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NOV / DEC • 2015

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

Chris

Hodges Doing Church Differently 6

PLUS Year-end tax & portfolio planning for pastors 12 How technology affects worship space design 14 7 best practices for reaching your church’s budget goals 18


FROM THE EDITOR

Actually, you can be in two places at once

churchexecutive.com Volume 14, No. 6 4742 N. 24th St., Ste. 340 Phoenix, AZ 85016 • 800.541.2670 CEO Director of Advertising Sales Judi Victor, ext. 125 jvfly@churchexecutive.com

As you flip through this issue of Church Executive, you’ll find a lot of great content on the most in-demand church management topics, from construction and design, to accounting, staff management and more.

Publisher Steve Kane, ext. 207 steve@churchexecutive.com Editor In Chief RaeAnn Slaybaugh, ext. 202 rslaybaugh@churchexecutive.com

But, keep in mind that there’s also a lot of really great content you can only find in our digital issue. In the publishing world, much is made of print-versus-digital. So often, this “debate” is framed as an all-or-nothing proposition — but, for our part, that’s not what the optimal solution looks like. Here’s why. The print magazine format has always resonated extremely well with our busy church leaders, and it continues to do so. Our annual Church Executive Reader Survey confirms this; we know that each issue of the magazine finds its way to multiple desks and inboxes, besides its original recipient’s. That said, our staff and contributors also recognize — and embrace — the power of digital content. The appeal is pretty clear: Our digital issue [ www.churchexecutive.com/ digital-edition ] can also easily be shared with other members of the leadership team, and the interactivity — the ability to watch videos, click on links to more in-depth resources, etc. — is a big plus. With this in mind, we wanted to take a minute to remind you that our November / December 2015 digital issue includes some really great feature articles you can only find there. Connecting congregants to inspiration with assistive listening — If members come to your church and can’t hear the messages that inspire them, or if they lose the feeling of connectedness with other worshippers, they might very well stop attending. The problem is, very few of them will speak up before they disappear. In this helpful installment of the “Breaking Barriers: Hearing Accessibility” Series, author Maile Keone zeroes in how your church can use technology to accommodate the astounding 20 percent of American adults who have a measurable degree of hearing loss. With her plain-English overview of the different types of assistive listening systems available, you’ll be able to decide which one best suits your unique culture. churchexecutive.com

You’ll also find an article by David Sanford that helps pastors and church executives navigate their options for graduate courses in the Bible, theology and traditional ministry. Sanford is a former associate pastor and executive editor of Bibles whose career is now with a Christian university. He also contributes regularly to the Church Executive “Continuing Education” Series. So, he has a thing or two to contribute to the topic, for sure.

Contributing Editor Rez Gopez-Sindac 602.405.5317 rgopez-sindac@churchexecutive.com Senior Art Director Stephen Gamble, ext. 133 sgamble@churchexecutive.com Account Executive Shannon McCloughy, ext. 207 smccloughy@churchexecutive.com Accounting Manager Kevin G Boorse kboorse@powertrademedia.com

EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC

Finally, church risk management thought leader and “Safety Strategies” Series contributor Peter A. Persuitti shares some key takeaways from an annual risk management report compiled by his company — the only insurance broker on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Be sure to check out his highly sought-after expertise.

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

We know you get a lot of emails. We do, too. But, this particular one is worth opening. If you haven’t already done so, sign up on our homepage (www.churchexecutive.com) to receive each digital issue automatically as it’s published. Or, simply visit www.churchexecutive.com/digital-edition to read the current digital issues and browse our archives.

John C. Mrazek III Executive Pastor Pathways Church | Denver, CO Sam S. Rainer III Senior Pastor West Bradenton Baptist Church | Bradenton, FL Mark Simmons Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA Eric Spacek Senior Manager GuideOne Insurance | West Des Moines, IA

All the best,

A publication of:

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

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

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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November / December 2015

CONTENTS

6

COVER STORY The CE Interview

11 6

CHRIS HODGES: DOING CHURCH DIFFERENTLY Senior Pastor | Church of the Resurrection | Birmingham, AL

By Rez Gopez-Sindac

CHURCH MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (ChMS) FORUM

26

8 KEY QUESTIONS: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR YOUR CHURCH

27

CHOOSING THE RIGHT ChMS = NOT CHOOSING A ChMS AT ALL

28

ChMS: ASK “WHY?” BEFORE YOU BUY

29

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR A NEW ChMS?

30

By Hal Hallum

By Michael Jordan

14

By Sam Batterman

By John Connell and Emily Kanter

SERIES PROTECTING CHILDREN IN THE CHURCH

11

FINANCES & ADMINISTRATION FOR CHURCH LEADERS

12

By Patricia Carlson

By Brian Doughney, CFA, CFP® 4

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36

DESIGNING WORSHIP AREAS

14

CHURCH ACCOUNTING BASICS

16

SCIENCE BEHIND THE SEAT

17

CREATING A CULTURE OF GENEROSITY

18

INSURANCE ESSENTIALS

20

INTELLIGENT CHURCH GIVING

22

FINANCE & LENDING TRENDS

24

THE SPIRIT OF STAINED GLASS

31

CHURCH FACILITY STEWARDSHIP

32

CHURCH TRANSPORTATION

34

By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA with Doug Hood

48

By Tammy Bunting

By Amanda Opdycke

By Derek Gillette

By Dave Sours

By Joel Mikell & Derek Hazelet By Dan Mikes

By Andrew Cary Young By Tim Cool

By Mike Jones

45

RISK MANAGEMENT REPORT CBO: Collaboration = Better Off By Peter A. Persuitti

STREAMING MADE SIMPLE

35

PASTOR-FRIENDLY SOUND SYSTEMS

36

Connecting congregants to inspiration with assistive listening By Maile Keone

SAFETY STRATEGIES

38

NEVER AGAIN

ENGAGING SPACES

40

CHURCH COMMUNICATION TOOLS

42

CONTINUING EDUCATION

44

By Andrew Ng

BREAKING BARRIERS: HEARING ACCESSIBILITY

By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller

By Church Mutual Insurance Company By Allison Parrott with Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP

46 48

By Michael J. Bemi

DEPARTMENTS From the Editor

3

By Brooke Temple

Which “more” do you need? By David Sanford churchexecutive.com

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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THE CE INTERVIEW

CHRIS HODGES Senior Pastor | Church of the Highlands | Birmingham, AL By Rez Gopez-Sindac

Chris Hodges has a heart for training and equipping pastors and leaders. Every year, he and his team host the Grow Leadership Intensive where they provide practical training for church leaders from around the world.

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CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

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THE CE INTERVIEW

In February 2001, Chris Hodges founded Church of the Highlands with a launch team of 34 people. Today, nearly 15 years later, around 30,000 attendees gather to worship each weekend in its multiple locations throughout Central Alabama. By “multiple,” we mean 12 church plants — with several more in the pipeline. That the campuses are built with cash — without any capital campaigns or fundraisers — is just one of a number of things that makes Church of the Highlands different. “We’re not trying to break any records; we’re simply leading people at the speed of their participation and generosity,” says Hodges. “Church of the Highlands is totally debt-free, allowing us to do everything with cash and to be very aggressive in our generosity around the world.” Hodges, 52, is cofounder of ARC (Association of Related Churches). He also founded GROW, a coaching network for pastors, and Highlands College, a school that trains and launches students into full-time ministry careers. Hodges is the author of two books: Fresh Air and Four Cups. When you started Church of the Highlands, what kind of church did you foresee? From a missional standpoint, we wanted to be different. We focus on helping people fulfill what God has intended for them. What we do well is take a person on a spiritual journey. And it’s not ambiguous ­ ­— we make it very clear, simple and doable. People are excited because their spiritual lives are continually growing. Since the beginning of time, God has always wanted for people to know Him, find freedom, discover their purpose, and make a difference. These steps are what we track — and we track them well. From a business standpoint, I’ve always thought that things could be done differently in church, particularly when it comes to money. I never liked campaigns. Instead of asking people [for money], we model stewardship in our church finances in the same way that we should operate our individual finances. We should never spend everything we have. We’ve always operated with a margin. Our current salaries are at 23 percent of our budget; whereas the national average is about 40 percent. When people see that, they actually give more. They trust me to steward our funds wisely, and I want to do it in a way that earns their respect. I’m not against debt, but I’m against getting addicted to it! There are times when debts can be beneficial. There was one time when we did a $30-million construction project, but we only had $16 million saved, so we borrowed some money but we paid it off as soon as we could. We don’t believe we’ll ever do it again. Now, we’re debt-free and we’re able to build with cash. Because we have a margin, when tragedy happens — such as when a tornado hit Alabama in 2011 — we are able to give to support recovery efforts. Margins give you a lot of breathing room. What systems, structures and strategies did you create to make your “dream church” a reality? Systems are just what you use to deliver your vision; they either work or they don’t. Our systems for helping people know God, find freedom, churchexecutive.com

discover their purpose, and make a difference is our life-giving church services. Our strategy for pastoring people is the small groups. We have 37,000 people who attend our small groups — more than the number of people who come to our Sunday services. We have a four-Sunday growth track that help people discover their purpose, and then we have our Dream Team to help people make a difference. On the business side, we wrote it in our bylaws that the budget of our church would be 90 percent of the previous year’s income. In other words, we automatically have a 10-percent margin coming into the year. We also wrote in borrowing restrictions. We have systems that ensure the business side of church is run according to our values. In what areas of your life have you experienced the biggest growth since founding Church of the Highlands? Honestly, I had to continually grow in all areas of my life. I constantly learn from churches that do things better than us. In fact, I require every person on my team who leads a ministry or department to connect with three people in the nation who do their jobs as well or better than them. I had to grow in my speaking and leading. I had to grow spiritually. I had to grow biblically. What may surprise some people is that the greatest challenge has been to keep growing. I could see how someone could just sit back and put things on cruise control, but that’s not my personality. If you study any successful product or business in America, you’ll find that they usually never get bigger than what they were around year 12 to 15. In the same way, most churches never get larger than their size around those same years. They just stop growing. That’s why we intentionally try to grow through all seasons.

“What we do well is take a person on a spiritual journey. And it’s not ambiguous — we make it very clear, simple and doable.” Each time you launch a new campus, it gets filled right away! What strategies can you share with other church leaders in this area? When we launched our church, we also formed a church-planting organization called ARC (Association of Related Churches) that now has planted 540 churches across America. At ARC, we teach church planters eight things that make a great church plant. We use the same checklist when planting new campuses. These eight things are: 1) You have to prepare the area spiritually through prayer and fasting. 2) You have to build a great team. We’re very good at building a team; in fact, we won’t even plant a new campus without a very strong team. 3) The location is absolutely critical. 4) How you communicate the launch 5) Timing — some seasons are better than others. Not all months and weeks are the same. 6) You can’t give people a lesser product than what they get from the “main campus.” 7) If you finance it heavily on the front end, it actually ends up being cheaper. 8) Do fewer things extremely well. We’re not acting like God doesn’t have a role in church growth — we definitely give Him glory and we definitely pray. But there’s definitely a “formula.” In 12 cities we’re considering right now, all of these factors have to a “yes” before we do it. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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THE CE INTERVIEW

“Pray First” is a key principle for Church of the Highlands. Hodges leads the finale service of one of the church’s biannual seasons of personal and corporate prayer called “21 Days of Prayer.”

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THE CE INTERVIEW

“I think what other churches can learn is how patient we are! You can become anxious and build too small, and you can have so much money put into it you can’t afford to do any good ministry.” You built Church of the Highlands and all succeeding construction projects with cash. What can other churches learn from this? What we like to do is grow the church in a portable venue where the overhead is very low. It takes only about 20 percent of the church income to run that church, so all that other money can be leveraged toward its future. We stay portable within six years and grow to five services or to about 4,000 people before we build a permanent location. I think what other churches can learn is how patient we are! You can become anxious and build too small, and you can have so much money put into it you can’t afford to do any good ministry. From year one, your church has continued to surpass expectations. How do you explain this? We do things well, we pray, and we fast twice a year. There are four things that I think cause churches to grow exponentially. 1) T  he God factor — what probably surprises people the most is what a praying church we are. 2) Life-giving systems to deliver your mission. 3) The right team — if you have the right people, you can do some great things. 4) The right culture— if your culture is not life-giving, nothing is going to work.

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How do you think straight and stay grounded in times of stress and even amid success? I don’t want to sound boastful, but I’m a very disciplined person. I’m very faithful to my personal Sabbath and to my family time. I’m very intentional about my breaks. I know my limits. There are are people who speak into my life and help me watch my schedule and make travel decisions. I’m very intentional in those areas because I’ve seen so many casualties already. One thing every leader needs to do is to stay humble. Don’t think too much of yourself and do not promote yourself. My pastor’s dad used to say that a man on his face can’t fall from that position. What is your approach to succession planning? We’re preparing more people than we would need. If something were to happen to me or when I retire, they could lead the church. We want to keep the church in a financially healthy place, so it’s not a burden to the next generation. And we prepare a ton of leaders. Still, God will ultimately choose the person, and it will be clear to everyone. It will have to be someone who can handle something this large, and if there’s no financial burden it will be fairly easy. I think the future leader will be someone internally.

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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THE CE INTERVIEW

Once a year, Highlands hosts “Serve Day,” which draws thousands of people across Alabama to spend a day serving others right in their own communities. Hodges visits many of the projects where he gets to connect with people and share God’s love.

What practical tips do you want to share with today’s church planters? Don’t do ministry alone. You don’t have to know everything, but surround yourself with people who do know. Be a breath of fresh air. Be empowering, believe in people, be passionate, don’t be difficult — these are the things people are attracted to. What is the future of Church of the Highlands as you see it? We’ll keep building life-giving churches in every community in Alabama. I see 25 to 40 campuses launched in my lifetime. Every day, I’m amazed at God’s supernatural favor.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT CHURCH OF THE HIGHLANDS Year established: 2001 Lead Pastor: Chris Hodges Denomination: Nondenominational Number of locations: 12 Number of staff: 240 Combined weekly attendance: 30,807 2016 budget: We “budget” on 90 percent of the previous year’s income. The 2015 income is $72 million, so the budget for 2016 is 90 percent of that. The projected income for 2016 is around $86 million.

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Protecting Children in the Church

The true cost of stewardship 3 reasons why cost isn’t everything when it comes to screening By Patricia Carlson

Ministries have a bold task. You want — and need — to be good stewards of your communities and congregations. That can often lead to conflicting methodologies when it comes to balancing budgets. While you want to devote the majority of your money to your missions, outreach and education programs, you also understand the importance of recruiting quality volunteers and employees, and prioritizing hiring procedures. This, of course, has a dollar value, too. Background screening is one of the most important and effective tools ministries have at their disposal to keep their employees, visitors, volunteers, children, finances and other private information safe. It’s wellknown among church leaders that background checks are the primary line of defense against fending off predators who might do damage to your congregation and its hard-earned reputation. Yet, this invaluable hiring instrument is routinely put on the budgetary chopping block because of its supposed high price tag. The true cost of stewardship, though, can be seen and felt when ministries use the cheapest screening agency available or forego background checks altogether. churchexecutive.com

Here are three reasons why cost isn’t everything when it comes to background screening. 1) Cost doesn’t equal quality You might be tempted to accept the lowest bid from the screening firm which promises you “instant results.” Know this: There is no single database of criminal information available, and instant checks with criminal records do not exist. Criminal records should never be instantly returned; this shows that the information was not verified. Criminal records should take 24 to 48 hours on average to verify and return. In some instances, a “No Record” result might take 24 to 48 hours to return because of the initial possible hits found on the national database result. Prices for background checks can vary greatly. Ministries that are serious about finding a quality Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) should consider using the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) as a starting point. Consumer Reporting Agencies that are NAPBS-accredited must pass a series of rigorous tests that ensure they exercise ethical business practices, comply with the FCRA, as well as state and international consumer protection laws as they relate to the background screening profession. 2) Cheap might actually be illegal If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is certainly true in the background screening industry. Benton Mobley, Director of Compliance for Protect My Ministry, says some screening agencies will promise big returns for a fee as low as $3. The problem is that these companies might be breaking the law and delivering unverified results “What good does an unverified background report do for a client on a generic name like ‘Mike Clark’?,” Mobley asks. “They’re going to get back 27 pages of possible records, when in reality, their candidate is clear. The client has now wasted money and time, and will probably not hire the qualified candidate because of a $3 national background check, instead of paying for a verified national product. “It’s OK to be cheap when you buy sunglasses, but not when you buy other things,” he adds. “[This includes] a background report.” Furthermore, providing unverified results is illegal. You definitely don’t want your church making a hiring decision based on information that was illegally obtained in the first place. 3) New hires cost more Turnover — even among volunteers — is expensive. The entire recruiting process (both direct and indirect) can cost a church hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, per volunteer. That grows exponentially — to the tune of double a person’s annual salary — for salaried employees, especially those at a managerial or executive level. Ministries simply cannot afford to have a rotating roster of volunteers or employees. It’s expensive, disruptive to your culture, and takes time away from more important tasks. Remember: It will cost you significantly more to replace a bad hire than to ensure you’re getting the right person from the start. Patricia Carlson is a Florida-based freelance writer for Protect My Ministry in Tampa, FL. www.protectmyministry.com

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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FINANCES & ADMINISTRATION for Church Leaders

Year-end tax & portfolio planning for pastors By Brian Doughney, CFA, CFP ®

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CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

November and December are a busy time of year for most pastors. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the liturgical calendar begins anew with the season of Advent. As preparations are made to celebrate the coming of the Christ child, extra services need to be planned, multiple sermons need to be written, rehearsals are in full swing for the Christmas pageant, and pastors are also ministering to those for whom the holidays are not such a joyous time. Amidst all these preparations, pastors need to set aside some time to focus on year-end financial details that have tax implications for 2015 and 2016. Don’t let the following items slip past you.

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TIP: The housing allowance This important tax benefit must be designated prior to the year in which it will apply. Be sure your church or trustee board officially designates a housing allowance for 2016 before the year ends. Ordained ministers who own or rent their home are entitled to receive the housing allowance. The federal tax code provides clergy with a tax exemption on the portion of their compensation that’s designated as a housing allowance. However, it’s considered taxable income for Social Security and Medicare. The housing allowance must be the lesser of the amount spent on housing-related expenses, the fair rental value of the home (furnished, plus utilities), or the amount designated by the church. Therefore, it’s important to calculate ahead of time expected expenses for the coming year, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities and all expenses related to your home or apartment. Consider contacting a real estate broker for current estimates of your home’s rental value. For more on the housing allowance, see “The clergy housing allowance: get the facts” in the March / April 2015 issue of Church Executive. Maximize itemized deductions Although it’s easier to take the standard deduction, experts at Intuit Inc. — producer of the popular tax and financial software TurboTax and Quicken — say one in four taxpayers can lower their tax bill by itemizing deductions. To determine whether this benefit applies to you, review the allowable expenses you’ve paid so far in 2015. These include, but are not limited to: home mortgage interest and property taxes, state income or sales taxes, medical expenses, charitable donations, workrelated magazine subscriptions and uniforms and tuition for classes related to job improvement. Ministers who own their homes and itemize their deductions are eligible to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on Schedule A, even though such items were excluded as part of the housing allowance exclusion. This is the so-called “double-deduction.” Remember that medical expenses can only be deducted to the extent that unreimbursed expenses exceed 10 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For those who turned 65 during the tax year — or are 65 years or older — the percentage is reduced to 7.5 percent of AGI. Increase contributions to your retirement account If you’re like most Americans, you could save much more towards retirement. If you haven’t maximized your contribution to your retirement account, consider doing so to lower your taxable income. For churchexecutive.com

The Special Church Election allows churches to contribute to the retirement plan of their employees when either the employee has a very low compensation or a very high housing allowance. Under the rule, the church can contribute up to $10,000 per year, even though the pastor doesn’t have that much in cash compensation. The lifetime maximum is $40,000. the 2015 tax year, the IRS allows employees to contribute up to $18,000 to their 401K and 403(b) retirement plans. Those over 50 can make an additional “catch-up” contribution of $6,000. Keep in mind that any contributions you make within IRS allowable amounts are tax-deferred until after you retire or begin taking withdrawals. Accountable and Non-accountable Plan expenses If you have an Accountable Plan, be sure to hand in all receipts to be reimbursed before year-end. With an Accountable Plan, the church arranges to reimburse clergy for business-related expenses. Typically, an Accountable Plan requires clergy to substantiate the expense, and submit expenses within a designated period of time. Under an Accountable Plan, reimbursements are excluded from the employee’s income. If your church hasn’t established an Accountable Plan, or your reimbursable expenses exceed the limits allocated by the church, reimbursements are treated as taxable wages. In both cases, keeping track of receipts is critical to insure accurate repayments or additional income. Review your asset allocation Take a look at how your portfolio assets are currently allocated. Are your asset allocations in line with your investment strategy, goals and risk tolerance? Market changes will cause assets to shift, and you want to insure that assets are placed into accounts that will maximize your investment strategy and benefit your overall portfolio. Meet with your financial advisor A year-end meeting with your financial advisor provides an opportunity to review spending, savings and investment goals and determine which ones have been met and which ones might need adjustment. Take advantage of this time to ask questions, review yearend tax strategies, and set goals that allow you to bring in the New Year with a clear financial direction. Brian Doughney, CFA, CFP ® is a Senior Manager in the Wealth Management Division at MMBB Financial Services [ www.mmbb.org ]. He works with members who need help in determining whether they are on track to meet their financial goals. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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DESIGNING W O R S H I P

A R E A S

Raleigh First Assembly (RFA) in Raleigh, NC

How technology affects worship space design By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA with Doug Hood

Acoustical, audio, video and lighting systems can drastically influence — positively and / or negatively — the entire built environment of a worship space. Regardless of the type, size, style and so on, these systems today are much like the story of an old minister of music colleague: No one would ever allow a pianist to consistently miss notes while playing for worship. The same is true for the technical staff and the equipment used. Acoustical, audio, video and lighting systems are becoming more and more prevalent in the worship environment as a way of engaging the worshiper more than just through the auditory system. God has uniquely made each of us in such a way that, as our senses are stimulated, we gain more understanding. The more senses that are simultaneously stimulated, the more understanding is possible —and the more memorable the experience. (Wow! We were fearfully and wonderfully made.) Focus on: acoustics While somewhat hard to understand, proper acoustical environments are critical to a successful room. While it’s possible to take a room that’s acoustically incorrect and install an audio system, the system will be less than its best until the acoustical system is correct. It’s like saying the transmission (audio system) is working great, while the engine (acoustical system) isn’t firing correctly on two cylinders. The car will go down the road, but those cylinders that aren’t firing will directly correlate to the difficulty attaining adequate intelligibility with the audio system. So, make sure the acoustics are good before spending tons of money on an audio system. 14

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Focus on: audio Audio systems — commonly referred to as sound systems, but more aptly named sound reinforcement systems — have become as common as a keyboard to the worship space environment. Regardless of denomination or worship style, all church leaders can agree that the delivery of the spoken word (specifically, the gospel message) is of the utmost importance. Let me go one step further: The clarity of the spoken word and the ability for the congregation to understand it must be the highest priority. In other words, it’s one thing for the pastor to present the Word; it’s a far different thing to evaluate if the congregation can clearly hear every word and understand the message. If your church is contemplating a new sound system — whether for a renovation or a new construction project — take comfort in knowing that there’s a way to predict and measure this type of clarity of a loudspeaker system. It’s called a Speech Transmission Index, or STI, and it can be calculated within acoustical design software. The STI score of a system ranges from 0 to 1. The higher the STI score, the better the intelligibility. An STI rating of 0 would be the worst, while a score of 1 would be the best. It’s too much detail to get into here, but when a church works with a reputable firm who specializes in these systems, it can get a prediction of how well its system will perform during the design stage. The church can also measure and test the final results when the system installation is complete. Focus on: video Almost as common are video systems, which typically are used for projection of a computer-generated image for better visibility to the seating areas. These same systems can be used for image magnification via a video camera input and some complex graphic components. All these systems are typically used to draw worshippers into the worship experience by touching more of their individual senses. The world of video is light years beyond just a screen and a projector. Not too long ago, the era of slide projectors and overhead projectors was in effect. After that came the magic of the LCD projector, which put vastly increased brightness within most churches’ reach. These projectors were pretty simple to use, and you could feed a computer or camera signal into it. Oh, the excitement! Today, a proper video system design takes much more into account than just the size of the screen and the brightness of the projector. Just the screen itself can be a topic of discussion. Will you use left / right screens, or left / center / right, or triple-wide? Each has its own merits, which are important to evaluate during the design phase. Next, your church will need to decide on a projector type, such as LCD, DLP or laser. Which will be best-suited to your needs and budget? Beyond projectors, there are applications where it’s best to use a single LED TV, or a group of LED TVs in a custom video wall configuration. For venues with tons of natural light pouring through — and also churches looking to be more creative with their displays — an approach using LED modular video walls can be the best solution. LED walls are totally scalable, which is a very attractive attribute when designing a custom size to fit a custom space. Beyond the obvious, there are also applications for additional video systems to serve as a digital chalkboard for the pastor, as well as “fill” monitors for use as more of a visual design element than just for lyrics or sermon notes. The only limit is your imagination. Also important is to study not just how the congregation views video content, but how the people on the stage can view it. Most churches are using some type of presentation software that allows them to display song lyrics to the congregation. But, how do the singers onstage see the lyrics? Depending on the depth of the room, large projection screens, TVs or LED walls can be placed on the back wall. This is sometimes referred to as a video “confidence monitor.” If the room has a balcony, this limits placement options; so, the confidence monitor could be placed on the balcony face, or there are some instances when TVs are positioned in front of the stage. As you review placement options, one thing to keep in mind is to imagine how the people on stage will appear as they look up or down churchexecutive.com


to their confidence monitor. As others (the pastor, worship team and so on) lead the congregation, the goal is for the people on stage to appear as if they’re looking at the congregation; we don’t want them looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling. Video plays a huge role outside the worship space, too. For example, how is video information transferred across the facility? Commonly referred to as “digital signage,” these systems are very effective in creating interest throughout the space, communicating content such as announcements / directions, and also for projecting a live camera feed to places such as the nursery, green room, etc., so those outside the worship space are connected to what’s happening, in real time. Focus on: lighting The introduction of lighting systems was very long ago; however, the advent of new technology and the need for better visual acuity has translated a somewhat straightforward lighting concept to one which can completely transition a plain environment into a very special place. For years now, all CSD’s designs have used all-LED solutions. That means no bulbs to change, and also no dimmer racks. This represents huge energy savings for existing buildings and new construction projects alike. When planning for your new system, you’ll want to look for a mix of fixture types. Variety is important. You want to have many tools in your toolbox so you can be creative — not just now, but for years to come as you continually work on new stage designs. A typical system will use a combination of ellipsoidals (spots), fresnel / PAR (floods), moving lights, and strip lights for architectural accent / wall wash. By using a variety of fixtures, you’ll not only gain flexibility for design, but also save money as you can incorporate different budget ranges of fixtures. Keep in mind in this new world of LED fixtures that these can potentially require a lot of DMX channels. Be mindful during the design phase to track the amount of DMX channels required for your system, and take that into account before choosing your lighting control system. Now, let’s move on to the house lighting fixtures for your space. The cost of full-color mixing RGBW LED fixtures has continued to come down as more and more manufacturers have created viable options. As the name implies, each fixture has red, green, blue and white LEDs so they’re capable of creating excellent white light for your day-to-day use, or for use during the sermon. However, they can also create any color of the rainbow, so you can transform the entire room instantly and creatively for worship, concerts, dramas and special productions. Currently, this is one of the areas I see clients get most excited about. Imagine your entire worship center as your empty canvas and you have a full box of huge Crayons; the possibilities are endless. Not all people respond to “production,” but everyone responds to beauty. A creative, custom lighting system will give you the ability to literally bathe your worship space in a beautiful array of color. Examining environmental projection Many churches have the need to dramatically change the look of the sanctuary, but quickly and without a bunch of stuff to move around or storage concerns. Environmental projection (EP) is a tremendous value and makes this possible. churchexecutive.com

EP goes over and above the “regular” video projection system; it uses several projectors (typically, three) designed to use the walls / ceiling as the projection surface instead of a projection screen. Many churches need to do a traditional service and a contemporary service in the same space — but how? How can you create an atmosphere that will appeal to both groups of people, each different in their expectations? EP allows you to create a visually immersive space. Let’s say you have a traditional service at 9 a.m. With EP, for your 9 a.m. service, you could project stained glass across the entire width of the room. Or, you could simply leave the system turned off — whatever works best for your congregation. Then, for your 11 a.m. contemporary service, you could have something beautiful, something edgy, or something crazy. The key to the effectiveness of this system is using what works best for your group. Each church is different. As you tap into what your congregation responds best to, you’ll see what a powerful and creative tool environmental projection can be.

Blur the line When it gets really cool is when the blending of all these systems — properly designed and integrated — begin to create a synergistic function of pushing the worship experience, both music and spoken word, into an entirely new realm of capacity. It’s like moving from a flat-bottom fishing boat with paddle to a bass boat with a high-speed motor. The worlds of audio / video / lighting are colliding — and that’s a good thing! As mentioned previously, there are video pieces that used as design elements. There are lighting pieces that project images. There are motorized fixtures with projectors inside so you can project full-motion video anywhere you want it. There are electronic systems that allow us to alter the acoustics of the room from an iPad. You can see how the various aspects of technology are morphing into one. This is awesome when designing! We can now approach your entire room as a canvas, not just the stage. Often, I talk about the invisible line that exists between the front edge of the stage and the rest of the room. My goal is to remove that line altogether, or at least blur it. Working with a team approach (architect, A/V/L/A firm, builder), we encourage you to blur that line through creative design, focused engineering, and a huge vision to make your space the best it can be to deliver the most powerful Message in the world. The bottom line is this: you need a great design team of folks — architects, engineers and specialty consultants — to create the best environments for the most effective worship experiences. They don’t have to be expensive in a relative discussion, but they do need to be balanced and done well. One last time: Each church has a different DNA and must be addressed separately than any other church. Cookie-cutter solutions are for cookies — not churches! Curtiss H. Doss, AIA is principal of McGehee Nicholson Burke (MNB) Architects in Memphis, TN. [ www.mnbarchitects.com ] Doss has consulted with church clients for more than 20 years, and his architectural practice spans more than 30 years. Doug Hood is president of CSD Group, Inc. (audio / video / lighting / acoustics) in Fort Wayne, IN, and an NACDB-Certified Church Consultant. [ www.csdus.com ] November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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CHURCH ACCOUNTING BASICS

& ACCOUNTABILITY How to lay the foundation for true church accounting stewardship By Tammy Bunting

“And now you know the rest of the story.” Remember the words of Paul Harvey, the legendary radio broadcaster? As leaders of the church, we can’t depend on a CPA firm performing an audit to give us “the rest of the story.” Transparency and accountability can be ongoing and non-invasive — but only when we build a good financial infrastructure. By creating easy to manage accounts and measuring performance against expected outcomes, we ensure accountability and transparency in our churches. There are two main areas we can focus on to learn how to develop financial awareness which, in turn, result in financial statement transparency and accountability: 1) Chart of Accounts — reporting criteria 2) Inspecting what we expect Simplify your Chart of Accounts I don’t think we give enough credit to the Chart of Accounts for being the source of our transparency challenges! With modern accounting software, you can achieve the insights you need to understand and validate financial statement data and documentation. Today’s financial tools should simplify the chart of accounts and allow us to “tag” transactions with not only the “what” but the “why” and the “where.” With a flexible financial foundation, you can add context to your data easily. We need to raise our expectations in church finance; our software should keep it simple and understandable. I think there’s nothing more frustrating for financial committees or boards of directors than to look at financial statements that are either too summarized or too complicated to understand the results. By simplifying 16

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the Chart of Accounts and using dimensional components, modern accounting software introduces an entirely new way to track and report on financial and operational data. With a flexible foundation, you gain quick access to the insights necessary to ensure confidence in the data presented. Having access to changing cash amounts (by multiple levels of ministry), and having the ability to view fluctuations between budgets or years at any level (presented weekly or monthly) eliminates any question about the accuracy of the data. Although we value the need to present GAAP financial statements, and to have a certified public accountant identify any material weaknesses, our goal is to have financial data validated and trends assessed on a regular basis. Any unusual changes can be quickly identified and addressed accordingly. Inspecting what we expect Being good stewards of the resources God has provided isn’t just something we hope we can do — it’s something we’re expected to do. Measuring performance brings greater awareness to ministry operations. By determining the expected outcomes and measuring performance against them, we can bring any significant variances to the forefront. How can we help our church leaders get the broad perspective they need to gain insight and confidence in dollars and the impacts? This is where I believe analytics come in. Analytics refers to the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. When looking at the measurements of impacts — and not just dollars spent — you gain insight. By clearly defining a positive trend or successful community impact, you’re able to make results-driven decisions. Accountability is simply the willingness to accept responsibility. It can become tricky if you’re responsible for managing something over which you don’t have full control. Dealing with church finances can be challenging when you feel detached from the numbers and their impacts. When things are moving at the speed of light and change is just a normal day-to-day event, accountability can appear to be thrown out the window. This is where allocating funds ahead of time comes in handy. Creating budgets can establish a baseline from which to work. Some ministry leaders literally break out into a sweat at the mere mention of budgets. They shouldn’t. Budgets allow you to have some control over what you spend. A monthly budget can help you decide how to spend your money and prevent unexpected purchases. Accountability doesn’t mean “perfection.” Focus instead on being willing and flexible enough to accept what it’s going to take to be accountable. Transparency made simple If financial statements aren’t “used” (meaning no one understands the data), then they’re just numbers on a sheet of paper. To have full transparency, the goal in presenting financial data is to provide “useful” information. That means: clearly stated financial performance and cash flows, presented in such a way that they validate whether or not mission efforts are being met or better yet, exceeded. Managing finances under defined budget parameters, and reporting any variances, will give the governing body the assurance that the church’s financial status is stable. Disclosing cash flows and forecasts based on current trends and future expectations satisfies the need for further clarity and demonstrates accountability. Most important: keep it simple. Don’t let the numbers take over. Tell the story; show what matters; summarize the right data; and project accurately. Tammy Bunting is the Director of Not-for-Profit Services at AcctTwo [ www.accttwo.com ], which provides cloud-based financial management software and outsourced accounting for churches. AcctTwo’s solutions help churches automate processes, increase accuracy, and provide a complete financial picture. churchexecutive.com


Construction & materials: breaking down seating selection By Amanda Opdycke When we think of worship seating construction and the types of materials used, what questions first come to mind? Is engineered wood better than solid wood? How will the longevity of the fabric impact the overall life of the pews, chairs or auditorium seats? What’s a realistic expectation of foam degradation? By Amanda Opdycke The unknowns can be daunting. Knowing the right questions to ask can quickly put your mind at ease.

Construction of upholstered pew seat

Detail of joinery of the pew seat and back into the pew cap rail. All three pieces feed into the pew end to provide overall strength of the pew.

Wood quality Wood quality is impacted by the process a company might use to achieve optimal moisture content. The drying process is important, as it’s a means of controlling moisture content, which can impact the manufacturer’s ability to rip the lumber into the correct lengths and widths needed for the furniture. Having control over the drying process ensures the shrinkage and swelling of the wood doesn’t result in serious flaws prior to manufacture or once the seating is installed. Wood species selection is also important, as each congregation will have unique needs. The type of wood used in the seating can be a major factor in the decision-making process. Fabric durability Fabrics should be independently rated as extra-heavy-duty and include some level of stain resistance. The Wyzenbeek Test is a method of testing used to determine the durability and abrasion resistance of a fabric in what the fabric industry refers to as “double rubs.” The higher the number of double rubs, the more resistant to abrasion the fabric will be. churchexecutive.com

Finish quality Finish quality is a two-part piece of the equation. You will want to find out if the manufacturer uses stain, sealer and top coat formulated to be formaldehyde-free. Is the stain applied by hand, a manually operated spray system, or a combination? Stain can be wiped down to ensure penetration into the wood grain and reduce the opportunity for the stain to streak or run. Does the manufacturer use a two-component catalyzed sealer? This can be applied using the manually controlled spray system. Is the furniture air-dried or oven-cured? Does the manufacturer use a UV-stable top coat to prevent yellowing while providing scratch resistance and protection? This results in a quality finish that’s more resilient and durable than lacquer finishes. Foam quality Foam will naturally degrade over time. In fact, most conventional foam will degrade at a rate impacted by use, as well as the interior environment. Pounds-per-square-inch is an indicator used to determine the realistic life expectancy of foam. Fewer pounds per square inch are proportional to a higher rate of degradation over time. Pew, chair and auditorium seat construction Stylistically, furniture design is important to the church; but, the design should also speak to the construction. How are the parts of the furniture attached to enhance durability? A contoured seat will provide additional support against sagging without the need for additional boards, which add to a bulky appearance. The pew end should be routed to allow the backs, seats and cap rail to attach directly into the pew end. The cap rail of the pew is also attached to the pew end by using tongue-and-groove construction methods. Attaching each component directly into the pew end alleviates any issue that could be experienced if the attachment method uses a wood cleat as part of the joinery. Amanda Opdycke is Worship Market Manager at Sauder Worship Seating in Archbold, OH. www.sauderworship.com November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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best practices for reaching your church’s budget goals By Derek Gillette

I’m an avid fan of stealing other people’s content and making it my own. This is how great artists make their living. Find something amazing, get inspired, and then repurpose the work and make it your own. To take a piece of Scripture slightly out of context: “There are no new ideas under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9) As I read the Puget Sound Business Journal a few months ago — in print, I might add — I stumbled across an article titled, “7 ways to make a real connection and realize a real return on that sponsorship.” The author, Adam Worchester, made seven points about how corporate non-profit sponsors can motivate their employees to form a deeper bond with the cause they’re supporting. I found the advice to be spot-on, so I decided to “steal” Worchester’s seven points and rewrite them specifically for churches. What follows are the seven best practices for reaching your church’s budget goals.

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“When someone gives for the first time, what do the next 100 days look like for that individual? What follow-up protocols are in place? Is there an automated

email workflow? Does it trigger

a phone call from a member of your leadership team?” #1: Invest more than money We’ve found that giving often is the first act a person will take once he or she has decided they’re ready to be more involved in your church. How easy is it to use a mobile phone and give to your church for the first time? And then, how is your church making a dedicated effort to view this first gift as a raised hand? Lay out the logical next step for a person to go deeper. Perhaps it’s a small group, volunteering opportunity, or just a shared meal / coffee with the pastor. #2: Develop a vision Non-profit groups implicitly understand the importance of casting a vision. Rather than relying on obedience, they paint a picture and tell a story. In fact, keeping the impact front-and-center is now a best practice used by many companies — and churches can do the same. It involves recognizing a need in the world, understanding that money is required to meet the need, and finding a model to simultaneously create funding and address it. #3: Stay in touch I like to call this category, “the First 100 Days.” When someone gives for the first time, what do the next 100 days look like for that individual? What follow-up protocols are in place? Is there an automated email workflow? Does it trigger a phone call from a member of your leadership team? According to fundraising experts Pursuant, first-time donors who get a personal thank-you within 48 hours are four times more likely to give a second gift. #4: Review performance We all know that one of the toughest things to create in church is consistent participation, especially for volunteer events. The same could be said for raising money to support special campaigns — a building fund, new ministry support, or a large mission’s fundraising night, for example. Does your church have a mandatory review process after such events are completed? What worked and what didn’t? What did people get most excited about? What feedback was collected, and how do we incorporate that for next time? Church databases can help you track this information.

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#5: Review priorities Perhaps your church, for 20 years, has operated a Tuesday morning homeless ministry. But three years ago, the person who had the heart for the program left the church. Is this ministry still something your church is passionate about running? Asking these honest and hard questions from time to time keeps your church on track and in-sync with the heart of your congregation. This also keeps your church innovating rather than falling stagnant. We applied this principle to our own giving software, recently launching a feature called Fastpay, which cuts the giving time down from 10 seconds to five. To learn more, visit: youtube.com/ watch?v=myRKmD1KMuo&feature=youtu.be. #6: Analyze spending Worchester queries in the original article: “Is your sponsorship money being used in the most efficient ways?” This is an important question; churches need to operate with the same introspection. How much are we paying for donation-processing? How timeconsuming is our weekly reconciliation? Is it eating up staff resources which could be spent in other ways? Also, how many contributions are we losing by not giving people an easy way to give from their mobile phones? (Seriously, you guys — this is a huge one.) #7: Be creative There are three values younger-generation donors look for: transparency, authenticity and social justice. What creative ways has your church tapped into those sentiments? Has your pastor talked from the stage about the personal causes he or she supports? Do you give updates on the impact of the money that’s been given to date? Are you using technology — such as the eChurch app — to send push notifications about current needs? Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and create an opportunity for conversation to happen. Derek Gillette is the communications manager for Pushpay [ https://pushpay. com ] and eChurch. [ http://echurchgiving.com ], the 10-second mobile giving solution. Ninety-percent who download the app, give with it; 45 percent of gifts happen on days other than Sunday; and the average gift size is $176. Continue the conversation with Gillette on Twitter: https://twitter.com/derekgilletteco.

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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INSURANCE ESSENTIALS

What happens after you submit a church insurance claim? By Dave Sours Accidents happen. Catastrophes are unpredictable. There are many situations a church might encounter that will require submitting an insurance claim. To a church, the claims process can be overwhelming, as you might have little understanding of what happens behind the scenes. To offer insight and make the process easier for you and your insurance company, learn about who you’ll be working with, how you can be prepared after submitting a claim, and the settlement timeline. It’s important to remember you’re not alone during this process, and you should have support to answer any questions and guide you along the way. In most cases, this will be an insurance adjuster. The adjuster represents the insurance company, and its role is to resolve the customer’s issue and serve as a channel between the customer and insurance company. Additionally, the adjuster should offer you a better understanding of what to expect during the claims process. You should be informed of what’s required and how to make the course easier for both parties. Items of discussion might include your coverage and the deductible. It’s important to note the adjuster should be your main point of contact during the entire claims process. What to have ready Because each insurance claim is unique, there isn’t one set list of information you should have prepared for your adjuster. Here are some tips on what to have prepared for common types of claims: Theft: Date of loss; damages sustained; items missing; police report case number; and ownership documents. Fire: Location of fire; damages sustained; Fire Department involved; and cause of the fire. Lightning: Date and time of loss; direct strike damage, such as building, trees, etc.; items damaged; detailed evaluation forms from repair technicians noting the cause of damage; and estimated cost of repairs or replacement. Roof Damage: Loss location; type of damage; indication of interior leaks; age and type of roof; cause of loss; indication of emergency repairs needed; estimate of repairs, if available; and indication of past repairs or claims. Water Damage: Confirmation of water main turned off; indication of fresh water or sewage; approximate square footage of area affected; and source of the water. Be prepared with as much detail as possible regarding your claim. The more information you have ready, the less your adjuster will be required to follow up — and the quicker the process will be completed. 20

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The claims timeline Again, because each claim is different, the timeline won’t be the same for every situation. However, customers can expect to be contacted by an adjuster within two business days after submitting a claim. From there, an adjuster might spend two to five days gathering information for an estimate. The industry average for a property claim to go through the entire process is 16 to 20 days. The degree of the claim will determine the average time of completing the process. Claims — such as bodily injury, professional liability and specialty losses — will typically require more time and attention from the adjuster. Making the process easier Handling a loss at your church can be challenging. With the teamwork of the church, insurance company and insurance adjuster, returning to pre-loss operating conditions can be easier. When initially filing your claim, be sure to include all relevant contact information to ensure the adjuster can easily and quickly reach you. Also, identify your preferred method of how they can contact you. Be patient with the adjuster, but also prompt in offering information when it’s requested. Gaining a better understanding of insurance claims and what it takes to resolve an issue can be helpful in getting your organization through a loss. Remember to be patient and work as a team with your adjuster, and the feelings of stress and worry will disappear. Dave Sours is Vice President of Claims Operations at GuideOne Insurance [ www.guideone.com ] in West Des Moines, IA, and has been with the company for more than 20 years. He is responsible for managing GuideOne’s claims division, including the company’s field operations.


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Intelligent Church Giving

HOW 2 CHURCHES USE DATA AND TECHNOLOGY TO REACH MORE AND RAISE MORE Learn what they did — and what you should do next By Joel Mikell & Derek Hazelet

Funding ministry is likely the most complex part of your role as a church leader. Changing attitudes around giving and involvement don’t help; tithing and weekly attendance is no longer considered normal. These shifts are making it harder and harder for you to fully fund your vision. It can seem impossible. Yet, many church leaders are beginning to learn that working smarter, not harder, is the way to discover your path to developing a culture of stewardship in your church.

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You can’t overcome the looming challenges you face by doing things the same way you’ve always done them. But, here’s the good news: Data and technology provide a new way to guide how you engage members, cultivate generosity and grow your church. These new tools in your toolbox will actually increase your opportunity for personal interactions and support your desire to disciple more effectively. Intelligent church giving in action Here are two church leaders who have discovered that doing things differently is exactly what was needed to improve ministry funding and Kingdom impact. Lance Taylor — Executive Pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church Long Hollow Baptist Church has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, reaching as many as 7,500 people on a Sunday and making a worldwide impact, including funding orphanages on three continents. As the church grew, the leadership realized that greater complexity required better systems. “You can’t communicate in a church of 5,000 the same way you do in a church of 2,500,” Taylor says. “We knew we had to become better at targeting our communication efforts if we wanted to help each individual grow and challenge them to take the next step in their spiritual journey.” For the past several years, Long Hollow has taken steps to automate its communication strategy using technology to improve engagement. Through segmentation, Long Hollow has been able to provide specific and relevant content in a way that provides actionable insights for its team. For example, Long Hollow strategically evaluates each age group in the church and how the messaging should be targeted. Additionally, guest attendance, new member activity, and first-time gifts automatically trigger workflows when an action is taken. These systems ensure church members aren’t slipping through the cracks by sending personal touch points to members who haven’t been involved in the church after several months. “We realized that what we were doing would have to change if we were going to be positioned to go to the next level,” Taylor explains. “Leveraging systems and technology solutions has improved our engagement efforts, actually enhancing our discipleship strategies.” churchexecutive.com

Dana Lawson — Chief Financial Officer, Cornerstone Church Cornerstone Church has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. Like many growing churches, it was looking for ways to fund the new opportunities that were emerging because of the rapid growth. The leadership team tried a variety of approaches before deciding to use data to drive their decision-making. What they found completely transformed their strategy. “It wasn’t until we started digging below the top-line numbers that we realized the answers we were looking for were right in front of us,” Lawson recalls. “We just didn’t have a way to surface them until we started mining the data.” Cornerstone’s leadership uncovered the insights they needed to make more informed ministry decisions. They learned which giving segments were growing, which ones were not, and why. They even discovered hundreds of givers who don’t even live in the same state, yet are connected through their TV broadcasts and online presence. With this detailed information, they were able to refine their thinking and shift their planning, which resulted in not just growth in giving but also expanded ministry opportunities. “We assumed we were doing all the right things in the right ways, but quickly realized how important it is to challenge or validate our assumptions with objective information,” Lawson points out. “Analyzing data gave us the clarity and confidence we needed to improve ministry funding and ensure it keeps pace with our rapid growth.” Are you ready to reach more — and raise more? Your church has the ability to apply the principles behind Intelligent Church Giving just like Long Hollow and Cornerstone have done. Take an even deeper look into how data and technology have helped churches reach more people — and raise more money — by downloading our latest resource at www.RSIstewardship.com/ICGinAction. Joel Mikell is president at RSI Stewardship www.rsistewardship.com. Follow him on Twitter, @joelmikell or find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/joel.mikell Derek Hazelet is senior vice president at RSI Stewardship. Find him on Twitter, @dhazelet or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/derekhazelet.

November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Finance & Lending Trends

Construction financing, revisited Lender experience — and your preparation — are keys to success By Dan Mikes

A true ministry banker understands that business administrators at religious institutions might only undertake a major commercial construction project once or twice in their careers.

A lender with specialized expertise in financing religious institutions will not expect you to intimately understand or fully anticipate the commercial construction and related borrowing processes. Rather, a lender with a depth of experience banking this segment can provide consultation and guide you through the process. Nevertheless, the ministry will be best served when adequately prepared about what to expect. To assure that your lender selection process goes as smoothly as possible, start by looking for lenders with an established track record of working with religious institutions. Good indications that lenders have a focused commitment to the religious segment include: a long history of providing loans and banking services to religious institutions; full-time designated staff with a depth of religious banking experience; specific mention of religious institution lending on the lender’s website; ministryspecific marketing brochures and support materials; and, of course, a long list of religious institutions references. An experienced lender can help your religious institution identify its borrowing capacity when planning a construction project. It is most beneficial to seek this consultation in advance of working with your architect to develop a design concept. Be prepared to share the details of any pending capital pledge campaign, such as the campaign start date, target total pledge goal and desired construction start date. One of the more common mistakes religious institutions make is not allowing enough time between submitting loan applications to lenders and the desired project start date. First, your religious institutions should allow 30 days to submit loan applications and receive financing offers. 24

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

Once offers are in hand, your leadership team should make a final lender selection 90 days prior to the desired project start date. Normally, a construction loan can be closed within 60 days. By allowing 90 days, you will have time to work through any unanticipated issues related to “clouds” on land title (old unreleased mortgages, easements) or environmental issues. No matter what, never start construction before you have a firm financing commitment in hand, with all contingencies met (appraisal, environmental and so on). Aside from the matter of “broken lien priority” — which could complicate your ability to secure title insurance (a standard loan requirement) — you also risk your credibility with potential lenders. Lenders might question why you would put your institution’s good name on a construction contract prior to securing the means to meet the financial obligations under that contract. Given your financing offer will be contingent upon a maximum loanto-value, your property value and proposed improvements will need to be appraised. Consequently, your religious institutions will also need to coordinate the timeline for the development of the architectural plans and a line-item construction budget. These generally need to be at least 75-percent complete at the time of lender selection for the lender to order your appraisal. The appraisal can take from four to six weeks to complete. Additionally, your lender might require that a cost engineer be engaged to review the construction plan and budget. The cost review can usually be completed within two or three weeks, assuming the architectural plans and budget are 95-percent complete upon submission to the engineer. As you near loan closing, you will need to provide the lender with comprehensive lists of the “Sources and Uses” of funding. Both these dollar amount totals must match as of loan closing. The “sources” list should only include three items: costs already paid prior to loan closing; cash on hand for the project; and amount of loan commitment. Some borrowers mistakenly include a fourth source: future cash from incoming pledges during construction. Most lenders will not want to assume the risk of liens or even litigation, which could arise should unforeseen economic or other events cause the pledge campaign to stall out after the loan is closed. The total “uses-of-funds” list is not limited to the construction contract amount. The “uses” list must also include other project-related costs, such as architectural fees, permits, soil tests, landscaping, off-site items (turning lanes or street lights, for example), loan closing costs and so on. Loan covenants typically prohibit unilateral execution of change orders without prior written authorization from the lender. In some cases, lenders might approve release of a portion of the amount budgeted for “contingency” as the means of funding a change order. When considering releasing contingency, one point-of-focus for the lender will be the percent-of-project-completed-to-date. Generally speaking, lenders prefer the percent-of-contingency-released-to-date to remain within proximity of the percent-of-project-completed. Consequently, a bank will be less likely to release a significant amount of the contingency early in the project cycle. A well-planned project timeline and a thoughtfully managed financing process can be achieved when you seek the safety of the right lender. Your prospects of achieving this outcome increase when you begin by contacting an experienced religious institutions lender early in the process. A major commercial construction project is not a simple undertaking, and there is no point in making it more complicated by having to school your lender on all things religious institutions-specific. Dan Mikes is Executive Vice President and National Manager of the Religious Institution Division, Bank of the West, in San Ramon, CA. www.bankofthewest.com churchexecutive.com


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As a national leader in religious institution banking for over 25 years, we’ve provided more than $3.5 billion in financing to the faith community. Our affiliation with BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest1 banks, and our industry expertise help us provide you with the services and solutions to best reach your financial goals. To speak to a Relationship Manager, call 1-800-405-2327.

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Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum

FOCUS ON: ChMS SELECTION Your church management system (ChMS) does so much. From first-time visitor engagement to giving recordkeeping (and much more), it’s one of the most powerful tools in your church’s management toolbox. As such, ChMS is not a light investment, nor one that ought to be rooted in routine. After all — if used to its maximum potential — it frees up staff to do what they love most: ministry. So, it’s with good reason that ChMS is on the vast majority of our readers’ minds. According to the most recent Church Executive Reader Survey, 79% consider ChMS vital to their daily church operations. No surprise there. What might come as a shock is how many of you are likely to invest in ChMS in the next 18 months: 64%. With nearly two-thirds of our readers considering a shift, this issue — which focuses on selection strategies — comes at a very good time. 8 key questions. On page 27, Shelby Systems, Inc.’s Hal Hallum outlines eight key questions church leaders should ask themselves to help identify the ideal ChMS option. These include staff needs (and the corresponding needs of their ministries); the church’s growth plan and trajectory; members’ habits and expectations; the issue of software support; and the true cost of a ChMS investment — well beyond dollars and cents. Choosing the right ChMS = not choosing a ChMS at all. With this attention-grabbing statement as a jumping-off point, Michael Jordan of ACS Technologies — on page 28 — maps out some common signals that a big ChMS move is in order. To this end, Jordan makes the case for a web-based solution that’s “100-percent different from the old way of doing things — and also economical.” He also points out that a web-based solution can, literally, fit in your pocket. ChMS: ask “Why?” before you buy. Next (page 29), Seraphim Software’s Sam Batterman examines, in-depth, the why behind a ChMS switch. “When you’re considering a new system, it’s vitally important that you look at your internal processes in a new way,” he advises. “The new system is modeled in a different way than the old one. If you buy a new system and stick with the old ways, you might actually be hurting yourselves by not taking full advantage of the processes the new software were designed to ‘set free.’” Batterman explains how to make a “checklist” of necessary ChMS functionalities — from membership to safe check-in — and why it’s so important to examine your church’s unique infrastructure before making a decision. When is the RIGHT time for a new ChMS? Mark Kitts with Elexio Church Software (page 30) offers three main reasons churches typically “pause and reconsider” their ChMS. Kitts provides several critical questions that will help set an accurate baseline for what your needs truly are, ChMS-wise — namely, what you’re hoping it will help you accomplish; what system you’re switching from; and must-have features and functionalities. You don’t have to go it alone when making this important investment. Check out what our ChMS subject matter experts have to say before signing on the dotted line. Enjoy this installment of the Church Executive “Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum.” As always, we welcome your feedback. — The Editors 26

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

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Focus on: ChMS Selection

Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum

8 key questions How to choose the right management system for your church By Hal Hallum

Whether you’re hoping to convert from one church management software system to another — or even trying church software for the first time — you probably know by now that it takes a lot of planning and consideration before you and your church finally decide. To help you along, here’s a handful of important questions to help your church find the best fit for its needs.

ShelbyNext | Financials provides cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for the unique needs of the Church.

#3: What’s your member “type”? What are their needs and expectations? Take note of the demographics in your congregation and focus on what would improve their connection with your church. Visitors are always an important focus; however, current members are the foundation of the church. Keeping them happy and well-informed is something your church software should enable. #4: How much support do you need from your software vendor? This can be tricky, since some companies can have great support but a product that’s pretty complex. Other companies might label themselves as “simple,” but provide lowlevel support. Just remember: Simple can be good — but it can also imply a lack of important features. Talk to the rest of your church staff about support; this decision will make a big difference down the road. #5: Can the application you purchase grow with your church? With smaller churches, a system that can manage small amounts of data might be all that is needed. But, once a church starts growing, it’ll be necessary to find a more advanced and structured software system. If you foresee your church growing in the next few years, take that vision and focus on the software that’s most capable of handling changes, growth and involvement. Your solution should be more scalable.

ShelbyNext | Membership provides an all-new, ministry-focused, cloud-based ChMS created to build and engage your church community, fostering growth both inside and outside the walls of your church.

#1: What are your staff needs? Start by gathering the most important needs of each ministry at your church. While very few software companies can meet every need, it’s best to know where your priorities lie. A comprehensive analysis should include all items you’d like to have, but make sure to make a special note of those items that you must have. Always have an end in mind when beginning you search. #2: Where are you going / growing as a church? Talk to church leaders to get a better understanding of the vision and goal for the next five to 10 years. Try looking at software that offers features such as background screening for a growing staff, or events management to provide members and visitors with more opportunities to get involved. Consider how your admins spend their days interacting with the features. Do the tools need to be more or less mobile-based, depending on their communication and personalities? Features like these can better prepare everyone for growth. churchexecutive.com

#6: Is your prospective software vendor an established company with a good track record? Knowing a company’s history and experience is a great indicator of its software and support function. If that history doesn’t make you feel completely confident with your decision, keep looking. #7: Do you require vendor consultation? If so, make sure you find a trustworthy company that understands what it takes to manage a church. Again, check the company’s background and talk to someone there about their services. #8: What’s the cost of the software package? The possibility of hidden fees is important to vet. Otherwise, your final price might be different than what your church budgeted for. And remember: the true “cost” of your software can’t always be measured in dollars and cents. When choosing a software provider, do your research and select a vendor that can meet your church’s needs, protect your members’ data, and be there to support you in the years to come. It’s a big decision; selecting the right software can make the difference between success and failure. Hal Hallum is Marketing & Promotions Manager for Shelby Systems, Inc. [ www.shelbysystems.com ] in Cordova, TN. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Focus on: ChMS Selection

Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum

Choosing the right ChMS = not choosing a ChMS at all You don’t need new church management software. Traditional ChMS is old, antiquated and isn’t best suited to help your ministry grow the right way. Why get another software system that shares similarities to the one you currently have? They’ll both just continue to underperform and eat up too much of your time. (Was that attention-grabbing enough?) By Michael Jordan If so, let’s talk about some common reasons why your church might need to get out of the old and choose a solution that can serve your whole church. • You’re still using a cobbled-together system of several different pieces of software from different vendors. •Y  ou have to be in the office at church to do your work, but you need to be out and about. •Y  our congregants can’t edit their own contact information, access their giving history, or make contributions online. If any of these statements ring true, there’s good news: There are whole-church, web-based solutions on the market that are 100-percent different from the old way of doing things — and also economical. These solutions are different because they aren’t just about data-gathering and number-crunching. Of course, they do have these capabilities; at heart, however, they’re about engaging and connecting people. Unlike traditional church management software programs that rely on the quality of data entered by staffers, web-based, whole-church solutions totally handle this aspect of work when people connect with various church activities. When you’re using one platform for your entire church, staff can manage important information about members and provide a way to keep a pulse on the church during the week. To be most effective, you need a solution that can be a real-life, every day tool which can literally fit in your pocket. It needs to be a solution — not a software — that blends needed record-keeping with church data to keep staff better equipped and ready to meet the daily challenges they face. It should also enable you to take care of frequent tasks easily and be better prepared to give the special attention to personal connections on a daily basis. 28

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A truly whole-church solution, Realm — from ACS Technologies — is optimized for the convenience of all users. It offers secure access to data from any device, 24/7: Macs, PCs, mobile phones or tablets.

Frankly, you need a web-based solution that allows for church staff to: • Manage small groups • Easily view key data elements with drill-down abilities • Track member involvement and assimilation • Access data securely • Review contribution records • Check in for events, classes, etc. • Send mass emails. With a modern, 100-percent web-based software solution, you’ll have something that’s just as vital to the church’s congregation as it is staff. Congregants need to have a connecting point throughout the week to keep them tied to what’s happening with the church and their fellow parishioners. In addition, they need a tool that can search, sign up for and stay connected to small groups, as well as allow them to review their giving history and manage any recurring gifts they might have planned. For church members, web-based solutions make it easy to: • Make online contributions • Check event schedules • View or print personal giving statements / history • Post news and statuses • Email contacts • Update and maintain their contact and personal information. The total package You need a true whole-church solution — nothing to install, there’s no need to worry about backups, hardware or updates. So, what are you waiting for? The time to make the switch from old and outdated is now. Michael Jordan is a marketing strategist for ACS Technologies www.acstechnologies.com headquartered in Florence, SC, with offices in Phoenix, Seattle and Greenville, SC. churchexecutive.com


Focus on: ChMS Selection

Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum

ChMS: ask “Why?” before you buy By Sam Batterman

Changing a church management system (ChMS) is a big deal for a church of any size. Make sure you understand why you want your church to undergo this shift.

There are dozens of valid reasons for changing ChMS, but understand that political capital will be expended in making this change. “We hate our system” Now, here’s a reason that’s not valid. This statement is probably more of an indicator that the church has outgrown its software — or that the software was a poor match for the church in the first place, or that the information isn’t sufficient to achieve tasks in an efficient manner. Watch out for this phrase, because you could actually replace an old system with a new system … and still hear this lament. What a new system means Church management systems are three things: data, processes and features. Sometimes, we mistakenly think of features as processes; rather, a feature is how something is done in a process. All church management systems track attendance in some way, but how that process is done can vary greatly. When you’re considering a new system, it’s vitally important that you look at your internal processes in a new way. The new system is modeled in a different way than the old one. If you buy a new system and stick with the old ways, you might actually be hurting yourselves by not taking full advantage of the processes the new software were designed to “set free.” List your features, build your stakeholders Don’t go shopping without a list. It’s good advice for grocery shopping and even better advice for looking at ChMS. Nearly every vendor will handle the basics; just make sure you have them down in the priority order of your church. Here’s a quick list of the ChMS basics you need: Membership — track items of importance for any person or organization Family units — flexible modeling of any family unit churchexecutive.com

Grouping — build and maintain collections of people (classes, bands, skills, etc.) Events — create and maintain events for services, attendance and safe check-in Attendance — track detailed or headcount attendance per event Safe check-in — match up who dropped off children and who can pick them up Reporting — analytics and reporting of nearly anything Donations — track donations and pledges and generate tax statements. After the basics, things get a bit more nebulous. This is where you see the innovation, character and direction of different vendors. Evaluate ChMS using your own church’s data The vendor should be able to show you what your church will look like with the new software before you plunk down any cash. This is a critical point. Every system models family units, attendance and groups a little differently. Understanding how your existing data fits into their model is vital to success. For example, if your church is large (more than 5,000 records), you need to understand how fast the processes operate on data of that scale. If your vendor won’t entertain this idea, run away. During the evaluation, check out the usability of the software — not just how easy it is to perform common tasks, but how difficult is it to do the “impossible” tasks. How far can you stretch it before you have to resort to exporting files to other tools to accomplish your task? Also consider migration — make sure you understand what’s “migratable” and what can’t be migrated. (And, don’t forget to ask about cost.) Service, service, service Can you call and get someone on the phone? Can you email? How quickly does the vendor respond? Does it even know who you are? Is it reaching out to you proactively? The most common complaint about ChMS vendors is that the service stinks. Understand what you’re buying in to: a roadmap and a long-term relationship. So, make sure you ask about a vendor’s development roadmap. Can you impact that roadmap with your ideas? Will the vendor listen to you? How fast is the vendor releasing? Finally, talk to the vendor’s leadership. Who are they? Do they understand churches? Is this an obsession for them, or just a hobby? Your infrastructure Are you thinking about buying a cloud-based system with a lousy wireless internet service? Make sure you invest in the infrastructure to make the purchase successful. Are you buying new software, but using 10-year-old check-in equipment? Think about the impedance of the hardware and software you’re combining. Making the right ChMS decision can help you care for your congregants like never before, schedule volunteers with ease, track new visitors, and grow the church. It’s an important choice, so make the best one you can. Sam Batterman is president and CTO of Seraphim Software in Collegeville, PA. [ www.seraphimsoftware.com ] After years of working for companies including Merck and Microsoft, Batterman and his team now enable churches with high-tech tools designed especially for them. Come see Seraphim at WFX 2015 in Nashville. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Focus on: ChMS Selection

Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum

When is the RIGHT time for a new ChMS? By John Connell & Emily Kantner

As churches evaluate their processes and introduce new ways of doing things, the common next step in the evaluation is the fundamental platform of a church management system (ChMS). But, what are the milestones that would evoke a pursuit of this magnitude?

So, you’ve decided it’s time. Now what? As you begin to wrestle with the idea of introducing a new ChMS platform, you quickly realize that the market has seemingly changed overnight. Vendors seem to be speaking to you with their promotion of how they’ll change your life with their solutions. But, here’s the reality: Before embarking, you’ll first need to establish your needs. Here are a few primers that might help get the conversation started: What are you trying to accomplish through a ChMS? Consider your ministry goals and the processes you’ve established to meet them. If your church hasn’t already determined these important factors, you might need to take a step back — name the things you’d like to accomplish, and determine the steps you must follow to make it happen. Church management software is designed to simplify the administrative tasks so staff can focus on ministry, but it’s not a “magic ministry pill.” Keep in mind that ChMS can’t repair broken processes; it can, however, help you optimize them and facilitate discipleship. What are the details of the switch? What are you switching from? Is your church currently using another ChMS or just making do with spreadsheets? Your transition — including data conversion and training — will vary based on what you’re using now. And, are you prepared to use the next ChMS to its fullest potential? What is your motivation for switching? Do you want to save time or money? Are you unhappy with your current customer service or lack of new updates? Does your current solution offer competitive features?

In our experience, churches usually “pause and reconsider” their ChMS for three main reasons: 1) The church changes. Is your church exactly the same as it was 25 years ago? As the church grows and changes, you might need to add ministries for the large number of single parents in your congregation. You might have been able to manage basic member information in Excel as a church plant, but that method just isn’t practical for a thriving church of 1,000. 2) The community around your church changes. People probably aren’t looking for the exact same external qualities in a church as they were decades ago. Many church seekers are now looking for a place where they’ll have the opportunity to get involved and make a difference, and they’re searching online for the right fit. To reach them, your church must adapt. 3) The technology changes. As technology advances at a rapid pace, the variety of tools available to churches only continues to grow. Volunteers no longer need pens and paper — there are check-in kiosks and app check-in. Donations are online or mobile. Data is entered once with ease of integration. 30

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

What features and functions do you need? Who are your stakeholders? What do you value most, related to data management? Does the product roadmap fall in step with your continued growth projections? Determine what functions your church must accomplish through a ChMS — and also what features aren’t your highest priorities but will stay on the wish list. Get going! Whatever you’ve found to be your motivation to begin the pursuit, make sure to pause, reflect and begin to assess your needs. Solutions are plentiful, but marketing only goes so far in telling the whole story. Narrow your results. Find your matches. Get stakeholders involved in the discussion. There’s no mystery that selecting a ChMS is an intense process. Even so, don’t let the intimidation of the process overshadow your ability to start the pursuit. John Connell is COO at Elexio Church Software www.elexio.com in Elizabethtown, PA. Emily Kanter is Elexio’s Content Marketing & Communications Specialist.

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The Spirit of Stained Glass

True colors By Andrew Cary Young

Examining the enduring spirit of stained glass in the Church

The core elements of stained glass have remained unchanged for more than 1,000 years. In their own era, our contemporaries designed, cut, leaded, delivered and installed the stained glass windows. Standing on the traditions of the past, the history and traditions of our specialized artistry inform the present. Artists are designers of composition and form; the form relays a symbolic message which we can understand, or which will pique our imaginations. A personal connection Here are a few questions to ask when looking at a stained glass window: Does the window manipulate color in a subtle way? It’s the finer subtleties that we perceive as artistic. Do the forms of the design reinforce the theme of the window? The window should be seen as one integrated whole. Does the window engage the viewer with the quality of light? The window should display the quality of glass transparency and shimmer. Stained glass has the added dimension in the Christian church of creating image and form to share or evoke the Gospel story. The very nature of stained glass is to render a subject symbolically. The artistry is parallel to the theme of creation as God spelled it out to us in biblical terms. Stained glass should express creativity, as God was creative in the seven days at the beginning of our world. The expression of this creativity finds its way to us through the way the artist chooses form, theme, color, texture and all the design elements in his or her palette. Stained glass windows allow God’s light to reach us. This light is made more meaningful to us by the manipulation of colors, symbols and stories. The window can be a threshold to the enlightenment we seek as we enter a church; it helps to make us more mindful of our own relationship to God. The true spirit of stained glass Christianity has continued to adapt to change over time — 2,000 years’ worth. Stained glass has done the same for half of that. In America, the great flowering of church construction paralleled the growth of the nation. From the late 1800s to the great depression, as towns grew, so did the number of churches in each community. After WWII, church construction was renewed as the baby boom generation needed Sunday schools, and their parents required a place to worship. Much stained glass was made during this time. Many stained glass studios today thrive on the maintenance and restoration of these 100-year-old stained glass windows. In Europe — since the world wars — the preservation of this 1,000-year-old history has been stained glass studios’ primary livelihood. churchexecutive.com

Visual artists capture the essence of light in their compositions. There’s a photograph I keep on my desk, taken by my father and printed in his darkroom. It’s a photo of my mother in a graveyard bending down to read an inscription on a tombstone. The foreground is in shadow and silhouette of a wrought iron fence under the shade of a magnolia tree. She is in the sunlight in the middle ground, with a gray pattern of trees in the landscape beyond. The true subject of the photograph is light and how it illuminates our world in patterns of light and dark. This is what the photographer captured at that moment in time. This image — as beautiful as it is, and as meaningful to me — is static and fixed. It will always look the same whenever I look at it. This is what separates stained glass from all other artistic mediums. When illuminated by natural sunlight, stained glass isn’t static; it changes in an instant. The nature of glass is to bend light. As the viewer moves about, his or her perspective is no longer a fixed point. Movement of the viewer changes the angle of refraction in all surfaces of the glass. The viewer moves, and the glass changes. It’s not the essence of light; it is light. Glass — with the manipulation of light — captures the viewer’s imagination in the present moment. When we walk into a room of colored light, our imaginations are caught, and suspended for a time, by the beauty of the light in a myriad of color and transformations. This is the spirit of stained glass. Andrew Cary Young, president of Pearl River Glass Studio, Inc., in Jackson, MS [ www.pearlriverglass.com ], has dedicated his 40-year professional career to creating traditional leaded stained glass, as well as art glass, in service to the Christian Church. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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MANAGEMENT By Tim Cool

An article published by Corrigo, Inc. — specialists in work order and time-tracking solutions — shares the findings of a survey devoted to identifying the top five facility management challenges. Based on the feedback of 1,200 respondents, the results for commercial markets bear similarities to the challenges faced by church facilities managers.

CHALLENGE #5: VENDOR MANAGEMENT — allocating work to the right vendors Outsourcing is a big challenge; namely, companies trying to figure out their strategy for the amount of work they self-perform versus the amount they manage through vendors. While this topic hasn’t disappeared, it’s not the driver behind operational change. According to the Director of Facilities at one restaurant chain: “Outsourcing work is a given — we know we’re always going to do it to some degree. It’s dealing with the changing amount of work, and the churn in our pool of vendors, that’s the challenge.” Summary from survey: Improved vendor management increases the control you have over your operations. By implementing price controls, you can reduce your costs. What facility managers are doing: • Making vendor decisions based on accumulated performance feedback • Recording and comparing information on vendor pricing • Maintaining searchable records of vendor certifications 32

CHURCH EXECUTIVE • November / December 2015

Conclusion for Challenge #5: There are a many details to address when considering vendors and the real cost of using outside vendors, as well as staff resources. Also, be vigilant about the insurance. CHALLENGE #4: MAKING CHANGES WITHOUT HAVING ENOUGH RELIABLE DATA About 30 percent of survey respondents consider the capture of reliable data as one of the top two pressing needs in their organizations. This proved to be the case for both larger and smaller companies, although for somewhat different reasons. Facility managers and directors of larger firms expressed the need to capture relevant historical data across all facilities and vendor types to make strategic decisions and to report out accurately on maintenance and repair spending. Summary from survey: Capturing — and then using — the information associated with all your service and maintenance work equips you make informed, effective business decisions. What facility managers are doing: • Comparing spending trends across their organizations to target areas of waste • Using historical repair data to inform new equipment and warranty purchase decisions • Monitoring real-time progress on important repair work Conclusion for Challenge #4: Historical and real-time data is critical to the understanding of past costs / trends, downtime and projection of costs for our ministry facilities. Develop or buy a system that can track this kind of data, or partner with someone who can do this for you. An Excel spreadsheet won’t likely work unless you have a very small facility. Be proactive, and don’t “guess” about the past, current and future costs required to maintain the resources and tools God has provided. CHALLENGE #3: GETTING MORE WORK DONE WITH FEWER RESOURCES For nearly every company surveyed, increased workload was among the top three concerns. Given these belt-tightening times, it’s no surprise. One factor contributing to the increased burden on facility management teams is the reduction in field technician staffing. This might seem counterintuitive; however, as budget cuts move more work to vendors, the burden of vendor recruitment, selection and management falls to the facility management organization.


Summary from survey: Doing more with fewer resources isn’t a temporary situation; in a competitive market, you’ll always have pressure to keep operational costs as low as possible. To succeed in this environment, you need tools that extend your reach and productivity. What facility managers are doing:  oving away from ad hoc communications by phone, fax and email •M • S haring a common platform with their clients and vendors to electronically process work requests •A  utomating vendor job routing via intelligent systems Conclusion for Challenge #3: Develop, buy or subscribe to a system that allows you to communicate with your vendors (not as the only form of communication) and tracks their ETA, pricing, insurance and performance. Analyze how you will address the need to get more done with less — and if outsourcing is an option that can reduce cost and give you — the professional facility manager / administrator — the time to be strategic, not tactical. Finally, don’t be lulled into thinking your vendors will never go out of business or stop wanting to serve your facility. Remember: the only constant is change. Be prepared. CHALLENGE #2: FINDING WAYS TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF EXISTING ASSETS It’s not just operational budgets that are being squeezed — capital expenditures are down substantially, as well. This translates to keeping existing equipment and assets up and running longer. For nearly 60 percent of survey participants, extending the life of existing assets was the #1 or #2 concern. By way of analogy, consider healthcare. One could submit to a daily series of full diagnostic lab and physical tests, and this would undoubtedly help identify potential health risks as soon as they occur — but, at an untenable cost. “The trick is to find the ‘sweet spot’ of how much testing and tweaking you need to do,” says one facility manager from the grocery industry. For example, do you need to pay to have your HVAC drive belts checked once a month to avoid a potential expensive repair? Once a quarter? Once a year? Summary from survey: Spending the right amount on preventative maintenance, and being able to back up that decision with accurate data, can turn a facility manager into a cost-saving hero. What facility managers are doing: •C  omparing preventative versus repair costs on all asset types and adjusting preventive maintenance (PM) spending accordingly •U  sing accumulated repair data to implement intelligent, predictive maintenance schedules •A  pplying proactive maintenance on mission critical equipment Conclusion for Challenge #2: Preventive maintenance — rather than corrective repairs — is a far better approach to caring for the resources God has entrusted to us. These are real dollars: be good stewards of these dollars and resources. This means you must be proactive to understand the facts, and not just make assumptions. Become a wise steward of your facilities. Like anything in life worth having (like our spiritual life), it takes discipline, hard work and planning.

1) Call avoidance — “I’m not sure how many unnecessary service calls we’ve paid for this year,” says one facility manager. “But, the number is greater than zero, and that’s too many.” The logical first place to look for repair call savings is to avoid them altogether — or, at least, as much as possible. 2) Warranty work management — This category represents “lowhanging fruit” for the facility manager looking to save money: don’t pay for work that’s under warranty. As simple as this sounds, tracking the warranty coverage on the large number of complex assets and equipment is a complex task. 3) Price control — While planned maintenance work, by definition, can be budgeted with some degree of accuracy — and prices can be prearranged for regularly scheduled services, such as janitorial and landscaping — it’s also possible (and highly recommended) that facility managers set pricing guidelines with their reactive repair vendors. Just because repair work is unpredictable and unscheduled, that doesn’t mean you don’t have control over it. Summary from survey: Facility Management might be considered a cost center, but it also holds tremendous potential to impact a company’s profitability. A dollar saved by a facility management team goes directly to the bottom line. That’s why cost savings is a bottom-line concern for facility management professionals. What facility managers are doing: • Avoiding unnecessary repair costs through client self-help systems and knowledge bases • Flagging all assets and equipment under warranty to prevent unnecessary payment • E stablishing and monitoring not-to-exceed pricing agreements with vendors Conclusion for Challenge #1: In today’s economy (and frankly, it should be the standard in every economy since we’re stewards of something that doesn’t belong to us), we’re looking for ways to save money. Sometimes we can’t see the obvious items that will allow us to be more efficient and effective. The principles addressed in this segment are right in front of us. They aren’t rocket science, but they do require several things: 1) Understanding of what costs we’re incurring 2) Tracking and maintaining records of items covered by a warranty 3) Being diligent to document warranties for all work when applicable 4) Establishing processes and procedures that will save you time and money through an NTE process. Again, these are not rocket science — but you do have to be intentional! Tim Cool (@TLCool ) is founder of Cool Solutions Group [ www.eSPACE.cool ] and has assisted nearly 400 U.S. churches (equating to more than 4 million square feet) with their facility needs. He has collaborated with churches in the areas of facility needs analysis, design coordination, pre-construction and construction management, as well as life cycle planning / facility management. Cool Solutions Group is also the developer of eSPACE software products, including Event Scheduler, Work Order Management and HVAC integration. Cool has written three books: Successful Master Planning: More Than Pretty Pictures; Why Church Buildings Matter: The Story of Your Space; and Church Locality, which is co-written by Jim Tomberlin, as well as a manual series entitled Intentional Church.

CHALLENGE #1: SAVING MONEY Topping the list of concerns for this year was (without a doubt!) saving money. When asked how they would like to accomplish this objective, the facility managers surveyed tended to fall in to one of three general categories: churchexecutive.com

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Long-term maintenance considerations By Mike Jones If you’re in the market for a church bus, you really need to think about what happens “down the road” — i.e., in terms of maintenance. Here are six questions you should ask before you buy, and some expert advice. #1: How do the long-term maintenance considerations differ if my church buys a used bus instead of a new bus? One of several advantages to a new bus is that maintenance costs are predictable, for the most part. Regular tire rotations, oil changes, brake pads and alignment are inexpensive and can easily be figured into a budget. A used bus, on the other hand, is unpredictable. Equipment failures can’t be scheduled. For both new and used vehicles, the costs associated with routine maintenance are about $500 to $700 (based on 12,000 miles) per year. However, the cost of repairs due to parts failure on a used bus can easily reach $1,500 to $1,800 per year or more — engine, transmission, A/C system, suspension, brake rotors and calipers, etc. When purchasing a used bus, what might seem like savings and good stewardship on the front end can actually end up costing your church more money in the long run. Converting buses that had perimeter seating (horseshoe-style, like airport parking or hotels) to forward-facing is not advisable, nor should seating capacities — up or down — ever be altered by anyone but the manufacture. #2: Should our church perform bus maintenance ourselves, or should we farm it out? The big question here is whether or not the church has someone available who’s qualified to perform the work. Is there a maintenance person on staff who is trained and can devote the necessary time to maintaining the bus, along with the other equipment? Does this person have current certifications to repair equipment like a bus? If so, then it would be costeffective for the church to perform its own preventative maintenance. If not, for cost and for liability’s sake, heavy-service repairs should be sent to qualified technicians. To this end, it would be wise for your church to develop a partnership with a local service facility. Drivers should always perform a “walk-around inspection” before each use. A checklist of items to inspect includes: • Tires — tread wear and pressure • Fluids — levels and / or any signs of leaks • Belts — Are they tight? Do they show signs of wear? • Hoses — Are they firm when you try to squeeze them? • Glass — Look for chips or cracks that could spread while driving. These documents should then be kept in a safe place with the rest of your church’s vehicle records. Annual inspections are always a good idea and should be done by qualified mechanics. #3: If we outsource our bus maintenance, how do we know who’s the best choice? First, choose the dealer that handles the make of your specific chassis. Manufacturers — Ford, Chevy, IC Bus (International) and so on — will know their own brands better than anyone else. They’ll also be certified to perform any necessary repairs. 34

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Another option is to find a local service center that has a good reputation. They can handle maintenance and repairs outside of warranty work. With any potential service provider, meet the service manager, tour the facility, and get a feel for whether or not the service provider seems qualified to perform the necessary work. Simply put, choose someone you can trust. View the relationship with the mechanic(s) as one more ministry opportunity. #4: What’s more cost-efficient: our church maintaining the bus ourselves, or procuring outside maintenance? Other than routine maintenance, it’s more cost- efficient to procure outside maintenance. In general, buses and vehicles are equipped with more electronic equipment than ever. A certified technician will have the tools, software and training to diagnose — and properly address — any problem. Having professionals maintaining your vehicle will make it run better and last longer, and it will be safer to operate. If you try to save money by having someone within the church handle significant portions of maintenance (which might push the limits of his or her availability), you can end up compounding problems that could have been avoided. #5: What are the most common risks associated with providing our church bus maintenance? There’s always a risk of “human error,” or even a faulty component. Brakes, suspensions and tires are the most underserviced / overlooked items. If negligence is proven, liability could potentially be traced to whomever performed (or didn’t perform) the service. Obviously, buses weigh quite a bit more than most passenger vehicles. If you don’t have the proper equipment for lifting the bus, something as simple as changing a tire can become a potentially dangerous situation. When a church bus gets a flat tire, we strongly recommend that the proper roadside assistance company be called to handle changing that tire. #6: Who in our church should monitor warranties and scheduled maintenance due dates? Someone at the church should consider a simple electronic program that would notify them of certain maintenance intervals, or maybe a spreadsheet to log all the information. The tasks should be assigned to someone reliable enough to make sure the data is entered promptly and proficiently. When repairs are needed, that person should understand what items are warrantable based on the owner’s manuals. These items should be handled by the chassis dealer (Ford, GM, etc.). If an item isn’t under warranty, many times an independent repair shop can do repairs for less than a dealer. For example, if your bus has a broken exhaust from hitting something in the road, a damaged muffler wouldn’t be warrantable, even though the vehicle is under warranty; rather, this would be considered a road hazard. The Ford dealer might charge $350 for a factory muffler, whereas if you took to a respectable national chain muffler shop, it might replace the muffler — and provide the same warranty — for $175. Mike Jones is National Sales Manager at ChurchBus.com. www.midwesttransit.com churchexecutive.com


Streaming Made Simple What quality church live streaming looks like By Andrew Ng

With the advent of live streaming and A/V communication, we are at the forefront of a media revolution. Make sure your church is ahead of the curve. Q: What are the most common mistakes you can make with church streaming — and how can I avoid them at my own church? One collective mistake is overcomplicating the technology needed to successfully broadcast. While it’s true that you need multiple components for a successful live stream, there are really only a few key elements that you truly need. By simplifying the experience, companies like Teradek make it easier to stream video without redundant parts. If your church simply wants to get up and running (read: streaming), consider Teradek’s Live:Air app for the iPad, which lets you start streaming with the option to add titles, pre-made video, and more. If your church already has cameras, consider a tool like VidiU or VidiU Pro and you’re ready to go live. The next two steps are making sure you have Internet and a place you want to send the video. Another common misstep is trying to find one product that meets every need you’ll ever have. You become caught up in this endless search for this ubiquitous product, which ultimately turns into a costly, time-intensive inconvenience. Whether it’s deploying to satellite locations or an online campus, the trick is taking a step-by-step method. To offset this search, we’ve designed our products for scalability, which allows them to grow and adjust as a church’s demands develop. For example, the VidiU Pro — in its simplest form — can sit atop one single camera and connect to local Wi-Fi; however, if a church is interested in a larger production that requires additional production tools (a hardware switcher or external audio, for instance), the VidiU Pro could also provide a reliable connection that supports the extra hardware and allow you to successfully stream. Additionally, if a church wants to take its production on the road, this is where VidiU Pro’s Sharelink functionality comes in handy. It lets users combine the strength of multiple Internet connections, including up to four iPhone links, to generate adequate bandwidth wherever you go. In the interest of scalability, our product line supports all levels of experience, from beginners to professional television-level broadcasters. There’s hardly a learning curve; terminology and UI is a standard across the board for our products. Q: On the other side of that coin, what church streaming practices and tactics have been fruitful for the community? For one thing, it’s vital to know exactly what they’re looking for and to enter the live-streaming world with well-defined long and shortterm goals. This isn’t exclusive to church streaming setups, but to any organization investing in a live streaming setup. To begin this process, one of the best tactics is to collaborate with local organizations or individuals that are familiar with live streaming and churchexecutive.com

Teradek’s free Live:Air app is a turn-key solution for beginners and a featurepacked workflow for experts. A portable setup for capturing retreats and gatherings in the field.

the technology around it. On our end, Teradek designs, manufactures, supports, and ships all its products in-house. That level of control not only helps us understand our own products, but it also enables us to provide in-depth services to our customers if they have questions or concerns. Now shipping, Teradek’s VidiU Pro

Q: How do live-streaming simplifies premium streaming, bringing best practices vary in a broadcast technology to the masses at an affordable price point. An all-inchurch setting versus a one streaming solution, VidiU featues more secular environment? enhanced WiFi, built-in recording, When it comes to the several new streaming options and fundamental technology simplified workflows. involved in live streaming for churches versus a secular environment, there isn’t much difference. The basics remain the same, specifically the need for a reliable encoder, destination, and bandwidth. With that being said, there often are more advanced features that secular environments are looking for to increase reliability and quality based on the hardware they use. With that ramp-up comes a higher price tag. The real difference comes in the form — how the technology is applied and which workflow is best for the church setting. Most of the time, church volunteers operate the equipment for a live stream; in a more secular setting, a dedicated operator might be at the helm. This is why we’ve prioritized user-friendliness with our VidiU family of products. You don’t need to be an expert to operate Teradek products. With just one click of a button, anyone can go live. Andrew Ng is Marketing Manager at Teradek in Irvine, CA. www.teradek.com November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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SOUND SYSTEMS

SOUND (SYSTEM) DECISIONS — MAINTAINING YOUR INVESTMENT By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller Over the past few months, we’ve talked extensively about what to look for in a sound system. We’ve looked at different types of loudspeakers and audio technology. We’ve talked about evaluating your sanctuary space, your style of service, and your budget. And, we’ve talked about the importance of hiring a professional for what amounts to one of the biggest investments your church will make. It makes sense, then, to conclude this series by talking a bit about maintaining your investment. Unlike today’s disposable consumer electronics, professional audio equipment is not designed to just “set and forget.” Like any precision instrument, it should be maintained, calibrated and tested on a regular basis to keep it running at peak performance. Consider that in an average church audio system, the signal might be passing through hundreds — or even thousands — of electronic components before reaching your ears. As with any complex system of many parts, a simple failure can always occur. Although today’s modern electronic equipment is exceptionally robust, heat, dust, and general wear and tear can cause components to deteriorate over time. Inexperience can also play a role. In a great many of today’s churches, most (if not all) of the technical staff are volunteers, with varying degrees of expertise. Carelessness and a lack of training can contribute to short- or longer-term equipment damage — microphones get dropped or yanked from their connectors, equipment racks get bumped, and liquids get spilled. In short, stuff happens. Many of the most important steps to protecting your equipment come down to pre-planning. Most churches don’t have the luxury of a separate room for front-of-house position, which is all the more reason to invest in locking equipment cabinets. Making essential audio equipment inaccessible to all but qualified personnel will prevent inexperienced users from trying to adjust system settings that should be left to those who are properly trained. If you’ve invested in a mixing console, a locking cover can keep dust and liquids out. A good system designer will suggest these and other protective measures, and include them in the overall system design.

installer provides one as an optional service. If they do, it makes good sense to consider entrusting your system’s upkeep to the people who know it best. Just as every system is different, the cost of a good maintenance contract can vary, depending on the complexity of your system and the availability of qualified technical professionals in your area. As a very general rule of thumb, some professionals suggest calculating your maintenance budget by taking the original cost of the system and dividing it by the expected useful life of the main components. For example, if your system costs $60,000, and its projected lifespan is 10 years, you can expect to pay about $6,000 per year, or $500 per month. (Again, these are only estimates.)

Keeping up the upkeep Going with the premise that an ounce of prevention is worth an expensive repair bill, it makes good sense to consider a regular maintenance contract. Many professional A/V firms offer maintenance contracts, and in many cases you will find that your system designer or 36

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Many churches make the mistake of assuming that since their system is new, they can forego a maintenance contract. After all, even if something breaks, it’s under manufacturer’s warranty, right? While that might be true, it’s important to consider whether anyone on your technical staff has the expertise to identify the problem. Also, most manufacturers’ warranties require you to return the equipment to them for repair. Consider whether you can afford to be without a critical part of your system for what could potentially be weeks, if not longer. Most regular maintenance agreements include periodic visits; these are typically scheduled once or twice a year (though a complex and / or heavily used system might be better served by a monthly visit). Here too, your system designer can advise you of what’s best. A routine maintenance inspection can take several hours, and usually includes a full operational evaluation. Your audio pro will route signal through all major paths, testing and calibrating levels for consistency. A physical inspection and electrical safety check are also performed, including checking for loose wiring at critical points such as microphone and speaker connections, battery contacts and so on. Loudspeaker and amplifier performance is measured. If your church uses any wireless systems — including microphones, in-ear monitors, or mixers — those systems are tested, as well. One of the benefits of maintaining a regular system maintenance schedule is the ability to keep track of system performance. Your maintenance engineer will keep a log of test measurements, enabling you to see any long-term changes that might impact system health, and address them before they become larger, more expensive problems. Some maintenance agreements also include the services of a professional for a number of events per year — useful if your church holds large Christmas and Easter services, for example. Of course, a regular service contract will also offer the benefit of telephone support, emergency repairs, and even loaner gear to get you back up and running, should a problem arise. Another often overlooked advantage of a regular service contract is access to knowledge. You and your technical staff get the benefit of regular contact with an expert who can answer questions, educate and inform, offer training, and teach best practices. He or she can observe your church’s use patterns and offer suggestions and advice on any future upgrades, additions or improvements you might want to consider. You’ve done your research, you’ve hired a pro, and you’ve crunched the budget numbers to put together the best sound system your church can afford. Now, it’s important to invest in taking care of your new sound system. Keep it in top condition so it can deliver to your church many, many years of service. Rik Kirby is Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Renkus-Heinz, Inc. www.renkus-heinz.com. Located in Southern California for more than 35 years, Renkus-Heinz is a manufacturer of high-end professional loudspeaker systems. Daniel Keller is CEO of Get It In Writing, Inc.® www.getitinwriting.net. churchexecutive.com

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SAFETY STRATEGIES

Safeguard your church — and your people The word “church” typically conjures up an image of a safe, nurturing environment where people go to share and celebrate their faith. But, the reality can be a bit more complicated. Too often, churches become an irresistible target for criminals because their open-door policies and limited staffing levels can make it easy to pilfer expensive sound systems, audiovisual equipment and artwork. “People want to see their church as an extension of their home — a place that’s filled with their family and friends,” but they don’t have the same level of control at church as at their home, says Denise Allen, the crime prevention coordinator for the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. “Crimes happen when there’s desire, opportunity and ability. We can help churches eliminate the opportunity.” Do a security review Many police and sheriff’s departments have people who will tour a church facility and look for vulnerabilities, review policies, and make recommendations for keeping the church safe. Some departments also will patrol church grounds. Joining a local neighborhood watch program and setting up a church safety team also go a long way toward keeping your church safe. Address physical vulnerabilities Help minimize risk of theft and intrusion by evaluating the following: Doors and locks. Exterior doors should be solid wood or metal, and exterior doors should have a heavy-duty, single-cylinder deadbolt, Allen advises. The quality of the lock on interior doors depends on what’s stored in the room. “The Sunday school room might have a different lock than the room where you store church records and money,” Allen says. Access. Limit building access during times when few people are on the site — especially in the early morning or evening. At the very least, lock any and all doors not in use. Some churches lock all doors and require visitors to be buzzed in through a security system during “off” hours. Parking lots. Encourage congregants to remove valuables and lock their car doors. “Too often, people think nothing will happen in a church parking lot,” Allen points out. Vegetation. Make it hard to hide near windows and doors by keeping vegetation low and trimmed or by using “hostile” vegetation that’s hard to climb through, such as holly bushes. Lights. Illuminate exterior areas and use motion detector sensors. “A thief can’t be sure someone didn’t spot them and turn the light on,” Allen says. Outbuildings. The doors on outbuildings should be locked at all times, especially on buildings that store expensive lawn and maintenance equipment or dangerous chemicals. Little-used entrances. The simple solution: keep them locked. Keys. Limit who has access to keys and who’s allowed to duplicate them. Money. Although many churches have gone to digital collections, it still is common to pass a collection plate at most churches. “Keep a very limited amount of cash on hand and have an appropriate safe for your church — possibly a drop safe that can only be opened by certain people at certain times of day,” Allen recommends. “If you make 38

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cash deposits at the bank, have an irregular deposit schedule and use different people to handle the transaction so a thief can’t easily determine your pattern.” Consider adding a security system A recent study by Campus Security Magazine shows that most burglars are deterred by the presence of alarms, outdoor cameras and surveillance equipment. Investigate the wealth of available security options, including cameras, alarms, perimeter and glass-break sensors, panic buttons and coded entry pads. Large churches with many buildings might consider hiring a security service. Design and implement effective policies and procedures The best in physical security systems can’t make up for poor policies or enforcement. Have a check-in system. If practical, consider having a central check-in area where all visitors have to give their name and the reason for being at the church. Visitors also should sign in and get an ID badge. “This can be tricky,” Allen says. “Churches don’t want to feel unwelcoming or do anything that conflicts with their mission.” Larger congregations also should consider requiring identification badges for all staff members. Consider the time of day. “Train people to do tasks in a safe way,” Allen advises. “For instance, they shouldn’t be taking garbage out to the secluded dumpster at night.” Use the buddy system. Ideally, staff members and volunteers should never be on church grounds alone. Communicate. When few people are on a site, each person should have some kind of communication device with them at all times, such as a cellphone or radio. Hire smart. “Good hiring practices and background checks help minimize the risk of hiring people with bad intentions,” Allen says. Train. Employees and volunteers must be on the lookout for unusual or suspicious behavior and know how to respond to disruptive individuals, what to do in the event of a robbery or intrusion and to report any criminal events. Don’t assume they know how and when to handle these types of events — train them. The challenge of homelessness Churches in urban locations might encounter issues with homeless people congregating near or breaking into the church. To help meet the needs of the homeless without compromising church security, Allen recommends keeping a list of shelters for staff members to hand out and partnering with food banks to provide basic foodstuffs. This article is provided by Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, WI. Risk Reporter newsletters [ www.churchmutual.com/94/Risk-Reporter ] are available from the company for religious organizations, schools, camps and conference centers and senior living facilities. churchexecutive.com


*

Representative With Church Mutual, you get more than just insurance. You get access to a team of experts who will be there when you need us most. Maria Allen is a Church Mutual account manager with more than 10 years of experience. She leads a team of customer service professionals ready to serve your most immediate needs. Whether that means helping you file a claim or answering a question quickly and accurately, being present when you need us most is important to each and every one of our employees. Because with more than 117 years of experience, we understand how important it is to you. Church Mutual has received consistently high ratings from industry analyst A.M. Best every year since 1952.

* Church Mutual is the only religious insurance specialist to be named to the prestigious 2015 Ward’s 50 Top Performing Property & Casualty Insurers. Listening. Learning. Leading. is a registered trademark of Church Mutual Insurance Company. © 2015 Church Mutual Insurance Company

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To learn more, call us at (800) 554-2642 or visit www.churchmutual.com. November / December 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE

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Engaging Spaces

Entry&

Wayfinding By Allison Parrott with Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP

Visiting a church for the first time can be quite daunting. Often, long-time church members take for granted that visitors “just know” which areas to park in, where the easiest entrance is located, and how to navigate the church campus. But, for a first-time visitor, a church campus without clear wayfinding elements can be difficult to navigate — and make it less likely they’ll return. Imagine it’s your first visit to your church, and try to navigate the campus. • What do you see when you first drive up? Is the vehicular entrance clearly marked and easy to find? • How do you know where to park? Is the correct entry easily visible? • Once you’re inside the church, where do you go? Is it clear where the sanctuary is located? What about classrooms? The nursery? For many church leaders, this can be a difficult exercise. To make it easier, there are several common items that can be addressed simply. Driving in Sometimes, entering the campus parking lot can be difficult. Here, large, easy-to-read signage which denotes entrances and exits — as well as building locations — is essential. Also think about how your building physically indicates (or doesn’t) where the main entrance is located and how this relates to the visual a visitor has as he or she enters the parking lot. Consider traffic flow, as well. Some churches find it necessary to hire a traffic consultant to analyze their parking lot flow and make recommendations on restriping. This can speed up drop-off and parking times and also makes the entire lot easier to navigate and more intuitive for visitors. Walking in Once a visitor has found a parking spot, it’s imperative that the walking path to the front entrance be clear and safe. Many churches we work with have older entrances that are highly visible from the street, but not easily accessible from the parking lot. Over time, as church members stopped walking to church and began driving, these original entrances become less and less used by regular attendees. 40

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Sometimes, they’re even locked on Sunday mornings because regular attenders all use side doors. If you have older, large entry doors that aren’t used much, consider replacing them with glass or stained glass that allows for a visual, decorative element but won’t confuse first-time visitors trying to find their way into your church. Taking advantage of smaller wayfinding signs along sidewalks is also helpful. And, ensure your sidewalks are well-maintained and well-lit. If a visitor needs to cross traffic lanes from the parking lot, provide crosswalk areas for safety. Inside the facility Once visitors have made it into the correct entrance, it’s vital that they can quickly find where they’re going. There are many visual cues that can help with this — using different colors or textures on the walls to indicate different types of spaces, for example. Additionally, floor patterns can be used to guide people through a space. Welcome desks are a great addition to any large lobby; just make sure there are greeters stationed there to welcome guests and answer questions. Interior signage is also helpful, here. Many graphics companies specialize in interior wayfinding signage. They tour your facility and work with your leadership team to develop an overall strategy for signage and wayfinding throughout your campus that will reinforce your church’s values and identity. Allison Parrott is the Project Manager for the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects www.zieglercooper.com in Houston. She is married to a church-planter and pastor and is blessed to be able to serve other churches through her professional work. Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP is the Principal-in-Charge of the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects. He has lectured around the country on the changing nature of the church lobby and has been working with churches for more than 35 years. churchexecutive.com

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CHURCH COMMUNICATION TOOLS

How messaging tech can drive fundraising efforts

tailored to specific individuals or groups of individuals. The benefits of sending a thank you text go beyond mere courtesy; doing so will help you build on your existing relationship with donors. In addition to thanking donors, the follow-up message presents an opportunity to tell them how their donation was used. If, for example, you run an appeal to raise money to replace a broken stained glass window, include in the follow-up message a link to a photo gallery showing off the new work.

By Brooke Temple

Did you know that everyone with a mobile phone — even if it’s not a smart phone — has access to SMS (text) messaging? And, virtually everyone knows how to use it. If you want to communicate the same message to a large number of people, texting is your best bet. Since the technology is so pervasive, SMS is also a highly effective fundraising tool for churches, charities and non-profit organizations. According to The Human Rights Campaign, text message subscribers are 2.5 times more likely to donate than those who receive donation requests via other means. Organizations including the Red Cross and Salvation Army have used text-to-donate programs with great success, and churches are beginning to catch on to the benefits of SMS-driven fundraising campaigns. Here’s how to get the most out of your fundraising efforts.

Feedback Commensurate with the testing process, gathering direct feedback from congregants will help you identify which elements of the campaign are working, and which could use some improvement.

Relationships matter (a lot) Faith organizations rely on perennial community support to survive, and the importance of maintaining that support network can’t be overstated. Remember: recurring donors give more money than one-time givers, so the benefits of maintaining strong relationships with committed donors are calculable and significant. SMS messaging facilitates this network maintenance like no other technology. Text-to-donate isn’t the only way SMS messaging can be used to raise money. Attendance and engagement with traditional fundraising events and charity drives can be improved greatly by reaching out to congregants via text. Mobile tech analysts agree that SMS messages have a 95-percent open rate. SMS is a far more effective promotional tool than email, traditional mailings or phone trees. And, the more people you encourage to join your fundraising event, the more cash you’ll raise. The positive outcomes of a text-led fundraising campaign will be felt immediately — but it’s the long-term effects that will most benefit your organization. Although it can take a little time to grow your SMS contact database, the bigger it gets, the easier it will be to reach more people, as often as you need to. Good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth comes into play here, as congregants relay their experience of engaging with the organization via text to others. (And of course, the uses of SMS as a community communication tool aren’t limited to donating money and promoting fundraisers. Many aspects of running a faith-based organization — from announcing meetings to distributing inspirational messages — can be aided by text messaging.) SMS messaging is ingrained in the collective psyche; its power lies in its ubiquity. Practically everyone — of all ages — owns text-messaging technology. Once you start connecting with them, your contact list will grow … and so will your donation fund.

Follow-up Recognizing and thanking donors is a key part of the text-to-donate process. As with your initial call-to-action, the follow-up message can be

Brooke Temple is SVP of Strategic Partnerships for CallFire www.callfire.com in Santa Monica, CA. He has more than 16 years of business development and digital marketing experience, and heads up CallFire’s sales efforts and enterprise-level customer acquisition strategies.

Coordination A multi-channel fundraising campaign must be cohesive to be effective. With texting, you have complete control over the content and timing of each message; SMS can tie the narratives of each channel together. Personalization Subscribers are more likely to take action if you address them personally, so segment your lists and create different messages for each group based on their interests. Tailor your message differently for long- or short-term donors, and create an entirely new message for new supporters. Testing To ensure messages are clearly understood by recipients, testing your SMS campaign is of paramount importance. Marketing strategies used by corporations are just as effective for nonprofits, so use A/B testing — in which one variation of the message is tested against another — to see which combinations of content and timing (time of day and day of week to send your requests) are most effective.

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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 • Lifetime Learning • Transportation • Finance • Risk Management / Insurance • Pastor-Friendly A/V • Church Management Software (ChMS) • Architecture & Design • Generosity • Signage • Accessibility & Inclusion • Seating • More! Download them all at: churchexecutive.com/ebooks Or, get our e-Books in your inbox! By signing up on the Church Executive homepage — churchexecutive.com — for our eNewsletter and digital magazine, you’ll also get new e-Books and e-Book chapters automatically!

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Continuing education: which “more” do you need? By David Sanford When surveyed, a majority of pastors and church executives somewhat agree or strongly agree they need more than graduate courses in Bible, theology and traditional ministry. In response, Corban University’s School of Ministry (CUSM) offers “more” in its most popular and important degree programs. D.Min. in Strategic Leadership Building on the foundation of a M.Div. or Master’s in a ministry field — and on your vocational experience in ministry — this “new, improved” D.Min. degree program, led by Dr. Gary McIntosh, provides advanced study in church leadership. Expand your own capacity and effectiveness in order to take your ministry to the next level. This program requires students to complete a two-week residency at Corban’s Salem, OR, campus once a year for the first three years of the program. At every turn, it will inspire you to accurately assess your ministry leadership and use effective strategies built on the enduring truths of God’s Word. Traditional topics of study • Spiritual Life of a Leader • Ministry Formation • Biblical Leadership • Ministry Leadership • Biblical Application • Thesis-Project Development “More” topics of study • Leadership Foundations • Leadership Philosophies • Leadership Analytics • Leading Church Staff • Leading Church Volunteers • Directing Church Programs • Managing Church Assets Transfer credit Individuals requesting credit transfers should do so at the time of admission to the program. Eight hours of D.Min. credit, representing two modules / courses, may be transferred into the program from other accredited seminaries. The transfer of courses is subject to the approval of the D.Min. Director and Registrar based upon their relevance to CUSM’s program emphasis and structure, and whether the courses represent a comparable level of academic and professional quality. Additional information Corban will match 50 percent of scholarship money contributed toward your tuition from a church or parachurch organization up to $800 per residency. As applicable, take advantage of Tuition Assistance, GI Bills, and VA benefits. As well, talk to the Corban Business Office about making monthly payments on your student account instead of paying your tuition in one lump sum at the beginning of each semester. M.A. in Christian Leadership Not everyone in ministry is called to be a church’s senior or lead pastor. The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership provides seminary training with a strong theological base and three versatile concentrations, allowing you to tailor your degree to your ministry’s needs. Those three concentrations are Spiritual Formation, Nonprofit Leadership, and Christian Teaching. 44

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Traditional topics of study • Interpreting Scripture • Understanding Theology • Theories of Learning and Teaching • Teaching Scripture and Theology • Growing in the Lord • Biblical Worldview • Counseling “More” topics of study (includes Hoff School of Business MBA courses) • Management • Leadership Theories • Servant Leadership • Organizational Behavior • Stewardship and Financial Planning • Human Resource Management • Building Community Partners • Understanding Generations • Teaching Diverse Kinds of Learners • Cross-cultural Ministry Transfer credit Corban University School of Ministry may accept credits from regional and national accrediting institutions approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. No more than 50 percent of the total credit hours required in a program may be transferred from another institution. The final 20 semester hours must be taken at the School of Ministry (and Hoff School of Business). Additional information Individuals enrolled in the School of Ministry are challenged to worship and glorify God, to nourish their souls with His Word, to fellowship with Him through prayer, to actively build up Jesus Christ’s followers, and to proclaim the Good News to others. So, what is God’s calling on your life and ministry? As you look to the future, what “more” do you need? As the Lord leads you, this is my prayer: “By His power, may God fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith” (2 Thess. 1:11b). May that be true for you in increasing measure throughout 2016, 2017 and beyond. David Sanford has served as an associate pastor for 22 years and served as the executive editor of three study, reflective, and application-oriented Bibles published by Tyndale House and Zondervan. He now serves as Director of Institutional Marketing at Corban University. Details of the study offerings mentioned in this article are available on the Corban University website https://grad.corban.edu/ministry/ or by emailing graduate@corban.edu. churchexecutive.com


RISK MANAGEMENT

REPORT

CBO: Collaboration = Better Off By Peter A. Persuitti

At this year’s BoardSource Leadership Forum (BLF) — a gathering of more than 800 non-profit trustees, directors, executives and specialized service providers — I was struck by a fundamental conversation: Someone raised the issue of why we call ourselves “nonprofit.” The query brewed as a result of the number of corporate executives in the audience on hand for training and awareness-building as it relates to their own nonprofit-serving governance roles. This tension is not uncommon; in fact, as someone who represents a for-profit corporation with a vertical specialization in the third sector, it’s quite familiar. Perhaps the bubbling of interest was also a result of the number of BLF sessions that related to efficiency, transparency, accountability and metrics. It’s a theme that has exacerbated a fissure that exists between the worlds of for-profit and nonprofit; something which, for me — having worked on “both sides of the aisle” — seems anachronistic. I will never forget a frustrated Peter Drucker lamenting years ago, with a heavy German accent: “Why do we call ourselves ‘nonprofit,’ when the fact remains that profitability is vital to our sustainability?” To this point, I’ve been so impressed with the tools of technology (and equally with recent management appointments in nonprofits) that I’ve been encouraging nonprofits to raise their game relative to risk retention. This can be achieved with a more sophisticated form of reinsuring their liabilities and operations — captive, risk retention group — so that nonprofits’ efforts are rewarded through an ROI on their capital (i.e., a surplus), generating a “profit center” for mission protection. I believe the time has come for a more holistic view of how we manage, whether it’s our company, our organization or our household. (Interestingly, the word economics actually comes from two Greek words — Oikos and Nomia — whose earliest origins relate to taking stock of the affairs of the home.) I believe this blurring is manifest in much of what I am witnessing: • F or-profit executives leaving a life of “success,” corporately, for a life of “significance” in a mission-based organization (Bob Buford’s theory) at a mid-point in their lives; • F or-profit executives sitting on non-profit boards advocating for more Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), a more sophisticated form of risk management; and •A  tidal wave of interest among emerging generations in the non-profit sector — for careers, volunteerism and engagement. churchexecutive.com

Another concept of this blurring relates to the need for nonprofits to see resources, talent, contribution and solutions in their non-profit, community-based neighbors. In fact, it appears that risk management is no longer an “organization issue,” per se; you can have the best-laid plans, but if you aren’t aligned with your community, you risk vulnerability. Additionally, so many recent security breaches point to the need for community-based solutions that are global, not just US-centric. Below is a diagram I raised with a faith-based nonprofit to demonstrate how its approach to risk might, more effectively, be to find greater impact through alignments within the local community. Engaging your community Identifying engagement for a local ministry protection committee

Perhaps now is the time for “nonprofits” to change the semantics of their sector to a broader Community-Based Organization (CBO) concept. In fact, one idea which emerged at this year’s BLF gathering was an alternative label for a nonprofit: CBO. Perhaps — as CBOs — we will more effectively live out our missions, starting with a positive, inclusive versus a negative (“non”) dynamic. And, no doubt, we’ll better manage risk through these alignments. Ultimately, we’re better off with collaboration! Peter A. Persuitti (@ppersuitti) is managing director, Religious Practice, at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. [ www.ajg.com ] in Chicago. Gallagher is a financial services firm specializing in insurance brokerage, benefits and retirement consulting, claims administration and advocacy, institutional investment and fiduciary services, alternative risk financing and program administration and risk management. As a dedicated Religious Practice, Gallagher works with more than 24,000 non-profits around the world.

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BREAKING BARRIERS

Connecting congregants to inspiration with assistive listening By Maile Keone

Congregants attend their houses of worship for many different reasons. Some find inspiration from the messages and music they hear, and others enjoy connecting with the community. Whatever the reason, if they can’t hear the messages that inspire them — or if they lose the feeling of connection they get with fellow congregants because they can’t participate in conversations — they might stop attending. Unfortunately, for congregants who have hearing loss, this happens more frequently than it should.

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An estimated 20 percent of American adults have a measurable degree of hearing loss — and that number rises dramatically when calculated on a worldwide scale. To make this number more tangible, the next time you attend a worship service, look around your congregation and count one out of every five members. This is potentially how many people could stop attending, or could be missing out on the full message, due to the inability to hear clearly. You might be thinking, People who have hearing loss wear hearing aids. You might also think that hearing aids should solve any listening issues — but, this is a large misconception. While hearing aids solve some of the issues related to hearing loss, they don’t solve everything. Hearing aids are designed to work the best within three to six feet. They also amplify all sound. To give a more applicable example, if someone with a hearing aid is sitting farther than six feet from the pulpit, and surrounded by a lot of background noise (like an HVAC system, a crying child or shuffling papers) he or she will have a very difficult time hearing the speaker, because the background noises will also be amplified. Fortunately, there are additional technologies that exist that provide people with hearing loss with great listening experiences in houses of worship, as well as other public venues. These assistive listening technologies work with or without hearing aids. There are three types of assistive listening technologies available: radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR), and hearing loop. Each type of assistive listening technology comes with its own unique benefits. When installing an assistive listening system in your house of worship, it is important to consider which type of system will work best in the space. For example, if there are line-of-sight issues — such as columns or other visual barriers — it might be best to install an RF system. If simultaneous broadcasts and a secure audio signal are required, so that the sound does not travel from room to room, an IR system should be considered. Finally, a hearing loop should be considered if there are many congregants with telecoil-equipped hearing aids who attend worship services each week. It might also be wise to consider a hearing loop if your house of worship is undergoing construction of some kind, as it can be installed within the physical structure of the building.

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Along with providing better listening experiences for those with hearing loss, an assistive listening system can be used for other things in your house of worship. Portable RF assistive listening systems can be used for tour groups and sunrise services. These systems are also very useful if there members in your congregation who speak different languages; they can provide different listening channels for language interpretation.

It’s important to provide the best possible experience for congregants in your house of worship — and that includes giving them the opportunity to hear the messages and music that inspire them each week, as well as connecting with their church community. No matter what type of technology you choose, providing an assistive listening system in your house of worship can help ensure your congregants keep listening to inspiration. Maile Keone is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Listen Technologies [ www.listentech.com ] in Bluffdale, UT. She is an advocate for people with hearing loss and a spokesperson on mandatory assistive listening compliance worldwide.

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NEVER AGAIN

Balancing religious freedom & employment rights By Michael J. Bemi The young woman had been a mathematics teacher at the churchrelated high school for more than seven years. She was beloved by her students; they praised her ability to convey difficult concepts in an accessible, clear and engaging style. The school board awarded her ‘teacher of the year’ status three times for her demonstrated skill at helping many students overcome their fear of mathematics, and for creating a positive learning environment around a topic often dreaded by many students. Parents were regularly vocal about what an outstanding role model she was to her students. It was no secret to the principal and most of the other teachers that this young woman sought to start a family, and that she and her husband were having great difficulty conceiving a child. Further, the teacher informed her principal that she and her husband had finally decided to engage a fertility expert and to pursue in vitro fertilization. They felt strongly that they’d tried everything else and were left with only this remaining alternative. The principal — herself known for being very understanding and compassionate — acknowledged the young woman’s intentions. She simply advised the young teacher to “keep the matter between the two of us,” as in vitro fertilization was inconsistent with the sponsoring Church body’s doctrine and in conflict with the ‘religious doctrines clause’ in the teacher’s contract. Several months later, the young teacher became pregnant. At a holiday weekend faculty get-together, her husband “let it slip” to another teacher that the pregnancy was the result of in vitro fertilization. That teacher reported this to the parish pastor, who instructed the principal to fire the young woman for violation of the ‘religious doctrines cause’ in her contract. The young woman consequently sued for pregnancy discrimination, violation of gender-neutrality requirements, and emotional anguish and distress. The parish and high school countersued for breach of contract and also asserted the ministerial exception. The fallout — and its outcome It’s important here to note that this incident caused tremendous strife and discontent within the parish, the high school, and even the broader 48

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community. Parents and students rallied to the teacher’s defense. People wondered aloud how it could possibly be doctrinal to treat such a fine and admirable young couple in what appeared to be such a patently unChristian fashion. Students threatened class boycotts. The principal herself suggested that she should resign, though the community supported her virtually unanimously; even the pastor had forgiven her “oversight.” The trial court rejected the ministerial exception motion — which, if allowed, would have prevented the court from accepting and hearing the case lest it infringe upon matters of ecclesiastical governance in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise clauses. It did so, because the teacher was not an ordained or commissioned minister; she had not received any special religious, theological or doctrinal training; she was never titled or described as a minister or anything similar; and she exclusively taught secular mathematic concepts and principles. Upon later argument, the court noted that the teacher’s contract did not explicitly define doctrinal strictures, nor did the hiring process provide information that would do so for an applicant. Both parties agreed that the principal’s actions appeared to condone or even approve of the teacher’s actions, or at least, created ambiguity for the teacher. Finally, discovery showed that a male teacher — who had used in vitro fertilization with his wife — was not similarly terminated. The parish and high school lost the case and paid a very costly judgement. What might you do to prevent a similar result? First, understand that religious freedom protections are very broad, but not a “silver bullet” in every discrimination or breach of contract action. Next, employee handbook and contract strictures should be very clear; discussed with applicants; and acknowledged in writing by applicants. Finally, employment decisions must be consistently enforced and always gender-neutral. 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

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A COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT “OURIS SOMETHING EMPLOYEES ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE SHOULDDESERVE SINK INTO.

FINANCIAL BENEFITS. I wish we could afford them.”

We hear it all the time. “We’re a ministry, not a business. We just don’t have the money to offer financial benefits.” But the truth is, affordable financial benefits are not out of reach. MMBB Financial Services thoroughly understands the needs of faith-based organizations. And as benefits consultants, we will tailor an affordable plan so that everyone in your organization will enjoy retirement, disability and life insurance benefits that are sensible and secure. To find out more, visit us at MMBB.org/affordablebenefits. Or call 1-800-986-6222. We may just have some very good news for you and your employees.

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Church Executive Nov.-Dec. 2015 Digital Version  

Helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.

Church Executive Nov.-Dec. 2015 Digital Version  

Helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.