Church Executive November/December 2014

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In 2002, Christina Borja accepted an office manager job at National Community Church (NCC) thinking she’d keep at it for six months to a year. But the position developed and soon she was helping lead pastor Mark Batterson with the books. Under her financial leadership, NCC’s annual budget has grown from $200,000 in 2004 to $7.3 million this year.





By Rachael D. Rowland, M.P.A.

By Rich Maas




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How one church increased its online giving from 6% to 14%

By Robert Erven Brown, Esq. with Matthew Mason, Esq. By Patrick Moreland, CPCU, CIC, CRM

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By Bob Wolfe




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CREATIVE & PROVEN STRATEGIES Preparation is a game-changer for capital campaign success By Paul Gage


For a church’s design to be effective, it must be engaging — beginning the moment someone walks through the door.

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NEVER AGAIN The little things really do count By Michael J. Bemi





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CHILDREN’S/YOUTH SPACES: Oklahoma Youth Camp (Sparks, OK) 57 STAFF MANAGEMENT (Multi-site): Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY) 58 4 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014









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EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC Denise Craig Chief Financial Officer Abba’s House | Hixson, TN David Kennedy CEO | San Marcos, CA Mike Klockenbrink Chief of Staff Lakeside Church | Folsom, CA Dan Mikes Executive Vice President Bank of the West | San Ramon, CA John C. Mrazek III Executive Pastor Pathways Church | Denver, CO Sam S. Rainer III Senior Pastor First Baptist Church | Murray, KY Mark Simmons Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA Eric Spacek Senior Manager GuideOne Insurance | West Des Moines, IA

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Church Executive (Copyright 2013), Volume 13, Issue 6. Church Executive is published monthly by Power Trade Media LLC, a subsidiary of Friendship Publications Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST) included, all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). Reprints: All articles in Church Executive are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Neeson Hsu at (602) 265-7600 ext. 201. ™

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As church leaders, you have the greatest of all messages to share. Too often, though, it never makes its way to a substantial part of the congregation: individuals with hearing loss. A few surprising statistics: • One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) 12 and older have hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations. • Statistics show that people attend church more regularly as they age (and as they simultaneously develop hearing challenges). However … • Younger generations — including returning veterans, as well as surprising numbers of youth — are nearly as likely to develop hearing challenges as the more senior demographic, due to wartime explosive devices, occupational hearing hazards and a predilection toward high-volume audio levels. Though hearing loss is surprisingly widespread, it remains a “silent” disability. When people with hearing loss can’t hear the Word, they often switch churches — or, worse, they stop attending services altogether. As such, the Church Executive team recognizes accessible, inclusive worship as a drastically underserved ministry opportunity. Perhaps this is because, for churches, accommodating worshippers with hearing loss is more “ministry” than “mandate.” An equal access exemption usually applies to houses of worship as related to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. While a church might not be aware of the severity

of the need to accommodate worshippers with hearing loss, failing to plan proactively to accommodate these crucial members of the congregation has farreaching consequences. These risks are discussed in the roundtable, Breaking Barriers, on pages 14-16 — a “think tank” involving several high-level experts in the hearing loss arena. It also offers some expert advice for starting an effective accommodation process at your church. And, don’t miss our November / December 2014 digital issue [] for a full-length Q&A with our roundtable panelists. They discuss how to gauge whether or not your church’s current audio setup is accommodating to members with hearing loss; how to — effectively — let people know hearing-accessible options are available; common barriers churches face when trying to accommodate these worshippers; and the technologies and discrete strategies churches are using to overcome those obstacles. In December, we’ll be launching an eBook dedicated to achieving accessible, inclusive churches. You’ll automatically be notified when that eBook goes live by signing up to receive our biweekly eNewsletter and digital issue on our homepage: All the best to you and your ministry,

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In 2002, Christina Borja accepted an office manager job at National Community Church (NCC) thinking she’d keep at it for six months to a year. But the position developed and soon she was helping lead pastor Mark Batterson with the books. Under her financial leadership, NCC’s annual budget has grown from $200,000 in 2004 to $7.3 million this year. “It’s the Lord’s favor,” Borja replies when asked what could have contributed to the growth of NCC. But there are other things that may be at work: NCC holds services in several movie theaters, offering people convenient locations and time options; Batterson is a wonderful speaker; and majority of attendees are young and single — not a typical church demographic. “We had zero idea this [growth] was going to happen,” says Borja. “We just steward the people that God brings to us.” Borja has a business mind and a heart for ministry. She says she makes budget decisions based on reality; however, she couples this reality with praying for the miraculous and for what God can do. “We don’t make decisions until we have the money,” she explains, “but we’re hopeful; we talk about what it could be, we dream about what it could be, we pray that it will be and we anticipate that it will.” How does your job as CFO impact the vision and growth of NCC? I was the third full-time staff member from the original team to come on board. As the church has grown, I felt like it’s my responsibility to figure out how to grow it from the business and operations side. For example, in terms of how 8 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

to put a team together, how to create jobs based on the workload and figure out when is there a need for another job and when there isn’t, and how do we structure it. There isn’t really a pattern or an example for what to do when a church grows this fast, so I think I kind of just forged through that side of it with the help of our lead pastor. I’ve been a member of our executive leadership team for the last 13 years. I took a sabbatical in September 2013 when I went overseas. I think I impact the vision and growth of NCC as we discuss major decisions in terms of how we grow and where to expand. In my role as CFO, I try to keep our budget in line with our vision and make sure our checkbook matches our priorities. I do that through the process of managing the budgets and assembling the budget requests and making sure that the appropriate percentages are in place. What strategies are in place to ensure good stewardship of NCC’s resources? We’ve focused a lot on internal controls over the last five or six years. In 2007, I hired an outside firm to do a full audit for us and they gave us great recommendations that helped me formulate good practices. Prior to 2007, it was more of a common sense approach, such as not having one person count the money. I also try to stay up on reading some materials from other nonprofit organizations and what they do to ensure stewardship. We have an annual audit that reviews our internal controls and checks if we actually do the controls we put in place. I try to make sure I’m thinking about that and communicating it to our donors.

What measures do you take to protect the financial integrity of NCC? Our budget managers — staff members who oversee different departments — submit their budget requests and I analyze those based on their prior year spending and their actual versus budgeted spending from the prior year. Then we meet as an executive leadership team to decide if the budget requests are appropriate and if they fit into our projected income. We also have a stewardship team — a board of lay members who are responsible for our bylaws — that approves the budget. There are “outside” eyes — members of our congregation who make sure the budget is appropriate. And then again a lot of internal con-

NATIONAL COMMUNITY CHURCH Year Established: 1996 Lead Pastor: Mark Batterson Denomination: Assemblies of God, Association of Related Churches, Willow Creek Association Number of Locations: 7 Number of Staff: 55 Combined weekly attendance: 3,000 This years budget: $7.3 million

trols — things that we do to make sure our accounts are balanced and that two people are reviewing transactions and the person who balances the checkbook is not the same person who writes the checks. All of those things add to the financial integrity of the church. How do you project your churche’s income? It’s a soft science. I have records of our growth since 2002 when I started. I have all of the growth percentages over the last 12 years or so and we use that as a benchmark. We’re usually a little bit conservative with our budget. If we think there’s going to be an 8-percent increase in the coming year, we’re going to try to budget for 6 percent. I give the executive leadership team my best estimate and then we decide together. Generally, we don’t want to feel the pressure in case we don’t make the offering that we projected, but we also have to be realistic. We have a lot of programming and different ideas that the Lord is asking us to launch. If

we’re too conservative, we might stunt growth and dreams from coming to fruition. That’s why I call it a soft science. What are the financial implications of holding church services in theaters? We pay around $1,000 a week for each theater depending on the location. But that’s actually a pretty good price in terms of not having to manage a building or pay for real estate in Washington, DC. It’s a good deal for the movie theaters because they’re not using these theaters on Sunday mornings. They take care of maintenance, so there’s less to manage on our end. It’s a fairly good price for having that space for three hours instead of maintaining a building in each of our location. To us it’s pretty wise, financially. The main reason we hold services in movie theaters is we want to be in the middle of the marketplace. We want to have a church where people feel comfortable going. It lets pretense and walls down for people who wouldn’t normally set foot in church buildings. What are the biggest challenges CFOs of large churches face today? I don’t know that I can speak for all large churches. In fact, I think that ours is an anomaly in a lot of ways. I don’t know if it’s because we’re a multisite or the different businesses and projects we do, or the complexity of the city or urban space. But for me, my management style with our budget managers in the early years was much more relational. However, as our team has grown, I had to shift focus from managing them one-on-one to more of doing standard training sessions. That’s a challenge to me because I feel better at managing these situations relationally. Another challenge is the growing complexity of what we do. We’ve grown from a church with a budget of $200,000 when I started taking over the finances sometime in 2004 to an annual budget of $7.3 million this year. It’s a challenge just having that kind of upward gain in terms of financial transactions and ensuring accuracy. Also, the amount of different people we’re working with, training staff and keeping up with the pace of our growth. Because we’re a church and we’re >> 11-12 / 2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 9

THE CE INTERVIEW about people, relationships and the way we handle circumstances are more important than, I think, it would be in another organization. For example, if I have budget managers who keep turning in receipts late or accidentally use their church credit card for personal items and I have to stay on them, these conversations for me are more tricky and

delicate than they would be if I worked for a for-profit entity or something of that nature. Personally, I feel that that’s a challenge. What are your biggest accomplishments at NCC? Starting our coffee house on Capitol Hill. I managed the construction project of Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse

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and got the business off the ground from scratch. It’s been here since 2006 and it does well, financially. Running that from scratch was a huge challenge. It was very hard, but worth the effort. It feels rewarding to see it flourish, and my favorite part is when I walk toward my office, which is right above it, and I hear people talk about the Lord and discuss life. It does what it’s set out to do. I love that our community comes here — those who know the Lord and those who don’t — and that we get to cross paths with them in a natural environment because of this place. Another is figuring out how to grow our church from small to large and structuring that from a financial standpoint and from a human resources standpoint. I hired a guy about three years ago who takes care of the operations side of the church and he has been helping figure out growth. But in terms of how do we properly insure ourselves, how do we have enough staff — all of those are things that I managed for the business and operations side of the church for many years. I feel like I have a business mind and ministry heart. I love the Lord with all of who I am and I want people to know Him. Over the last 13 years, I feel like I’ve been able to keep the big picture the big picture. What is your vision for the financial future of NCC? My personal vision is that we would be debt-free. We are currently, but we’re not always. I also have a vision for being a place where donors feel secure to give, and that more and more of our church attenders would tithe. My influence in that area comes with talking with our lead pastor about current statistics and through some donor communication so our donors can see what they’ve given. My hope is that people would find joy in tithing and understand that it’s a part of their transformation process with the Lord. And that we would continue to have good stewardship as we grow.

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It’s no secret that the majority of annual giving occurs during the last three months of the year. With more than one-third of all charitable giving happening at the end of the year, this is an important time for churches and ministries to double-check their stewardship practices. Ensuring you’re prepared to properly process, communicate and acknowledge gifts from your congregation can go a long way toward helping your members give with a joyful heart. Allowing God to work through your church means both prayer and preparation are essential. Take a minute to review these tips and think about how your church can be proactive in stewardship and cultivation practices during the giving season. #1: Be thankful. Start by thanking your members. A simple, thoughtful thank-you speaks volumes to their hearts. Churches are usually on top of sending yearend tax letters or receipts for gifts, but do you stop to acknowledge gifts in a personalized way? A simple thankyou card or letter is sufficient and effective in letting your members know you see and appreciate their charitable efforts. Don’t forget your volunteers that spend hours helping you in ministry. Often, these gifts are overlooked! #2: Ask. Don’t assume your members know your needs. Use newsletters and emails to let them know specifically what your church’s goals are, and how they can participate. The more specific you are with your goals, the more likely your members will feel connected to your ministry, and those you serve. Reminding your attendees to “give” has far less impact than letting them 12 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

know you need $700 to purchase warm coats and hats for needy families. #3: Make it easy. Don’t require your members to jump through hoops to tithe or give. Make sure your website includes more than one clear and prominent location to “Donate Now.” Include links in the text of mission accounts or other fundraising campaigns, so your congregation can respond in the moment. Keep pews regularly stocked with giving envelopes, and list the ways to give in your bulletin. Make sure you share your donation link in email correspondence, ministry reports, newsletters and bulletins. #4: Share. Letting your members know what their support has accomplished throughout the year is essential to good stewardship. Success stories — especially ones that can show the personal nature of those you serve — are a powerful way to keep your congregations heart connected to your mission. Even small steps matter. If you don’t have tangible successes, like “We were able to deliver 150 lifesaving vaccines to children,” then share how one life was transformed by your ministry. When you share your outcomes, remember to acknowledge how the sacrifices of your members were instrumental. #5: Inspire them. Share your goals and vision for the upcoming year with your members. Make them aware of all that you’re entrusting to the Lord. This will allow your congregation time to plan and pray for a cause, or area of your mission they feel called to. #6: Where is the joy? God-pleasing giving comes from a joyful heart. Consider ways to connect your members to the joy of giving, such as inviting your congregation to a fun event that inspires joyful giving or asking a needy family that benefited from donations to write a thank-you to share. Be thoughtful and creative with ways to celebrate the generosity of your members, and help connect them with the true spirit of the season. #7: Say it twice. Thank your members with no strings attached. They are the reason you can build a church, life-changing ministry, or a well. When your leadership takes their eyes off the goal, you stop practicing good stewardship. Plan acknowledgements and thank-yous ahead of time and deliver them expeditiously. Demonstrating appreciation always inspires a more joyful giving experience. Summer Tilley and Dan Downing both work for Spokane, WA-based MinistryLINQ [], whose focus is helping churches and ministries be more effective in their mission through payment consulting and a suite of donation and payment processing solutions.

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A Church Executive expert roundtable devoted to achieving accessible, inclusive churches OUR ROUNDTABLE PANEL Truly accessible churches accommodate all worshippers. If members or guests can’t hear the sermon, they’re likely to start going to a different church — or, worse, stop attending services altogether. That’s why Church Executive has placed a premium of covering the topic of hearing-accessible, inclusive worship. Here, a panel of experts in this field explains why it’s so critical to be proactive — and how to take the first steps in a hearing-accessible direction.






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What risks does a church face if it fails to proactively plan to accommodate worshippers with hearing loss? Jensen: Loss of message and potential members. Perhaps more importantly, though, is the selfdetachment that a person with hearing loss may engage in as a result of his or her disability. Papageorge: I agree: People will stop going to worship services. But, it’s important to point out that this risk isn’t exclusive to a certain demographic or age group. Ogiba: True. In any community, about 20 percent of the population has hearing loss. On a national basis, there are some 48 million of us. Our soft research says people can miss anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of what’s said at worship services. So, a significant number start cutting back, or going to church less often. I t ’s a b ig loss — bu t a lso a >>

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Tell us your story — Visit us at and tell us about your congregation. How would a listening system from Williams Sound help you spread The Word? Submit your story, and you will automatically be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a new PPA 457 Personal PA® FM Assistive Listening System. I 800.328.6190 I helping people hear

b ig o p po r t u n i t y i f you ’re o n e of t h e ch u rch es i n you r co m m u n i t y t ha t t a ke s a n ex t ra s t e p t ow a rds h ea r i ng accessi b i l i t y. McKinley: In some cases, we also see a migration from one church — which doesn’t offer assistive listening systems — to another church that does. Beckman: Obviously, a church is a community that wants to be inclusive, whether it’s for people with hearing loss or any other kind of disability. Keone: We all talk about attendance dropping off; but, I really think it’s more complex an equation. If a church is growing, it might not even know it’s losing those people. So, a church is at risk just by not understanding its membership and their needs, especially related to hearing accessibility. Braun: If a church that’s subject to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for hearing assistance doesn’t satisfy those requirements, it runs the risk of individuals reporting the non-compliance to the ADA. When a complaint is registered, it is — minimally — bad PR for the church that could result in loss of members. An unresolved complaint may also force a church into a timeline for compliance in order to avoid fines or a lawsuit.

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At what point do churches typically enlist accessible-audio professionals — like you — for guidance? Jensen: Key factors include suggestions, complaints, referrals, self-advocacy or a financial gift. Typically, in my experience, the worship leader, technical director or individual with hearing loss initiates the call to us for our guidance on a solution. Braun: There are a few key triggers, in our experience. First, most churches are exempt from ADA regulations unless they make their house of worship available to the public — if they rent it out, for example. Second, if a significant expansion or remodel is in planned; if more than 65 percent of the space is being reworked, ADA’s regulations kick in. Finally, members with hearing loss speak up, or poor acoustics might be an issue. In these spaces, it can be tough to hear because of background noise and distance to the audio source (even if a worshipper doesn’t have a hearing problem). Papageorge: We’re often enlisted when churches want to upgrade their audio systems, or if there are concerns regarding audio clarity. Upon further investigation, it might be an acoustically perfect system — but, the church doesn’t know the history of the hearing loss; namely, that it has nothing to do with the room. It has nothing to do with the sound system. It has something to do with my personal hearing loss, and only direct sound to my ear can fix that.

Ogiba: In my experience, churches need to be approached and learn about the opportunity that way. They respond well to the idea that providing access helps them build their congregations. Churches which offer special needs music programs or even lecture series are often the most amenable to talking about access and using it in a proper way. McKinley: In churches, about 90 percent of our systems are sold because of a wow! moment. Somebody went to another church’s worship service and found they’d never heard so well in their life. Then, he or she brings it — as a gift — to their own church. We’ve worked with 1,000-seat churches where one check paid for the whole assistive listening system (ALS). Papageorge: People with hearing loss are prone to just quietly enduring their inability to interpret the worship service. My father-in-law is a classic example: He not only stopped going to church, but also to movies, lectures and so on. The day he got fitted with the proper hearing device was the day he went back to all of them. Beckman: If you look at the history of hearing loss, there’s a whole population of people — even today — that don’t opt to wear a hearing aid. They don’t realize they have hearing loss, or they’re in denial, or they have higher priorities. Or, they see having hearing loss as some kind of personal failure. It’s why they call it “the invisible disability.” So, there’s a large segment of the population that can be served, some of whom don’t even have hearing aids. It’s at the root of why all of us on this roundtable want to get our products in their hands — so they can have those wow! moments. Ogiba: [Beckman] is correct. While 48 million people in this country have hearing loss, 41 million are basically doing nothing about it. But, we’re seeing all sorts of new, fabulous assistive listening devices come to market. A hearing loop system, for example — once people try it, they’re often encouraged to get the treatment they need. One of the most interesting facets of a loop system is that you don’t need a hearing aid to try it. People can become aware, firsthand, that it’s really not a “hearing problem” they have — it’s an understanding problem. Usually, the loudness or volume at the church is fine; it’s the clarity that’s all mixed up for those of us with hearing loss. When we miss every third or fourth word, the Gospel makes no sense. But, when you get the tools you need — and complement those with an access system — the world is open to you. Beckman: We know that only 6 million of the 27 million people in this country who could benefit from the use of hearing aids actually use them. For the most part, hearing loss is invisible. Often, these people don’t seek help, and denial of the problem is common. Braun: Additionally, about 15 percent of Americans ages 15-29 have some kind of high-frequency hearing loss. If you put everyone with hearing issues in one place, it would be the biggest state in the U.S. How can a church evaluate if its current audio setup is accommodating to members with hearing loss? Jensen: A church must understand that loudness doesn’t equate to hearing accessibility. People with hearing loss need clear, intelligible audio. McKINLEY: So often, we contend with a psychology of “ticking the box.” In a church, it comes down to a decision between committing to care about all the users of these systems, or to simply tick the box that says, “We’re accessible.” You can do the latter with minimal amount of work, for a minimal amount of money. But, it doesn’t always come down to minimums. Papageorge: I would like to discuss something that most churches may not consider, and that’s to help the congregation become more aware of ALS availability. Whether it’s a megachurch or your local 150-seat parish, amazing technology is available for assistive listening. Prepare the volunteer staff to know where the assistive-listening components are located and how to use them.

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Ogiba: It really starts, for me, with the consumer. The majority of people who have hearing aids see that as a final solution. So, many are disappointed when their hearing isn’t restored to what it was when they were 18. Most don’t realize there’s all this added technology that really can complement what they already have. I’m a perfect example. I wear a hearing aid and have an implant, but I would not survive without eight or nine other devices. I couldn’t enjoy meetings without a loop system, and the same goes for attending services at my church. I would miss movies without the captions. I would not be participating in this phone call right now if I didn’t have a caption phone. The list goes on. For more insight on hearing technology and support for individual consumers, visit Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) at What are some ways a church can effectively let people know hearing-accessible options are available? Keone: As vendors, technologists and advocates of these systems, I’m going to make a blanket statement: I think we do a very poor job of this, frankly. We tend to sell our technology and move on the next deal. I think all of us could do a better job of helping the churches. While many of them are great marketers, many others are not. Papageorge: It’s also about coordinating with organizations like the HLAA. It’s amazing when you start to connect the audiologists to churches, A/V integrators and consultants. Many times, I find audiologists who are unaware of the t-coil option for hearing aids, which is essential for loop solutions. Oftentimes, we have to increase awareness together to make a difference. But again, bringing all the parties together for awareness of what? It’s not about the equipment; it’s about solutions. Who cares what technology is used as long as it helps those with hearing loss while expanding the awareness to reach others in need. An implementation of an ALS solution needs to assure the church that their service schedule will not be interrupted, which is a typical concern for hearing loop systems. We always ensure that our team of certified loop installers are prepared to install loop systems to the IEC60118 standard within the scheduled time allowed. Ogiba: We went from zero to well over 100 looped facilities in Sarasota in less than two years, and most of them were churches. Yes, the signage somewhere near the front door was a piece of the puzzle. Yes, something in the church bulletin was a piece of the puzzle. But by far, the most important piece was giving the ushers some basic training. Beckman: Love the suggestion of usher training. We do workshops with church audio guys across the nation to teach them and their churches how to make [audio accessibility] part of the worship service. There’s a lot of creative ways to make it something that feels like a mission, not a burden.

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Jensen: Signage and word of mouth are also very effective methods of communicating the availability of hearingassist systems. Ogiba: Getting the system right is incredibly important. But once that’s accomplished, the best marketing tool I’ve seen is when the pastor talks about the fact that a hearing loop, for example, is available. What are some of the most common barriers churches with existing facilities face when trying to accommodate worshippers with hearing loss? Papageorge: A church wants to make sure it’s not interrupting its services. And sometimes, it’s a challenge to secure the funds and get buy-in. Mckinley: One barrier is lack of awareness of the issue. I was at a meeting recently with a 1,700-seat church. The pastor said, “I don’t know three people who have hearing aids in my church.” After I picked myself up off the floor, I said, “Either that, or your church is so loud that they’ve all decided to go home because they can’t experience the service.” Interestingly, when we walked out into the lobby, there were four visitors, all of them wearing hearing aids. I think it shocked him to know that those people probably wouldn’t stay or participate due to a lack of accessibility. Beckman: Another barrier is architectural. Sometimes, a building itself — depending on the kind of technology they’re looking at — presents barriers. Papageorge: I really believe this is where technology can help. There’s a solution for every church. Granted, we’ve installed thousands of loop systems, but there are churches with architectural issues where a loop system isn’t technically possible. We have suggested alternative technologies to solve the problem, including Infrared, RF and WiFi, but even these need to be applied correctly. Our new IDSP solution addresses the ease of dispensing and equipment maintenance in addition to greatly enhancing the overall personal church experience. The iDSP integrated neck loop / lanyard gives T-coil hearing aid users a listening experience comparable to an installed hearing loop. This new receiver works with any standard 72 MHz RF system on the market; and by adding these new receivers, it can change the performance of any ALS system without replacing it. What technologies are churches implementing to overcome these barriers? Jensen: There are a variety of technologies to choose from — installed loop systems, infrared systems, RF systems, closed-captioning systems, WiFi systems. Each system offers unique benefits. Depending on the church’s needs, one system might prove more applicable. For example, it is very important to keep in mind that there are solutions outside of the installed loop system. While these systems may be more discrete in form and function, they often require significant construction and can be quite costly. As technology advances, I anticipate

great advancements in assistive-listening solutions that will benefit individuals with hearing loss. Braun: Our Hearing HotSpot™ WiFi live audio streaming technology is appealing because it’s discrete and leverages the devices worshippers already have: Apple and Android smartphones. There are no sanitary issues; they can use their own earbuds. And, the process is as simple as connecting to WiFi, downloading an app, and picking a channel. They know what channel to use because worship leaders announce it; promotional materials are also available from our company, as is simple signage. This tool is also used often for language interpretation. As a bonus, this gives church leaders the ability to push messages directly to the users of this technology, or the “app owners.” Beckman: It’s also very scalable. Keep in mind that a church’s existing WiFi setup might need to be upgraded. And, in a stadium-size worship space, the initial investment might be significantly more. Ogiba: I think it is incumbent upon us to focus on the right numbers; it’s not just a function of cost. In my own community here, there are 135,000 people with hearing loss. I know a great number of them have cut back significantly — and even stopped — going to services.

It’s very easy to catch people with hearing loss’s attention if you’re a church that’s actively marketing its assistive listening offerings. It can attract some 20 percent of the population that might be ignoring the church simply because they don’t understand what’s being said there. Are there discrete ways to accommodate worshippers with hearing loss — again with “inclusion” being the ultimate goal? Beckman: It’s really a mind-set of incorporating hearing accessibility into your church’s small groups everything it does. Braun: So often, accessibility tools aren’t even fired up, let alone promoted. Roughly 20 percent of the American population 12 and older has some kind of hearing loss. Beckman: We partner with WorshipMD to educate tech people in churches on the topic of accessibility. It takes one person at a time to make some progress. It’s a little like evangelizing: Often, it takes the issue personally affecting you, to make you make someone else aware. Papageorge: What’s the ultimate discretion? The ability to walk in and not have to ask for anything. That’s the best solution possible. When that’s not an option, though, it’s important that pastors know there’s a solution for every church. CE

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In today’s increasingly tech-savvy environment — in which so many people own smartphones and tablets and maintain a social media presence — there is a tendency to think that a smorgasbord of choices is desirable. We want more and more. If we can’t dazzle ourselves and others with an array of apps on our smartphones, and the requisite number of Facebook friends, we somehow feel cheated — as though we don’t have enough distractions from which to choose. This is not the case when it comes to the fund choices your church offers its employees in their 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans. For employees enrolled in these employer-sponsored retirement plans, too many choices result in confusion and investment paralysis. How much is too much? The goal of a retirement plan is to provide a way for your employees to save and invest to produce adequate income for their future retirement. Typically, a plan offers a selection of funds from which a participant can choose to invest his or her contributions and create a strong portfolio. For participants to meet their investment objectives and achieve sufficient income for their retirement needs, the plan sponsor needs to design a plan with appropriate investment choices. Remember: you, as the plan sponsor, are making choices for your employees. So, it’s important to take into consideration the level of investment knowledge they possess and avoid investments that are esoteric or the current “hot trend.” 20 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

While it’s important to provide participants with a reasonable amount of choices, current research indicates that plan sponsors who offer a large number of funds actually do a disservice to their employees. A survey conducted by SEI Investments Management Corp (SEI) shows that the majority of plan participants have too many funds from which to choose. After closely examining data gathered on retirement plans, Vanguard Investments concluded that while most plan sponsors make it a priority to offer a large menu of investment choices, two-thirds select no more than three choices — and many are satisfied with just one. Current research confirms that when investors are presented with too many choices, they make a choice not to participate, or they make a poor investment selection which doesn’t offer them adequate asset allocation and diversity. The greater the variety of stock funds, for example, the greater the likelihood that investors will become perplexed and turned off to enrolling in the plan. Additionally, recent research reveals that plans with 20 or more funds are no more likely to outperform plans with less than 20 funds. In fact, the opposite was true: Over a two- to three-year period, plans with less than 20 funds outperformed those with more. Streamline! As plan sponsors look for ways to increase participation and help employees make choices that offer the potential for better retirement outcomes, they’re consolidating their fund lineup by offering fewer funds that still provide a range of asset classes. A streamlined menu should start with core funds that offer diversification in a single fund, such as a balanced fund or target date funds. You can then add several other funds that allow participants to customize their portfolios. This might include a U.S. stock market fund, an international equities fund, a U.S. bond fund, and a money market fund. You could break some of these categories into segments by offering U.S. funds that focus on largecap, small-cap or value and growth strategies. Roughly 32 percent of plan sponsors recently polled by SEI expressed interest in trimming their fund menus over the next 18 months. That number is expected to increase as more of them take note of the relationship between large investment menus and lack of employee participation. The bottom line is that fewer investment choices in your retirement plan means less confusion for participants, increased enrollment and larger salary deferments by participants. In the case of fewer fund choices, less is not only more, but it’s a win / win scenario for plan sponsors and plan participants. James R. Cook, CFP,® is national outreach manager for MMBB Financial Services [].

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Presented by:

By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA


eginning a seven-part series on worship space design can be a bit intimidating. There are so many avenues to consider, so many topics to discuss, and so many variables which can create completely different outcomes.

Where do we start? The concept of worship is somewhat elusive in that the word means different things to different people. Similarly, the design of worship spaces — or, better said, the ability to create a space which evokes and contributes to a person’s worship experience — has equally different meanings to different people. Space, in general, has different effects on people. Suffice it to say that we will likely only touch the “hem of the topic.” But, in doing so, maybe we can establish some critical criteria from which to serve you, the Church Executive audience, as you consider how to apply the series’ tenets to your own churches. No two churches are alike The most important concept to communicate throughout this series is this: Every church is different. In fact, at the risk of sounding repetitive, every church is so different that the point can’t be overstressed. Each church has a DNA which must be honored. This DNA is made up of several factors, or lenses, including: Health. Each church and its leadership has a need to constantly measure the unity of the body — its health — as one significant lens. Culture. Each church has a culture which (while hopefully

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THE PATH FORWARD As this brand-new series unfolds, the following topics will be covered in depth:

First Baptist Church Milan — Milan, TN (Photo provided by MNB Architects)

in a slow constant change for all the good reasons) is another lens through which to view the entire concept of worship space design. Ministries and programs. For many of us, an easier connection to the thought of designing worship spaces can be observed through the lens of ministries and programs. Facilities. Obviously, existing facilities and / or the thought of future facilities impact this thought process as one considers worship space design. Giving. A church’s financial capability to fund the design and construction of a worship space has a tremendous impact on this process. Location. Finally, the location — not only in terms of locale, but also region, country and the world — will impact the design of a worship space. The desire is to incorporate critical information about these topics for use by you, the readers, as you consider all the questions surrounding the worship area — which, at any church, is the heart of the campus for members and visitors alike. The changing face of the worship space In today’s post-church U.S. culture, a new paradigm has emerged. The creation of a worship environment is more challenging — for all types of worship spaces — than in earlier decades. In many cases, the public’s recognition of — and response to — church architecture is somewhat less than positive now; it might even be characterized as intimidating and austere. The vocabulary of church architecture (stained glass, soaring heights, masonry, the long basilica plan) is received by those who experience it as less than welcoming. Throughout history, architecture has been used to draw people’s focus to the vertical relationship between the individual and God. In recent times, however, architecture has been used to create an envelope of space to support the horizontal relationship between man and man, and the communication and technological aspects present in worship spaces. Rarely any more does a space evoke, in and of itself, the vertical relationship; many factors are

• Traditional worship spaces • Contemporary worship spaces • Large (and small) worship spaces • Multipurpose worship spaces • Adaptive reuse worship spaces • Student worship spaces • Children’s worship spaces • Multiple-Site worship spaces — multisites, video venues, church plants •T he impact of technology on worship spaces — and on worship itself. at play, but certainly they include acoustics / music styles, technology of sound and video, and creature comforts in seating Given the new paradigm, how do we design worship spaces which will communicate to the attender / visitor a warm, welcoming environment — not intimidating or austere — while clearly pointing people to the One we worship? Is it possible to accomplish this task and let the communications and technology be awesome, yet not the focus of the space? We believe it is! The practicality of the process has many moving parts. There is the structure of the church itself, which includes its denomination or affiliation with like-minded churches. There is a church staff, including the leader (pastor) and sometimes various staff members. There is usually at least one committee (if not more) which plays a critical role in the process. There can also be a host of design professionals / consultants, including the architect, various engineers and specialty consultants for technology, seating, liturgy and more. As if that is not enough, there are outside influences to the design process — money, project restraints related to site and / or other facilities, and specialty factors associated with the specific church client, to name a few. This series will allow all these elements to be fleshed out while covering the range of worship space types. Our desire is to provide meaningful information which will prove useful as the church executive reading the series puts the information to use. CE Curtiss H. Doss, AIA is principal of McGehee Nicholson Burke (MNB) Architects in Memphis, TN. [mnbarchitects. com] Doss has consulted with church clients for more than 20 years, and his architectural practice spans more than 30 years.

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Presented by: Im pact Stewardship Resources, Inc.



Our first of three articles in this series — in the September / October 2014 issue of Church Executive — explains how heart transformation sets the tone for church growth. In this issue, we take a closer look at the role of generosity in church growth, viewed in the context of “Big Picture” thinking. To put this into perspective, we must first examine what motivates people to be generous. Sacred vs. secular generosity

The more I talk to churches lately, the more I see concerned leaders endeavoring to nurture generous believers. At the same time, I see all manner of worldly agendas funded by benevolent folks who do not know God and disdain Biblical truth outright. So, I pose the question: If both groups are being generous, what’s the difference? What’s the real end game? For the church, the focus remains on developing people who produce the fruitfulness of life rooted in Christ (John 15:5). All blessings — including money, along with the responsible stewardship thereof — directly stem from our connectedness to the Vine. Money is the fruit, not the root. By contrast, a secular mindset puts focus on developing funding, in order to advance an agenda. American culture abounds with social and cultural programs whose “benefits” pale miserably, when viewed in the light of Biblical priorities and values. People end up hurt, not READ “CHURCH GROWTH helped, when money serves ESSENTIALS” IN EACH ISSUE! as the root of (so-called) In the next installment in this series, Chuck Klein and Dean Byler will discuss how to solutions. create momentum for the generous heart. So it follows that generosity alone will not build new sanctuaries, fund missions work or expand ministry. One can be generous without being a disciple of Jesus, but one can’t be a disciple of Jesus without being generous. When understood as the fruitful outworking of Christ’s character in us, our generosity helps to bring about “more than we could ask or imagine” (Eph 3.20). It’s all connected To bring about the long-term vision that God has stirred in your church, our giving must originate from an attitude of generosity as modeled by the selflessness of Christ (Phil 2.6). In a Big Picture framework, generosity sows seeds capable of reproducing incredible harvest and health in these four inter-related areas. Budget: Generosity stems from honor.
The Biblical motivation for giving toward the function of the local church is obedience to God’s clear instruction to do so (2 Cor 9). Keeping the annual budget on track happens only when enough people honor God with their first fruits, their tithes and their offerings. Annual stewardship emphasis is met with excitement and anticipation, rather than a “here-we-go-again” reach for the wallet.

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Close behind this comes honor for leadership (Heb 13.17). Where you see a lack of respect and honor for spiritual authority, you will find a church undermined by self-centeredness, disinterest, and eventually demise. By contrast, generous disciples who appreciate and lift up their leaders enjoy committing their resources to the work of the local church. They expect accountability and prayerful decisions from those leading the charge, and they trust God to multiply their faithful gifts to His purposes. Campaigns. Generosity flows from a sacrificial heart. There’s always something else you could spend your money on. So, when the faith promise card makes its way down the row, where is your heart? Your treasure is already there. By definition, generosity isn’t just giving; it implies giving more than what’s needed, expected or even immediately available. It’s about going “over and above.” Many factors contribute to the success of church capital campaigns, but chief among them is the eager willingness of the disciple of Jesus to deny himself / herself in the advancement the Father’s will — just like Jesus did. Missions. Generosity focuses on others. This almost goes without saying — or does it? A cursory glance at today’s culture reveals grand “self-generosity.” By resisting the patterns of the world, while renewing our minds (Rom 8.29), we align our generosity with God’s will, not ours. And His No. 1 mandate to the church to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28.19) will only happen when generous disciples who “get it,” GIVE! If virtually all churches today already support missions from their annual budget, what does “over and above” funding look like for that line item? It thrills us to know that many of our partner churches commit 10 percent or more of their campaign proceeds specifically toward their missions budget, thus connecting sacrificial campaign giving with ongoing emphasis on missions. Legacy. Generosity shows a heart of purpose and vision. Whether sharing a meal with the homeless, supporting a teen’s summer mission trip, or setting aside college funds for your grandchildren, generosity happens when you envision a different, improved situation for the recipient than when you first encountered them. Romans 5.8 reveals how God demonstrates generous, forward-thinking love: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” He understood what was required of Himself in the now to produce something beautiful later. When we establish long-term priorities, and exercise the discipline to see them accomplished, we exhibit the ability to see beyond today — something Christ regularly modeled. Chuck Klein leads Impact Stewardship [], a capital stewardship ministry headquartered in Nashville, TN. Serving churches for more than 14 years, he offers mature insight into all aspects of church financial health, guiding churches to fulfill their vision through heart transformation and radical participation. Dean Byler serves as Impact’s education coordinator and director of business development.



In the early days, when settlers would start a new community in America, one of the first structures they built was the church. First, the location of the town square was established; then, the church was constructed in close proximity to this area. The church building was at the center of the community. It stood as a beacon for those near and far traveling to the town. It was often used for several other functions besides worship, including as a school. Today, the tradition continues. We’re seeing more and more churches create their own communities within their local communities. They’re offering so much more than just spiritual guidance; churches are places where families can grow in all

For Bethel Temple in Hampton, VA, Churches by Daniels built a multipurpose facility separate from the church. It has a café, and the auditorium seats 800. This space is used for concerts, fellowship and receptions.

Living Word Family Church in Naples, FL has a café and extensive lobby / gathering space which it uses for a variety of multipurpose functions.

areas of their lives. Many churches offer athletic events for kids and adults, as well as education, day care, fellowship opportunities, food service — the list goes on! As churches continue to reach out to their communities, they’re realizing the value of spaces that can be used in a multitude of ways. As such, many of today’s growing churches are leading the trend with multipurpose facilities. Does a multipurpose make sense? When deciding if a multipurpose facility fits your church’s needs, it’s important to identify if congregants are willing to be flexible with the space. Truly flexible design takes a lot of thought — not only on the church’s part, but especially on the architect’s. 26 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

If done right, the building will serve the congregation’s needs now and in the future. If done wrong, the congregation will fight over the space, or the church will be stuck limiting its ministries to the building’s limitations for years to come. So, what does a flexible space look like? When meeting with today’s pastors, one issue that resounds is the need for these spaces to accommodate a variety of ministries. Typically, economics — how much money is available to build — incites many churches to build facilities that are versatile and can be used for many different types of ministry. For this plan to work, the church must be sure to design the building with future changes in mind. Think about what purposes the building will serve now, and what future buildings you plan to build around this multipurpose facility. Make sure to account for the type of storage you need, traffic flow inside and outside the building, proximity to existing facilities and future buildings and, most important, the ministries the building will house. Make sure to set up the infrastructure to accommodate future growth by designing the building with adequate power and additional conduit so that lines can be easily run when they’re needed. You might spend a little more on infrastructure than normal, but it will make adapting the facility in the future much more affordable and will simplify the process. Another item to consider is the installation of the infrastructure for a future fire / sprinkler system. This way, major renovations won’t have to be done when it becomes necessary. So much more than a “big box” As church builders, one question we hear a lot is, “How can we avoid a ‘big box’ feel with our new multipurpose facility?” Our answer: interior elements. When designing large, open spaces, it’s important to carefully choose lighting, colors, flooring and furniture. All these can warm the space, break it into areas, and make it feel more custom overall. Movable / adjustable amenities will make the space more adaptable today and for years to come. The major benefit of multipurpose facilities is their flexibility. In terms of construction dollars, they give churches the most bang for the buck. Because one building serves multiple ministry needs, these spaces facilitate church growth. Each church has different ministries, different needs, and comes in a different size. Yet, every church can find solutions to their space needs with a multipurpose facility. CE Rachael D. Rowland, M.P.A., serves as marketing director for Churches by Daniels Construction in Broken Arrow, OK [], which specializes in designing and building churches nationwide.



Drawing from a rich heritage, our heart is to serve pastors, build dreams, impact the world: : : One church : : One community : : One city at a time

Let us rise up and build . . .

[Neh. 2:18]


THE STEWARDSHIP OF SPACE Chances are, your church doesn’t have a money tree. (And if it does, please send me a seed!) Kidding aside, two facts remain: 1) Your church can do more good for its community with more money than it can with less; and 2) Building programs are very expensive. As such, common sense and economics dictate that if you can make better use of your church’s existing multipurpose space, you can avoid costly building programs. The result is more money to fund your growing ministries. You might be thinking, Sounds great! But, how do we get more use out of our multipurpose spaces? This is exactly the question administrators at Our Redeemer United Methodist Church in Schaumburg, IL, asked themselves a while ago. A study in smart use of space These administrators found their

28 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

answer in the form of portable acoustical room dividers. For their specific needs, they chose 7-foot-4-inch dividers.

At Our Redeemer United Methodist Church in Schaumburg, IL, five separate Sunday school classrooms are easily set up in this multipurpose room.

Since the multipurpose room has 8-foothigh ceilings, this meant the dividers would close 90 percent of the distance between the floor and the ceiling. They believed this to be the ideal scenario, as there are enough walls to make the temporary spaces feel like actual rooms, without interfering with existing lighting, heating and cooling systems. The congregation is now able to


easily divide the room into two — or several — separate areas. Most commonly, half the room is used for the child care ministry while the other half hosts a senior citizens program or some other event. On weekends, one church member might have a wedding shower in one part of the room while a baby shower is hosted in another. 0At other times, the room is divided so that one part is used for Christmas pageant rehearsal while the other is a craft-making space. Obviously, the dividers are also used to create several Sunday school classrooms, help create privacy for Bible study programs, and much more. If you don’t have a money tree — but want to make multipurpose spaces do more for your church — consider portable room dividers. CE Rich Maas is vice president at Screenflex Portable Room Dividers in Lake Zurich, IL [].

Preparation is a


for capital campaign success

Presented by: The Gage Group


Q: What does true preparation look like leading up to the public-facing phase of a capital campaign? A: For many churches, a major building project is their Super Bowl. They’ve got to be prepared for each phase of the big game — study the film, know their strengths and weaknesses, put together the best team and game plan. To be fully prepared, a church would first have to develop a financial roadmap for success. We’ll get into that more in a minute. We must begin by creating the game plan — a campaign strategy, including the timeline and all the details within the calendar. Then, you must have a solid team in place to execute the game plan, whether they’re laypeople, staff or — for large churches — an executive team. Then, as a consultant, I coordinate the communication resources and training materials. In addition, I will help determine if the communication strategy will be done in-house or utilize outside professionals. Now, we are ready to move the ball up the field at the proper pace. Only then are we prepared to go to the next step: getting everybody organized. We’ll get in depth on that phase in our next series installment. Q: What does a financial roadmap look like? A: First, you need to define your purpose. What are we doing? Why do we want to raise money? Then, it would be wise to determine the READ “CREATIVE & PROVEN church’s giving and STRATEGIES” IN EACH ISSUE! financing potential. In future installments, Paul Gage will discuss For most churches, expert (but not widely known) strategies related to the remaining four phases of we begin the process capital campaigns: organization, campaign, approximately four to six commitment and giving / follow-up. months before a capital campaign is publicly launched. We can help the church with a preliminary giving analysis to determine its giving potential. A church needs to determine what kind of financing it is able to afford. It’s like driving across town and touring a multimillion-dollar home. You might fall in love with it, but there’s not a bank in town that would loan you the money to buy that home if you can’t afford it. Or, hypothetically, let’s say the bank says your church can borrow $10 million. While that’s more money than you’re willing or able to pay back, the bank feels like you can or they wouldn’t loan it to you. But the point is, the church would be in a sizable debt, and it will probably limit ministry. As an alternative, the church can raise half through a capital campaign and finance the additional $5 million balance. This will limit the debt exposure and frees up more revenue for missions, programs, staffing and everything else.

Q: Some churches have conducted capital campaigns before — successfully. What’s something they don’t know about preparation? A: That what they’ve done in the past might not necessarily work today. For example, recently I was talking to a small church that’s building a new $8-million worship center. Since their last building campaign, the church has grown substantially and they don’t understand why they should hire a fundraising consultant. In years past, when they needed to raise money, they just told the congregation what they needed, and God’s people showed up and paid for it — but they’ve never pursued a project of this magnitude. Unless they have several people who can underwrite 50 percent or more of the project cost, they are unlikely to raise this kind of money. There are so many things in life that are constantly changing. Some churches adapt; others get stuck in ‘what we’ve always done.’ And there are constant changes in capital campaign trends, too. Because we do this every day, we understand the positive and productive trends. Sometimes, it’s one or two small decisions that make all the difference in a congregation’s level of participation. All this equates to preparation. Are you utilizing every advantage available to you and being prepared in the best way you possibly can? Q: When preparing for a capital campaign, the core leadership team will be key. How does that team — and its functionality — differ depending on a church’s size? A: Small churches will likely have core leadership teams made up of laypeople. A few challenges are their ability to devote enough of their time to the campaign, the lack of skill, and the familiarity with dayto-day operations. When I’m working with laypeople, the consistency of our meetings is critical. I give them a plan of action and meet every three weeks for three to four months before the campaign phase. That ensures they’re moving and executing at the proper pace, and in a way that meets the campaign’s and church’s objective. Large churches are mostly staff-led. So, they’ll likely make up the core leadership team. Currently, about 80 percent of the churches I work with are staff-led. Usually, we identify staff members to take on leadership positions for the campaign based on their skill sets.

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A large church I’m working with right now has a communications department, with two graphic designers and a video production team. They’re doing everything in-house. A smaller church with lay leadership leading the campaign would likely need to outsource that work. Typically, an executive pastor is on staff in large churches — someone already identified as a leader. So, with that confidence and trust built in, this person is an obvious fit for the campaign director role. As a consultant, I work very closely with that person — on planning, preparation, training and organization. We put together a calendar with timelines; then, it’s his or her task to manage them. In a megachurch, a capital campaign’s core leadership team usually consists of four to six executive staff members. This executive staff team is scheduled to meet with me for each meeting. We work together on developing the strategy and the timeline. Then, the executive team takes all that information to the skilled people on their staff. In churches of all sizes, there’s a spiritual component, as well. Primarily, this is the preaching of God’s word every Sunday. Typically, the pastor leads a three-to four week sermon series, accompanied by a weekly small group study.

In addition the prayer team will design a customized prayer strategy with daily devotionals and prayer events for involving the entire congregation. All this is determined during the preparation phase. Whatever we agree to, we implement within the church’s structure.

— Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh Paul Gage is founder and president of The Gage Group [] in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX. Gage has more than 30 years of ministry experience and has personally provided consulting for 500-plus successful capital campaigns, assisting pastors and church members to raise in excess of $1 billion.

E-Books DOWNLOAD | SHARE WITH STAFF | MAXIMIZE MINISTRY From generosity, to software, to risk management (and beyond), knowledge is power. The more, the better. Our FREE, interactive eBooks get in-depth on the most crucial topics to our audience.

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11-12 / 2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 31



OUR ROUNDTABLE PANEL • MMBB Financial Services: James R. Cook, CFP®, National Outreach Manager • Bank of the West: Dan Mikes, Executive Vice President • Christian Community Credit Union: Scott Reitsma, Senior Vice President, Ministry Development Group (Remote participant) • AcctTwo: Tammy Bunting, Director of Not-for-Profit Services • First Bank: Therese DeGroot, Managing Director, Community First Financial Resources • Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU): Randy Marsh, Ministry Development Officer

Marsh: It lets you spread your risk over more collateral and a broader membership base. Bunting: What’s really great about this approach is that a church doesn’t have to hire a new staff. Satellite locations function using resources from the main church; therefore, a church can expand its reach at a lower cost. Marsh: With multisite, I’m seeing a lot of churches purchasing existing buildings — some times, existing churches. DeGroot: We’re actually seeing more leasing before purchasing. That way, if the same kind of property within that community comes up for sale, the church buys.


This summer — at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) annual conference — Church Executive hosted a live roundtable on two top-of-mind topics for church leaders: lending and finance. How has the lending climate for religious institutions evolved in the past year, specifically? Mikes: Pretty much all at once, the stark lack of construction activity has turned on a dime. Eighty percent of the loans we’ve made year-to-date are for construction, whereas 80 percent of the loans we made last year were renewals of other lenders’ notes. DeGroot: We’re also seeing a lot of activity in the construction area, which makes sense — now is a good time to do it; rates are This insightful discussion began in our still low. Reitsma: From our perspecSept / Oct 2014 issue. Check it out online: c h u r c h exe c u t i ve.c o m /a r c h i ve s /r o u n d tive, for many financial institutable-church-lending-finance-part-1 tions, church lending basically disappeared from the landscape during the Great Recession. Only a few of our colleagues that were formerly very aggressive church lenders remained actively lending during the downturn. So today, it’s generally a more thorough and rigorous underwriting process for a church to secure financing. DeGroot: Another shift we’ve seen is away from a megachurch business model a multisite approach. Churches are “leaning into” how they expand. I think that’s very pragmatic, frugal and smart. Mikes: From a risk management perspective, I agree that lenders like this shift. If a church falls on hard times, operations can be scaled back via satellite closures.

What do you think the church lending climate will look like a year from now? DeGroot: I think there will be a lot more banks jumping in to church lending. Intellectually, they know churches want to pay them back, and yet they don’t know how to finance a church. So, whether it’s smart money or not remains to be seen. Marsh: I agree; but, for churches that might have been on the bubble of qualifying for a loan, that bubble broke. There’s money out there, but it’s not easy for those churches to get it. I think that’s mostly driven by regulations. So, for the well-qualified church, lenders will be lined up at the door. For the notso-well-qualified church, not so much. Bunting: I found there was a lot more equity required to get a loan this time than ever before. The bank was more intentional in our investment in the project. DeGroot: Yes, but I think a year from now, property values will have increased enough that there will be a little more equity in the properties. Banks might loan them 75 or 80 percent of the loan value, and the recessionary cycle could start all over again. Mikes: For experienced lenders — and



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(Clockwise) MMBB Financial Services’ Jim Cook, ECCU’s Randy Marsh, First Bank’s Therese DeGroot, AcctTwo’s Tammy Bunting, Editor RaeAnn Slaybaugh

First Bank’s Therese DeGroot (left) and AcctTwo’s Tammy Bunting

even newer ones who’ve done their homework — I think they’ll probably be a little bit more focused on governmental structure this time. For those of us who’ve been around for a while and are paying attention to foreclosure headlines, we know these churches. We know they’re very centralized in their decisionmaking. Usually, there’s not a diverse board of directors to which the pastor is accountable. Nine of out 10 times, they’re pastor-driven. Marsh: Yes. We test for an independent board, making sure the congregation is aware of the loan and has accepted the terms. We try to be sure they’re following their bylaws. As a lender, if the only person you get to meet with is the pastor, that’s not a good sign. What steps can a church take to position itself as a better loan prospect? Reitsma: A church should be a transparent lending candidate. It should be able to articulate the vision and purpose of its project well, in terms of community impact. The church should have ministry growth metrics to share with the lender that demonstrate historical capacity to support the level of debt requested. The church should be able to articulate who they are, who they want to be, and how the proposed financing will impact the surrounding community. We are also seeing a “deleveraging” trend among the ministries we are serving — in other words, these churches are moving toward operating with more reserves and less debt. DeGroot: During the recession, the value of property went down (and with it churches’ borrowing capacity), as did tithes and offerings. If you’re underwriting on a cash flow basis, the tithes and offerings are what we pay more attention to, frankly, than the value of the property. Marsh: It really is ultimately all about cash flow. DeGroot: And cash reserves. Mikes: Additionally, a church needs to be prepared to discuss its post-capital campaign level of indebtedness and means of debt servicing. Although capital campaigns do, to some extent, enable a reduction in the debt from the “high-water” mark during the construction phase, they don’t typically bring it all the way back down to a level where, if there is no growth, the church could service the debt from operational cash flow as it appeared in the year prior to the

ECCU’s Randy Marsh (left) and First Bank’s Therese DeGroot

project. As lenders, we need to know the contingency plans and the church’s willingness to potentially do a debt service capital campaign. If reductions in compensation and benefits are necessary, how are churches making the decisions about who those will affect? Marsh: The most common denominator is that churches wait too long to make that choice — until they absolutely have to. DeGroot: We help churches make those decisions as we’re monitoring their quarterly statements. We really try to work with the church’s CPA and bring it down the road in terms of the next steps, should those become necessary. Mikes: As Therese mentioned, we have to make that phone call to the church if we see its cash reserves have dwindled. That data allows us to play the bad cop and incite those in leadership to make good business decisions in a timely fashion. DeGroot: When reductions are in order, we’ve seen senior pastors step up and say, “I’ll take it.” And, rather than making key staff take salary reductions, they’d rather lay off more junior staff and ask key staff to take on more responsibility. These churches are depending more on volunteers. Reitsma: We, too, have seen pastors forego compensation, and (on rare occasion) even loan their churches the money to ensure staff salaries are delivered on time. On the other end of the spectrum, of course, unfortunately we’ve seen staff cuts that dramatically affect how ministry is delivered in some churches. It is our objective to help the ministry to identify those necessary adjustments as early as possible. Cook: Around the recession, we too saw a lot of senior leaders foregoing raises, sometimes for several years, so their key staff could have increases. Now, as there’s a little bit more money available, churches are allocating increased compensation to more junior staff in recognition that they’ve likely endured three or four years of no raises. From a benefits standpoint, one of the things you can do in the church world (that you can’t do in the corporate realm) is to segment your staff. In this way, the church can actually offer a lot more benefits and put together an attractive benefits package to staff at all levels. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh 11-12 / 2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 33

Engaging Spaces Presented by: Ziegler Cooper Architects

Engaging from

the get-go For a church’s design to be effective, it must be engaging — beginning the moment someone walks through the door. By Allison Parrott and Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP

Today, 43 percent of the U.S. population is unchurched and 37 percent identify as post-Christian. So, a visitor has a high likelihood of not only being at your church for the first time, but he or she might also have had limited knowledge of the way things are done at any church. Research also indicates it takes less than five minutes for first-time visitors to decide if they will ever come back. That isn’t a very long time. And even with well-trained, hospitable members, there is a good chance first-time visitors will form their opinions of your church before they have a single human interaction. After navigating the parking lot and finding the correct entry to the building, the most immediate experience visitors have is that first step into your building. Whether you call this place a Lobby, Narthex, or Commons, their experience of this space sets the stage for their entire visit. Form meets (changing) function

The color and material texture in the Commons at First Baptist Church Pasadena (Pasadena, TX) provides subtle cues to help visitors orient themselves in the space. Floor patterns help dictate circulation routes, and vibrant colors denote entries to the different wings of the building. (Photo by: Jud Haggard)

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A few generations ago, many churches had a small vestibule that functioned as their Lobby. This was the space where church members got their bulletin and were quickly greeted by the usher on their way to the sanctuary. This was an internally focused space, serving as a sound buffer between the sanctuary and what was happening outside. These types of spaces functioned quite well for experienced churchgoers — people who were there every week, who knew where they were going and what to do. But, they don’t perform nearly so well for modern churches trying to open their doors and be integral parts of their postChristian communities. Today’s lobbies are responding to both church and community needs in a

At Christ Community Church (Houston), a large fellowship room and café connects to the main entry lobby. A moveable glass wall is used to close the room during classes or lectures but can be entirely opened up to create a large lobby space or banquet set-up. The reclaimed wood wall in the background leads visitors into the church Worship Center. (Photo by: Gary Zvonkovic)

variety of ways. Modern church lobbies are becoming vibrant connectors that are integrated with the entire building, as well as destination areas to facilitate impromptu conversations, informal classes and fellowship. By addressing these needs through the presence of cafés, comfortable seating and even indoor playgrounds, engaging lobbies are transforming churches into what Ray Oldenburg defines as a “third place” — an anchor of the community which fosters social interaction and meaningful conversation. A welcome reception: two case studies First Baptist Church Pasadena (Pasadena, TX). At this church, a new, large, two-story Commons provides entry locations on both the east and west sides of the building. It was important to this large church that visitors and members could easily find their way to a main entry and into a single common space, no matter where they parked. To that end, the Commons connects the church’s newly built 2,500-seat Worship Center to the church’s café, Chapel, classrooms and administration offices, serving as the central circulation zone for the campus. Since it was built in 2012, this church has been able to use its Commons as a vibrant part of its community ministry, not only by providing a welcoming entry for visitors but by providing a space to host community lunches, dinners, social

Future installments in this series will drill down on truly engaging design strategies for:

Christ Community Church (Houston). Christ Community • Sanctuaries Church, a 400-member church • Children’s ministry spaces plant, had to approach its • Youth facilities entry lobby in an entirely • Adult classrooms different way. This young • Small group areas church had been meeting • Entry and wayfinding in a local hotel for some time before it was able to acquire property. The church purchased an empty 1980s speculative office building with the intention of converting it to a worship space, classrooms and church offices. With a finite amount of available space, our design team showed the church ways it could multi-use its entry lobby. A fellowship café is part of the lobby but has a sliding glass wall that allows it to be entirely open on Sunday morning, providing a welcoming space for socializing, getting coffee and building community. When needed, the room can be entirely closed off to host a large Sunday school class, lecture or other event. Rather than have a stationary welcome desk, the church has several mobile stations that can be reconfigured and relocated depending on the Concept Image, Unbuilt Project, Cypress, Texas. The use of material textures need. Visibility, again, is key; it is important that the and paint colors help guide visitors through the space. The Commons is used as space provided helps guests clearly navigate and a connecting piece which helps to foster relationship building within the church find their way. community. (Rendering by: Ziegler Cooper) The intentional use of varied material textures, paint color and lighting helps locate the important spaces events and lectures. The design of the space was specifically for guests and allows them to feel comfortable and welcome ordered to allow visitors to understand where they are, even rather than lost and nervous. without excessive verbal signage. Welcome desks strategically Café tables, bistro stools and lounge chairs allow people located near the two main entryways let visitors ask questions to gather in ways that are most comfortable for them and easily, without going out of their way or feeling conspicuous. conducive to conversation. CE Digital signs and computer stations are strategically located in the space, allowing church ministries to present information to the church community. Allison Parrott is the Project Manager for the Worship Facilities and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects in Houston [zieglercooper. To encourage conversation and community-building, com]. She is married to a church-planter and pastor and is blessed to there are multiple types of seating arrangements organized be able to serve other churches through her professional work. throughout the Commons. Soft seating, café tables and Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP is the Principal-in-Charge of the Worship Facilities benches can be seen everywhere and are used by families, and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects. He has lectured around the Sunday school classes, small groups and friend groups, country on the changing nature of the church lobby and has been working with churches for more than 35 years. ensuring the space feels comfortable and welcoming.

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CHURCH MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE (PART2) BY RAEANN SLAYBAUGH OUR ROUNDTABLE PANEL •S helby Systems: Mark White, Director of Business & Customer Development • Cool Solutions Group: Tim Cool, Chief Solutions Officer and Project Facilitator • Elexio: John Connell, COO; Allen Ratta; Mark Kitts, Lead Software Architect • ACS Technologies: Marvin Owen, President; Russ Fortier, Manager of Training and Implementation Services • Seraphim Software: Sam Batterman, Co-founder / President; Chris Caldwell, Co-founder / CFO

Batterman: There’s another piece that churches — especially pastors — are really thinking about right now: taking this highly technological event (giving) and making it worshipful. For many givers, using online giving feels like paying for groceries or buying something on Amazon. There’s a lot we can do as technology companies to fix that, but it involves technology — and that’s potentially very disruptive to very conservative churches. Fortier: They’re also struggling with the theological side of online giving. We do a lot of coaching on how to fit that conversation into the tidal wave that’s coming. One or two generations from now, we’ll have a cashless society. For a lot of churches, we’re already seeing online giving surpass 50 percent, so it’s a critical conversation to have. Kitts: I foresee a day when the normal church experience starts with an app. When I move into an area and start going to a church, one of the first questions I’m going to ask is, ‘Where can I find your app? ’ It’s just part of connecting with that church — being bought in. Ratta: Worship attendance is a documented act of participation. It becomes, for us, a leading indicator that something might be amiss. If giving shifts in either frequency or volume, it’s an indicator that something’s going on. An early barometer. A family might be struggling in its relationship with the church or suffering a job loss. Research shows it’s very important for a church to use this data to intervene and minister. The church can be there as a care partner able to use metrics to open a dialog of care.


This summer — at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) annual conference — Church Executive hosted a live roundtable on a timely topic: church management systems and software. Several high-level ChMS executives joined together to share their expertise.

LET’S TALK ABOUT UNDERUSED OR LESSER-KNOWN TOOLS INHERENT TO YOUR MANAGEMENT SYSTEM OR SOFTWARE IN THE AREAS OF: Finance / giving Owen: Actually, finance and giving functionalities are often the most used. Those tasks aren’t optional; they’re mandatory. Churches must keep track of people’s giving and have accurate records. White: I agree. A lot of churches are hiring very competent people for this area because it’s so important. Kitts: Yes; you have to have that solid foundation of WANT TO READ PART 1? managing the money. It’s a This insightful discussion began in race right now to try to get our Sept / Oct 2014 issue. Check it people to get onboard with out online: roundtable-church-management-systems- online giving, because that makes a church’s income software-part-1 so much steadier. Getting members to use the new methodologies right from their seats, or to use the giving kiosk in the lobby — those are big priorities for churches. However, I don’t think a lot of church leaders understand that if they want that to happen, they have to promote it. While you might think more modern churches do a better job of this, it actually doesn’t break down that way; it really comes down to the leadership. Do they value new ways of collecting money or not?



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Sunday attendance data Batterman: If somebody goes to a Sunday school class or to a small group, that’s a slam dunk for our systems. Related

to attendance, the more difficult challenge is tracking the people who come to the worship center, but don’t go to other events. There’s no notion, necessarily, of who that person is, distinctly. Even so, the notion of being able to detect people in the congregation without tripping over a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 is a challenge for us. We have tremendous amount of technology available, but you don’t necessarily want church to look like the NSA as people are showing up on Sunday. The question is how you balance worshippers’ privacy expectations. White: It really doesn’t do us a whole lot of good to know how many people are in the seats, anyway. You might know Sunday attendance is going down, but what do you do with the data? Meanwhile, small group attendance data is very specific and telling. Owen: I really think this is one area that’s shifting. It used to be that Sunday attendance was key. Now, engagement is a better metric. Ratta: Attendance data really has no predictive value. It doesn’t tell you about the health of the church until it’s too late. What does have predictive value are leading growth indicators. What’s your visitor volume? What’s your visitor retention? How is that trending over the last six months? What’s your back-door rate, and how is that trending over the last six months? Sunday attendance data is like “Where is Waldo?”; it’s like a

Seraphim Software’s Chris Caldwell (foreground) and Sam Batterman

Batterman: I agree that attendance is increasingly less important. But, it’s a term we must collect nonetheless to comprise the total equation which will explain the “up arrow,” the “down arrow” and so on. Small group growth / attendance Kitts: Engagement encompasses a person’s entire relationship with the church. Are they active in small groups? Are they giving? Are they attending? Are they coming to a class that’s key to their disciple development process? The idea is to get a full picture of what this person is doing. White: To that end, a piece of [our software] tracks whatever the church wants to attract. Obviously, giving and attendance are key metrics. But, did that same person open the e-newsletter? That’s another factor to consider. You can weight and value each of those things; it’s different for every church. How much time is that person spending on the church website, for instance? If you can track all those, weight them, and evaluate them over time, it provides a comprehensive picture of how that person is doing. It can also identify trigger points when the church should reach out and find out what’s going on with that particular member. Kitts: One thing all of us are struggling with right now, industrywide, is the screen size issue and the availability of features anytime, anywhere, from any device. You’ve got your mobile phone, your laptop, your tablet and your desktop to consider.

Elexio’s John Connell (left) and Allen Ratta

GPS pin on a map in terms of future direction, church health, and what the church is going to look like in two or three years. Fortier: Also, attendance in the life of the individual isn’t an indicator of his or her spiritual growth. For example, I’m very involved in my church. I volunteer and I tithe, but I’m there maybe three-quarters of the year. What’s interesting is that if I miss two Sundays in a row, my church is calling me to find out what’s wrong. I like the idea; but the other side of me is thinking what a waste of time it is for that staff member, who could be doing something else. It all goes back to the core question: What are you doing with the data? What’s the end result?

ACS Technologies’ Marvin Owens (left) and Russ Fortier

It’s very interesting to see what the big companies are doing. Microsoft, for example, decided to go “mobile first.” It’s very shocking, as they’re known for their Office suite; but, it’s about mobile now. The big software companies are all doing that; we’re doing that, as well. Small group attendance is a great example of the need to make it easy for people to give you that data — the attendance data, in this case. So, mobile devices are huge for small group leaders. White: Professional services and consulting are a big area of growth for us. Churches don’t necessarily want to be “trained” — they know we’ve been to 28 churches in the past three weeks. They want us to tell them what those other churches are doing. 11-12 / 2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 37

Ratta: Growing the Kingdom will always be built on people. When we go in and implement, we’ve got to find people at the church who’ll own a process and be the insight champions for those key processes. Once we do, they carry the ball forward. That reduces the churn rate, which really doesn’t serve the Kingdom. Connection / engagement Cool: From a semantics standpoint, people don’t want to be called “visitors;” they want to be called “guests.” When I consult with churches, one of the first things I do is get them to remove the visitor parking signs and replace them with guest parking. A “visitor” implies that person won’t come back. White: A lot of times, churches call them “first-time attenders.” All our software tracks their activity. Fortier: Typically, what we find in the area of first-timeattender engagement — and it’s probably true for all of us at the table — is that a good system must be in place. When you get down to the bricks with the church staff and ask them what they’re doing to engage first-time attenders — so we can fit the process to the solution — we often get six different answers. Or, they want our software to do it for them. But, there needs to be some level of accountability among staff as far as making those follow-up calls with firsttime attenders. We find this is one of the biggest areas of need in the church. Ratta: So much is education, isn’t it? Visitors are 100 percent of your growth potential. Though churches say they believe that, when you really try to pinpoint what they’re doing to connect with first-time attenders, all of a sudden many realize they’re not acting like they believe it. We have to educate them in the key processes so that these individuals don’t fall through the cracks. Connell: I think there’s also a redefining in our culture surrounding membership. Today, people want the flexibility to hop around to different churches without being considered a visitor. How do churches define these people’s engagement if they don’t want to be members? Gauging those key indicators is an inherent challenge for us as software developers. I don’t know that anyone has answered this challenge completely, but it comes down to an individual discipleship process. How do we set up metrics so that it’s not so much about checkpoints along the way, but more about that person’s spiritual growth? Cool: What we’re seeing from a congregant standpoint is reminiscent of what we’re seeing from a church structural perspective. No longer am I just southern Baptist; now I’m also part of the Acts 29 Network, the exponential network, and so on. I’m no longer a silo; I’m part of three or four “tribes” from which I can get good information. Multisite management Cool: We talk a lot about small groups, but how are you all using your software to meet the needs of the multisite church? Between that and church planting, it looks like it’s going to be the biggest growth and multiplication tool used.

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White: That’s a huge — and something we’ve focused on a lot more lately. Everyone wants to do mutli-site now, even small churches. It used to be that once you filled the sanctuary up a couple of times, you’d start thinking about it. Now, you get 600 or 700 people in one area, and churches are trying to do that somewhere else, too. I think we all accommodate that trend with our systems. And although a church needs to know which people are going to which campus for staffing and administrative purposes, it should really focus on whether or not people are coming to the church’s message, as a whole. Cool: We’ve seen an interesting trend among the biggest software companies of moving away from having a facility scheduling component. When we started our company, we didn’t’ know our biggest competitors would be Google, Outlook and the paper calendar on the wall. Those are still the tool of choice among churches that call us looking for a demo. Churches are realizing that if their buildings are going to be seven-day-a-week events, it requires higher organization of the campuses and a better understanding of how their buildings are being used. For example, if I know room 101 is being used seven days a week and room 107 is only getting used once a week, when I start doing my capital reserve planning, I know the carpet in 101 is going to need to be replaced long before 107. The point is, as a church, how do I know what my real utilization is so I can best plan for our facility outlays? CE


GENEROSITY How one church increased its online giving from 6% to 14%

In June 2013, Pete Blum, CPA — business director and associate pastor at Eastridge Church in Issaquah, WA — received a phone call from a company called Pushpay regarding a new digital giving platform he might be interested in. “I told him he had two minutes to sell me on their platform,” Blum recalls. “And he did.” Using this platform, the first gift (made by phone, online or even by kiosk) requires a sign-in, which takes about 45 seconds. After that, givers receive a text-message invitation to download an app. From that point on, gifts can be made via cellphone in 10 seconds or less. At the time, Blum was finishing up a mobile app for the church and was looking for an online-giving option he could

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Pastor Pete Blum, CPA

integrate. “It was perfect timing, really.” Since that day, he has learned a lot about rolling out a digital giving platform. Here, he shares his church’s story. What kinds of giving options were you offering to the congregation at the time you rolled out digital giving? Do you still offer them all? Blum: At the time, we were offering online giving — Webbased — through our management software database. It was a bit cumbersome for me, so I can imagine the experience our givers were having. At that point, online giving represented about 6 percent of our church’s total gifts.

Today, we offer four different ways to give: paper envelopes; mobile giving via smartphone; online giving; and text giving (via eChurchGiving), which is currently in progress. We suspect our members and guests who like to text will love this last option.

there’s a lot of recurring giving potential with our digital giving platform. For people who prefer to give on a reoccurring basis, we encourage them to drop an envelope in the offering plate and state that “we gave online.” That way, they can participate in the act of giving during the worship service.

What strategies were key in effectively rolling out the new giving option? Blum: We regularly message the availability of mobile giving to our congregation. At every weekend service, we do live announcements about it, as well. Scriptures about giving are shared before the offertory time, after which we share the availability all the different giving options. Although Pushpay does offer videos and other tools to make givers aware of the digital giving option at the church, we have a very good video production team in-house. We wanted our communications to the congregation to have a consistent look and feel with the rest of our communications; so, we produced the videos ourselves.

How do you envision digital giving integrating into your church’s growth and future? Blum: We feel it will, over time, engage those people who aren’t currently engaged during the offertory time — that “peripheral pool” — since it’s a 24/7 opportunity to give. It’s a tool we simply must have in place to meet changing needs. Currently, we’re exploring an idea of a “church on the move” model — basically, an online church experience, including live chat with pastors. The idea is that even if an individual can’t physically be here, they can still be part of our church family. Digital giving will be integral.

What kinds of giving results have you seen? Blum: Mobile giving now represents approximately 14 percent of all gifts. Within six to eight months of integrating the mobile giving app, that same URL was realizing for online giving, too. We estimate that active members of our church attend services at about 45 of 52 weekends per year. We’ve found

What advice would you give to other pastors who are considering implementing a digital giving platform? Blum: Finding the solution in a digital giving platform is one thing; implementing it is another. Church leadership has to get behind it. You’ve got to have a marketing plan; at our church, social media has proven to be a great resource in this respect. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh

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SAFETY STRATEGIES Presented by: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.


In a smaller, more technological world, we can’t afford to underestimate proactive, collaborative safety and risk management strategies.


The Ebola crisis has all of us thinking differently, for the time being. Unfortunately, our sensitizing is hard to sustain with so much information hitting our radar screens. 42 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

KEY SAFETY TIPS FOR THE “VAST FRONTIER” • Work with specialists to continually update

a comprehensive “release form” • Follow all CDC website recommended precautions • Consult with specialists prior to the trip for instructions on minimizing risks • Understand the unusual exposures of the particular areas of travel • Consider new methods of communication to those traveling — such as videos of the areas of travel when possible • Ensure that team leaders are equipped to respond promptly in emergencies.

Missionary work in third-world countries has been a noble church mission for centuries. Today, it offers a horizon of growth of evangelization in a shrinking “believing” western world. Adams & Associates (now Gallagher Charitable International Insurance Services) — a firm we acquired eight years ago — has been serving mission-sending organizations with travel insurance products since 1981. Hal Adams, who leads the firm, innovatively developed general liability coverage for the mission-sending organization to complement the coverages for individuals participating. Adams clearly saw the risks associated with sponsoring individuals. So do we today — especially if you’ve read and studied (as I have) Richard Hammar’s remarkable review of the Hotchkiss School lawsuit (“Travel Injuries: Why Churches Must Better Prepare”) in the September / October 2014 edition of Church Law & Tax Report. In this situation, an alleged sending organization — Hotchkiss School — was found negligent in its preparation of students for short-term study in China. The Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed a $42-million jury verdict after a student (victim) sustained permanent brain damage as a result of a tick bite. An expert perspective Fast forward to today. Dana Crowl, program manager of our Gallagher Charitable International Insurance Services, sat down with me to talk about her experiences

leading this legacy division. I had a number of questions for her — how the servicing of these groups has changed over the years, what the trends are in claims, how she and her program are dealing with the Ebola scare, as well as her reaction to the Hotchkiss School lawsuit verdict. “Most programs are very good about using release forms,” Crowl said, very affirmatively. “However, some groups taking less formalized trips. Those with smaller churches might not use the appropriate release forms. As with many aspects of risk control, there are still opportunities to make the forms more meaningful, as Hammar points out.” As a service provider that’s also the front line for the claims, Crowl indicated there are typical claims relative to property stolen / missing (which have escalated with the prevalence of technological gadgets) and trip cancellation reimbursements — another area that remains prevalent, especially given terrorist threats and CDC warnings. “The emergency evacuations are few and far between, but they require an adroitness and alignment with partners that are the best in the business,” Crowl says. For these crises, Gallagher Charitable aligns with red24 [], a worldwide security service available to help members manage or avoid personal risk to themselves and their families. Members have access to advice on both a preventative and reactive level, relating to personal security, risk and travel, through: a members-only website; personalized briefings; and 24/7 assistance online, by phone and by email. A key takeaway from my discussion with Crowl: the need to manage participants’ emerging medical conditions. Mindful that much of this is personal information, one of the trends Crowl sees is the triggering of medical conditions on these short- and long-term ventures that lead to danger — not only for the participant, but perhaps also for others in the program! As a former boarding school administrator, this was an interesting reminder. I once took students abroad and recall one of our students causing harm to others when xenophobia appeared to get the best of her. We had to ensure she was immediately returned to the United States. While the Hotchkiss School case might reflect more the obligations when including minors on your program, the verdict is striking in its message to sponsoring organizations: Hotchiss School failed to take the basic safety precautions to protect the minor children in its care. I hope this case will help alert all schools which sponsor overseas trips for minors that they need to check with the CDC for disease risks in the areas where they will be traveling, and that they must advise children in their care to use repellant and wear proper clothing when necessary. As the plaintiff’s attorney in the Hotchkiss School case showed, these injuries were easily preventable. CE Peter A. Persuitti is managing director, Religious Practice, at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. [] 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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HOW TO ENSURE YOU’RE INSURED BY ROBERT ERVEN BROWN, ESQ. WITH MATTHEW MASON, ESQ. Every day, five churches are damaged by fire in the United States. At that rate, a church in your state would catch fire every 10 days! It happened 1,800 times last year, causing more than $98 million in damages to religious properties. When was the last time you and your senior staff sat down and considered a contingency plan for a fire which seriously damages your church? In our conversations with church leaders, we find an overwhelming sense of denial about fire losses in churches — even though substantial fire losses aren’t just possible, but probable. Not having a contingency plan is bad enough; not having appropriate fire and casualty insurance is even worse. Adding insult to injury, many church administrators don’t have the training and background necessary to adequately protect their churches’ rights as an insured when a fire loss occurs. Without a basic understanding of how — and when — to file the right claim and damage information, your church could find itself in the unfortunate situation which befell one Kentucky church. In this situation, the insurance company paid only $48,358 of the church’s $209,000 loss. How it happened On June 15, 2010, a fire caused substantial damage to the church. On Aug. 12, 2010, the church submitted a Proof of Loss to its insurer — a local company, not one of the national, church-focused carriers. The insurer then conducted an arson investigation to determine whether it owed coverage. Ultimately, the insurance company determined that it did. The church’s policy provided for the church to be paid its “actual cash value” or “replacement cost value.” The senior pastor and insurance adjuster exchanged multiple emails. The adjuster sent an email setting actual cost value at $48,358 and replacement cost value at $112,923. However, the email stated that receipt of the replacement cost coverage was subject to policy conditions. The senior pastor replied to the email. “We’ve looked at your preliminary figures, and we accept those as the

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undisputed amount,” he wrote. “As you know, there will probably be more questions along the way as we decide if we’re going to rebuild or etc.” On May 31, 2011, the insurance company cut a check in the amount of actual cost value, and the church cashed it. However, two months later, the church submitted an amended Proof of Loss showing actual cash value at $209,465. The insurance company denied coverage on the amended Proof of Loss. The church failed to rebuild within the allotted timeframe provided by the policy, and the insurance company also denied coverage for the additional replacement cost — a $64,565 loss. Litigation ensues The insurance company filed a lawsuit against the church asking the court to resolve its dispute about valuation in a “declaratory action.” That’s right: The church’s own insurance company filed a lawsuit against it. Adding insult to injury, on May 15, 2014, the judge ruled against the church finding that: The email exchange between senior pastor and insurance adjuster was an offer and acceptance of the actual cash value of $48,358. Because the actual cash value was accepted by the church, the insurance company was not required to cover the amended Proof of Loss of $209,465. The church did not comply with the insurance policy by beginning to rebuild within a certain amount of time. Because the church did not comply with the policy, wit was not entitled to the $64,565 replacement cost coverage. The church was left with $48,358 to compensate for $209,465 in losses. What can you learn from this? Here are a few takeaways for your own church. Arson coverage. If the insurance company found proof of arson, the company would have completely denied the church’s claim and paid nothing! So, check your policy for arson coverage. Market / actual value versus replacement value.

Insurance policies use differing methods for determining loss: market value (or “actual cost” value), replacement cost value, or a combination of both. The policy itself might define the terms. Generally, market value or “actual cost” value is the value of the property if it were sold at auction today. Often, the actual value or market value of personal property, or even a building, is less than the replacement value. This is where the term “fire sale” originated. In the case of the church referenced in this article, the replacement cost was higher because rebuilding the facility cost more than the market value of the existing facility. You should check your policy for the method of determining loss and speak to your insurance company regarding their method of determining loss. You should obtain appraisals of your church personal property and real estate. You should have your policy evaluated by other insurance providers who might be more likely to spot holes in the coverage of your existing policy. If disaster strikes: Don’t just take the insurance company’s word for it. Have an independent estimate of loss prepared by an expert. Before agreeing to accept loss payments, consult a lawyer. This way, you understand your losses, your right to recover, and timetables for recovery. Set a calendar. This helps ensure you don’t miss a response date required by the insurance policy. CE

Matthew Mason, Esq., is an associate attorney at Ridenour Hienton PLLC in Phoenix. Footnotes were omitted. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent

professional person should be sought. “From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.” Simply reading this material this does not create an attorney / client relationship with Brown, as this article is general legal information, not legal advice. A formal attorney / client relationship will not be established until a conflict check is completed and an engagement letter has been signed by both the attorney and the client. No “informal” legal advice will be provided by telephone. Simply sending an e-mail to Brown will not create an attorney / client relationship.

Robert Erven Brown, Esq., is an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona. He and his nonprofit practice group work with nonprofits and churches, helping them manage key operations connected with their missions, visions and causes. As permitted by local Rules of Ethics, they collaborate with attorneys who are licensed in states other than Arizona. He is the author of Legal Realities: Silent Threats to Ministries, which describes his Campus Preservation Planning© initiative — a comprehensive program designed to manage the wide array of risks facing nonprofit organizations. [].

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Insuring for less than full value is a common problem among churches. By “value,” I mean the replacement cost of a building, not the depreciated actual cash value or the market value. Underinsurance is common for several reasons: Large, old and architecturally unique worship facilities are difficult even for skilled appraisers, and rarely are professional appraisers used when setting the limit of insurance. Additionally, these buildings likely would sell for little, which causes congregations to sometimes incorrectly assume that the limit of insurance should approximate the market value. The cost of making significant repairs from an insured cause of loss can easily be higher than the market value. The agent is of little help in setting a value. An insurance agent might ask the trustees how much insurance they want to carry. Technically, it is the insured’s responsibility to purchase an adequate limit. Few religious organizations can do this without help. Neither the agent nor anyone in the congregation reviews the limit periodically. Construction costs rise over time, and in the weeks and months following a weather catastrophe, can rise dramatically regionally. 46 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

The building was constructed partly by volunteers, which causes an understatement of the completed building’s true value. Will the volunteers be so gracious the second time? Are they capable of making major repairs — a task that often is more difficult than original construction? The congregation wants to save a few dollars in premium or can’t believe building costs can be so high and refuses to buy what was recommended. Potential for coinsurance penalty on smaller losses Inadequate limits of insurance not only affect how much you receive for a total loss, but also can affect what you receive for partial losses. This is called “coinsurance.” If your insurance policy includes a coinsurance clause, you’ll need to set your limit high enough (usually 80 percent to 90 percent of full value at the time of loss) to avoid a penalty. You might also ask for an “agreed value” endorsement to override the coinsurance clause. Regardless of coinsurance, you’ll be most secure if you insure to full value. Total losses are not frequent, but they do occur. You and your agent have done your congregation no favor by insuring your buildings to 80

percent of value — which saves you a little insurance money — if they burn to the ground. A blanket limit can be an attractive option If you own more than one building, consider insuring them under a blanket limit. This might cost a little more than insuring each building with a separate limit, but is comforting at the time of loss. In most blanket policies, the combined limit is made available for the damage to any one building. However, some insurance policies include a “margin clause,” which caps the amount available to one building to a specified percentage greater than the building’s scheduled value. Where used, these amounts typically range from 110 percent to 125 percent of the building’s scheduled value. Building ordinances Building ordinances (codes) — such as those pertaining to construction type and handicap accommodations — restrict how you can repair or rebuild a heavily damaged building. This can lead to costly modifications or even force you to demolish undamaged portions. Elevators, sprinkler systems and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act are the most common. They probably are not included in the replacement cost of your building, and can cause you to be underinsured. The older the building, the more likely it is to be affected by code changes. Some policies automatically include a separate limit for upgrades and demolition, but the limit might not be adequate, especially for older and larger buildings. You generally can purchase higher limits. Building codes vary by community. To learn more about the codes in your community, speak with your local building inspector. You might go years — or a lifetime — without suffering a fire or severe wind damage at your church. Count your blessings, but remain insurance-wise. If tragedy strikes your church — as it does

thousands every year — you’ll want the limit of insurance to be adequate and the claim to be resolved to your satisfaction. It is in your best interest (and that of your insurance company) to insure to proper and full value. CE


Patrick Moreland, CPCU, CIC, CRM is Vice President — Marketing of Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, WI. Commercial policies vary by insurance company, so please consult with your agent, especially regarding coverages for building code upgrades, demolition costs and blanket limits.

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How notification technology can deliver the Good News this Christmas season BY BOB WOLFE The Christmas season brings with it so much opportunity for warmth, fellowship and holiness. It also presents a host of other challenges for a church — sudden shortages of time, random acts of weather, a flurry of liturgical and other activities that fill your schedule, and sometimes the sniffles (or worse). One of the ways you can leverage your and your staff’s time is by looking for tools and systems that are natural “multipliers.” Ask yourself, What can I use to make myself more effective? Faster? Less stressed? Among the answers that should come to mind is notification technology. What’s that? “Notification technology” is the broad name for tools that can broadcast your announcements to staff, congregants and your wider community quickly, efficiently and in a manner that suits them. It’s easy to continue to communicate through the methods we’ve always used: bulletins, message boards, Sunday announcements, newsletters, the website and social media. Yet, each of these tools struggles to rival the universality and immediacy of group notification. Group notification typically includes the ability for a church leader to send a voice call, email, text or social media notification from one platform. That platform is ideally web-based (in the “cloud”) and allows the sender and the receiver of the message to use just about any digital device. So, imagine the heavens are going to dump a foot of snow late this afternoon, cancelling choir rehearsal. How would you, as music director, reach all those members who are variously at work, at home or at school? With group notification, you could send a message through your smartphone to everyone in the choir — even if you’re stuck on the interstate yourself. One church in the Midwest hosts more than 20 separate Christmas celebrations and needs to coordinate in excess of 600 usher responsibilities. Group notification allows the church to make broadcast calls asking for volunteers and availability, and then gather confirmations through the press of a button. Updates to church events can be made to the entire congregation (and don’t forget those who don’t regularly — or ever — use email or texting) or to 48 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

sub-groups. Many pastors enjoy the ability to extend their messaging during the Christmas season, too. With the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy for some people to let church become one more thing to check off the list. How sad. As the shepherd of your flock, the power of your voice to remind, affirm, pray and welcome visitors is priceless. It’s not that your other communications are wasted; however, it might be that the timing or limited reach of those channels misses many of the souls you want to touch. Notification technology can give you an important, personal way to reach your congregation throughout the season. Finally, think about those for whom the season is a challenge. It’s not uncommon for depression, anxiety, loneliness and other hardships to weigh heavily on some members’ hearts. Naturally, you’d like to reach out to these people all year; but during the Christmas season, particularly, having the ability to simply let these individuals know that you, personally, care about — and are praying for — each of them might be one of the most important things you do this season. A simple-to-use tool (with a high-fallutin’ name like “notification technology”) might just give those people the best present they’ll see this year: your church’s presence. CE Bob Wolfe is senior marketing manager for religious and nonprofit clients for One Call Now in Troy, OH [ religious]. He has served in church leadership roles for more than two decades and hosts a weekly radio program called There is a Season.

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CHURCH CONSTRUCTION — where do I begin?

Who should you call first: the bank, architect or builder? BY SHAWN FINK To approve a loan, the bank wants to know the project’s cost. But, to get the cost from a builder, you need a design. And to get a design, you need an architect. And to pay an architect, you need money from the bank! So, who do you call first? And does it matter which builder, architect or bank you call? Yes — it matters a lot. Your decision can make a huge difference in the outcome of your project and the effectiveness of your ministry. Prior to making any calls, my first recommendation for a smooth process is to reflect on the purpose of your project and the core needs of your ministry. Ministry need should always drive the project. This helps ensure your project fits within your current financial parameters and meets both current and future needs. Once you’ve clearly identified your core needs, it’s time to pick up the phone. I recommend starting with a church lender. They understand church finances, budgets and ministry-at-large. Your first call with them should help you understand the underwriting standards and documentation you’ll need to provide for loan qualification. Most lenders ask for the last three years of financial statements and a current year-to-date financial statement, as well as an idea of your property’s current market value. A good lender can also work with you to identify your financial resources — what you can afford. This is determined by evaluating three items: cash on hand, fundraising potential and borrowing capacity. Your cash on-hand is the money you’ve set aside for the project. Make a clear distinction between this money and cash for operating and emergencies. Do not deplete your operating cash to build, as this could cripple your ministry. Your fundraising potential is the amount you could raise from your congregation and ministry partners to help fund the project through a capital stewardship campaign. The lender

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or a stewardship campaign consultant can help assess this potential and determine realistic goals. Your borrowing capacity is your debt capacity in light of your ministries, missions giving, salaries and other expenses. Think of this amount as your borrowing boundary — not as the final amount you should borrow. These three items combined will give you a benchmark for the possible scale of your project. Additional considerations Keep in mind that banks and other lending institutions tend to identify all your income as a potential debt-repayment source. This is dangerous, as it could compromise your financial commitment to ministry. A good church lender will not simply talk about how much you can borrow but how much you should borrow, as well as other options you might have. In other words, they will discuss a financing strategy rather than just a loan. This might include a capital stewardship campaign to help capitalize the project, minimize the loan, and involve your congregation. After clearly identifying your ministry needs and financial resources with the help of a church lender, you have a framework within which to approach a builder and discuss a project that is not only what you want and need, but also what you can realistically afford. A true team approach Some of the best advice I can give is this: Let your builder and lender serve you as a cooperative team. Partnering with church design, construction and financing experts helps ensure a smooth project from start to finish. Make their team part of your team, keeping God’s vision for your ministry at the center. He will guide and direct. Shawn Fink leads the construction and facilities team of Foundation Capital Resources in Springfield, MO.


The most important factors to keep in mind — and questions to ask yourself — when looking for transportation for your congregation

In many communities, the sight of old school buses repurposed into church transportation is almost as common as … well … regular school buses. When it comes to choosing a bus for their congregations, repurposing an old school bus is seen as the most economical and sensible option by many pastors. The problem? It simply might not be the best option — especially over the long-term. With that in mind, we want to help you approach the process of researching and purchasing a bus for your congregation in a better, smarter way. Size up the situation. The thing about school buses is, they’re made for school! More specifically, they’re made for students of schools, who tend to be much smaller than the adults in your congregation. School buses and their bench seating might be OK for little ones — especially since they’re rarely sitting still — but are much less comfortable for adults. Go the distance. This is acutely true when you consider the difference in distances between school buses and what your congregation might cover. By and large, school buses cover relatively short distances. Church buses many times do not, which can amplify the lack 52 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 11-12 / 2014

of comfort and features your typical school bus offers a congregation — especially on those long road trips. Shelter your flock. Bench seating. Thin windows. Hard floors. None of these provide much in the way of creature comforts when it comes to the best transportation for your congregation. School buses do not provide the smoothest or most comfortable ride either, especially when compared with commercial or charter buses — which also offer more comfortable seating, improved temperature / climate control, and quieter interiors. All of which combine to make a big difference when you have a congregation that can take a lot of trips — and cover a lot of miles. Find some space. Longer and more frequent road trips generally mean your passengers will want to bring stuff with them. Again, given their original purpose to move youngsters only very short distances, school buses aren’t renowned for their storage capabilities. Commercial buses, on the other hand, are designed and built with longer trips in mind and, as a result, provide a plethora of on-board and below-deck storage capabilities for large groups. Know the real cost of ownership. The upfront price for a new or used commercial bus can be

daunting for many pastors; however, school buses bring a host of costs that, while more spread out, definitely add up over the life of the vehicle. These costs include the initial investment to repurpose and rehabilitate the school bus, plus ongoing maintenance and fuel costs, both of which can add up over time. Add in the fact that a repurposed school bus simply might not have as long a shelf life for your congregation as a commercial bus — meaning the same investment a second time around just a few years down the road — and it gets a bit clearer what constitutes real cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle for your congregation. Again, all the factors above combine to give pastors a smarter and more comprehensive checklist to keep in mind when considering official transportation for their congregations. It can seem like the easiest and most economic solution to repurpose an old school bus — but looks, as we all know, can be deceiving. CE Ivan Roberts is Sales Manager, Commercial Bus for Freightliner Custom Chassis []. He has more than 15 years of experience in product testing, quality assurance, engineering and sales — all with the company — and has worked with a multitude of churches and religious organizations to develop and deliver custom vehicle solutions.



GUEST PREACHERS? As church leaders, we have to make many decisions with clear intentionality because much is at stake. One of these is choosing guest speakers. I know a couple of churches that went through an agonizing season because they had invited the “wrong” preachers. Preacher A introduced a different theology that caused confusion among the people and eventually led to a church split. Preacher B won the congregation with his charisma and wit so much so that many of the members decided to support his ministry at the expense of their financial commitment to their own church. These situations could have been avoided. Perhaps if these churches had policies that clearly stated who they could invite as guest speakers and their expectations, things might have ended on a positive note. So I asked a few church leaders to share their guidelines for choosing guest speakers. Maybe some of their ideas can be helpful to your own church. Check the manuscript Kody Bybee, executive pastor at Fountain Springs Church in Rapid City, SD, says the guest speaker’s theology has to be in alignment with what the church believes. “We take very seriously what is taught to the people that God has entrusted into our care,” says Bybee. In case there might be some doctrinal differences, Bybee says the leadership pays very close attention to the speaker’s manuscript. The guest speaker’s message must be pre-approved by the leadership team and it must follow the church’s sermon series or planned topic. If possible, Bybee adds, he prefers that the guest speaker practices the sermon delivery before the first service. “It will not only help them get used to our building, but it also gives us a chance to hear what they’re going to say from the stage.” Typically, Fountain Springs has guest preachers 12 times a year. Bybee says it’s important that the church gets to hear from multiple capable speakers, “and not just one voice.” All in the family At Calvary Church in Clearwater, FL, guest speakers are invited several times a year, such as when the senior pastor is on vacation or away for his annual planning time, or when someone on staff is not able to preach. But the guest speakers are known to Calvary, more like “family speakers” as they would be part of

the Southern Baptist Church, says Howard Parker, executive pastor of administration. “Prayerfully, nothing will go wrong (but we know it could), as we would have a relationship with the individual we would invite,” adds Parker. Different doctrine not allowed Three times a year, guest speakers are invited to preach at Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN, when senior pastor Sam Rainer is on vacation or preaching somewhere else. But once a year, the church may have a guest preacher while Rainer is present. Rainer says anyone his church invites to preach at their worship services must adhere to the confessional statement of the church and be an experienced preacher. These guidelines are important, adds Rainer, “because we would not want someone preaching a doctrine different than our church’s doctrine.” Rez Gopez-Sindac

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SOFTWARE UPDATE: Seraphim Software’s Airstream

AirStream is a one-stop-shop, cloud-based suite of software. Airstream has been designed to satisfy all of the needs of your media ministry with features including Compose, Present, Live Video and Streaming, and Environmental Projection. Project lyrics, verses, announcements, notes and much more in a user-friendly approach. AirStream gives your media team the tools they need to create spectacular presentations with ease and to take presentations to a whole different dimension. Subscription-based. AirStream is subscription-based software, which means you will receive perpetual upgrades and updates. You never have to wait long periods of time for a release; once a release is ready you will have the opportunity to update at your own convenience. Cloud-based. AirStream enables you to have a centralized, cloud-based location for all your presentations and media. Never worry about transporting or sending presentations and media again. Since AirStream is licensed to a house of worship or a production house, members can create their presentations from any location with an internet connection. You are able to create anywhere and then have all of your designs show up when you arrive at church. If you have multiple campuses, each campus can access all of the same content as well as have the ability to collaborate with each other. Ease of use. AirStream has been designed to be exceptionally straightforward and user-friendly. With a variety of implicit shortcuts and a simplistic layout, anyone can easily compose and present simple to advanced presentations.

• CCLI SongSelect license — users can use preset templates to create presentations in a matter of seconds. #2: Present — The Present feature simplifies displaying presentations to enable anyone to run this feature. AirStream gives you the ability to make changes on the fly: change text and backgrounds, update dynamic count-downs, disable layers and animations, and much more. Within Present, you can arrange and rearrange your playlists and use a timeline to see what is currently happening and what is coming up next, plus loop your presentations at a set timed interval. #3: Direct— The Direct feature allows the user to ingest live video and control the layout of the video and presentations with responsive transitions and animations. With the purchase of flexible and affordable streaming packages, you are able to live stream your services and embed the recordings into your website.

THE EXCHANGE Our Exchange is the location where all of your and your community’s presentations and media are stored. You can also optin to share and exchange your presentations with other users, as well as purchase premium content created by professional artists. MAIN FEATURES The four main features of AirStream that are included in your monthly subscription are as follows: #1: Compose — With an intuitive display, any member can create intricate presentations. AirStream gives you limitless opportunities for creativity by providing the liberty of using unlimited layers with unlimited elements. Additional features include: • Advanced elements such as advanced text, shapes, particle systems, lens flares, procedural elements, maps, threedimensional elements and dynamic count-down timers, and more! • Responsive animations and transitions to any of these elements and layers. • Large library of shaders, which can also be applied to any element or layer for special effects.

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#4: Environmental Projection — AirStream’s Environmental Projection feature allows you to immerse your congregation into a place of worship with advanced projected visuals. You have the ability to use any media content, as well as dynamic content provided by AirStream. You can combine anything with a variety of special effects to give you limitless opportunities with what you display. Additionally, easily blend your edges and the overlap percentage to create a seamless canvas projected onto your walls. AirStream will be released for sales in early 2015. AirStream is a product of Seraphim Software.

SOFTWARE UPDATE: The Elexio Mobile App

Church mobile apps are becoming an integral part of the church experience in America. The Elexio Mobile App — which comes free with the Elexio’s Church Management software — is a connection tool for the outreach-oriented, discipleship-minded church. And it now includes mobile check-in! HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: • Open the mobile app and press “Check-in.” • Select which families you want to check in and which classes / services they’ll attend. (if everyone is checking in, use the express check-in option.) • When you finish, a barcode will appear on the screen. • Scan the code at a check-in station once you arrive, and all your name tags and security receipts will print automatically. • If you don’t need any nametags — as with adult worship — then you don’t even need to scan your code. Check-in is complete from your phone!

Mobile apps have become indispensable to our daily lives in helping us get more done in less time. Adding the check-in feature to the Elexio Mobile App was a no-brainer. This could be the one feature that helps people adopt a church’s mobile app more than any other. And once they use this, they’ll realize there’s a whole lot more they can do like make a contribution, sign up for an event or listen to sermons — all in the palm of their hands. Elexio’s mobile app also includes an opt-in church directory and staff can create followup tasks and notes on people in the church. Additionally, churches have the option to custom-brand their app for a onetime fee. And of course, it’s all integrated with the church database, which means no data re-entry or multiple data silos. Mark Kitts is the lead software architect at Elexio in Elizabethtown, PA. He spent several years in the corporate world and as a founding pastor in a fastgrowing church plant.

Mobile check-in can also run in admin mode, so volunteers can check people in from a tablet or smartphone as they walk in the door. WHY MOBILE CHECK-IN? Several reasons: • It lowers the cost of required kiosk equipment. • It speeds up check-in every week and for every event. • It works on any Android or iOS device. • People don’t have to remember a security code or fumble with printed tags. It’s all on their smartphone. • It works even when check-in kiosks are running offline. • It records attendance records directly to the church database in real time. • It gives pastors another data point to tell if people are engaged at church. • It makes a positive impression on guests and regular attenders. Mobile check-in simplifies attendance tracking — but not just for kid’s ministry. Many churches struggle to gauge participation in other things, especially small groups. But mobile check-in allows small group leaders to bridge that gap. 11-12 / 2014 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 55

SOFTWARE UPDATE: Logos Bible Software and Proclaim

How can this software program help a pastor “craft stronger sermons in far less time?” One of the most important and time-consuming parts of sermon preparation is research — reading broadly on the subject. Logos searches a vast library of scholarly and pastoral sources in seconds. The software does the heavy lifting so you can dig deeper, faster. How can this software help a pastor “quickly develop relevant sermon ideas?” Most sermons start with either a passage or a topic. Pick any passage or topic you want to preach on and plug it into tools like the “Sermon Starter,” the “Passage Guide” or the “Topic Guide” and Logos will automatically identify keywords and provide an wealth of research, illustrations and more, making it easy to develop that sermon, or an entire series of messages. How do pastors use this software when preparing their sermons? With their entire library and notes synced across an office computer, personal notebook, tablet and smartphone, pastors are not tethered to their desks. They can do in-depth study from wherever their ministry takes them. How have some pastors gotten particularly creative with the software in a way that might resonate (or even be replicated) by other pastors? One of the key features in Logos is our Faithlife community platform, which allows pastors, teachers and ministry leaders to create groups and stay connected to their congregations in a digital environment constructed around the Bible. A youth pastor in Bellingham, WA, uses Logos to stay connected to his students during the week with group reading plans. The pastor created a Faithlife group, invited all his students to join, and then started a predefined Bible reading plan. He

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shares quotes, images and other insights to engage the youth in conversation — carrying on a digital form of discipleship throughout the week. He also creates Community Notes from his own study to help his students engage the Bible at a deeper level. Another pastor uses the media resources in Logos to visually reinforce the sermon. If he sees any image that he wants to share, he simply right-clicks the image and sends it to Logos’ church presentation software, Proclaim. He even uses the media images for environmental projection during the worship service. What’s the “learning curve” for this software, assuming a pastor has never used it before? If you can type a topic or reference and press the “go” button, you’ll be able to do an incredible amount of Bible study in seconds. Source: Logos Bible Software



Oklahoma Youth Camp (Sparks, OK) A “Good Steward” Award recipient in the area of children’s / youth spaces, this Assemblies of God facility in Sparks, OK, has 16 modern cabins — each 6,000 square feet — with four large bunk rooms surrounding a central commons area. Key features: • Each cabin houses 64 campers and staff. • A large dining hall with a modern kitchen can feed 1,000 campers. • The camp has five outdoor basketball courts, five sand volleyball courts and five “high-five football” courts. • Its ponds offer fishing, swimming, paddle boats and the “blob” water feature, a large air-filled inflatable rubber tube floating on the water onto which campers can jump from a 20-foot tower.

The large commercial kitchen at the Oklahoma Assembly of God Camp in Sparks, OK, is equipped to serve 1,000 people three meals a day. (Photo provided by Churches by Daniels)

According to Rachael Rowland, marketing director at Broken Arrow, OK-based Churches By Daniels (who built the facility), this camp was needed because the church dropout rate among young people is highest just after high school graduation, and second highest during junior high school. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh

The dining hall feeds as many as 1,000 campers at once. (Photos provided by Churches By Daniels)

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Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY)

A “Good Steward” Award recipient in the area of multi-site staff management, Latham, NY’s Grace Fellowship Church has launched three multi-site campuses in the past five years. This process has involved two capital campaigns, vision-casting, site identification, site development and leadership training. Here, Pastor of Business Administration Bill Minchin talks about these developments. To launch three multi-site campuses in five years seems like an exceptionally rigorous undertaking — is it? Minchin: That depends on who you ask. We studied and visited aggressively multi-site churches that are much more ambitious than we were / are. We feel like it’s a manageable endeavor, though. We launched our Half-Moon campus in December 2008. We bought the building. Three years later, in fall 2011, we decided to “press on with this model.” We had three years of viable data and experience to draw upon. We decided to launch two more locations — at Saratoga and Greenbush — and we called the campaign “2 in 2” — two campuses in two years. We’re renovating both. Really, launching two was the aggressive part. But, we feel good about it. What prompted the church to expand so aggressively in a relatively short period of time? Minchin: Data. The easiest data to track is attendance and giving. Over three years, both were consistently growing. In fact, we saw double-digit attendance growth at our Half Moon campus. Plus, there were the stories of the lives that campus had changed to go on. So, while it was a big financial commitment, God seems to be honoring this effort. For pastors called to embark on rapid expansion efforts in their own churches, can you offer advice in the following areas (based on your own experience)? Capital campaigns

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Grace Fellowship Church’s Half Moon, NY campus

Grace Fellowship Church’s Half Moon, NY campus

Minchin: Clarification: The church has only done one capital campaign related to its multi-site expansion efforts. A one-year campaign was conducted for the first campus, Half Moon. The church isn’t doing campaigns for the other two; instead, it was decided to cast the vision for the campuses and give people the opportunity to give to either — and even to allocate which campus funds support. Customized offering envelopes to this end are available at the home church. “It’s kind of a low-key approach, but we’ve raised more than $400,000 this way.”

investment, so we originally decided on a Sunday-only rental arrangement, with office space for mid-week gatherings. Instead, we ended up leasing an office building, which we’re converting, as well as a former fitness facility. Although the office buildings’ low ceilings pose a bit of a challenge when it comes to audio and broadcasting, the fitness facility was designed with large restrooms and plenty of office space.


Minchin: Looking back, one thing that helped a lot was to bring the lead pastor onboard a full 13 months in advance of the multi-site location’s launch. That meant he could work closely with me to develop the campus and be totally immersed in our church culture. He did everything down to the purchasing of office equipment. We also decided to bring on his paid staff three months before the facility’s launch under the same premise. It was a significant financial investment, but it has proven to be worth it. We’ve taken the same approach with our two new multi-site locations. In these cases, we promoted internal staff to be lead pastors, but they have a full year of focusing on just that role even before the facility opens its doors. In all three cases, too, we made sure the lead pastors of the multi-site locations had face time at the home church to cast the vision.

Minchin: You can’t repeat the vision too often. Never assume your people know the vision. Regular, repetitive communication is the best option. Unless they’re involved in the day-to-days, your people aren’t going to know where the multi-site campuses are, your timeline, etc. So, it’s important to share photos, stories and, of course, the vision — and do it regularly. The average congregant isn’t living with that information, so it’s easy for them to forget. Site identification/development Minchin: There are two key considerations: the community itself — identifying an area where your church has a strong presence of existing and potential members who might start going there. The site must be within reasonable distance of the home church or other multi-site locations. For example, all three of our multi-sites locations are within 20 minutes of each other and / or the home church. Second, it’s a good idea to conduct a congregational survey to find out if existing members would be likely to attend at a new location. And, in terms of the physical facility, it’s critical to be flexible and open-minded. For our first multi-site location, we originally planned to lease a building but ended up buying a SAAB dealership instead. It’s way beyond our expectations – 16,000 square feet and beautifully appointed. With our two new multi-site locations, we couldn’t make that level of financial

The key is really to be open-minded and flexible. Leadership development

What’s the next step for the church in terms of expansion and/or the establishment of multi-site locations? Minchin: We’ve actually made an intentional decision not to cast a five- or 10-year vision with regard to multisites, aside from saying that we’re committed to multi-site expansion and will continue to be. For now, we’ll support all three locations diligently. We’ll know when it’s the right time to launch another location. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh

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THE LITTLE THINGS REALLY DO COUNT When it comes to risk management, a few extra steps — literally — can prevent a tragedy. BY MICHAEL J. BEMI

WATCH THIS SPOT! Upcoming “Never Again” installments will spotlight additional insurable risks — incidents that occurred in churches, plus the valuable lessons they taught all involved.

Anne was a devoted and highly regarded parish volunteer. She was well-known for her sunny personality, kindness, patience and reliably positive “way with people.” Anne enjoyed working with people of all ages and from every station in life, but she disliked paper work and similar organizational activities. Accordingly, she readily volunteered to transport people for attendance at various parishsponsored events. The parish itself was well-versed regarding transportation risk control measures, having received some excellent guidance from both its insurer, and also sources such as the National Safety Council, AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consequently, the parish required that Anne comply with several measures to ensure her ability to safely transport individuals. These included: • Agreeing to annual MVRs (motor vehicle report – driving history checks); • Submitting a letter annually from her personal physician that she had no physical conditions or disabilities that might impair her driving proficiency; • Providing records of regular vehicle maintenance; • Submitting evidence of appropriate, high-quality auto insurance; • Agreeing — via written documentation — that her coverage would be primary to that of the parish, with parish coverage being excess; and even • Submitting to an “on the road” driving skills test administered by the parish’s insurer. Anne was not disturbed by any of these parish requirements. She had not been involved in any auto accident for more than 35 years. She’d had no moving violations for more than 30 years. Her vehicle was only two years old and excellently maintained. She was in excellent health. She had voluntarily taken (and easily passed) a defensive-driving training program developed by the National Safety Council. And, her personal auto policy easily met all the required insurance standards demanded by the parish’s insurance agent. Finally, she and her insurer were comfortable with the requirement that her coverage be primary.

far; they indicated they were happy to get out and walk up the rest of the way to their front porch via the curved entry walk that connected the porch to the driveway. Anne dutifully waited until they safely entered their home. Then — after checking both her side and rearview mirrors, and then rotating her body so she was looking backward as she pulled out, she proceeded to drive in reverse. She heard a sickening thud, a crunching sound and a scream. She exited her car in a panic to find she’d driven over a 4-year-old girl seated on her tricycle on the sidewalk, directly behind Anne’s car.

Bases covered? Not so fast One day, Anne was dropping off an elderly couple who no longer owned a car. She pulled into their driveway, but not very

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

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The tragic result? First and foremost, a beautiful little girl is now a quadriplegic for the remainder of her lifetime, requiring intubation and stomach tube feeding. Yet, she retains undamaged and high-level mental capacity, allowing her to be intimately and perpetually aware of her diminished state of life. Anne suffered — and is still suffering — from extreme emotional anguish, depression, guilt and unremitting remorse. She repeatedly states that she will never forgive herself. Undoubtedly, Anne’s life is also forever diminished. Finally, both Anne’s insurer and the parish’s insurers combined to provide a settlement well in excess of $15 million to provide for the intense daily nursing care necessary to sustain the young victim throughout her projected lifetime. Small steps, big reasons In an earlier article in this series, I made the point that risk control need not be expensive, cumbersome or unduly timeconsuming. While a back-up camera and / or radar would have prevented this incident (Anne’s vehicle was not so equipped), they were unnecessary. In this case, a simple walk to and glance behind the vehicle prior to exiting the driveway would have prevented a tragedy. The little things really do count — so don’t overlook them. CE