That’s good,” Loughlin says. “Years ago, the numbers weren’t so high. And because they weren’t so high, there were a lot of people that were in denial about whether it could really happen to them.” Fortunately, there are things that can be done to address the issue of workplace violence.
Heed the warning signs Frequently, warning signs represent things that you already know, but don’t know what to do with. “The reality is that instant clarity tends to happen after something happens,” Loughlin explains. “For example, say Fred had an argument
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with ushers. Another co-worker reported that Fred was upset and he said, ‘You know, you guys are going to be sorry.’ Someone else comments that Fred’s absenteeism has really tanked. These are all things in and of themselves that I bet you don’t look at and say to yourself, ‘I’m worried that Fred is going to go out and shoot somebody.’” All of these points are valid, she adds; but, when they stand alone, they might not be cause for concern. “There should be a person in place that these items of concern can be told to,” Loughlin advises. “This is part of managing risk — putting together programs that allow others to share information.” The culture of your workplace / church is an area to focus on. “Culture drives how well people feel about being there,” Loughlin says. This includes employees feeling respected, and being able to be honest with their feedback to supervisors. “There are all kinds of things that drive your culture; but at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple: Do unto others as they would do unto you,” she adds. “Treat people with dignity even if you’re terminating them.” This includes having up-to-date policies and procedures concerning weapons, anti-bullying, and other unacceptable behavior at work. Everyone should be trained in these rules. Visible security can aid in risk management; however, how it is used still requires training.
Have an intelligence network Statistically, according to Loughlin, shooters communicate their intent to at least one person 80% of the time. Sometimes this information is shared on social media. This, she says, is considered a form of intelligence. “There should be a process in place for gathering information and how you respond to that information.” Certain threats can be interpreted fairly clearly, such as fights, stalking, or date violence. However, some threats remain less clear. “We responded a few years ago to a suicide of a 14-year-old boy at a prestigious school,” Loughlin recalls. “That day, he told two friends that he was going to kill himself, but then he quickly said, ‘I’m just joking.’ No matter the intent, suicide should warrant discussion, as well as intimidating comments or damaging property. Changes in behavior should also be a red a flag.” Protective factors can also act as an alert. This includes environment, family, and participating in activities, among others. If someone was formerly active and no longer is, it can set off an alarm to look in to. Other protective factors include respect for authority, coping skills, or taking responsibility for actions. The breakdown of these factors can create a vulnerability. This is connected to a person’s “behavior snapshot,” which are social cues of potential issues. Substance abuse, physical decline or poor hygiene could be indicative of a lack of care of one’s own life. As Loughlin emphasizes, any type of suicide risk must be addressed — it’s a high-priority item.
How do you deal with all this information? “Human nature is that a lot of people don’t like to come forward. They don’t want to be identified. They don’t want to be tied to it,” Loughlin says. “People need to be given a way to come forward to tell you about their concerns anonymously.” A good example of this is Safe2Tell, a program in Colorado sponsored by the attorney general’s office. 911 operators monitor a call line where you can report a concern. Many people have used this line when reporting suicide risks. To address behavior risk and threat assessment (BeRThA®), Loughlin says a multidisciplinary group should be in place to help decide whether to screen the person or not — and create a plan moving forward. “It really begins with awareness training, having an intelligence network and then having a plan,” she says. “This will guide your team of assigned people to process these reports, to investigate them, to figure out what we’re going to do about them, and then ultimately to monitor this.”
Listen to the webinar!
“Protecting the Greater Good from Violence”
Available on-demand NOW at www.churchexecutive.com/webinars
Part 2: HANDLING AN INTRUDER
The time it takes for police to arrive, even if it’s only five minutes, remains a difficulty — casualties happen quickly. “If we sit and wait for the police, we have to deal with the five to six minutes in which two to four people die per minute,” Bahn says.
Albert Bahn, National Adjunct Trainer at ALICE
Albert Bahn, National Adjunct Trainer at ALICE, helps prepare organizations with the training they need to address an unexpected violent situation. “Every employer, every educator, every educational administrator has an obligation to protect their students, their staff and their employees from foreseeable dangers,” says Bahn. Greg Crane, founder of ALICE, came up with the idea for the program after the death of Officer Aubrey Hawkins, who was killed while responding to a robbery report of a sporting goods store that included seven suspects. Reflecting on his death, a conversation was sparked about the options for those present during shootings in workplaces and schools. He realized that the current response was to lock down — and he asked himself, “What can we do besides lock down?” His first thought was to do an enhanced lockdown that included barricading. Then, include people in countering the assailant by moving quickly, yelling, screaming and throwing things; this makes it harder for the killer to use their weapon. Intended victims should also be taught to run. This created a list: Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Alert was also added, forming ALICE. According to Bahn, the program was slow to catch on, because people were slow to accept an alternative to the current lockdown system. “The first time I did a lockdown drill, I recognized the ridiculousness of that response,” he explains. “Why would we lock all 130 classrooms when the killer can only be in one place? It made no sense. When I inquired about it, the response was, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it.’” The way that the ALICE program is enacted differs per type of organization, but the standard remains the same. There are three options during an attack: (1) You can run; (2) If running isn’t an option, you can “harden” your area by barricading and preparing to counter; and (3) If you come face-to-face with the killer, you need to make the decision to do what you can to not become a victim. In short, ALICE teaches that the victims also have to be first responders. “During the Sheridan High School shooting, the killer came in with a loaded semi-automatic pistol and extra magazines,” Bahn recalls. “The reason this incident only lasted 47 seconds is that Coach Frank Hall screamed at the killer as he started to shoot.” The killer ran and was apprehended outside.
Alert. The ALICE program starts with Alert. The alert includes the location and description of the killer. “If you know this information, then you’re potentially able to leave the area,” Bahn says. Lockdown. Lockdown remains an option if you can’t actively get out of the area, he advises. Informing. Informing is also part of alerting. This refers to communication between victims, administration and police. There are apps that can help get this information out quickly. If there’s a PA system, calling the killer by name and letting everyone know his location and what he’s doing will actually work in the victim’s favor, by disrupting him, Bahn says. Counter. Counter is using noise movement or distraction to distract and disrupt the killer. This doesn’t include fighting; it’s a means to create distance. The movement also makes it harder for the killer to hit his targets. Evacuate. Evacuate should be the first option when there is danger. Bahn reiterates: “We know that in 86 percent of these incidents, applied force ends the incident. If applied force is going to end the incident, who should be applying the force? We can’t wait for police. The intended victims have to be the first responders. They should use whatever force they’re willing and capable to use.”
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Part 3: COMMUNICATING DURING A CRISIS Jim Satterfield, CEO and Co-Founder of Firestorm
Crisis management should be considered when training and planning for an act of violence. This includes how to make decisions during a crisis, and communications. Jim Satterfield, CEO and Co-Founder of Firestorm, was called to Virginia Tech 72 hours after the shooting. There, he encountered 1,500 reporters, 324 media outlets, and 146 satellite trucks. “A crisis isn’t business as usual. It’s business as unusual,” he says. “All the normal rules that you have to make decisions go out the window. That’s not what you’re going to be able to do. You don’t have all the metrics or all of the information, and you have to make decisions.” Upon arriving at Virginia Tech, Satterfield immediately put up signs stating, Please honor our grieving — off-limits to the press. This helped to get media out of the dorms, and, in turn, helped the students feel empowered to speak. In thinking about a crisis management plan for your church, it’s helpful to look at all the decisions and actions you might need to take. Crisis communications refers to what you’re saying and to whom, when and how to deliver these messages. A structure is needed to help dictate how to make decisions in the event of a violent attack. “We don’t have the luxury of time, here. You must identify threats wherever possible before they become violent,” Satterfield advises. “You’ve got to have an intelligence network. Eighty percent of the time, if someone has ill intent, somebody else knows.” When a crisis does occur, waiting on communication is the rule of thumb. People will need to know what to do and say. This crisis might not be limited to an active killer — it can also include things like fraud, domestic violence or sexual molestation. The consequences of each crisis will, most likely, be present for quite a while. The first step you should follow when something has happened is to write down what is known — concrete facts. This documentation can help down the line. Identifying a spokesperson and ensuring that they’ve been trained is a next step. It’s necessary that they know how to handle the media. “Who are the internal and external parties? What are their agendas? All those elements are going to come out, so we have to start to understand,” Satterfield says. “If this sounds confusing, you’re beginning to understand what it’s like in a crisis. As we move beyond it and we think about it, these are the actions that we would start to take, establishing what happened, identifying a key contact, and identifying brand supporters.” Satterfield also recommends having a call center that helps field any questions in response to reports. There can then be a strategy behind who’s taking the calls, and what they’re going to respond. He also uses five stages in planning: pre-action; onset; impact assessment; response and recovery; and post- recovery. Pre-action refers to what you do before a crisis happens. Onset refers to what you choose while it’s occurring. Impact assessment is asking yourself, “How bad is it?” 24
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Response and recovery addresses communication and how to recover as a community. Post-recovery is the “consequence” area. Going through different scenarios using these stages can help you know and plan on what you will say in response. “Impact assessment is very important,” Satterfield advises. “Determining the severity of a crisis will change how an organization is going to communicate.” Three kinds of communications come up while going through the five stages, as well. Coordination is what people should do in the event of a crisis (lockdown, evacuate, lockout). The second type of communication is dealing with a crisis, and concerns your brand (in this case, your church) and your reputation. For this type of communication, you need to know how to contact and talk directly to your members. The last type of communication is compliance, which addresses things you’re required to communicate, such as a cyber breach, or a sexual predator. Most of the communications encountered will fall in one of these three categories.
Similarly, there are three messages to use when dealing with a crisis. Before communicating these messages, you offer support and condolences to the community. Then, you address and establish a “tell the truth” baseline. Message one is: We will not be defined by this event. This allows you to then communicate your mission and what you stand for. Message two is: We’re going to assure you that this will not happen again. This focuses on the future. Message three embraces the families involved. When formulating your crisis communications plan, you’ll need to predict who the audience is, and what their concerns are. You then tailor your message to each stakeholder. Focusing on three key messages to deliver about any potential subject concerning the crisis will help create clarity when fielding questions. “There is a maturity model for crisis management,” Satterfield explains. “Stage one, if you’re at that level of an organization, everything comes as a surprise. At stage two, roles and responsibilities are clear, but defined as needed. Support resources don’t define most issues covered. They’re still supported, but it’s not yet going to operate at a great level. “Lastly, once it becomes a part of your culture, it’s strategic,” he adds. “A highly efficient and timely decision process anticipates events and needs, and consumes only the resources needed. “That’s where we ultimately want to go,” Satterfield concludes. “This is an acquired skill just like any other.” — Reporting by Joyce Guzowski To view all three videos — and to download additional resources to share with your church teams! — visit the Church Mutual Insurance Company website [ www.churchmutual.com/6421/Armed-Intruder ], call (800) 554-2642 ext. 5213, or email email@example.com. churchexecutive.com
e-Books In-depth, in-demand church management tools — at your fingertips! Churchexecutive.com/ebooks Our e-Book library is full of strategies and solutions for church leaders. In response to your request for in-depth information on a variety of top-ofmind topics, you’ll find e-Books about: • Continuing Education • Finance & Lending • Accounting • Risk Management • Pastor-Friendly A/V • Hiring & Staff Management • Facilities Management / Capital Planning • Church Management Software (ChMS) • Architecture & Design • Generosity & Fundraising • Church Cafés • More! Download them all at: churchexecutive.com/ebooks Or, get our e-Books in your inbox! By signing up on the Church Executive website — churchexecutive.com/sign-digital-publications — for our eNewsletter and digital magazine, you’ll also get new e-Books and e-Book chapters automatically!
3) Hood has a diverse student population, representing not only those of the Wesleyan traditions, but also the congregational churches and denominations. It is in this type of environment that I learn the most.
The pursuit of advanced education: a full-time pastor’s perspective By Rev. Dr. Clay L. Barrow Since earning my Master of Divinity, my calling and vocation have taken me into Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE); police chaplaincy in the Atlanta Police Department; Biblical Studies instructor of both Old and New Testament at the Westminster Schools (Atlanta); counseling in a mental health center (Sumter, SC); and to full-time pastorates in South Carolina, Virginia and presently, North Carolina. Over the course of my career in ministry, I felt the need and desire to re-tool and re-equip myself for service in the present age.
I first heard of Hood Theological Seminary (HTS) and the quality of its Doctor of Ministry program from Dr. J. C. Evans, a dear friend and retired AME pastor, and one in the first class of the D.Min. Program in 2003. Two years later, I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Albert Aymer, president of HTS, and to learn more about the school and the program. Though my interest was stoked, I felt I needed more experience in the pastorate before I could fully engage in a D.Min. program. My interest in pursuing the D.Min. experience in the field of ministry, and the opportunity to enroll, finally culminated in 2014 when I had the chance to meet Dr. Vergel Lattimore, HTS President Elect. Based on our conversation, I was certain that Hood was the ideal seminary for me and that now was the time. My concerns were addressed and resolved: 1) I found the cost of each semester to be the most reasonable and affordable option in comparison to other programs in North Carolina and beyond. 2) The classes were taught by a denominationally diverse faculty who had graduated from some of the leading and most prestigious doctoral programs in the fields of philosophy and theology. 26
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4) The schedule for the D.Min. Program was the most pragmatic and appropriate for my schedule as a full-time pastor, husband and father. After having this dialogue with President Lattimore, I turned in my application within one week, and enthusiastically read my acceptance letter when it arrived. In “Core I: Re-visioning Ministry,” taught by Bishop Staccato Powell of the AME Zion Church, I was further convinced that now was the right time and Hood was the right place for me as he challenged the cohort to re-vision the Church and its missio Dei. I began reading materials and books that pushed my notions of ministry. The resources, the class interaction, and the feedback from the cohort confirmed the angst that I felt regarding my desire to re-tool myself for ministerial service, and validated some of the ideas I had relating to the move of the Church. In my first Winter Intensive, I was challenged by Dr. Dora Mbuwayesango to sharpen my exegetical skills in the class, “The Nature of God in the Old Testament.” These two classes impacted and altered my preaching where the exegesis of the text is “cleaner,” and my challenge to the congregation has greater depth of vision and sustainable energy to capture the idea.
“All three classes and instructors stretched my vision, my mind, my heart and my soul.” In the Spring Semester, I took “Core II: Personal Transformation for Effective Ministry,” taught by Dr. Vergel Lattimore, where he invited us to engage ourselves. These three courses in the first year in the program had the greatest impact on my journey at Hood. Bishop Powell taught me how to capture the vision for something new, while Dr. Mbuwayesango challenged me to drill down in my exegetical work instead of basing my writings and reflections on inductive or deductive rationales and assumptions. Dr. Lattimore forced me to look within my soul and psyche to see myself, and to see myself in my work. All three classes and instructors stretched my vision, my mind, my heart and my soul. As a result, I opened to new and great possibilities as I prepared for Core III. I have seen significant changes in my pastoral counseling and pastoral services as a direct result of the D.Min. Program and my professional project, Implementing a Pragmatic Model for Teaching Pastoral Care and Crisis Counseling to Candidates in the Western North Carolina Board of Examiners of the AME Church — a project which completed my specialization in Pastoral Theology and Care. This specialization in the D.Min. program is designed to provide educational opportunities for caregivers and clinical practitioners who seek advanced theoretical and theological reflection on the contemporary practices of pastoral care and counseling. My pastoral care has changed in that I have found that I am more present with my parishioners during their crises and in fellowship. The D.Min. program at Hood Theological Seminary has brought out the best in me, for which I am thankful and more useful in Kingdom building. Rev. Dr. Clay L. Barrow is pastor of Clapp’s Chapel AME Church, Whitsett, NC and an Itinerant Elder in the Western NC Conference of the 2nd Episcopal District of the AME Church. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1993), a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University (1996), and a Doctor of Ministry from Hood Theological Seminary (2017). Hood Seminary is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
Intentional planning, practical action Cost-effective strategies for managing infrastructure By Matthew Swain, RS New buildings are a lot like new cars — they don’t usually require a lot of upkeep, at first, to keep them operating. The problem with new buildings, however, lies in the myth that I hear year after year from clients: It’s new, so it doesn’t need to be maintained right now. (Even clients with older buildings tend to forget that just because an asset is working, that doesn’t mean we ignore it until it stops working).
Every year, as a part of capital budget plan preparation for clients across the United States, I find myself on dozens of roofs. I climb up on rooftops as a part of my inspection to evaluate predictable capital assets for churches, inspecting building envelopes and mechanical systems, interiors and parking lots, among others. While conducting these inspections, all too often, I find a lack of preventative maintenance being done. Usually, these are simple tasks that are easy to build into the regular operations of the church, when anticipated. When up on roofs, I find drains clogged with leaves or pine needles. The wood fascia shows peeling paint, and wood is rotted due to years of being ignored. When left to fail, these simple tasks often build up a backlog that makes it difficult to catch up once a well-intentioned volunteer or employee notices the issues. Just as your new car comes with a maintenance schedule, all buildings should have a maintenance schedule. The difference between a new car and a new building is that you often have to create a maintenance plan for your building, while your car comes with a few boilerplate plans from the manufacturer (depending on driving conditions) and is included free of charge in your owner’s manual. churchexecutive.com
Why a maintenance roadmap matters so much Every church that owns a building, or buildings, should have a maintenance plan in place. A maintenance plan identifies short-term, recurring non-capital expenses that should be completed on some sort of regular schedule (weekly, monthly or quarterly) to help achieve the most life out of your building infrastructure. This planning document should spell out costs and tasks, along with their frequency, and will guide your finance committee to more accurate annual budgeting. By proactively maintaining your infrastructure (planning rather than reacting), your church can spend smaller dollar amounts on a regular cycle to help items such as roofing, wood surfaces, and HVAC systems last their intended design life, and possibly extend their life. Too often, churches engage in reactive “maintenance,” which really isn’t maintenance at all. By choosing to not have a maintenance plan, or by choosing to ignore or cut that budget because of other fiscal constraints, your church is setting itself up for emergencies, both in terms of your facilities and your finances. A clogged HVAC filter causes the HVAC system to work harder than necessary, thereby increasing energy use (and the monthly bill), as well as over-taxing the system. This over-use of the system will often push the unit to premature failure. One of the biggest causes of roof leaks is simply ignoring regular maintenance. More often than not, when I climb the ladder to inspect roofs, I find clogged gutters and drains, which lead to premature failure of the membrane where the dirt and leaves sit, eventually leading to leaks, including interior damage and mold. The simple, inexpensive task of getting a maintenance team member up on the roof, clearing away the debris twice a year (before and after rainy season), as well as hiring a tree-trimming firm to keep the branches of adjacent trees back off the building are much less costly than repairing the membrane around the drain. They’re also easily scheduled in advance, whereas it’s much more disruptive to move worship, administrative staff or Sunday school classes to avoid a room filled with mold and damaged drywall. An act of stewardship Maintaining facilities and budgeting adequately for maintenance is a crucial link to successful capital budget planning. When the property that supports the ministry is well-maintained, missions, ministry, education and community are all sustained by preventing emergencies and disruptions that can easily be avoided. As stewards of the dollars and infrastructure that drive God’s work on this Earth, we, as churches, need to be forward-thinking, intentional and realistic. Our prayers should be focused on praising His Glory, not trying to put off an emergency that can easily be avoided. Matthew Swain, RS, is Worship Facilities Specialist at Calabasas, Calif.-based Association Reserves [ www.reservestudy.com ]. He is a certified Reserve Specialist and has been preparing capital plans for non-profit organizations across the country for more than a decade. Swain currently serves as the national representative for Association Reserves’ worship facility clients. July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Cloud-Based, Cost-Effective Church Communications With ChMS integration, the church can get good data on who’s calling, why, and who they’re trying to reach. Whoever answers can quickly pull up that person’s information and get some background. When was the last time somebody talked with this individual or his / her family? Who at the church did he / she talk to? How can we best serve this person? What’s going on in his / her life?
In plain English, what is “the cloud”?
For the most part, church leaders don’t think much about their phone systems. More often than not, phone service and Internet is bundled and rarely thought of again … until it falls short of what the church wants it to do. From an efficiency — and even ministry! — standpoint, it makes sense to move your phone system to the cloud. (Don’t worry: it’s easier than it sounds.) Keith Goodling, Chief Strategy Officer at Intulse, explains.
What shortfalls do you see in most churches’ phone services? Goodling: Uniquely, a cloud-based system affords more mobility and access to the phone system without staff needing to be at a specific location or desk. It handles multiple calls simultaneously and quickly connects callers with the people they want to reach. A cloud-based system is also better for after-hours and emergency calls. While a staff member is on call, she might try to manage those calls with a personal cell phone. That’s not very effective or efficient. In contrast, a cloud-based system lets her use and leverage the phone system even when she’s not on campus.
Integration with church management software (ChMS) is an option. How does that work? Goodling: We’ll integrate a cloud-based phone system with any ChMS provider that allows us to. Basically, the ChMS must have an open application programming interface, or open API, and be willing to allow another piece of software to communicate with it. In the church space, we’ve already integrated with Elexio. If a church is interested in discussing integration, they just need to call us; we’ll reach out to their ChMS provider. They’re usually interested in working with us because it makes their software an even more integral tool at that church. 28
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Goodling: It’s a collection of computers — sometimes referred to as a data center — remotely located and accessible via internet connection. Take Gmail, for example. All your emails are remotely stored in hard drives far away. When you log into Gmail and open an email, it fetches that data from the cloud. Basically, our phone system routes each call the same way: through and to the cloud. So, a church doesn’t have to rely on the integrity of old copper phone lines, or even a private branch exchange (PBX), which can be very expensive to buy and maintain. With a cloud-based system, a church never has to wonder, What happens if the power goes out or if we lose our internet connection? The power didn’t go out where the cloud servers are located, and neither did the internet. (This is especially important in the event of an emergency, when churches often function as central resource or command centers.) Another benefit is when a pastor is using his personal cell phone while he’s on call. With a cloud-based solution, he can use his cell phone to get calls, but access the church’s phone system when calling somebody back. He’s reachable, but he isn’t sharing a personal number that could be called or texted at any time. Also, if Pastor A is on call, Pastors B and C can be put on back up. So, when Pastor A is busy, rather than the caller going to voicemail, the system rings Pastors B and C, simultaneously.
What happens to a church’s existing phone service if it decides to move to a cloud-based system? Goodling: We make sure the transition is seamless, with no down time. When complete, a church can discontinue its old service, which should save money every month. A lot of churches are concerned about maintaining their current phone numbers. We plan for that; they keep their existing published phone, fax and toll-free numbers. In some cases, when a church moves its phone system to the cloud, there might be a brief period of time when they have two phones side by side — their old phone and their new phone — so staff can get familiar with the new phones. Meanwhile, the old phones are fully operational until the system is ported over to the cloud. Also, before we set up the new phone system, we provide a questionnaire to assess how the church wants its call flow to work — if, for example, certain buttons need to be programmed as one-touch (frequently dialed numbers, popular extensions and so on). After a while, if a church discovers it wants its system to work a different way, we’ll make those changes free of charge. Aside from the documentation and live, video and web-based training we provide, this really makes the learning curve more manageable. We don’t want users to experience the panic of, I’ve got this call, but I don’t know how to transfer it! or I might cut off this person because I don’t know which button to push! Keith Goodling is Chief Strategy Officer at Intulse in Elizabethtown, Pa. He has been involved with technology and software applications since Y2K and has served as a cross-cultural missionary, church elder, and currently as a small group leader and coach. Every member of the team at Intulse is a small group leader or ministry worker and highly involved in their local church. Additionally, most of the core team spent 12 to 15 years building and selling a leading ChMS system. churchexecutive.com
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Protecting the Greater Good from Violence Learn the specific actions you can take, including what steps to follow during three critical time frames: BEFORE, DURING & AFTER the incident. Speakers: Suzy Loughlin, co-founder of Firestorm Albert Bahn, National Adjunct Trainer at ALICE Jim Satterfield, CEO and Co-Founder of Firestorm Watch it on-demand NOW at: www.churchexecutive.com/webinars
FREE Church Executive™ WEBINAR: 3 things you must do to cultivate generous givers in your church A culture of generosity doesn’t just happen in a church; it must be intentionally built. Join Jim Sheppard, Principal of Generis, as he discusses the three things you must do to cultivate generous givers in your church and create a generosity culture. Date: Thursday, August 31 Time: 10:30 a.m. EST
Jim Sheppard Principal, Generis info@Generis.com
Jim Sheppard is CEO & Principal of Generis, a church consulting firm passionate about helping churches inspire and cultivate generosity through giving development coaching and strategy. Jim is a student of generosity and is passionate about spreading it throughout the Church. For the last 24 years, he has devoted his life to coaching pastors, and he understands the financial challenges that churches face today. Cumulatively, Jim has partnered with his clients to raise more than $1.3 billion for local church ministry. Jim is a frequent writer and speaker on generosity and ministry funding. He is co-author of Contagious Generosity: Creating A Culture Of Giving In Your Church.
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July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
It’s time for churches to join the mobile boom By Jayson D. Bradley
The writing’s on the wall, and churches need to pay close attention. Mobile devices are here to stay — and they’re changing the world. It’s time for your ministry to take them seriously.
Most people in your church have a mobile device and use it constantly — and the ways they use it grow daily.
The state of mobile Recent statistics have shed an interesting light on smartphone use: • More than 75% of Americans own a smartphone. That percentage has more than doubled since 2011. • The average time spent on a mobile device each day is about three hours and 15 minutes. • More than half of all internet use is coming from mobile devices. • Consider this: 87% of millennials say that their smartphones never leaves their sides, and 46% of all users say that they couldn’t live without their smartphone. • Smartphone pervasiveness is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s currently projected that by 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphones in use globally, and they’ll finally outnumber fixed land lines. Mobile technology touches everything It would be difficult to come up with an industry that hasn’t been affected by mobile technology. Sixty percent of millennials believe that within five years, we’ll be doing everything on our phones. Just think about the things that people are currently using their phones to do: • 94% of users use their phones to look up local information • 80% of users have used their phones to look up reviews and compare prices while in a physical store • 75% of millennials use a mobile banking app for deposits, paying bills, and money transfers • 64% of users use their phones to look up health information • 54% of emails are opened on mobile devices • 29% of users get their news on their phones • By 2020, orders placed on smartphones are expected to exceed 10% of all fast food restaurant sales. Churches: you can’t ignore mobile There’s still a hesitancy on the part of some churches to take smartphones seriously. This might be because catering to smartphone users feels faddish, or you might even believe that you’re enabling an indulgence. It’s important to understand that this isn’t just a trend. It’s a cultural change that is only growing in significance. Most people in your church have a mobile device and use it constantly — and the ways they use it grow daily. A church app is a good place to start Mobile users are spending 85% of their time using native applications. They would prefer not to use their phone’s mobile browser if they don’t have to. This means that if all your online content only exists on your website, it’s not getting the engagement you’re hoping for. If people need to look up your website to watch your sermons, make donations, schedule events, or read your blog, they probably won’t. If you want to get people more involved and tuned in, it’s time to start considering your own church app. Church members are much more likely to watch sermons they missed, check prayer requests, and give generously when they can simply do so from your app. The world has gone mobile. Your church should, too.
If you had an iPhone in 2007, you were the proud owner of both a luxury item and a status symbol. But a lot has changed in the last decade. By 2011, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was telling tech companies to put their best people on mobile. Why? Because it was obvious that mobile computing was going to change the world — and he was right. 30
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Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, Wash. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog, JaysonDBradley.com, has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.
CHURCH FACILITY STEWARDSHIP
How running to failure affects churches’ facilities By Donovan Loomis Being intentional in managing your facilities has very little impact on how effectively the church can carry out the mission, right? Wrong. While the church’s primary mission is spreading the gospel, we have to take care of our most expensive assets if we want to have the resources, long term, to help fulfill the church’s mission. Although the physical building is not “the church,” it is the launching pad for everything we do.
Even if your facilities are new, you’re not off the hook. In fact, this is the perfect time to begin this process. Relying on the board to make all the decisions eight years down the road, with minimal historical information, is dangerous. From my experience, undocumented maintenance is the most expensive form of maintenance. I don’t doubt that good intentions are behind this behavior. Maybe giving is down, or the church needs to cut spending somewhere and, by default, it comes from the facilities. I’ve heard facility managers say, “I’m supposed to cut costs by ‘X’ percent this year” — but where does this number come from? Was there any strategic planning behind it? Do we know how much we can afford to cut without harming us in the long run? Do we have data to back up our case? At our firm, we’ve coined a process we call APPEM to help ensure you remain diligent and make sound decisions when cutting (or investing in) your facilities: #1: Assess — The first step is to look at everything you own, the condition it’s in, and the remaining useful life. Sometimes a Facility Condition Assessment is necessary to help get the full story. The cycle normally breaks down here when you get the data but never put it to use. This is why Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) solutions are popular, as they can put this data to use and help you manage it. After all, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” #2: Prioritize — Next, prioritize what repairs are critical and what can wait based on the long-term effect and limited resources you might have. #3: Plan — Planning helps you decide what you’re going to do and how you need to align your resources to make it happen. #4: Execute — At this stage, it’s all about going out and doing the work to execute on the plan. Failure to execute here is often the result of not effectively communicating your story with data to back it up. #5: Maintain — The last step isn’t so much about ending as it is an ongoing cycle. Maintaining ensures that you stay on top of preventive maintenance and corrective work orders. It’s critically important to track labor and costs associated with this work.
When I ask church leaders how they plan for their facility maintenance, it surprises me how often they nervously chuckle and tell me they just “fly by the seat of their pants.” Many point out that they don’t have the staff or budget to do much more than “put out fires.” Or, they have so much deferred maintenance that they can’t get out from behind the eight-ball. Churches don’t find themselves in a pit of deferred maintenance overnight Often, it’s the result of an action (or lack thereof) referred to as the normalization of deviance — defined as “the gradual process through which unacceptable practices or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behavior is repeated — without catastrophic results — it becomes the social norm for the organization.” Ultimately, this is what caused the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion and the BP oil spill. While these are two extreme examples, the normalization of deviance can occur in any profession. There is rarely an immediate effect when we let things slide; therefore, a church might continue to cut more and more, without seeing noticeable results. 32
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You’re NOT finished here! Where we often see the breakdown here is the communication between the leadership team and the operations team, or the ones doing the work. To help bridge this communication gap and ensure your capital plan reflects the current state of your equipment, you should have a system in place that will constantly be reassessing the information you receive as a result of this process and provide insight behind these numbers to help you make informative decisions. We shouldn’t be passive in our faith, and we shouldn’t be passive in how we manage the physical assets entrusted to us, when so much depends on how effectively we manage them. Donovan Loomis has more than three years of experience in church facility management and serves as Dude Solutions’ [https://www.dudesolutions.com] Industry Specialist focusing on religious organizations. He graduated with a BS degree in 2012 from East Carolina University.
Creating a café with purpose By Mike Bacile There are many tangible elements that go into the making of a successful church café. You need the right look. Proper layout and flow are a must. The wrong equipment, menu or products can spell disaster. But, even if you can achieve all these elements (as needed for a smooth-running, efficient café), you’ll still need one intangible element to succeed: a purpose.
When we meet with clients, we always ask the big questions first: • Why are you building this café? • What is your Vision? • What is the café’s Purpose? • What does success look like for your church café? There are several key reasons to build a café, but the most important reason we’ve found is that the café must have a purpose that speaks to your community. Your café needs to inspire your volunteers — and your community that will be supporting it — or it won’t be successful for very long. Admittedly, this is the driving vision for The Daily Java, as well: we see the difference a café with a purpose can make in a community. It brings people together, and it creates fellowship and profits that can support the purpose. Churches that are able to connect the purpose of the café with the purpose of the church are the most profitable, in terms of community and revenue. Where purpose meets profits One great example of this is a church that was committed to building wells in Africa. It was something the church was already doing, but leaders felt the profits from a café could help them achieve their goals faster. What they didn’t anticipate was the community’s reaction. The church opened its café with a goal counter hanging on the back wall, above the menus. Instead of reading “Now Serving: ___,” it read: “Wells Provided: ___.” It was amazing how the community and volunteers rallied around this purpose. The café was no longer a place for lattes and muffins; it was a vehicle to building more wells. Every week, everyone was looking to see if the counter had flipped to the next number. The volunteers working the café had a purpose: to make sure they did the best they could. The community was willing to wait in a longer line and make the church café their breakfast or coffee stop, because everyone understands that they’re all working towards a greater cause that makes a difference in people’s lives. Their latte was no longer just a $4 drink; rather, it was a donation that put the church one step closer to digging another well and changing an entire community in Africa. The pastor has done an amazing job of promoting and preaching their purpose as a community, and it shows in the number of wells they’re digging every month. churchexecutive.com
First Baptist Church (Richardson, Texas)
This is just one example of the success a café can enjoy when it’s given a purpose which volunteers and the community can really support. I always open my volunteer trainings with an important truth: You might think you’re working a café. In reality, you’re changing the world. Your café volunteers are the front line to understanding; each drink, each muffin, each person — all are an opportunity to make an impact on your café’s purpose. When volunteers understand this, you will have a much larger volunteer base and a much more connected community.
Connect with us at WFX 2017 in Dallas! On October 11 – 12, The Daily Java will be exhibiting at the WFX Conference and Expo. Stop by and say hello! We’ll also be leading a breakout session, “Creating a Café of Purpose.” If you’re on hand, please plan to join us. Find your café’s purpose If that purpose is mission trips, make sure it’s specific trips each month, not a broad vision. If the trip to Guatemala is coming up in October, and your church is raising funds that will buy books for the students in a village, make that the purpose. People in your community want to give. They want to support your vision and purpose. They just need you to connect the dots and create a specific purpose for them to embrace. At the end of the day, when the mission trip is over and your community is celebrating the success, this gives everyone an opportunity to know they gave and made a difference — no matter how small — simply by purchasing a cup of coffee. Mike Bacile is owner of The Daily Java, a wholesale coffee equipment and product provider for more than 21 years. He speaks at many conventions around the country about the 25 steps for setting up a successful café. Over the past decade, Bacile’s company has focused on making church cafés a successful part of their communities, and The Daily java has been labelled the “church coffee house experts.” July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
10 surprising church giving facts Tithe.ly collected church giving data from 2,000 churches in the past 24 months and put together a comprehensive list of both trends and misconceptions about giving. Fact #1: The summer slump is a myth. The “Summer Slump” is based on the theory that people must be in-person to give. However, with a digital giving tool, giving can actually increase throughout the summer. Fact #2: Big giving isn’t reserved for payday or end of month. The first, 15th and last day of the month are considered relatively big giving days, but the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th also are elevated days of giving. Fact #3: Sunday isn’t the only day of the week people like to give. The biggest single day of giving is Sunday; however, 67% of giving happens on all other days. People manage their money on their own schedules, while also aligning their “spend” based on when they get paid. Fact #4: People give at all times of the day and night. More than 30% of giving comes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., the late and early morning hours. This may be a time when donors are watching sermons or reading the Bible and may be inspired to give. Fact #5: Mobile giving is the clear leader, but people like options. At 57%, mobile giving is the preferred way of giving digitally. Web/ online giving accounts for 24% with text giving at 14%, 4% through administrative activities and 0.37% via kiosk. Combining all forms of mobile/web giving greatly increases the options people use to give. Fact #6: People are not afraid to give big on their mobile phone. Big gifts are not limited to checks as a preferred means of delivering funds – more than 50% of gifts processed digitally were more than $250. Fact #7: Promoting recurring giving leads to great results. “Recurring giving” happens digitally if someone sets up an auto-pay gift that happens regularly. This is a strategy to grow giving with consistent givers – 13% of gifts were given through using recurring giving. Fact #8: Consistent givers show amazing generosity. Consistent givers account for 15% of the population but 51% of total dollar giving. Eighty-five percent of givers are occasional, and make up less than 50% of total giving. Fact #9: Card-based giving is the preferred method for most. Just 3% of donors use bank account information, and 97% prefer using a card. This could be attributed to security and/or card rewards. Fact #10: Visa leads the way, but support for all brands is important. Most people give using a Visa or Mastercard, but offering AMEX and Discover is important as well. Providing as many options as possible when it comes to cards, mobile app, text and web is the recurring theme. 34
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Church attendance trends Barna recently conducted a study examining church attendance in the U.S. The report ranked large cities on attendance using three metrics: churched (very active), unchurched and dechurched. The churched designation includes those who have been to church in the past week – excluding special events such as a wedding — while unchurched represents those who have not attended a service in the past six months – also excluding special events. Dechurched classifies people who used to be active churchgoers, whether very active, somewhat active or minimally active, but they have not attended church in the past six months (excluding special events). The surveys were conducted via telephone and online to a random sample of 76,505 adults. The information was collected over a seven-year period. Overall, 38% of Americans were active churchgoers, 43% of people were unchurched, and 34% are dechurched. The most churched cities in America are: Chattanooga, TN (59%); Salt Lake City, UT (59%); Augusta / Aiken, GA (57%); Baton Rouge, LA (57%); and Birmingham / Anniston / Tuscaloosa, AL (56%). The most unchurched cities are: San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose, CA (60%); Reno, NV (59%); Springfield / Holyoke, MA (57%); Boston / Manchester, MA (56%); and Las Vegas, NV (55%). San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose, CA (47%) topped the list of the highest dechurched cities, with the remaining four as follows: Boston / Manchester, MA (46%); Seattle / Tacoma, WA (45%); Portland / Auburn, ME (45%) and Springfield / Holyoke, MA (43%).
Financial motivations of Christians
Christian Growth Index Annual Report
The Generosity Gap, a Barna report produced along with Thrivent Financial, studied the drivers of Christian giving and generosity. Overall, half of Christians think of others when identifying a financial goal for life. However, one-third of Christians are self-focused with their financial priorities. The report divided people in to two groups: Givers, who are motivated by “others-focused goals” such as providing for family (43%), giving charitably (23%), serving God with their money (20%), or leaving a legacy for others (14%); and Keepers, those motivated by “self-focused” goals, such as supporting the lifestyle they want (42%), to be content (37%), to be debt-free (16%), or earning enough to show they work hard (5%). The study categorized age groups as Elders, Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials. Overall, 55% of Elders are Givers, with 25% being Keepers. Boomers are 50% Givers and 33% Keepers, Gen-Xers are 46% Givers and 37% Keepers, and Millennials are 56% Givers and 35% Keepers. The goal of “providing for a family” was a main goal for Millennials (31%) compared to 18% Gen-Xers and Boomers, with 13%. This helped to push them more towards Givers. Elders were also a higher percentage of Givers, having a higher percentage goal of “serving God with their money” at 19%. Keepers, at 45%, earn more than $75,000 a year, while 39% of Givers earned that amount. This shows that Givers aren’t necessarily giving due to more income. However, Keepers were more likely to live in a city, with higher costs (37% vs. 30% of Givers). Givers are married at a higher rate (65%) than Keepers (51%), and also have children under 18 living at home at a higher percentage (47% to 41% Keepers). Thirty-three percent of Givers donated $500 or more in the past year to either a church or nonprofit, vs. 22% of Keepers. Keepers also were more likely to donate $2,500 or more (14% for Keepers vs. 8% for Givers), and give 10% or more of income (25% vs. 13%). 42% believe that every member [of their church] should give some amount. Thirty percent of Keepers believe this. They also believe at a higher rate that Christians should give their church 10% of their income (30% vs. 22%). Keepers tend to associate generosity with emotional or relational support (37% vs. 24% of Givers), and Givers believe serving, at 36% (vs. Keeper’s 27%), is what they associate with generosity.
The Christian Digital Research Group recently released a brief of the Christian Growth Index Annual Report. The index, created in 2009 by Global Media Outreach, tracks believers starting three months after they decide to follow Jesus. It is intended to track spiritual growth, and if daily activities were affected by their decision. In the 2016 survey, 295,136 new and recommitting believers were contacted via email after they visited a Gospel Presentation by Global Media Outreach and provided their contact information. Most (23, 966) people responded, in various languages. In their studies, Global Media Group has chosen to focus on six areas as possible indicators of someone following Jesus: Assurance – Does the new believer understand the decision they made and are certain they believe and accept Jesus as their Savior; World View – Are the new believer’s thoughts and actions shaped by God’s Spirit – do they turn to God for help with decisions; Scripture Engagement – Is the new believer reading or listening to the Bible and how often; Worship – Is the new believer engaged in Church community and worshipping in community; Prayer – Is the new believer talking to God and how often; Sharing Faith with others – Has the new believer shared their faith with others and how often. The results of the index are as follows: 86% are very certain of knowing Christ; 59.2% attend church on a weekly basis; 78.7% have daily thoughts/changes in actions; 54.4% spend more than 10 minutes in prayer; 75.1% read the Bible at least once a week; and 91.3% have shared their faith. International responses showed that 59% of respondents attend church weekly, 75% report reading their Bibles weekly or daily, churchexecutive.com
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Bible-minded cities Barna, with the American Bible Society, conducted a study that focused on Americans’ interactions with the Bible – and how it varies from region to region. The study was based on interviews with 76,505 adults over a 10-year period. Barna and the American Bible Society rank the top media markets in the U.S. based on level of Bible engagement. The term “Bible-minded” is identified as those who have read the Bible within the past week and who believe strongly believe it is accurate in its teachings. In 2017, Chattanooga, TN is the top Bible-minded city in America, at 50%. Chattanooga also held this position in the 2015 survey. Birmingham / Anniston / Tuscaloosa, AL is the runner-up city, at 49%. Roanoke / Lynchburg, VA came in third at 38%, with the fourth spot held by the Tri-Cities area of Alabama at 48%. Shreveport, LA (47%) came in fifth, and the following ranked in order of: Charlotte, NC: (46%); Springfield, MO (46%); Little Rock / Pine Bluff, AR (44%); Knoxville, TN (44%); and Greenville / Spartanburg / Anderson, SC / Asheville, NC (44%). As for the least Bible-minded cities, the No. 1 city for the second year in a row was Albany / Schenectady / Troy, NY at 10%. Boston, MA / Manchester, NH are in second at 11%, and Providence, RI / New Bedford, MA is in third at 12%. For fourth place and beyond, the order was as follows: Las Vegas, NV (14%); San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose, CA (15%); Hartford / New Haven, CT (16%); Salt Lake City, UT (17%); and New York, NY (17%). 36
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Daily life of religious Americans Pew Research Center conducted a study focusing on religion in the everyday life of Americans, as a part of its ongoing U.S. Religious Landscape Study. Overall findings showed that those who are highly religious (identified by attending religious services once a week and praying every day) are more likely to volunteer and are more involved with their communities. They are also more engaged with extended family. These Americans were also happier with the general state of their lives, with 40% stating they were “very happy,” compared to 29% of less religious adults stating they were very happy. Forty-seven percent of highly religious Americans saw extended family once or twice a month, compared to the less religious (30%) who said they see extended family at least once a month. Sixty-five percent of highly religious adults donated time or money to the poor within the past week, compared to 41% of less religious adults. Beyond these findings, both the highly religious and less religious responded similarly in regards to health, social consciousness and interpersonal interactions. Forty-three percent of the less religious group say they lost their temper in the past week, compared to 41% of the highly religious group. Thirty-nine percent of the highly religious stated they had
told a white lie within the week, compared to 45% of the not highly religious. Percentages were nearly the same when asked if they had overeaten that week (58% for both), or exercised at least three times in the week (43% for the not highly religious, 44% for the highly religious). When asked if they recycled, 47% of the highly religious stated they did, while 46% of the not highly religious stated they participated in recycling. When purchasing goods, 26% of highly religious people and 27% of not highly religious people considered the company’s environmental record. Twenty-six percent of the not highly religious and 28% of the highly religious considered employee wages in purchasing decisions.
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3/1/16EXECUTIVE 5:36 PM July / August 2017 • CHURCH
Accurate, natural sound: essential to a true worship experience By Vincent Gabriel Antonini, CTS
Close your eyes. You’re at a worship service. The visuals are gone, and all you have left is sound.
That’s where the information happens.
ccordingly, in any church, the sound engineer is central to the outcomes of the worship experience (good or bad). The sound engineer volunteer or professional needs to be the central cog in the wheel of activities. All activities in these types of facilities rely on sound, whether it’s a choir, worship band, pastor’s sermon, or a video playback from a foreign mission trip. There needs to be a person to lead this process. It’s the responsibility of the sound engineer to facilitate the techniques to ensure a successful production, whether it’s instructing the field team how to use boom and bodyworn microphones in harsh conditions, or working with the band to achieve a clear monitor mix for the band. The sound engineer needs to know what the challenges are — why someone isn’t comfortable speaking; why someone seems shy near the microphone; why the band is so loud. They can ask themselves questions like, Does the pastor have the right microphone on? and Do I need to teach proper microphone technique to all users? To ensure success, the sound engineer must mimic a Christ-like approach. If he/she doesn’t, the production may derail. The engineer needs to remain calm and deal with multiple personalities. And really, we all want the same thing: premium sound. We want a service that sounds as if there are no microphones at all; it’s just accurate, and intelligible. So, how can we get there? When it comes to miking a worship band, using proper techniques can ensure premium sound for the vocalist and band. Every microphone should receive the same amount of care and consideration as the pastor’s microphone. While some members may prefer the sermon from the pastor, others may desire the hymns and sounds from the choir or worship band. 38
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It’s ideal for every church to have a simple, elegant solution to capture the pure sound of its live elements. The bottom line is: If you want premium sound consistently, it will require organizational cooperation. Sound is invisible, and typically only bad sound is noticed. When microphones do not possess properties such as on/off axis linearity at all frequencies and angles, a fast impulse response, and high SPL handling, we notice the inaccuracies and frequency shifts that occur due to the microphone’s inability to produce a 360-degree flat frequency response. The ear and brain are hard-wired to receive accurate sound. Thus, when the sound becomes unnatural and unintelligible, it normally ends with the user experiencing “listening fatigue” prematurely. Try to avoid comb filtering, or instances where a source might be compromised due to the direct versus indirect sound capture. In other words, direct sound — along with unwanted reflected source sound — might be entering the same microphone at different times. The filtering that arises when a signal is added to itself after having been delayed in time is called a comb filter. Comb filtering is rarely intentional, but it’s heard all the time in sound productions, where it can arise both acoustically and electrically. This situation is a daunting task to remedy for the engineer, and often results in an unintelligible experience for the congregation. In order for this delay to not affect the sound field at the microphone position, the reflection must be attenuated by at least 10 dB and preferably 15 dB. Try to minimize reflected sound. Mr. Proximity Depending upon how a microphone is calibrated at the factory for proximity effect (low energy buildup), this can cause speech to be unintelligible. So, don’t get the microphone too close to the pastor, or the speech might become muffled. Tonal balance is attained through using the correct distance specified in the manufacturer’s directional microphone’s distance calibration. Pressure-gradient microphones should be calibrated for different uses, such as a lecture or using a boom microphone for dialogue recording. One setting does not work for all, and once low energy is recorded, it is close to impossible to remove. It is like trying to un-bake a cake! Instrument know-how Knowing the dynamic style of your musicians and the directional radiation pattern of their instrument is vital in helping you properly mic their instruments. Typically, a super cardioid microphone mounted directly on the instrument is ideal, especially when it has a linear on/ off-axis frequency response. This mic will give the engineer more gain before feedback and may assist the engineer to attain a more concise, clear mix. A supercardioid microphone like the 4099G is a fantastic choice for acoustic guitar, especially because we can experiment easily with the microphone sound capture simply by angling via the gooseneck mount. This will give us options regarding the tone we prefer from the instrument. The d:vote 4099 instrument solution
Diagram by Jürgen Mayer churchexecutive.com
offers mounting for most instruments as well as wireless adaptors for thirdparty manufacturers. We want an acoustic guitar to sound like six strings. So, we also need our microphones to have a lightning-fast impulse response so we don’t miss any nuance of the resonating strings. Also, using directional microphones would allow the engineer more level control over the sources. This approach is more deductive and can let you design your event by what you wish to reject from each microphone. It’s what I like to call “designing by rejection” — essentially, making sound decisions primarily based on what we don’t want to hear. Another sound trap is using a specific microphone because it changes the complexion of the instrument. An example would be using a kick drum microphone because it has a rise in the low frequency. It sounds big when soloed; most times, though, we end up cutting out the artificial lowend. Why? Because you shouldn’t need to boost the low energy of a lowenergy instrument! In other words, break the mic muscle memory; use microphones that are ideal for all types of sound capture. My suggestion is to leave the EQ for deductive-type applications and let the microphones do their job. If angled correctly, your mix balance will sound amazing and, most of all, natural. Now, consider tech tools that can help For live sound engineers in the house-of-worship market, tools such as the Smaart System Measurement Acoustic Analysis Real-time Tool (SMAART), or SIM from Meyer Sound Laboratories — both Audio Analyzers — can be coupled with an accurate microphone, such as the DPA4006A, and used to tune a sound system to prevent feedback conditions. So, performers can accurately hear themselves and their band mates, letting them perform optimally. This ensures the microphones’ response at all positions on the stage are working in conjunction with the reinforcement system. You’re getting a true image of how to set the EQ curves of all those different angles. Here, the linearity comes back into play, because the microphone that’s onstage comes back onstage after it comes out of the speakers and reflects off walls, chairs, and other elements of the facility. What does that sound like coming into the microphone at a strange angle? If there is a stray frequency that causes issues off-axis and is, for example, at 3k, then we need to reduce that frequency, which will then result in important information for intelligibility being cut out. If the system is tuned properly, then we can retain the important information that we need to hear optimally. What I’ve described is an all-too-common situation. Realistically, however, many churches are subject to budget restrictions when it comes to their acoustic design and equipment setup. That said, it’s important (and certainly cost-effective) to have a strong training program in place. Many resources are available online for free, and a lot of vendors offer these sorts of tutorials and training at no charge. One great example, of course, is DPA’s Mic University. When it comes to equipment selection on a strict budget, be sure to buy the best microphone you can afford that possesses the proper attributes that are needed for your production. After that, invest in the best-quality console and speaker reinforcement system you can afford. You want to follow this buying sequence because it’s difficult and timeconsuming to make a below-average microphone sound good enough, even if your sound system is a premium one. But, a great microphone can and will make an average system sound very good and with a high degree of intelligibility, which is the name of the game regarding the spoken word. churchexecutive.com
Putting the lion’s share of your budget into the microphones is your first line of defense against unintelligibility. DPA is world-renowned for delivering unbeatable natural/accurate sound. Along with the array of mounting accessories offered, this ensures an uncluttered stage area. Strategic microphone selection and placement play a vital role in successful productions. Sound is invisible and, when unnoticed, is most likely because it sounds great! One last rant All too often, we invest time and money into mission trips that are solely intended to assist the outreach of the church and to help people in many unstable areas of the world. How many times have you been in church waiting to view video of a mission trip, just to be very disappointed in the sound capture? It’s not always the fault of the recordist; however, great microphones are not the only answer. Often, there simply aren’t enough hands on deck, and too much gear to be operated. The result is decent video quality and horrid sound capture. Well, there’s some great news — especially if you record video with your iPhone or Mac/PC laptop. DPA recently released the Digital Audio Interfaces, which are very compact and lightweight. The specifications of the are greater than any DPA microphone made. This results in a “no-compromise” premium-quality sound capture through your iPhone or laptop. It can be configured through the DPA APP for stereo, dual or mono functionality. It also has four presets and hi-pass filtering on each channel to help reduce unwanted low energy from your recording. The best part is that you can lock out the gain settings so the video team is guaranteed to get spectacular sonic detail. It can also be paired with most DPA microphones, including the , and microphone families. Therefore, you can easily have a traditional broadcast interview setup with a boom mic and body-worn microphone — or a stereo pair of 4061, for example — to capture live music or film sound. Another possibility could be a pair of DPA 4011 microphones on a concert piano for stellar results right into your iPhone. Additionally, the d:vice is a core appliance and will work with most third-party apps and software programs. For the tech-heads, the has 114dB of dynamic range and can attain a high sampling rate of 96kHz. Hey, your next mission trip or recital can now sound professional and be used by volunteers and professionals alike! Getting great sound is subjective These suggestions are meant to be a good starting point. Remember: a confident performer will always sound better! In a church, it’s all about information. We can close our eyes and get the information we need just from the sound — and that’s why it really needs to be accurate. Thank you for listening! — Gabriel Vincent Gabriel Antonini, CTS, is National Sales Support/Business Development Manager for DPA Microphones in USA.
July / August 2017 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
NEVER AGAIN: BEYOND INSURANCE
Moving beyond insurance — and staying there! Stay “risk aware” or beware! By Michael J. Bemi
Our series on moving “beyond insurance” has identified and examined all the critical elements and related processes to enable an insured entity to “move beyond” insurance. Reality dictates, however, that even if you substantially self-insure your risk (i.e., employ “alternative risk financing”), and no matter what form of self-insurance you pursue (individual self-insured account; participation in a self-insured pool; captive insurance company; risk retention group; cell captive; etc. — “alternative risk mechanisms”), you’re still employing / buying insurance … just from yourself!
Here are just some matters that church bodies should be aware of and monitor: Employment practices, and discrimination in general: As a function of our Constitution’s First Amendment “anti-establishment” and “free exercise” clauses ultimately leading to the “ministerial exception” / “ecclesiastical exception” doctrine, plus the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and its counterparts in many of the states — plus, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) — church bodies have a great deal of latitude to make hiring / firing and facilities use decisions that would otherwise be considered illegal discrimination if undertaken by non-religious entities. However, this is an area constantly being legally challenged. It would be foolish to assume that religious entities are always “bulletproof” and can do whatever they please in these arenas of employment practices and facilities use. (Confer with your legal counsel for more information.) Use of drones: Drones can be very valuable for safely inspecting church steeples and roofs and / or premises safety conditions. However, I know of at least one fatality that occurred at a religious premise involving a malfunctioning drone. Make sure your operators are trained; that they comply with any state and federal drone use guidelines; and that your drones are properly and regularly maintained. Transgender issues: Your doctrine may not — or may — provide some accommodation for and acceptance of transgender people. Notwithstanding your doctrinal position, they might arrive at your place of worship for guidance and consolation. Are you prepared to address such circumstances in a fashion that doesn’t invite a lawsuit? For example, would you have restroom facilities or a related protocol that a transgender individual could make use of?
This realization compels you to always remember an axiom of alternative risk financing; namely, the value of self-insurance completely disappears if you allow your total cost of risk to exceed the premiums you would pay simply to purchase comparable commercial insurance in the standard marketplace. [Note that your total cost of risk, or TCOR, is equal to the losses you retain, plus the selfinsurance administrative expenses you incur (for risk control; claims management; special regulatory, tax and / or accounting services), plus the cost of premiums you pay for excess coverage.] Probably the biggest threat to your TCOR outstripping commercially available premiums is the failure to constantly and vigilantly remain “risk aware.”
So, what does “risk aware” mean? “Risk aware” is the process of consistently assessing changes in your operational environment, to prevent (to the extent humanly possible) being “blind-sided” by a risk(s) you didn’t contemplate and which are now costing you a great deal in newly retained losses.
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • July / August 2017
Church police forces: At least one faith community in the South has received local government approval to establish and maintain its own police force. One needn’t search too long to find multiple current examples nationwide of alleged police professional malfeasance. If you’re considering this option, do you think you have the appropriate knowledge, experience, training and resources to do so without creating additional serious liability situations for your church body? Cyber ministries / strategies: One could easily argue that, in this day and age, your congregation is “missing the boat” if it doesn’t at least consider using the Internet and social media to expand and enrich its ministries. Nevertheless, we all recognize the associated and inherent dangers of unplanned, unsupervised and uncontrolled use of the Internet and social media. I’m sure you now get the idea: to move beyond insurance, you must stay risk aware! 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. churchexecutive.com
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