SEPT / OCT â€˘ 2015
H E L P I N G L E A D E R S B E C O M E B E T T E R S T E WA R D S .
DEBI NIXON VISION IMPLEMENTER
PLUS Examining disability insurance 14 Launch strong: 5 strategies 17 Effective small group spaces 40
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September / October 2015
COVER STORY The CE Interview
DEBI NIXON: VISION IMPLEMENTER Managing Executive Director | Church of the Resurrection | Leawood, KS
By Rez Gopez-Sindac
INVESTING WITH PURPOSE
The rise of socially responsible investing By Don McLeod
ACHIEVING ACCESSIBLE, INCLUSIVE CHURCHES
Highlights from a Church Executive panel discussion on accommodating worshipers with hearing loss By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
INTELLIGENT CHURCH GIVING
NEW! CHURCH COMMUNICATION TOOLS
PASTOR-FRIENDLY SOUND SYSTEMS
CHURCH ACCOUNTING BASICS
DESIGNING WORSHIP AREAS
CHURCH FACILITIES: BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION
SCIENCE BEHIND THE SEAT
By Therese DeGroot
By Joel Mikell & Derek Hazelet By Brooke Temple
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOCUS ON: MDIVS & CHAPLAINCY TRAINING
MAKING MDIV RESIDENCY WORK FOR BUSY PASTORS
By Mark Heller
By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller
By Church Mutual Insurance Company By Marty Gregor
OPERATION SEMINARY: USING YOUR VA BENEFITS FOR TRAINING
AUTHOR, PASTOR MARK BATTERSON & THE SECRETS OF PURSUING “GOD-SIZED DREAMS”
By Josh Bleeker
By Regent University
DESPERATELY NEEDED: PASTORS WHO KNOW THE BIBLE AND THEOLOGY
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
By Allison Parrott with Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP By Tammy Bunting By Mike Jones
By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA
By Mark A. Jacobson, D.Min.
CHURCH MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (ChMS) FORUM FOCUS ON: VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT 24
By Rodney James
By Amanda Opdycke
FINDING THE RIGHT VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT TOOLS
STREAMING MADE SIMPLE
VOLUNTEERING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
By Mark Kitts
By Andrew Ng
NEW! MEDIA DUPLICATION
By Michael Jordan
By Jennifer Loegering
HOW TO ENGAGE VOLUNTEERS WITH TECHNOLOGY 27
By Angela Huenefeld
CREATING A CULTURE OF GENEROSITY
By Levi Andersen
By Michael J. Bemi
By Chris Heaslip
IN OUR DIGITAL ISSUE ONLY!
FINANCES & ADMINISTRATION FOR CHURCH LEADERS
By Linda Grant
NEW! PROTECTING CHILDREN IN THE CHURCH
NEW! CAPITAL PLANS 101
By Patricia Carlson
CHURCH FACILITY STEWARDSHIP
NEW! MULTISITE & PORTABLE CHURCHES
The role of a facility manager: then and now By Tim Cool
FINANCE & LENDING TRENDS
NEW! THE SPIRIT OF STAINED GLASS
From the Editor
By Scott Cougill By Dan Mikes
By Andrew Cary Young
What they are. Why you need one. By Matthew C. Swain, RS
Exploring your MDiv and chaplaincy study options By W. P. Payne, Ph.D. & Terry Wardle, Ph.D.
By Eric Spacek, JD, ARM 4
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
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FROM THE EDITOR
Bring on the experts! Several new thought leadership offerings in this issue focus: on child protection; multisite and portable strategies; stained glass; tech-enabled event planning; and proactive capital planning for facility repairs. While these debut series might not sound like they have a lot in common, they do: they’re all intended for the good of the Church. Protecting Children in the Church — On page 16, author Patricia Carlson of Tampa, FL-based Protect My Ministry outlines the four most dangerous misconceptions about background checks in the hopes your own church can avoid these pitfalls. According to Carlson, most ministries make major mistakes in this arena. “It’s not churches’ fault,” she adds. “[B]ackground checks are inherently confusing.” To make the process and procedures less daunting, Carlson drills down on the dangers of: assuming any background check is “good enough”; relying on the info you can find online; prioritizing price over other (more critical) selection factors; and — surprisingly — why it’s not a good idea to let the local police department conduct your church’s background checks, even in it offers. Multisite & Portable Churches — On page 17, author Scott Cougill — CEO of Portable Church Industries in Troy, MI — offers five key strategies for “launching strong.” They’ve been culled after working with thousands of multisite and portable churches thrive in rented spaces over the past two decades. “While church is never only about the building, renting a space that works with your vision for the new church or campus is very important,” he explains. What does that look like? The space should be recognizable, navigable, relevant and affordable.
“People know they are in a church when they walk into a building with leaded stained glass windows in color,” he says. “And — like the sunset — we respond to vivid projected color.”
churchexecutive.com Volume 14, No. 5 4742 N. 24th St., Ste. 340 Phoenix, AZ 85016 • 800.541.2670
Church Communication Tools — O n page 32, author Brooke Temple, SVP of Strategic Partnerships for CallFire in Santa Monica, CA, offers strategic advice for using mobile messaging to plan church events. “For churches reliant on volunteers (and with limited financial resources), the need to quickly communicate schedule changes is [great],” Temple points out. And here is where mobile messaging comes in, in a big way. He outlines three types of mobile messaging, as well as how these tools can used to conduct “goodwill manitenance” between the church and its members; build anticipation for upcoming events; and, ultimately, grow the congregation. Capital Planning — Also, be sure to check out our digital issue [ churchexecutive.com/ digital-edition ] for the first article in this new series (“Capital plans 101: What they are. Why you need one.”) by author Matthew C. Swain, RS, Worship Facilities Specialist for Calabasas, CA-based Association Reserves. Swain explains why “just replacing things when they break” isn’t a good stewardship approach at all. Instead, he and his team strongly advocate for a long-term capital planning strategy. “It’s certainly true that capital assets [such as roofs, AC units and boilers] are easy to forget about,” he writes. Even so, Swain warns that a reactive — versus proactive — approach usually leads to expensive deferred maintenance. Leaky roofs can cause mold and interior damage. AC systems can and do fail catastrophically in the summer heat. Boilers needing hard-to-find replacement parts can stop working in the dead of winter. “Imagine a church with a 30-year-old roof in late December,” Swain proposes. “That roof will inevitably leak right before the Christmas Eve service. This can result in an unnecessary waste of time, talent and treasure.”
CEO Director of Advertising Sales Judi Victor, ext. 125 email@example.com Publisher Steve Kane, ext. 207 firstname.lastname@example.org Editor In Chief RaeAnn Slaybaugh, ext. 202 email@example.com Contributing Editor Rez Gopez-Sindac 602.405.5317 firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Art Director Stephen Gamble, ext. 133 email@example.com Accounting Manager Fred Valdez
EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC Denise Craig Chief Financial Officer Abba’s House | Hixson, TN Mike Klockenbrink Chief of Staff Lakeside Church | Folsom, CA 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
All the best, A publication of:
The Spirit of Stained Glass — On page 20, series author Andrew Cary Young — president of Pearl River Glass Studio, Inc., in Jackson, MS — examines the timeless appeal of stained glass in houses of worship, and why this element will always be “at home” in these spaces. Having dedicated his 40-year career to creating traditional leaded stained glass, as well as art glass, in service to the Christian Church, Young writes like the true artist he is. 6
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
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Church Executive™ (Copyright 2015), Volume 14, Issue 4. Church Executive is published bi-monthly by Power Trade Media LLC, a subsidiary of Friendship Publications Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST) included, all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). Reprints: All articles in Church Executive are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Judi Victor at (602) 265-7600 ext. 125. Copyright 2015 by Power Trade Media, LLC. No advertisement or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed as an endorsement, and no warranty is made or implied by Power Trade Media, LLC. Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but no warranty is made or implied, and Power Trade Media, LLC is not responsible for errors or omissions.
THE CE INTERVIEW
Debi Nixon addresses the training session in preparation for the annual Leadership Institute.
CHURCH EXECUTIVE â€˘ September / October 2015
THE CE INTERVIEW
DEBI NIXON Managing Executive Director | Church of the Resurrection | Leawood, KS
Debi Nixon wears many hats at Church of the Resurrection, a United Methodist congregation of nearly 20,000 members. Her title is broad in scope; but to put it succinctly, she’s a connective leader, helping the church implement its vision and move forward in the right direction. As a member of the managing executive team that serves alongside senior pastor Adam Hamilton, Nixon is the liaison between the main campus (Leawood) and the regional campuses, ensuring that the Resurrection DNA is consistent in all locations. She represents the voice of the campus pastors in decision-making and helps secure the resources they need to put their strategies into action. Nixon serves as the coordinator of the church’s capital campaigns across all campuses. Most recently, Church of the Resurrection raised $63 million to complete the main campus’ sanctuary and renovations. Also, Nixon is the author of CATCH: A Churchwide Evangelism Program that provides practical ideas on ways to extend radical hospitality, do outreach and marketing, and create processes and systems for connection and discipleship. In addition, she oversees the Catalyst Ministry and helps coordinates staff development, budgeting and church planting. Nixon grew up in a home where weekly worship was important. Yet, as a young adult, other interests — like college, marriage and career —ˆ got in the way of making church a priority. Her husband, Reed, grew up in an unchurched home. In 1991, they started looking for a church family and found Church of the Resurrection. Nixon joined the staff in 1994 as the first director of children’s ministries. She had no experience or theological training, only an invitation from Hamilton “to be a part of something that might change the world.” “It was a vision that captivated my heart, and still does today,” says Nixon. Tell us something about Church of the Resurrection.
Debi Nixon thanks donors to the 10,000 Reasons capital campaign. Members of Church of the Resurrection pledged $63 million to the building plan.
Church of the Resurrection is a congregation with a passion to build a Christian community where nonreligious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. We are one church, worshipping in four different locations in the Kansas City area. Our journey is to know, love and serve God. We’re united by a common vision, which is to be used by God to change lives, transform communities and renew the church. Our church wasn’t started to reach those who were already churched and were just looking for a better experience. We seek to reach those who are disconnected from church.
What are the biggest challenges in carrying out your various responsibilities? The biggest challenge is time. We’re a highly entrepreneurial organization, which means we’re constantly changing and evolving. And, we generally tend to hire those with a high entrepreneurial spirit. When you have different context in which you serve — and each of our campuses is located in a different context — it’s important to find ways to be relevant and contextual in each setting, while not capitulating on our core values and non-negotiables as a church. As a result, we’re very engaged in leading the church and keeping everyone moving in the same direction.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Do you have a direct role in starting, staffing and supporting a new church campus? Yes, I have helped in the launch and ongoing daily support of our campuses. Although I was indirectly involved in the launch of the first two campuses, I was directly involved supporting our campus pastor in the launch of our fourth location, Blue Springs, which required a different strategy. The Blue Springs location was a church that closed its doors and surrendered its building to Church of the Resurrection in June 2010. We launched it in August 2010 as a new church. In many ways, it’s a revitalization story — of a church that lost its vision and was out of money and passion. We looked at the location and knew that this was a community that had a great potential to reach nonreligious people. But it was a harder church launch. Here was a congregation who didn’t realize that things were going to be different — new style of worship, new order, new practices. It took about two years for the culture of that church to completely change and to be the congregation that it is today. We started with 40 people; this past weekend, there were nearly 400 worshippers and children. We had three kids when we launched, now we have 75 to 100 children. And we’ve only just begun.
What strategies and practices have you found effective in achieving the goals of your job? The main strategy I have disciplined myself to employ is to not micromanage the activities of our campus pastors or our campuses. I have learned the greatest value I offer is to be in a true supportive role where I’m helping to align their vision and strategies for campus growth through evangelism, outreach and discipleship into action steps, and then helping to secure the needed resources. I also have to balance my responsibility to the overall vision of Church of the Resurrection and the vision of our senior pastor. We practice proactive, open communication that helps us address challenges in a healthy way and capitalize on opportunities. 10
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
I make it a priority to have a presence on our campuses so I can best connect, collaborate and support the staff and congregants. I have the highest level of respect for my team and my desire is to not get in their way but instead be radically available to support them in their ministry.
Where does the funding come for starting a new campus? What are the financial and stewardship responsibilities of each campus? Each campus is launched and funded by Church of the Resurrection, with the desire that each campus becomes self-sufficient within five years of their launch. When a campus becomes self-sufficient, they begin to direct some resources back into the general fund to help support future campuses or other churchwide initiatives. We have a comprehensive budgeting process led by our CFO, who is also a member of the managing executive team. Each campus is held accountable for their budgets. We conduct an annual stewardship campaign each fall, and budgets are established based on the results of the pledges committed. We try to have each campus budget closely aligned with the anticipated receipts and offerings. We recognize that our structure still needs to be changed. We’re working on making a determination on what is our centralized and decentralized support structure.
What kind of multisite growth do you envision for Church of the Resurrection? It’s our desire and vision to add regional campuses and continue to pray and be attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit on when to launch our next campus. We’ve recently purchased a parcel of land in the southern part of our community for a future campus launch, and we’re praying over other locations.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION Year established: 1990 Lead pastor: Adam Hamilton ( founding pastor ) Denomination: United Methodist Number of locations: Four Combined weekly attendance: 10,000+ 2016 budget: $21.8 million
What’s the impact of your role as Catalyst director on the vision of Resurrection? Our Catalyst team is committed to initiatives related to our vision of church renewal. We do this in a number of ways, including our annual Leadership Institute held every September which attracts more than 2,000 church leaders around the world. The conference is focused on inspiring and equipping church leaders by the sharing of principles and practices consistent in growing churches. It’s always inspiring to hear of attendees who leave the conference inspired and with a new sense of vision and passion. Catalyst helps coordinate site visits for pastors and church groups, sabbatical leave experiences, and other leadership groups who want to meet at Resurrection. It’s also responsible for our Partner Church ministry, where we serve with churches across the country to share resources, coaching and networking. Imagine the impact of hundreds of already established congregations banding together to share powerful tools in order to provide the very best ministry to their communities!
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Why are you passionate about this ministry? I have discovered in leaders and churches where I speak or consult that there’s a lack of clarity on their purpose and vision. Too often, they’ve become inwardly focused, sometimes because they’re simply trying to survive. Others have focused inwardly for so long they’ve built barriers that keep the church from changing to meet the needs of the everchanging community. For decades, the United Methodist Church has been in decline, as have most mainline churches. I don’t believe our best days are behind us. I believe they’re in front of us, but it takes leaders who are passionate and outwardly focused. Each community deserves and needs a local church that’s focused on reaching deep into the community, extending radical hospitality, and inviting nonreligious and nominally religious individuals into the loving presence of Christ.
866.566.0390 FREE SHIPPING Small Volumes / Low Minimums September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
myths pastors believe about church giving technology By Chris Heaslip
CHURCH EXECUTIVE â€˘ September / October 2015
Imagine a church experience where the pastor stands before the congregation, casting a vision. There’s a family in need. A building needs repairs. A project requires a bit more funding. All the things that your church loves to get behind because it makes a huge difference in the community. Giving information is shared on the screen in the form of a text-engagement code or custom URL, and immediately members begin to donate through their phones in as little as 10 seconds. As they walk out of the service, they can donate at kiosks in the foyer, where trained staff are present to answer any questions. In addition, when they arrive home, they have the ability to give just as easily whenever they are inspired during the week. It could be as they walk the dog, have their morning devotions, or attend a small group. The process is simple, easy to understand, and uniform across all platforms. The best part is that administrators, in real time, can see donations and easily get information into your church database. Unfortunately, an experience like this is still the exception rather than the norm.
fter working with and surveying more than 1,000 churches, we identified an amazing correlation between giving technology and church generosity. The problem was not so much with the passion as it was with the system. Using these conversations with pastors and our own survey data, we’ve compiled three myths that many believe about church giving technology. Our hope with sharing these is that they might inspire you to have a conversation with your church team about your own giving practices. Myth #1: The cause can overcome the hurdles As much as we want to do the right thing, there are many times when we just don’t. It’s not for lack of desire; it’s more about how easy the bad option was for us to take. As an example, I’ve known for years that I need to start eating healthier. I think about it all the time. I do the research. But, when I’m in the middle of a busy week, I still find myself reaching for a Red Bull. I know that a healthy smoothie would achieve the same energy boost effect for me, but making a smoothie is so much work. I have to get out the blender, find a knife, cut the fruit, portion things correctly — oh my goodness, I’m getting tired just thinking about it. But, if someone set a smoothie down in front of me, would I drink it over a Red Bull? Absolutely. The same principle applies to giving technology. We can have the greatest cause in the world, but if giving is too difficult, most people won’t make it all the way to the “submit payment” option. In fact, our research shows that up to 85 percent of mobile users will abandon a donation if the giving process takes longer than 30 seconds. For online forms, with every click, you lose 10 percent of your potential givers. How many seconds does your giving process take? How many clicks are involved? Do givers have to refill all the fields each time (name, address, credit card, etc.), or does your form pre-fill those? Increase generosity by removing the hurdles. In other words, put the smoothie down right in front of them. churchexecutive.com
Myth #2: People are too scared to regularly send money using their phones According to Pew Research, 91 percent of the world’s population has a cell phone. That’s a crazy number. And in the United States, 56 percent of cell phone users have a smartphone, with that number increasing exponentially as you look at Americans 34 and younger. MIT Technology Review recently reported, “Smartphones are spreading faster than any technology in human history.” How many in your congregation now use their phone or tablet in place of a paper Bible? How many use their phone to check email immediately following the service? Conducting a majority of our social and business interactions on mobile devices has become commonplace. It’s time to stop viewing mobile devices as a distraction and instead look at them as an opportunity.
“I know that a healthy smoothie would achieve the same energy boost effect for me [as a Red Bull], but making a smoothie is so much work. I have to get out the blender, find a knife, cut the fruit, portion things correctly — oh my goodness, I’m getting tired just thinking about it. But, if someone set a smoothie down in front of me, would I drink it over a Red Bull? Absolutely. The same principle applies to giving technology.” We live in a society where we use mobile phones for a large portion of simple online transactions, including purchasing music on iTunes, funding projects on Kickstarter, or giving by text to disaster relief causes. The fear of mobile payments is gone for most people; instead, it has moved to the far end of the spectrum, where they prefer to use their phone simply because of the speed and ease. Does your church currently offer a mobile giving solution? Can members contribute by text message? We even recommend visiting your own church’s website on your phone, and try to navigate through the giving process. How many times did you have to pinch and zoom? How frustrated did you get? How much time did it take to enter in all those credit card numbers? Increase generosity by embracing the smartphone rather than avoiding it. Myth #3: Your administrative team can just “make it work” Probably the biggest mistake we’ve seen when working with churches is the piece-by-piece approach. They understand they need new giving technology, so they go out and secure an online giving form. But then, members of the congregation say how much they would love to be able to text and give. So the church quickly secures a text vendor. Great! Right? While it might be great for the end user, things are not always so rosy when we work our way back to the desks of the administrative team. Decisions that are made piece by piece can often neglect the amount of work that is required on the backend. Not even the most dedicated and faithful bookkeeper (as hard as he or she tries) can keep these scattered databases accurate — let alone other important elements, such as passwords and training documents. Chris Heaslip is CEO of Pushpay and eChurch. Pushpay is the 10-second mobile giving solution. Ninety-percent who download the app, give with it; 45 percent of gifts happen on days other than Sunday; and the average gift size is $176. Continue the conversation with Heaslip on Twitter: @ChrisHeaslip.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
FINANCES & ADMINISTRATION for Church Leaders
you donâ€™t need disability insurance?
States require us to purchase auto insurance. Banks make certain we have mortgage insurance. Parents with children buy life insurance to protect their families in case of an unexpected death. Yet, despite the fact that research shows we are much more likely to become disabled for more than three months than die in any given year, many of us do not have disability insurance. By Linda Grant
CHURCH EXECUTIVE â€˘ September / October 2015
Consider this: • Seventy-five percent of disabilities result from illness, not accidents. • Financial crises associated with disability are the leading cause of personal bankruptcies and responsible for nearly 50 percent of mortgage foreclosures. • One in three women and one in four men will be out of work for 90 days or more at some point during their working lifetime due to disability. Ask yourself, “Can I afford to be without disability insurance?” If you think of a disability policy as insuring against loss of income, you are more likely to view it as a necessity. Nine out of 10 Americans who have disability coverage are insured through their employers. Employers can provide two types of disability insurance: short-term (STD) and long-term (LTD). Short-term disability insurance is generally limited to between 60 and 180 days (although some might last up to a year) and typically pays 60 percent to 80 percent of your gross salary. Most plans begin paying benefits after you provide written documentation from a physician of your condition and estimated time away from work. You might also have to wait up to 20 days between the date you stop working and the date your benefits begin. Some employers might require you to use up your sick leave before your disability benefits begin. A long-term disability policy begins if short-term disability ends before you can return to work. Some employer STD plans automatically convert to long-term disability. Check the terms of your employer’s plan closely. If you work for an employer that does not offer short-term or longterm disability insurance, consider purchasing an individual LTD plan. Individual long-term policies are extremely customizable, so consider the following before your purchase: Determine how much you spend monthly on necessities such as housing, food, utilities, child care, transportation and other living expenses. Don’t forget the premium payments for your LTD plan and added medical costs. Aim for a plan that will cover these expenses. Factor in your spouse’s income and an emergency fund if you have one. churchexecutive.com
Decide how long you want the benefits period to last. The longer the benefits period, the higher your premium payment. For LTD, it can range from a set number of years — such as two to five years — or until a certain age, usually 65. Consider making the policy “non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable.” These protections guarantee that once a policy is in-force, there will be no changes to your premium schedule, your monthly benefits or your policy benefits during the life of the policy as long as the premiums are paid. This can be critical when you are already living on a reduced income. Guaranteed renewable by itself only provides that your insurance cannot be dropped; the premium can still be increased. Pay attention to payout restrictions for behavioral health conditions, pre-existing conditions or family medical history. Know whether you are required to coordinate with government benefits, such as those available from the Veterans Administration or Social Security. If you will be on extended leave, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI pays benefits to people who cannot work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. SSDI is not available for partial disability or short-term disability. Apply as soon as possible; waiting to apply might result in an income gap while your SSDI claim is processed. For more information on applying for SSDI, visit http://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability.html. Finally, be sure to read the fine print on your disability policy. Become familiar with it before you need it and before you are distracted with managing your disability. Many conditions can result in a long-term absence from work. Disability insurance can allow your family to tend to your recovery without the burden of worrying about paying the bills. Linda Grant is Relationship Manager at MMBB Financial Services www.mmbb.org. She is the liaison between MMBB and disability and health insurance vendors and has extensive experience coordinating disability and health insurance administration.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Protecting Children in the Church
Background check myths Debunking the 4 most dangerous misconceptions By Patricia Carlson
Background screening employees and volunteers is the most effective tool for keeping congregations safe. Yet, most ministries make major mistakes when implementing background check procedures. It’s not churches’ fault — background checks are inherently confusing, for numerous reasons: • The scope of information you are trying to access • The numerous places where you can look for this information • The various laws governing how that information can be obtained, and how it can be used. It helps to be aware of the most common myths about background screening, plus some practical solutions every ministry can incorporate to avoid making the same mistakes. Myth #1: “All background checks are the same” There are several ways to conduct background checks and hundreds (if not thousands) of screening firms. They — like the quality of the background checks they perform — are not created equally. A check can include a number of things, from criminal reports and credit history, to reference and credential checks. Not every company offers comprehensive checks. The two most common types are those performed by a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or a fingerprint check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). An FBI fingerprint check confirms personal data, such as your birth date, name(s), address(es), employment and criminal conviction history. However, it doesn’t paint a comprehensive picture and can include incomplete or inaccurate information. 16
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
A background check performed by a CRA that is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners will provide you the most comprehensive portfolio on your employees and volunteers. Most CRAs rely on real researchers who actively work to track down and verify information. (An FBI check just aggregates computer data that might or might not be accurate.) Finally, the screening industry is heavily regulated by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and has plenty of consumer protection built-in. The FBI does not. Myth #2: “All the information we need is online” A recent study performed by CareerBuilder.com shows that 51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media have found content that led them not to hire the candidate. For ministries, this behavior is 100-percent risky. While you can find a treasure trove of information about a potential volunteer or employee online (from birth date, to address, to employment history), you also put yourself and your church at risk. Most social media profiles include information that could be considered discriminatory if used in a hiring decision — even if it’s not your primary source of collecting information. A smart move is to create a written, standardized hiring policy that includes both a background check performed by a CRA and an internal protocol for browsing social media sites, pre-hire. Myth #3: “Cheaper and faster = better” Being good stewards of church funds is always a chief priority. This might tempt you to accept the lowest bid from the screening firm which promises you “instant results” every time. But, the old adage is true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no single database of criminal information available, and “instant checks” are not always possible. Given the nature of background checks and regulations regarding collection of a person’s private information, reliable background check providers will return results in two to three days should there be any potential hits on the applicant’s record. Prices for background checks vary. You might find background checks provided for as little as $5 or as much as $100. Don’t decide on price alone; consult with various NAPBS-accredited providers who will listen to your needs and develop a screening plan that meets your church’s expectations and budget. Myth #4: “The local police department conducts our background checks” Police departments have a wealth of information at their disposal, but they can’t match the depth of data you need to vet a volunteer or candidate. The truth is, most police checks search only the state in which your church is located and don’t include criminal information outside your state. As such, surrounding towns, states and sex offender registries will not be included. Additionally, most police departments only store arrest records, and these are not an accurate representation of one’s criminal record; charges or convictions might not be included. If a police officer from your congregation offers to screen your candidates for free — through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) used in FBI fingerprint checks — politely decline. This could lead to potential legal problems where both of you could end up in court. Understanding the importance of background screening is vital. And, performing checks on your employees and volunteers is critical to keep your congregation and outreach ministries safe. Patricia Carlson is a Florida-based freelance writer for Protect My Ministry in Tampa, FL. www.protectmyministry.com churchexecutive.com
Multisite & Portable Churches
LAUNCH STRONG: 5 KEY STRATEGIES
By Scott Cougill
A record number of new churches are launching across North America. Most will initially choose to meet in a rented facility — often a school, movie theater or community center. While church is never only about the building, renting a space that works with your vision for the new church or campus is very important. Having helped thousands of churches launch strong and thrive in rented spaces over the past 20 years, our company has determined five “must-haves” when it comes to selecting your portable site. #1: A welcoming A multisite church in Alberta, Canada, which meets in atmosphere a movie theater The connections new visitors make with existing members is ultimately what will help them grow into fruitful members of your church community. Surveys show that most visitors make up their mind to return within their first seven minutes on your campus. As such, the tone of your environment and volunteers is critical. Many venues (a school with cinderblock walls, for example) might not provide a welcoming atmosphere on their own. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn this type of venue into the welcoming environment you want using extra treatments and equipment. Even so, money can’t buy hospitality — that requires warm, welcoming people out front where visitors arrive. Additionally, setting up a café in the venue’s lobby or courtyard offers them something special. And, while it’s critical to use signage to ensure all areas are easy to find, it’s equally important to strategically position people to answers visitors’ questions. #2: A great A/V experience Thinking about all the technology needed to run a church service on Sunday morning can be daunting — especially in a rented venue. You will need a custom combination of: • Speakers with the right coverage patterns and dispersion • Projectors sized right, based on screen size and lighting control churchexecutive.com
A community center gym converted to a video venue multisite church
• Correct-size screens viewable from anywhere in the room • Wireless microphones that won’t encounter drop-outs due to competing frequencies in your region • Wires to connect everything. You must also be able to easily transport and set up all this technology each week. #3: A safe, fun children’s area Church leaders know better than anyone the importance of a safe, secure (and fun!) children’s area. Parents want to know their little ones are in good hands. In a portable church environment, achieving this type of space requires a little extra effort. If your church meets in a movie theater, the kids’ space could be in the lobby, the hallway or even a party room. If your church meets in a school, the gymnasium can be divided up for different age groups. (Just make sure it’s air-conditioned!) Dingy walls or inappropriate posters can be covered up using “scuba walls” or something similar. Simple tools can completely transform a space into a clean, bright, fun environment. #4: Parking and easy access On average, you’ll want to allow for 1.7 adults per car. What is your visitor estimate? Will you have enough onsite parking? If not, consider renting parking spaces. Ask a nearby building or business if your church can use its parking accommodations on Sunday mornings. If your church is meeting in the city, consider renting out space in a parking garage, or at least negotiating for a discounted rate for your visitors. #5: Clear signage Direct, informative signs should not only get people where they need to be, but also create a great first impression. In rented facilities, this can be a challenge; often, you’re competing with permanent signage. So, your church signs need to stand out. To this end, a basic rule of thumb is to always have a sign in view. When a visitor is standing at one of your signs, there should be at least one other sign in view. It will be a more enjoyable experience if the visitor is quickly and easily able to find exactly where he or she needs to go. Finding a site where you can launch your portable church is challenging — and involved. Keeping these five tenets in mind will aid your selection process and go a long way toward launching strong. Scott Cougill is CEO of Portable Church Industries www.portablechurch.com in Troy, MI, a company that has partnered with more than 2,000 churches. Find Cougill on Twitter @ScottCougill. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Finance & Lending Trends
Time to expand to new location(s)? By Dan Mikes
As unemployment has declined and consumer confidence has grown, it appears that the post-meltdown reluctance to solicit donors for capital pledges for religious institution expansion is abating. This is giving way to pent-up demand for worship space. Other accommodative factors — such as recovering real estate values and relatively low interest rates — might also be contributing to an increase in worship facility expansion, facilities acquisitions, and the launching of leased satellite locations. In recent years, banks have continued to anticipate a faster rate of economic expansion. Consequently, loan volume targets continue to exceed demand. Qualified religious institution borrowers are finding no shortage of willing financial partners. Historically, the conventional approach to religious institution expansion was to purchase land, build a larger sanctuary, and relocate. In more recent times, congregational expansion strategies include the leasing of facilities with associated tenant improvement costs, purchasing and converting an existing commercial structure, or the merger of a strong and growing congregation with another religious institution which might be in transition or distress. Each of these approaches carries its own subset of lender focal points. For example, if your religious institution is planning to acquire land now and build later, you should know the lender’s advance rate against undeveloped land will be lower. The Interagency Guidelines for Real Estate Lending Policies provides guidance to banks on advance rate limits for various categories of commercial real estate. For instance, the loan offer to your religious institution might be limited to the sum of 75 percent of the appraised value of your existing facilities, plus 60 percent of the appraised value of the raw land. When growth puts pressure on existing space limitations, another common approach is to lease a facility along the perimeter of the current donor-commute circumference. Improving a tenant space can be a costeffective and scalable way to relieve some pressure on your current site while also availing yourself of growth from outside the religious institution’s current draw perimeter. The lender will consider the lease duration. Is it short enough to accommodate a subsequent relocation if growth should warrant, yet long enough to justify the dollar cost of tenant improvements? There is no set rule in this regard. However, lenders are unlikely to be receptive to a plan to make a multimillion-dollar investment in tenant improvements to a facility with a short-term lease. The inclusion of an option to purchase the property might mitigate this concern. The lender will also want to understand the religious institution’s overall vision for satellite expansion. Typically, once the satellite congregation reaches sufficient size, with stable or increasing year-overyear attendance and net cash flow, the lender will entertain a request to purchase or build a facility. Conversely, if the religious institution plans 18
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
numerous additional long-term leased satellite locations, the lender might become sensitive to the percent of total contributions coming from leased locations. If the location(s) secured by the bank’s mortgage(s) generate the majority of total revenue, the lender is more likely to remain confident that in the worst of times, the religious institution will make every possible effort to sustain operations at the collateral site. Examining church mergers In the wake of the economic downturn, there has been an increasing incidence of expansion by way of merger. Larger, financially stable congregations are being approached by smaller, faltering religious institutions. This can result in a mutually beneficial outcome. The merger is often accomplished by rolling the assets of one corporate entity into the other, and then dissolving the smaller 501(c )3. However, if the congregation which your religious institution plans to acquire has debt, be sure to discuss the plan with your lender in advance. Your legal counsel might advise that retaining separate corporate entities will shield the parent organization from the liabilities of the other congregation. While this might be correct, your lender might have other concerns. Your existing donor base would likely view the two organizations as one, with a single spiritual leader and leadership team. If the merger does not succeed, your religious institution could suffer widely publicized reputational damage, thereby having an adverse impact on attendance and revenue. In a worst-case scenario, if the acquired congregation defaults on its debt and the other lender forecloses, the local media will likely tie the good name of the parent organization to the financial failure. At that point, your donors might not take comfort in the technicality of the two separate legal entities. Some portion of your donors might fear for the solvency of the parent organization and decide not to “throw good money after bad.” Lenders are risk managers. They are compelled to consider worst-case scenarios. Nevertheless, if your religious institution is contemplating acquiring an indebted, struggling congregation, your lender will likely be supportive if your organization has a history of stable revenue, strong net cash flow, and ample reserves. After pausing for a few years following the downturn, it’s great to see physical plant expansion return to the religious institution arena. The diverse strategies for accommodating congregational growth will be familiar to an experienced religious institution lender. While there might be numerous banks competing to support your congregational growth, in the long term, you will be better served by an institution with a track record of supporting diverse religious institution models. Dan Mikes is Executive Vice President and National Manager of the Religious Institution Division, Bank of the West, in San Ramon, CA. www.bankofthewest.com
WE BELIEVE TRANQUILITY CAN COME IN MANY FORMS.
As a national leader in religious institution banking for over 25 years, we’ve provided more than $3.5 billion in financing to the faith community. Our affiliation with BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest1 banks, and our industry expertise help us provide you with the services and solutions to best reach your financial goals. To speak to a Relationship Manager, call 1-800-405-2327.
Equal Housing Lender. ©2015 Bank of the West. Loans subject to credit approval. 1 Bankrate.com, Q1 2015
The Spirit of Stained Glass
Timeless appeal By Andrew Cary Young
Why stained glass is always at home in places of worship From the earliest of times, we know that Phoenicians were the first to make objects of glass. As a seafaring people, they spent time on beaches where lighting strikes turned sand and ashes from cooking fires into glass. Human beings have long been fascinated by glass — its beauty and challenge of its manufacture. When I studied the leaded stained glass windows in the cathedral in Chartres, France, I became a pilgrim following in the footsteps of those who wore smooth their famous labyrinth stones. Instead of seeing too many cathedrals, I chose to spend a few days there to get a sense of the place and the effect the stained glass had on the space. It is difficult to put a value on the effect time has on a building and the people that worship there. Stained glass continues to be relevant in the Christian Church for a number of reasons. The pilgrims in medieval times would walk for days and weeks to visit the cathedrals throughout Christendom. The original stained glass artists were charged with creating a heavenly Jerusalem on earth by filling the cathedral walls with jewel tones of glass and colored light. A vivid sunset can unleash a positive reaction to its beauty in each one of us. For hundreds of years, stained glass has created that same response to beauty in pilgrims and modern churchgoers alike. People know they are in a church when they walk into a building with leaded stained glass windows in color. And — like the sunset — we respond to vivid projected color. Unlike all other art forms, stained glass is unique in manipulating the color of light — and not only the color, but also the sense of depth achieved by varying the transparency of the stained glass. Paintings, mosaics and the like look essentially the same every time you turn on the light in the room. Stained glass can change instantly when a cloud shades the sun or when the light at dusk goes through the transition to nightfall. The light does not just change from hour to hour and day to day; it changes through the seasons of the year. In my church, we have a clear 20
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
window that is scheduled to have stained glass. But, until a donor is found, this window during Advent and Christmas allows the sun low in the sky to cast a ray of bright sunlight onto the Lay Minister reading the Old and New Testament lessons. In the summer months — with the sun overhead — the color projections from the clerestory windows dapple people in the pews with projections of colored light. When we go to church, all our senses come with us. We walk in on wood, stone or concrete floors and feel the wood pews when we take a seat and smell the incense. The choir creates a joyful noise, as does the band, singers, and we, too, when singing along. Stained glass engages the sense of sight in a profound, compelling way. Centuries ago, the windows created a visual storybook. Today, stained glass windows can communicate the essence of theological ideas, such as the Holy Trinity or the receipt of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. Stained glass continues to be relevant to the worship Christians experience in a new structure — one recently updated through renovation, or as a way to give a new look to a familiar place. In a series of articles to follow, I will write about the continuing innovations of this timehonored art form in service to the Christian Church. These innovations parallel the continuing ability of Christianity to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Andrew Cary Young, president of Pearl River Glass Studio, Inc., in Jackson, MS www.pearlriverglass.com, has dedicated his 40-year professional career to creating traditional leaded stained glass as well as art glass in service to the Christian Church.
The most common church claims — and how to protect against them By Eric Spacek, JD, ARM If your church is like many others, it probably has a limited budget. Plus, the staff is likely busy with ministry activities, and it is difficult to take on additional responsibilities. This can be an issue when it comes to risk management — improving safety for congregants and enhancing your facility’s security. As one of the nation’s leading church insurers, GuideOne keeps detailed records about the types of claims and losses churches experience across the United States. Over the last several years, the most common causes of loss are: storms; falls; water damage; theft, burglary and vandalism; accidental fires; lightning and electrical surge damage; recreational activity injuries; arson; sexual misconduct incidents; and maintenance injuries. The good news is, with little or no extra money, the leaders of your church can make dramatic improvements in the way they protect people and the property. The only requirements are a commitment to safety and security by church leaders and volunteers. The first step in beginning your church safety and security efforts is to recruit volunteers in order to form a safety or risk management team. Typically, this team is made up of congregation members who have experience in safety, facility or property management, insurance, law enforcement, law, accounting, child care and healthcare. The goal of this team is to identify risks at church and formulate a risk management program. Once the team is in place, it is important for them to establish a process to make sure that the property and surrounding grounds are regularly inspected for The most common cause of injuries on various hazards. Sample church premises are slips and falls. inspection checklists should be available from your church’s property insurance carrier. Ideally, a qualified professional should look for issues concerning electrical, HVAC, fire prevention and plumbing. The safety or risk management team also should look for the following general items and issues: • Hazards that can cause slips, trips or falls — such as uneven walking surfaces including parking lots, sidewalks and hallways, or worn carpeting • Fire hazards — such as improperly stored combustibles or open flames • Roof damage or debris blocking the gutters, downspouts and eaves • Trees or branches close to the building or electrical wires • Nursery and daycare protective devices — such as outlet coverings churchexecutive.com
• Cleaning supplies and chemicals that are well-marked and locked • Playground equipment that is well-maintained and with sufficient ground cover By addressing these issues ahead of time, it could greatly reduce the chances of experiencing several of the common causes of loss listed above. Slips and falls The most common cause of injuries on church premises are slips and falls. Churches in areas prone to freezing winter conditions should take snow and ice into consideration. It’s essential to promptly remove the hazard from all sidewalks, stairs and parking lot areas where there is a heavy flow of visitor traffic. Ice-Melt or similar products can be used to minimize the danger of slipping. Your church also can put up “Wet Floor” caution signs in entrances and heavy traffic areas. Also, keep walking surfaces free of tripping hazards such as extension cords, boxes or other items. Water damage Water damage — from frozen pipes that break, as well as leaking roofs, drain blockages and sewer lines that back up and overflow — is the third most common type of insurance claim among churches. To minimize the risk, keep the church’s roof in good condition, have gutters cleaned out, and make sure there is adequate insulation and ventilation in attic spaces. Insulate water pipes that will be exposed to freezing temperatures, Water damage is the third most and regularly inspect the premises. common type of insurance claim Your church also should consider among churches. installing a water leak detection system. Theft and burglary About one in eight churches is victim to theft or burglary each year. To help prevent crime at your church, follow the “5 Ls.” 1) Lock-up. Make sure doors and windows are locked when the building is unoccupied. 2) Lighting. Illuminate exterior buildings, doors and parking lots from sunset to sunrise. 3) Landscaping. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed around windows and doors, and keep any unsecured tools or ladders from being easily accessible to outsiders. 4) Lookout. Establish a “Church Watch” program and develop relationships with neighbors, asking them to keep an eye on the property and report any suspicious activity. 5) Law enforcement. Develop positive relationships with local police and invite them to patrol the property at odd hours. Naturally, certain types of losses — such as hurricane or tornado damage — are impossible to avoid. However, research shows that more than half of all losses at churches could have been prevented or minimized if the church would have taken the proper steps and precautions ahead of time to reduce their risks. For a complete listing of ways to protect your ministry from common church claims, visit: www.guideone.com/SafetyResources/Churches/churchindex.htm. Eric Spacek, JD, ARM is the Director of Risk Management and Loss Control at GuideOne Insurance www.guideone.com in West Des Moines, IA. Before joining GuideOne, he served as Minister of Operations for a large Methodist church in Raleigh, N.C., and was a liability litigation trial attorney in Washington, D.C. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
replacement projects over a 30-year period. Some of the most influential items might include roofing, painting, asphalt, flooring, HVAC systems and restrooms.
CAPITAL PLANS 101:
What they are. Why you need one. By Matthew C. Swain, RS
“We’re an old church; we just replace things when they break.” This is the common response when I ask church leaders throughout the nation about their long-term capital planning strategy. While this statement might be true for many worship facilities, for many years, that doesn’t mean it’s the wisest form of stewardship for a church’s physical assets. At a glance, waiting for building components to fail — such as roofs and asphalt — might seem like a sound strategy. Financial resources are devoted to ministry while physical assets simply sit in the background and fulfill their intended purposes. It’s only when building failures start to occur that the issue comes to light. These failures come as a “surprise,” despite the fact that the remaining useful life and replacement costs of the major components can be predicted with great reliability. It’s certainly true that capital assets are easy to forget about. A new roof — depending on the type of construction — can last 15, 20 or even 30-plus years. AC units and boilers run on thermostats and normally require little attention. Vehicles can be driven over asphalt parking lots for many years without a second thought. However, a reactive approach typically equates to expensive deferred maintenance — leaky roofs, causing mold and interior damage; AC systems failing catastrophically in the summer heat; boilers needing hardto-find replacement parts in the dead of winter; and parking lots riddled with potholes and trip-and-fall hazards. Imagine a church with a 30-year-old roof in late December. Inevitably, it seems, that roof will leak right before the Christmas Eve service. The result is an unnecessary waste of time, talent and treasure. Capital planning means: • Knowing when the roof will reach the end of its useful life, and • S etting aside the right amount of money to offset the accumulated roof deterioration. The reward for being proactive is being in a position to replace the roof before it fails. What exactly is a capital plan? A capital plan is a vital tool that will improve stewardship of your church’s physical assets. A professionally prepared capital plan will be customized to your facility and contain three key results.
Capital plan results
1) Component list The component list serves as the foundation of every capital plan. It outlines the scope and schedule of all major, predictable repair and 22
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2) Reserve fund strength The reserve fund strength is a calculation that compares how much money has already been set aside “in reserve” to the capital asset deterioration that has already occurred. % Funded = Reserves ($) . Accumulated capital asset deterioration ($) Capital asset deterioration can be expressed in the form of currency by factoring in the remaining useful lives and replacement costs of all components on the component list. In the above equation, “% Funded” provides a clear and scalable indicator of how financially prepared your church is to make necessary repairs to its buildings, where 100-percent funded is ideal. 3) Funding plan The final result — the funding plan — identifies how much money needs to be set aside “in Reserve” each year. Since most organizations start off at less than the ideal 100-percent funded, the funding plan might require stable monthly contributions to reserves that are large enough to avoid last-minute fundraising campaigns. The goal, over time, is to move the church in the direction of being more than 70-percent funded. Is it possible to be wise stewards without a capital plan and reserve fund? A capital plan reveals the true cost of properly maintaining the buildings that have been entrusted to church leadership. Knowing the truth (and responding to it) is a foundational concept of the Christian faith; it’s wise to apply that same approach to the stewardship of a church’s physical assets. Since the remaining useful life and replacement costs of the church’s major components are all reliably predictable, it would be foolish to characterize most building failures as “surprises.” Establishing a strong reserve fund takes time and fiscal discipline. The benefit of creating a capital plan is that your church has a sound evaluation of both its physical and financial condition, as well as a prudent course to properly care for and maintain the property. In the long run, your church will be rewarded with efficient use of time — and stewardship dollars — so the focus can be on the true mission of the church: preaching the Good News! Matthew Swain, RS, is Worship Facilities Specialist at San Diego-based Association Reserves. [ www.ARCapitalPlans.com ] He is a certified Reserve Specialist and has been preparing capital plans for non-profit organizations across the country for more than a decade. Swain currently serves as the national representative for AR Capital Plans worship facility clients.
CHURCH FACILITY STEWARDSHIP
fact increasingly becoming strategic in nature. That’s why a facility manager has to rely on other experts, whether on their staff or as contractors and consultants. The profession of facility management isn’t just about the person with the facility manager title — it’s also about the large supporting cast of specialists, experts and other professionals.
The role of a facility manager:
THEN VS. NOW
By Tim Cool In our previous series installment, we explored the vast contrasts between facility management and facility maintenance. The chasm has grown significantly over the past few decades. And, over the next several years, I believe it will grow at even a greater rate. Why? Because these facilities’ levels of complexity require a certain level of expertise and proactive thinking. Additionally, houses of worship are being more intentional with the care and life cycle management of their facilities. Yes, the days of the facility manager-as-lightbulb-changer are waning, and for good reason. A professional facility manager can make or break an organization’s operational budget in a hurry. Unlike some professions, facility management encompasses many different roles and skills. Not everyone in the facility or property management profession is responsible for all these roles. Some are responsible for specific functions as specialists; others are responsible for everything; others oversee all these roles through other specialists. Regardless, it’s important to have a working knowledge of each one so you can effectively deal with your colleagues, manage staff, or interface with external resources. A pie-shaped diagram is the easiest way to represent the broad responsibilities in the facility management profession, since it includes so many different skills and responsibilities. This pie graph — which comes directly from Managing Facilities & Real Estate by Michel Theriault — shows the full range of facility management responsibilities.
Theriault further describes the role of the facility manager as follows: You could categorize them or subdivide them differently, but the fundamental responsibilities are all within this diagram. Depending on your role, you may be responsible for all these elements or just a few. You may also oversee them all, but have other experts on your team who focus on a specific aspect of the role. Some of these specific areas are actually represented by their own professions when performed as a distinct, separate role. For instance, a portion of the chart covers both commercial property management and project management. The facility management profession actually encompasses both of those functions. From this, you can see that it is impossible for any given FM to have all the knowledge and skills to perform all the roles that are frequently expected of them. In addition, many of the responsibilities are non-technical, and they are in churchexecutive.com
The facility manager’s most useful skills are management- and leadershiprelated — particularly the ability to develop strategy, communicate, lead and manage resources. The top FMs in any large organization rose to their level because of those skills. The issue of scope and responsibility is further expanded when you consider typical portfolios, which can range from a single building to a regional or national portfolio, and even an international portfolio of properties. Like many other professions, the larger the scope, the more people involved at different levels. Where a smaller property may have a single facility manager, a large portfolio may have a vice president of facilities, with several hundred staff under them. GREAT PERSPECTIVE! The church world, however, doesn’t think in these terms (as much as I believe it should). I get the sense that in most churches, the facility manager — or the operations manager — is the lowest position on the organizational chart and the first to get cut if the budget gets too tight. I have visited several church facility managers’ offices (if you can really call them that) over the past several years. Some were large, caged spaces — some of them actually “fenced in” with chain link — in boiler rooms. Others were corners of leftover space, with no windows, basements, storage rooms, and so on. Is this really the way to treat someone who has been asked to steward millions of dollars’ worth of Kingdom assets? I wouldn’t want my personal office to reside in one of these spaces. Maybe I’m just picky — but maybe not. Have you spent a day in the facility manager’s office at your church? Did your clothes feel dirty when you got out of the chair? Probably; it’s likely that that same chair had paint cans stacked on it before you sat down. Do we think that the facility manager is less critical to the ministry’s success than the youth pastor? Is this role less critical than that of the small groups minister? What about the accounting staff? If you said “no” to any of these questions, then why treat the facility manager like a second-class citizen? Facilities represent a large part of any church’s assets and expenses; yet, they don’t usually receive the same attention as other parts of the organization. While I agree that facilities are only a tool, they’re a tool that requires care and stewarding. Tim Cool @TLCool is founder of Cool Solutions Group, and has assisted nearly 400 U.S. churches (equating to more than 4 million square feet) with their facility needs. He has collaborated with churches in the areas of facility needs analysis, design coordination, pre-construction and construction management, as well as life cycle planning / facility management. Cool Solutions Group is also the developer of eSPACE software products, including Event Scheduler, Work Order Management and HVAC integration. Cool has written three books: Successful Master Planning: More Than Pretty Pictures; Why Church Buildings Matter: The Story of Your Space; and Church Locality, which is co-written by Jim Tomberlin, as well as a manual series entitled “Intentional Church.”
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum
FOCUS ON: volunteer management According to recent findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, churches are the biggest beneficiaries of volunteer efforts across the United States. The Bureau found that one-third of volunteers surveyed devote their time to religious institutions. Moreover, volunteers indicated they spent the most hours per year volunteering for churches and faithbased organizations. That’s great news! As any church leader can attest, volunteers are absolutely essential. For many, however, keeping these volunteers can be a challenge. In order for them to give their best, they need to feel engaged, energized and recognized, all of which is easier said than done for busy church leaders. A lot depends on organizational strategy — for finding, managing and engaging those volunteers. And let’s be honest: in many churches, that part could use a little streamlining. Luckily, church management systems (ChMS) can help. In a big way. In the next several pages, experts will zero in on ChMS’s inherent volunteer management tools and functionalities, including: Identifying and onboarding new volunteers. Finding new faces to volunteers is critical. Relying on the same people, year after year, can take its toll — not only on those hard-working volunteers, but on the effectiveness and quality of the outreach. To this end, ChMS can help identify, screen and qualify new volunteers. It can also help to ensure volunteers receive appropriate training and are prepared for expected and unexpected situations that might arise. Matching volunteers with their interests and skills. Everyone has gifts and passions. For church leaders, the key is to determine what those are for each volunteer, and then to mobilize this information in a way that engages them in serving opportunities. Easily — and in an organized fashion — inviting volunteers to serve. Using ChMS, volunteers can view serving opportunities (and sign up) using a mobile app or the church website. They can also accept or decline serving invitations by email, and this information automatically “feeds” into the ChMS system. So, everyone — volunteers and church leaders alike — can be on the same page. Scheduling events and keeping track of who’s volunteering, when, and for what role. With some ChMS offerings, this can be done at-a-glance with color-coded calendars that show active, inactive and past serving opportunity dates. Church leaders can also see which volunteers have accepted, declined or are still pending. Additioanlly, any system you consider should be capable of sending reminders to volunteers. Communicate, communicate, communicate! When it comes to volunteer engagement, it all comes down to relationships. Using ChMS, church leaders can stay connected beyond Sunday. Whatever form these communications take (emails, text-messages, etc.), our experts agree that if volunteers feel valued and appreciated, they’ll continue to give their time and talents to their churches. Enjoy this installment of the Church Executive “Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum.” As ever, we welcome your feedback. — The Editors
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
Focus on: Volunteer Management
Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum
Finding the right volunteer management tools By Mark Kitts
As a founding pastor of a church plant in North Carolina during the 1990s — managing more than 200 volunteers every week — a key component of success was tracking their interests, skills and spiritual gifts. Then, I needed to be able to apply that information to finding volunteer opportunities for all of them… all while managing schedules and avoiding volunteer burnout. At the time, this meant using early versions of Microsoft Excel or Access, or an early church database system. The lack of comprehensive tools to handle this challenge served as inspiration to create our company’s ChMS product. As a result, the way church leaders can find and acquire volunteers today is quite a bit different. Key volunteer management areas Many of the innovation-drivers at our company are the areas where, in my experience, churches frequently hurt with regard to managing and assigning volunteers. Churches of all sizes struggle with this, but larger churches (1,000-plus in average attendance) can be crippled if they are missing solid volunteer management. To this end, a few key areas any ChMS should address are: • Inviting people to serve • Cataloging and reporting on areas of interest, skills and gifts • Easily scheduling events and volunteers easily • Sending reminders for events. Inviting volunteers to serve is one of the classic challenges where we once relied on one really outgoing person for recruiting. By using ChMS that offers communication options tailored to the individual — combined with an integrated web forms tool — it’s possible to reach out to potential volunteers in a way that makes it easy and convenient to respond to the invitation and sign up. Personalized email invitations for specific volunteer positions are ideal, especially when you can filter your list of potential volunteers based on skills, interests and even spiritual gifts. Ideally, you should be able to invite your volunteers to serve as you are creating your event and have the ability to go back later and add / edit what positions are needed. You should be able to effectively manage both the event and your volunteers within the same interface. Any system you consider should be capable of sending reminders to your volunteers so they remember that they have signed up, but also arrive on time and ready for any event. churchexecutive.com
What can you do if you have an older ChMS (or none at all)? This is a challenge many church planters and small-church leaders face. Perhaps the church bought an early ChMS that serves more as a simple church database and offers little in regards to customized reporting. It’s possible that someone never looked beyond low-cost-of-ownership tools, such as Microsoft Excel or Access. But, there is hope — even in cases where resources are limited. With legacy ChMS and database systems and tools (Microsoft Office, for example), you must look for opportunities to create items such as custom data fields. Those fields allow you to store important information — importantly, a member’s areas of interest, special skills and spiritual gifts. Leveraging this data is critical for placing volunteers in the right roles and avoiding burnout. The right tools make all the difference Whether you are using a newer ChMS and haven’t used volunteer management, or you are limited to using a legacy system, your goal should be the same: to get the most out of either tool while keeping your volunteers from burning out. Creating relational systems that link volunteers to their skills and interests is pivotal. This will help keep your current volunteers happy — and it might even bring some former volunteers back out of “retirement.” Mark Kitts is Lead Software Architect at Elexio Church Software www.elexio.com and lives in North Carolina. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Focus on: Volunteer Management
Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum
Volunteering for the 21st Century By Michael Jordan
No one wants to volunteer in your church. Scary thought, isn’t it? It might be because they don’t have time, don’t feel appreciated or don’t feel qualified. Or, maybe you don’t have a good enough way of letting people know you need help. Whatever the reason, a recent study by the Barna Group backs it up: “Volunteering at a church during a typical week fell by eight percentage points since 1991, from 26 percent down to 18 percent.” * This lends truth to the old saying, “90 percent of church work is done by 10 percent of its members.” The ability to recruit and retain church volunteers is critical to your ministry’s success. At ACS Technologies, we serve more than 50,000 churches and fully understand the needs church leaders have when it comes to tools to help with finding, retaining and optimizing volunteers. Here are five of the top areas of which to focus:
A private, online community, The City is web-based, allowing churches and congregants to communicate, build relationships, give online and find new ways to connect and do ministry together from anywhere. It is also imperative the information you can gather through the social networking tool of your choice syncs with your church management software. There are many church management software solutions which allow you to add these users (and their skills) into a database, but also to give the ability to pull specific reports on this information. Just make sure the two you chose work well together. 2) Understanding your volunteers Before going headlong into a new situation, one should always take the proper precautions. This absolutely includes the screening and qualification process of new volunteers. If the proper precautions are not taken, the results could range from frustrating to disastrous. When placing members in positions, churches must do all they can to make sure the environment will be safe and the people involved are qualified to serve. So, this means it’s very important to screen them, ensuring they have the proper training and track the status of their qualifications. 3) Training is power Finding volunteers is only half the battle; you have to make sure they’re properly trained for the task at hand and prepared for any situation (emergency or otherwise) which might occur. Training needed can be provided internally — think lighting / sound / working check-in kiosks. There can also be times when outside training is a must. Whichever the case, these volunteers can then be re-evaluated periodically to ensure they are continually competent to serve in their role. 4) Strengthen commitment through strong relationships Relationships are the lifeblood of a strong volunteer ministry. If friendships and encouragement between leaders and volunteers are strong, your ministry will prosper. On the other hand, if volunteers feel disconnected or unappreciated by leaders, your ministry will suffer. The key is finding ways to help ministry leaders stay relationally connected to your volunteers throughout the week. However, staying in touch with your volunteers on a regular basis can be one of the greatest challenges for your ministry. Everyone has busy lives, and it can be increasingly difficult to find available time to communicate with volunteers. Without a doubt, though, volunteers will be more committed when they feel valued and appreciated. 5) Developing the ownership mentality The ownership mentality is a way of thinking in which volunteers value ministry on a very personal level. When this happens, volunteers not only feel like they’re contributing, but are also able to help your church move in a positive direction.
1) Getting your members connected You know the members of your church possess a vast variety of knowledge and skills that can help. But, how do you find out just what those skills are and connect with them? The first step when finding potential volunteers is to gather information about them. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest and fastest way is to meet them where they are spending most of their time. Today, that’s online. Mainly through social networking tools, like The City — www.acstechnologies.com/products/the-city. 26
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In short, when you focus on the right things consistently — and use the proper tools to support you — your church can greatly increase volunteer recruitment and retention, all the while making the work of staff and volunteers easier and more enjoyable. Michael Jordan is a marketing strategist for ACS Technologies www.acstechnologies.com headquartered in Florence, SC, with offices in Phoenix and Seattle. * The Barna Group, State of the Church Series, 2011. “Major Faith Shifts Evident Among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics Since 1991.” churchexecutive.com
Focus on: Volunteer Management
Church Management Software (ChMS) Forum
How to engage volunteers with technology By Angela Huenefeld
“Church members need to feel they are a vital part of Christ’s work and that they are valuable to the community of believers.” This is what we hear time and again when speaking with pastors regarding volunteers. They emphasize that church members desire to feel needed — and the Church has the responsibility of effectively plugging them into the local church community.
with the options to Word merge, email, text message or export the list to an Excel spreadsheet • View a color-coded calendar showing serving opportunity dates that are active, inactive and past • Accept or decline for a volunteer who is unable to respond to a serving request. Volunteers can: • View serving opportunities and sign up to serve using the mobile app or their church’s website • Accept or decline serving opportunities by responding to email requests • View their upcoming serving opportunities. Once a serving opportunity is created, volunteers are assigned and emailed a notification with the option to accept or decline the serving opportunity. At any time, staff members can view the serving opportunity and see which volunteers have accepted , declined or are still pending .
Shelby Systems has provided technology for the church and nonprofit community for more than 35 years. In response to our customers’ growing needs and desires to effectively engage and mobilize church members as volunteers, we created the Volunteer Tracking product. Our customers were looking for ways to easily communicate serving opportunities to their members, schedule volunteers, and track volunteers’ service hours while helping members feel they are a vital part of the church and valuable to the community of believers. So, how do you effectively engage your church members? With the Arena Volunteer Tracking product, church staff can: • Set up serving opportunities and group volunteers based on their areas of serving interest • Assign and track volunteers through training, background checks and acceptance of the serving opportunity • Communicate with volunteers through email and text messaging • View volunteer lists with filter options for specific serving opportunities churchexecutive.com
A color-coded calendar for the current month displays so church staff and members easily see serving opportunity dates. The calendar shows active (blue), inactive (light blue), and past (grey) service dates plus black-out dates (red). Occasionally, a volunteer might indicate verbally or by phone call their intentions regarding a serving opportunity. Church staff can manually accept or decline for the volunteer.
Tracking volunteers can be a time-consuming job, no matter how large or small your church. Technology helps to tame this difficult but rewarding job. Angela Huenefeld is Technical Content Writer for Shelby Systems, Inc., www.shelbysystems.com in Cordova, TN. The company’s Volunteer Tracking integrates smoothly into Arena ChMS and websites for ease of access.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
What are banks
looking for? By Therese DeGroot
Long-term interest rates appear to have bottomed out and are projected to increase by year-end. So, now is the time to consider borrowing funds to undertake important building initiatives or refinancing existing debt.
When refinancing a loan, be sure that the calculation of money saved by refinancing to a lower rate includes all costs, penalties and â€” if an interest rate swap is involved â€” breakage fees incurred to refinance. Securing a low, fixed-rate loan now will allow for proactive budgeting, predictable debt service and ensures that ministry and outreach programs continue to be funded, as well as expanded ministry. An important component to this process is finding a bank that is experienced in church lending. A bank that understands the unique nature of how churches operate is critical (including the unique cash flow nature of churches), as is as a bank that is well-capitalized and liquid.
2 key strategies So, what are banks looking for from churches to determine which are the best borrowers deserving of the best rates? Keep in mind: presentation is everything. A well-organized, professional and thorough loan package that represents how important you believe your stewardship responsibilities are is a must. The better the quality of your information, the more successful you will be in securing the best financing available at the best rate. Making the bank comfortable that checks, balances, processes and procedures are in place will be beneficial in terms of loan amount and the best rate available. Lenders want to be sure the organization has a well-run business office with proper accounting and financial systems in place with appropriate controls and best practices. This will help in the preparation of financial statements, capital campaign information and treasury management reports, as well as guard against possible embezzlement or fraud. Developing comprehensive business practices will improve the business office and the quality of information. Quality financial statements will keep the church above reproach and should be considered a best practice. When requesting financing, it benefits the organization if the lender knows it is an important part of your stewardship responsibility. Have at least three months of operating cash reserves on hand. In lending through the Recession, one positive factor that clearly determined strong leadership and the sustainability of the ministry was adequate cash 28
CHURCH EXECUTIVE â€˘ September / October 2015
on hand. Those churches that maintained appropriate liquidity were able to manage through the tough cycle while not severely cutting back on staff or ministry and outreach programs. Strong cash reserves also made the church a stronger borrower; in turn, this presented these churches as a lower risk, so they were able to secure a lower rate. Refinancing and / or increasing your debt now provides not only the opportunity to fix or lower your interest rate, but also to consider other important initiatives — building projects to expand program development and community outreach, for example.
While doing the necessary preparation and due diligence to be a good bank prospect requires effort, it is well worth the time. A lower rate and the right financial partner will support the vision of your church and put you in relationship with a lender you can trust through the expected and unexpected challenges of every ministry. Therese DeGroot has developed and managed religious lending programs for 25 years for many banks that now specialize in lending to churches, nonprofits and schools. She is Managing Director of First Bank’s Community First Financial Resources Division www.cffinancialresources.com in Lake Forest, CA.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Intelligent Church Giving
The secret to reaching out â€” without burning out By Joel Mikell & Derek Hazelet
Simple church can feel incredibly complex at times. There are always more people to reach. There is always more ministry that can be done.
CHURCH EXECUTIVE â€˘ September / October 2015
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the pressure or nervous about the future, you’re not alone. Research shows: • 9 0 percent of pastors admit they are frequently fatigued and worn out on a weekly, or even daily, basis, and • 62 percent of senior pastors are concerned about giving. Here’s good news: Data and technology have made it easier than ever to reach more people and raise more money. This isn’t about adding another thing to your plate; it’s about identifying ways you can work smarter, not harder. It’s about improving how you reach out so that you never burn out. 3 keys to working smarter, not harder, with data and technology Here are three ways you can apply the principles behind intelligent church giving to work smarter, not harder. 1) Make better decisions by balancing intuition with information. If making more disciples is the end game and discipleship is a life-long process, then effective ministry requires a long-game approach. It’s about equipping and sustaining comprehensive ministry. While there will always be an element of faith involved, we must get past “going with our gut” when it comes to the ministry decisions we make. In the same way a car dashboard helps us monitor if our car is operating correctly, there are indicators to help us measure ministry effectiveness and make better decisions along the way. For us to play the long game, we have to have feedback mechanisms and tools that help us measure if things are on the right track. Your car dashboard helps you monitor things that help you reach your destination. As church leaders, we can use data as indicators to measure disciplemaking strategies and improve ministry effectiveness. 2) Accelerate discipleship through automation. Leading people into a deeper relationship with Christ requires us to help them take the next step. Our ability to respond to indicators of spiritual growth (participating, volunteering, giving) in measurable ways is essential for helping people grow. Unfortunately, manual processes aren’t easily replicable or scalable. What happens when the person you rely on to follow up with church members forgets or isn’t around anymore? Fortunately, automated communication gives us confidence that we are effectively engaging church members in relevant and personal ways. It gives us a chance to communicate with every church member without relying on manual processes. churchexecutive.com
3) Go deep and wide with new technology tools. Understanding how people are interacting with your church not only helps you understand what’s working, it helps you engage each church member effectively and uncover what’s most pressing in their lives. For example, maybe you notice a church member has stopped giving — this might be an indication of a financial strain you have the opportunity to address. Technology allows you to bridge the gap between Sundays. If all of your communication is based on what happens on the platform, your church is being silenced by outside forces competing for attention throughout the week. This is not about dehumanizing people or the disciple-making process. It’s about enhancing it. As church leaders, we are responsible for the people in our church. We’re responsible for their spiritual condition. The end game is not “big data” or how much information we collect; it’s about taking what we can learn about the people we engage to make smarter ministry decisions. The end game is not using the latest tools and technologies to be “cool.” It’s about using those resources and tools to help each and every person take steps to grow as a follower of Christ. Are you ready to reach more people and raise more money by working smarter, not harder? Joel Mikell is president at RSI Stewardship www.rsistewardship.com. Follow him on Twitter, @joelmikell or find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/joel.mikell Derek Hazelet is senior vice president at RSI Stewardship. Find him on Twitter, @dhazelet or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/derekhazelet. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
CHURCH COMMUNICATION TOOLS
MOBILE MESSENGERS How to plan church events using mobile messaging By Brooke Temple
Planning and organizing an event for a large number of congregants introduces many variables. Dates, times and locations are all subject to change, often on short notice.
Let’s say there is a congregational picnic planned at a local park. Inclement weather is forecast, and a last-minute venue change to the church’s multipurpose room is needed. A group SMS or voice broadcast prevents the ensuing chaos and inevitable decline in attendance.
For churches reliant on volunteers (and with limited financial resources), the need to quickly communicate schedule changes is even greater.
Building anticipation Schedule changes, cancellations, traffic and parking issues — for communicating urgent information to large numbers of congregants, SMS is more effective than any other means. But, mobile messaging can also play a key role in the early stages of event planning and promotion. MMS, SMS and voice broadcast are all well-suited to raising awareness about future church events and soliciting participation. Not only does the technology help you reach a wide audience, it encourages that audience to interact. Text message RSVPs give you a clearer understanding of how many people plan to attend, allowing coordinators to make refreshment and seating arrangements with greater accuracy. The benefits for budget-conscious event planners are obvious. At mere pennies per message, there is no more efficient communication tool.
Enter: mobile messaging. Mobile technology has made huge strides in the corporate world in recent years. But, the same qualities that make mobile communication perfect for businesses — affordability, reliability, scalability — are just as desirable (if not more so) for non-profit organizations. 3 types of mobile messaging 1. SMS — With SMS texting, you can communicate urgent information in a way that’s practically guaranteed to reach your audience. At least 95 percent of text messages are opened and read within minutes of receipt, easily making SMS the most effective way to quickly reach lots of people. 2. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) — MMS allows you to send more than just text; send images, audio files, video and more — all delivered to recipients in the same way as SMS messages. Events such as charity initiatives might be better communicated with words and images (like a virtual flier) which you can send using MMS. MMS is an attentiongrabber, well-suited to issuing that first announcement of an upcoming event in a way that will be remembered. 3. Voice Broadcast — Similar to SMS, customized voice broadcast messages can be sent to thousands of congregants simultaneously, but with the extra dimension of personalization that’s crucial to community outreach. Features like ‘Press 1’ allow recipients to transfer directly to a member of the organization, further enhancing the spirit of civic connectivity. Retire your phone tree and reach all congregants at once! ‘Goodwill maintenance’ Taken together, these three avenues of mobile communication can revitalize the dialogue between church and congregation. Planning can be more inclusive, and can minimize the chances of disgruntled parishioners showing up for an event only to find that it has been canceled. Sure, there is little backlash when a small group meeting is canceled due to circumstance. But when it happens again and again, such disappointments chip away at participation enthusiasm. And for volunteer-based organizations, enthusiasm is the main currency. The frustration for church leaders relying on word-of-mouth (or even mass emails, which reach only a fraction of their target audience on short notice) is that many of these events are easily rescheduled or relocated if attendees can be notified in a timely manner. 32
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Growing your congregation The advantages of mobile messaging go beyond event coordination. Group text messaging facilitates true involvement by congregants. SMS can be used to conduct polls and surveys to gather information on preferred music or popular sermons for an upcoming service. Clergy can send inspirational messages daily or weekly. It’s also an important tool for engaging young people — a huge task for churches in 2015. Teenagers now use SMS as their primary means of communication; any attempt to boost attendance figures among teens must look to mobile for real results. That voice and text are no longer viewed as strictly one-to-one platforms is perhaps the most significant development in mobile messaging in recent years. Young and old alike, people are used to receiving group messages from large organizations. In fact, they expect it. Brooke Temple is SVP of Strategic Partnerships for CallFire www.callfire.com in Santa Monica, CA. He has more than 16 years of business development and digital marketing experience, and heads up CallFire’s sales efforts and enterprise-level customer acquisition strategies.
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SOUND DECISIONS (SYSTEM)
— why you need a consultant By Rik Kirby & Daniel Keller
If you were ill, you’d seek a qualified doctor to diagnose and treat what ails you. After all, trying to diagnose and treat yourself — without medical expertise — is likely to lead to a bad outcome. When you have problems with the sound in your church, the same reasoning applies.
Trying to solve the issues without professional help is likely to be a waste of time and money, with grim results. The last thing you need is buyer’s remorse after a system is installed because you tried to “wing it” on your own. A professional systems designer will work with you to analyze your church’s space and needs and create a system that sounds great, is consistent with your message and budget, is easy to operate, and suits the type of service and events your church hosts. Your congregation will enjoy the results for many years to come, and you’ll save money by avoiding waste and false starts with equipment that is not best suited to your space or properly installed and adjusted. The best time to engage a systems consultant is right at the beginning of the process. Before you do, it’s helpful to understand what’s involved in choosing the right team. The systems designer Your church’s new sound system should enable every member of the congregation to clearly hear and understand what is said and to enjoy every note and subtlety of the music, no matter where they’re seated. If sound is bouncing all over the room, for example, speech could be unintelligible and music could turn into a muddled mess. To achieve clarity and intelligibility, the sound system should direct the sound toward the congregation — not at walls, floors, ceilings, windows and other reflective surfaces. It should also deliver quality sound to hardto-reach locations, such as balconies. 34
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the exact places and angles required by the plan, while protecting and maintaining the beauty of your church. A good installer also considers access to the system components should they need service — a big deal if you have loudspeakers mounted high overhead or hidden behind a wall panel. In most cases, your systems designer will know qualified installers with whom they have worked successfully in the past. That gives you a proven team. The design-build approach Some firms provide a turnkey package in which one individual or small team handles acoustic analysis and systems design, supplies the sound system, and installs the equipment. This approach is referred to as “design-build.” This firm might also be an equipment dealer. If the individual or firm is expert in all these disciplines, and coordination is good, everyone involved should be on the same page from the beginning. The design will account for installation challenges because the same person or group handles both — not always the case where the designer and installer are different. The main drawback to this approach is that each part of the process — acoustic analysis, system design, installation and tuning — is a complex science that takes years to master, so you need to find a firm that has all this expertise. Assuming you can find the right company, design-build is a good way to go.
Assessing how sound will behave in any given space is complicated. While large halls and cathedrals — with their high ceilings, soaring walls, and domed ceilings — are typically challenging, even the smallest sanctuary can have acoustic issues. Designing a system that’s right for your space is a job for a professional system designer who understands the science of acoustics. Your church’s needs depend on the types of services and events it usually hosts. Traditional services might call for a system entirely focused on speech intelligibility, while contemporary services with a praise band require a system capable of delivering music with great clarity at relatively high sound levels — without seeming too loud. A professional systems designer will take these factors into consideration. The systems designer will then employ specialized acoustical modeling software to figure out how sound behaves in your space. Armed with this information, they will work with you to identify the best loudspeaker choices and decide where to place them and how to tune them for optimal performance. The installer Assuming the design plan meets with your church’s approval and budget, a contractor specialized in sound-system installation will work with the systems designer to implement the plan. Installation is far more than screwing in a few bolts and mounting brackets; it involves understanding the engineering and legal regulations involved in safely and securely mounting heavy speaker systems in churchexecutive.com
The consultant and the contractor An alternative is to choose an independent systems consultant who handles acoustic analysis and specifies the equipment and its placement, while employing a separate contractor that handles installation. Independent systems consultants are not limited to the lines of equipment they sell, so they can recommend whatever they believe best suits your needs. The contractor is expert in construction, the vagaries of church architecture, and how to legally and safely install audio equipment in a way that carries out the system design while maintaining the aesthetics of your church. Your systems design consultant and contractor will coordinate to ensure that the design works with the installation considerations. This cooperation is key; if done well, it achieves the same integration as design-build, but with a broader range of expertise and a great choice of equipment. Getting started As noted earlier, you should engage an expert as soon as your church has made a decision to investigate a new sound system. That way, your subsequent decisions will be well-informed, and you won’t waste time and money on false starts and blind alleys. Word-of-mouth is still the tried-and-true way to find this partner. Talk with people at other churches in your region who have been through this process in recent years. You might also learn a lot from schools and other non-church institutions that have hired companies you’re considering. Ask for references and do some Web research; many firms list past projects on their sites, and you might be able to find and follow up with some of them. Then, meet with companies who have proven themselves, and decide for yourself which company you want to work with. With patience and research, you will wind up with a system that will fully satisfy your church’s needs and please your congregation for years to come. Rik Kirby is Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Renkus-Heinz, Inc. www.renkus-heinz.com. Located in Southern California for more than 35 years, Renkus-Heinz is a manufacturer of high-end professional loudspeaker systems. Daniel Keller is CEO of Get It In Writing, Inc.® www.getitinwriting.net.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Climate change: A better way to deal with bullying
Schools are understandably concerned about bullying. It can create a corrosive school environment, disrupt learning and have a long-term effect on everyone involved. Recent research shows that schools can help reduce the rate of bullying if they put students in a safe, connected environment that teaches them how to manage conflict and stand up for what’s right. “Bullying prevention has been eclipsed by more meaningful conversations about school climate,” says Finessa Ferrell, a director for the Colorado Education Initiative program in Denver, who has done extensive work in the areas of school violence prevention, bullying and students’ social and emotional learning. “If you don’t focus on climate, you’re stuck in the trap of investigation and punishment, and the core issues never get fixed.”
Problems defining bullying “There’s significant controversy about how to define it,” Ferrell says. “Traditionally, the definition has included a power differential — whether social, emotional or physical — intention to harm and an activity that’s repeated over time, but it’s much more complicated than that.” Michael Carpenter, a nationally certified bullying prevention consultant who founded the International Bullying Prevention Conference and is coauthor of Bullying Solutions, agreed. “Stick with a conventional definition of bullying, and you’ll miss a lot of problems — even behavior that isn’t necessarily ‘bullying’ needs to be addressed,” he says. Some problematic elements of conventional definitions: They don’t account for the target’s perspective. “One person might be extremely upset about an incident that doesn’t bother someone else,” Ferrell says. Bullying can be a one-time event. “If your child’s head is shoved into the toilet once, you’re not going to say that wasn’t bullying because it wasn’t repeated,” Ferrell says. Could the “bully” and the “target” have equal power? “Sometimes two students cycle back and forth between being friends and doing terrible things to each other,” Ferrell says. “Is it bullying? Is it conflict? Either way, it needs to be addressed.” Changing the climate at your school Get a handle on the problem. “Survey staff, students and parents to learn about the climate and culture of your school,” Carpenter advises. “Where are bullying hot spots? Where do kids feel unsafe and when? Ask for specifics.” Empower students. Most students are neither the aggressor nor the target but become complicit in creating a bad environment by not speaking up. “Teach students to intervene in situations that are unjust and 36
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RESOURCES FOR YOUR SCHOOL Bullying Solutions can be found at www.wagepeacetoday.com. The Colorado Education Initiative offers a wealth of resources to help schools create a healthier climate Transforming School Climate Toolkit www.coloradoedinitiative.org/resources/transforming-schoolclimate-toolkit/ Connecting Health and Learning Health is Vital to Student Success: An Overview of Relevant Research www.coloradoedinitiative.org/resources/connecting-healthand-learning-health-is-vital-to-student-success-an-overviewof-relevant-research/ unfair,” Ferrell says. “We call this creating ‘upstanders.’” Practice is critical. “A key indicator for success in improving school culture is regularly scheduled, ongoing class meetings,” Carpenter says. “Talk about what kindness looks like, what meanness looks like. What is intimidation? What is coercive behavior? What is and isn’t acceptable behavior or language?” “Kids are often very uncomfortable with behavior they’ve witnessed and feel guilty about it, but a powerful leader in a clique is the aggressor, and they don’t know how to stand up to them,” Ferrell says. “Give them a script for dealing with these uncomfortable situations and have them role play.” Ferrell also recommended creating situations where students are forced outside their friend groups. “Expose them to kids from other groups — try to undermine the cliques.” Build relationships between students and adults. Students need trusted adults, and schools must offer mental health counseling to help kids navigate challenges. Take action. Students must feel there are consequences for their actions, and when a problem is reported, something happens. Confidentiality is a must. Online and other reporting tools can be helpful. Offer professional development for staff. “There are plenty of adults who practice bullying behavior,” Ferrell says. “Their behavior needs to be addressed too.” Address cyber. “If something bad is happening online, it’s happening in your school too,” Ferrell says. “Cyber is part of your culture, and you need to address it and give students skills for dealing with it.” This article is provided by Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, WI. Risk Reporter newsletters www.churchmutual.com/94/Risk-Reporter are available from the company for religious organizations, schools, camps and conference centers and senior living facilities. churchexecutive.com
Representative With Church Mutual, you get more than just insurance. You get access to a team of experts who will be there when you need us most. Maria Allen is a Church Mutual account manager with more than 10 years of experience. She leads a team of customer service professionals ready to serve your most immediate needs. Whether that means helping you file a claim or answering a question quickly and accurately, being present when you need us most is important to each and every one of our employees. Because with more than 117 years of experience, we understand how important it is to you. Church Mutual has received consistently high ratings from industry analyst A.M. Best every year since 1952.
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To learn more, call us at (800) 554-2642 or visit www.churchmutual.com. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
The St. Andrew’s mission for new video displays By Marty Gregor
When St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN decided to upgrade its audiovisual system, it included extensive research into new video screens. Having rented projectors for special services in the past — and because the sanctuary has an abundance of natural ambient light — church leaders knew projectors weren’t the best fit. “We didn’t really want to take this beautiful space and darken it order to see something,” explains Dale Bakken, Director of Buildings and Grounds. Getting familiar with LED technology With limited knowledge of LED video technology, Bakken and Dennie Boice, the church’s video production and IT manager, set out to research this option, hoping to find a viable solution for the space. Through searches and by talking with congregants, they broke down their options to nine different vendors. After visiting with all of them, the decision was made to go with Daktronics. “We went and visited [the company] first,” Bakken notes. “We didn’t realize it at the time, but we had made a benchmark. We went to different companies and eliminated them fairly easy because of product noise and accessibility.” Bakken and Boice toured the Daktronics headquarters in Brookings, SD, to see the manufacturing process firsthand, visit the reliability lab, and ask questions. “We were impressed to see a complete manufacturer and not just piecing parts together,” Boice recalls. “We were able to see everything from LEDs being inserted into circuit boards to extensive testing in their reliability lab. And, everyone we met along the way was friendly and enjoying their job — you could see it on their faces. It was a great atmosphere.” All their questions were answered, and the team showed Bakken and Boice their best product options. “We got a good feel about what we’d be receiving,” Bakken says. The church selected video displays that allowed them to control the brightness of each display independently to adjust for all kinds of conditions — from cloudy, overcast days to bright, sunny ones. Brightness can be adjusted accordingly so the displays are visible and have the desired impact for early services, when the sun is only hitting one display, and for later services when the sun is hitting the other display — all without sacrificing quality in the worship space featuring lots of natural lighting. 38
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“A big factor when looking at our manufacturing options was that everything seemed good online; but, once we visited and saw things firsthand, we could tell that certain options were too loud and noisy for our setting as a worship facility,” Bakken explains. “That helped us rule out a few possibilities and nail down our options. And, once we saw the 4-millimeter option from Daktronics, the question became, How soon can we get this? Everyone was blown away by the clarity of the display.” Installation without interruption The installation of the new displays at St. Andrew’s took four days and didn’t interrupt the worship schedule or church planned activities. Bakken says he was amazed at how quickly everything was installed. “From the time the displays showed up in crate, to the time they were operational with content on them, was really fast. It worked into our schedule, and that was very beneficial.” Enhancing worship In this very traditional church setting, there was some skepticism at first about how the video displays would affect worship services. St. Andrew’s has a separate space for contemporary services and needed to be sure people didn’t see this equipment as an intrusion. All it took to dispel those concerns was the first use of the displays at a baptism. “The congregation was in awe of the clarity of the displays,” recalls Lead Pastor Michael Carlson. “People were able to see the water drip off the child’s head. In our large church, seeing such a thing wouldn’t have been possible before, except for those sitting in the front few rows.” One of the next uses of the displays was for summertime Vacation Bible School. This served as a significant opportunity to enlighten those in the congregation that the displays would enhance the traditional church program, not take away from it. “We had 700 people here singing, and it’s the loudest it’s ever been because people were actually able to look up from their hymnals and see the lyrics on the screens, sing and project their voices,” Carlson noted. Additionally, the large 100- to 150-person choir that sits behind the pastor is now able to see everything the congregation sees by looking up at the new, 6-millimeter video display in the back of the chapel. According to Carlson, these displays were originally intended to appeal to the younger church members. However, there were additional, unforeseen benefits for other groups as well. For one church member — who has a medical condition which makes it difficult to hold the printed materials and follow along with the service — this installation helps that individual to feel truly involved in worship again. And, congregants with vision loss — who hadn’t been able to follow along with the service for years, despite the availability of large-print bulletins — are also benefitting. “An elderly lady in our congregation came up to me after one of the first services with these new displays,” Carlson shares. “With a tear in her eye she said, ‘Pastor, that’s the first time in over 10 years I’ve been able to follow along in a service.’ “I knew right there that these displays were worth it.” Marty Gregor is a video products sales expert for Brookings, SD-based Daktronics www.daktronics.com/worship, a leading digital display manufacturer established in 1968. churchexecutive.com
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
mighty Key elements of effective small group classroom design By Allison Parrott with Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP
Small group classrooms are integral to the spiritual life of the contemporary Church. They’re spaces of discipleship, where members and guests can digest the heart of what Christ is teaching us. They’re also places of prayer and intimate growth. As such, it’s important that small group classrooms accommodate a great range of activities and group sizes. Yet, they must also be intimate enough that individuals feel comfortable expressing their doubts, questions and struggles surrounding faith. It’s a delicate balance of familiarity and flexibility. When speaking of familiarity, some configurations of successful small group spaces include those meant for informal breakouts, with furniture pieces suited well to a living room or family parlor. Familiarity can also be accomplished with the use of warm tones and warm materials — warm-toned wood, carpeting, and interplay with natural light. It’s almost advantageous to think of these spaces as the living room space of a home; after all, they’re intended to cultivate intimate and personal exchanges. These rooms are often used by a variety of age ranges, from emptynesters to young married couples — and even much younger Christians — which makes flexibility a key. Flexibility can be achieved through the use of operable walls and moveable furniture, such as stackable chairs and podiums. For the sake of flexibility, the accommodation of multimedia and A / V equipment — as well as sound — must also be considered. You want people in the room to be able to hear the teacher, but also to feel comfortable having a conversation in a normal tone, without feeling as though those outside of the conversation or classroom can hear them. Considering this, limit the use of hard surfaces, and avoid long, obtuse-shaped classrooms that make it hard for sound to reach all the way across. Depending on your church culture, you might want small group spaces to be used for instruction. This would require the more traditional elements of a classroom, such as a whiteboard and projection capabilities. In fact, the use of multimedia might be prevalent and necessary in small group spaces. 40
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Generally speaking, these spaces need about 20 to 25 square feet per person to accommodate all the necessary space for instruction and to feel comfortable for small group discussion. RETHINK OR REPEAT? It may be your wish that the small group classrooms carry the same theme as the sanctuary, or that they remain more neutral so as to present a “blank canvas” for the activities that occur there. Either way, consider the image you’d like to present. Is it unified with the worship space, or in stark contrast? Changing the theme, color palette or materials in small group classrooms could help congregants make the shift between corporate worship to individual reflection. On the other hand, retaining the same theme helps to reiterate a particular temperament or culture — warm, relaxed or contemplative. LOCATION MATTERS Other considerations for these spaces are their proximity to other important functions so they can be multi-purposed. Often, our church clients are faced with difficult decisions concerning budget and priorities. If positioned correctly, small group classrooms can serve functions outside of mid-week or Sunday discussion; they can also serve as meeting spaces for outreach groups, classrooms for a daycare or school affiliated with the church, or even social functions. The use of these spaces for mid-week services usually means locating them in a portion of the church that can be accessed independently of the main church in a wing of its own, or with its own entrance. As mentioned earlier, within the classrooms — especially those intended to be multifaceted — flexibility is key. This includes the consideration of walls that open to allow three classrooms to merge into one, as well as adequate storage for each of the individual ministries using the space. “YOU BELONG HERE” Above all, it’s important that small group classrooms facilitate the feeling of belonging — to a church culture and to a body of believers they can trust. It is necessary that users of these spaces feel comfortable enough to divulge their thoughts, but also alert enough that they’re engaging in discussion and learning the tenets of Christian discipleship. Done well, a small group space pays attention to the details that enable congregants to feel familiar with the space while also engaging with their surroundings — regardless of the mode of instruction. It’s a difficult, but possible, task. Allison Parrott is the Project Manager for the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects www.zieglercooper.com in Houston. She is married to a church-planter and pastor and is blessed to be able to serve other churches through her professional work. Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP is the Principal-in-Charge of the Worship and Education Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects. He has lectured around the country on the changing nature of the church lobby and has been working with churches for more than 35 years. churchexecutive.com
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
CHURCH ACCOUNTING BASICS
EMPLOYEE — to be or not to be
Why does it have to be so complicated?
So, let’s get down to it: If an intern receives anything of value from the church (or expects to receive anything of value), then he or she is an employee. This includes housing, food allowances and so on. Cash compensation is not required for the intern to have employee status in the eyes of the IRS. If the intern is serving for a course credit at his or her educational institution and has received nothing of value, then he or she is not considered an employee.
By Tammy Bunting If your church is anything like mine, you are constantly trying to navigate the requirements of our nation’s employment laws. When researching the topic of “employee versus independent contractor,” what I find is consistently inconsistent. It’s easy to get lost in the lack of interpretation. As church leaders, we run into several areas where the lines are blurred. We have clergy, employees, contractors and interns, not to mention volunteers. In all cases, for federal employment tax purposes — oh and by the way, we are not exempt from the labor laws just because we’re churches — there are rules that apply, and we must adhere to them.
Independent contractors or employees? By law, workers are either independent contractors or employees, with no in-between. In determining the difference between the employee and the independent contractor, you must examine the relationship between the worker and the organization. A worker is an employee if: (1) you have the right to direct and control what work is accomplished and how the work is done, and / or (2) you control the financial and business aspects of the worker’s job. Are interns independent contractors? There remains a bit of confusion about how interns are classified, when they can and should be compensated for any of their involvement, and what the tax implications are. Leadership development remains an important issue. The involvement of young people in the church, and the church’s involvement in the professional and spiritual growth of the next generation, is key. Therefore, we need to be sure we are following the IRS guidelines for independent contractors. The IRS defines independent contractors as individuals who have their own legal entities, do not require supervision or direction in completing a project, and who provide their own tools to do their work. In most churches, internships do not meet these requirements. 42
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Suggestions Here are some tips for organizations interested in establishing internships: • The work should be an integral part of the student’s course of study. • The student may receive credit for the work or the work is required for graduation. (This is optional and determined between the business, student and institution.) • The student might be required to prepare a report of his or her experience and submit it to a faculty supervisor. • The employer should receive a letter or some other form of written documentation from the school stating that it sponsors or endorses the internship, and that the internship is educationally relevant. • Learning objectives should be clearly identified. • The student should not perform work that other employees perform, unless applicable to the internship. • The student should be in shadowing / learning mode. • The employer should provide an opportunity for the student to learn a skill, process or business function, or learn to how to operate equipment. • There should be an educational value to the work performed; it should relate to the courses the student is taking in school. • A staff member should supervise the student. • The student should not provide benefit to the employer more than 50 percent of the time worked. •T he employer should not promise a job to the student upon completion of the training or upon completion of schooling. The bottom line: do not let the rules and regulations around Interns deter you from investing in the future leaders of our church. Just remember that when establishing a working relationship with anyone at the church, keep it simple and don’t get buried in the legislation. Look at the behavior and the control in the relationship. If you manage where and how the work is done, with what tools, and set the compensation for the job, you have an employee. Tammy Bunting is the Director of Not-for-Profit Services at AcctTwo www.accttwo.com, which provides cloud-based financial management software and outsourced accounting for churches. AcctTwo’s solutions help churches automate processes, increase accuracy, and provide a complete financial picture. churchexecutive.com
By Mike Jones
Survey the safety landscape 5 critical factors — and their impact on your bus ministry
Good bus drivers avoid potholes, speedbumps and potentially dangerous conditions on the road. Church leaders should be just as vigilant about heeding potentially dangerous conditions — for themselves and their precious cargo.
Factor #1: The number of buses your church operates Simply put, the more buses a church runs, the more time and energy it will need to spend on maintenance. Consequently, there’s a greater chance that maintenance on a particular bus will be missed. Be sure to use a qualified shop or dealership — with trained and certified techs on staff — to maintain your buses. Making sure fluids are changed regularly, that tire tread is in good condition, and that the bus is kept clean and ready to go will head off any problems that might arise due to neglect. Another safety concern related to multiple church buses is the possibility of drivers being less than qualified to operate the vehicles. With several buses in use, the church needs plenty of drivers at the ready. To meet the demand, it could get slack on drivers’ qualifications. Factor #2: CDL credentials In most states, a CDL is not required to operate vehicles with 15 or fewer passengers (including the driver). While this makes a strong case for buses this size, it doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t have some training on these vehicles. Quite the contrary, in fact. To be on the safe side, some churches require all drivers to have CDL licenses, regardless of vehicle size. While this makes it much tougher to find drivers, several training programs are available. If your bus carries 15 passengers or more, it’s against the law for anyone without a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, to operate it. No getting around it. (NOTE: Some insurance companies have specific requirements for your drivers. Be sure to contact your provider to make sure your bases are covered.) Factor #3: a mixed fleet Operating a variety of church vehicles (buses, vans, cutaways, small buses, large buses) can have an effect on driver safety. This is especially true in the case of vans. churchexecutive.com
For many churches, the “V word” sends up a red flag — and for good reason: vans have been proven to be less safe than buses. While some manufacturers have tried to improve van safety by removing the rear row, a clear relationship exists between a 15-passenger van’s load and its probability of being involved in a rollover accident. According to GuideOne Insurance, if a van has fewer than 10 passengers, it faces a 12.7-percent chance of a rollover. With 10-plus passengers, that probability rises to 35.4 percent. With 16 passengers and beyond, the insurer estimates a 70-percent chance of a rollover! With these figures in mind, buses emerge as a safer option for church use. Assuming all the buses are maintained and licensed drivers are used, operating a mix of small and large buses shouldn’t affect overall safety. What does, however, is parents and parishioners driving their own vans or cars for church outings. This practice brings about numerous safety and insurance / liability issues. Factor #4: driver training According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is a factor in 93 percent of vehicle crashes. Driver training is a step in the right direction. The most common approach — and a great place to start — is to follow the Federal and state guidelines for driver training requirements. Additionally, consider running background checks on drivers. When screening applicants, it’s best to check criminal records, driving records, and the sex offender registry. Many churches come up with their own training classes to make sure drivers are familiar with bus operation. This often involves getting drivers comfortable navigating the vehicle around town before they take congregants on the road. Keep in mind that many insurance companies have a list of training and operating requirements. Contact yours for recommendations. Factor #5: volunteer (vs. staff) drivers Churches of all sizes find themselves in very different positions regarding staff versus parishioner drivers. It’s completely possible that your most gifted drivers are staff members. It’s equally possible they’re church members. Regardless, you put your congregation in good hands when you select drivers who’ve demonstrated an overall respect for safety, a clear driving history, and a love for the people they drive. Carefully consider drivers’ age and experience level. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that drivers under 30 and over 69 are involved in more vehicle crashes than other age groups. Drivers should also do a road test. Your ministry’s vehicles might handle differently than the ones applicants have driven in the past. And remember: whoever drives your bus will need to be on your church’s insurance policy! Generally, providers require a driver’s name and a copy of his or her driver’s license. Finally, when transporting children and teenagers, it’s always a good idea to have more adults onboard than just the bus driver. Crowd control can be a safety factor in these situations. Mike Jones is National Sales Manager at ChurchBus.com. www.churchbus.com September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
DESIGNING W O R S H I P
A R E A S
takes shape 3 alternative site selection options, examined By Curtiss H. Doss, AIA
Well, this series is soon to draw to a close — this is the final “Designing Worship Areas” article before our grand finale article in November / December 2015 issue! I’m confident you’ll enjoy the final series installment; it’s a jointly written piece with a new friend, Doug Hood, president / owner of CSD Group, Inc. (Fort Wayne, IN), a nationally recognized, award-winning creative design / build AVL firm. The article will focus on technical systems and worship space design. I’m personally looking forward to it; we might have saved the best for last! For many in the worship design arena, however, the topic of this article — alternative site selection — is equally compelling. In this installment, we’ll focus on three types of alternative site selection: #1: Expansion on one site (current or new) #2: Expansion on multiple sites #3: Expansion through church planting or new starts All three modes of expansion significantly impact worship space planning, and are driven by the overarching “church DNA” theme of this series. In every series installment, it has been stated — and occasionally, restated — that every church is different. The conversation surrounding alternative site options echoes this point. All three expansion options referenced above typically present themselves to churches in a growth mode, not those where growth is stagnant or in decline. Often, the need for a different site, location or a multisite environment is driven by a desire to reach a different community or geographical area. Option #1: Expansion on one site (current or new) Some church leadership groups decide to accommodate expansion by relocating. While this can be a lengthy, daunting process, it’s also a 44
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very exciting prospect that requires a long-term focus by the leadership team to see the process through, while also supporting existing church ministries and continued growth. Expanding on one site allows the church body to remain together and see the congregation grow within the walls of the new facility. Pros: • Maintaining fellowship with current church members • Experiencing growth as a church family • Seeing the exciting changes that occur with growth (which encourages members to be less tied to the status quo) • A healthy, outward focus among church members. Cons: • Exponential expense • Crowded conditions during the transition • A challenge to remain focus on the gospel / ministry. Option #2: Expansion on multiple sites Some church leaders accommodate expansion by creating additional sites — all while maintaining the original church location. This approach has affectionately been referred to as a “mother / daughter” church configuration; it often fosters a special relationship between two or more congregations tied together for the long term. Pros: • Smaller, more personable congregations • Opportunities to personally know more people • Flexibility in both land and / or building options. Cons: • Separation from the original congregation by those starting an additional site • Technical challenges related to preaching responsibilities with satellite / simulcast or site-specific preaching responsibilities • Staffing challenges.
Option #3: Expansion through church planting or new starts Finally, some church leaders accommodate expansion with a new, independent church start. This unique solution represents a decision to create a self-sustaining congregation. Pros: • The satisfaction of recreating a successful model • A focused process of providing for the start by selecting a core group from the original congregation • The likelihood of a less expensive initial cost. Cons: • Uncertainty for the new start • A smaller start size, typically • Limited staff • Limited ministry offerings. There’s no right or wrong approach to church site expansion. In fact, I know of several successful examples of all three options across the United State. Conversely, I’m also aware of several unsuccessful models. The bottom line is, each church’s leadership team — and each church itself — should carefully consider which expansion option is best suited to its unique DNA. churchexecutive.com
Curtiss H. Doss, AIA is principal of McGehee Nicholson Burke (MNB) Architects in Memphis, TN. www.mnbarchitects.com Doss has consulted with church clients for more than 20 years, and his architectural practice spans more than 30 years. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
How to avoid cost overruns
STRATEGIES By Rodney James
Often, when a church decides it wants to build, the first step is to get a set of plans designed and then bid out with several contractors. Nearly every month, we encounter churches where — after bidding the plans — the project is over budget and cannot be completed. Other church leaders tell us their buildings were built using this process … and yet they ended up spending a significant amount more than the contractor’s original bid. You might ask how this could happen. The answer: cost overrun. 46
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Also known as a cost increase or budget overrun, cost overrun involves unexpected costs incurred due to an underestimation of the actual cost during design, undiscovered due diligence items outside the designer’s scope, missed details in the plans that are discovered in bidding or construction, or simply poor execution of project management tasks. To avoid these pitfalls, we recommend the design-build construction delivery method. For the most cost-effective results, the owner should negotiate directly with the design-build firm first to establish an overall project budget. For the best possible results, it is absolutely essential that a thorough evaluation of the design-build company being considered is completed prior to any other discussion. Choosing the right team can help you reduce common missteps that lead to cost overruns, and help avoid barriers to timely decision-making. Additionally, there are several strategies to help avoid cost overruns. Start with accurate pricing It’s important to begin with a budget, and accurately estimate the entire project cost during design. Estimates are a common reason for cost overruns. When the bids for subcontractors or the actual costs come in, they are often higher than anticipated; this is why you need accurate costs for the work during design! This can only be accomplished by a company who actually does the construction and knows the costs, rather than simply budgeting with square foot or estimated pricing. churchexecutive.com
The maximum financial benefit of value engineering is the result of constant communication between contractor, subcontractors and architect during the planning phase. Development-associated costs to consider Sight costs — Do you know the requirements to prepare your land for construction? Often, restrictions are not determined during the design phase of the facility. For example, the City could require you to put in a stop light, a turn lane or extensive storm water management. All can add unexpected drain on time and money. The right design-build firm can help uncover more of these unexpected costs earlier in the process, helping to eliminate budget surprises. Scope changes — Changes in the scope of work within a project frequently cause cost overruns. These changes result when owners introduce new requirements too late in design, or even after construction begins. They can also arise from unknown problems discovered during construction. Change orders always result in higher final project cost and are common in the construction industry. Here again, the right design-build firm should manage the design process and structure its fee so there is no incentive for change orders to occur. Value engineering — The maximum financial benefit of value engineering is the result of constant communication between contractor, subcontractors and architect during the planning phase. At this time, changes or adjustments can be made without incurring any additional costs. There is a unique level of expertise specifically needed for church design and construction. If an architect and / or builder are unfamiliar churchexecutive.com
with specific church requirements and opportunities to save in designing and building a church facility, the result will be a higher overall cost. Not all design-build is created equal Typically, the problem with conventional design-bid arises when the owner selects the lowest-priced architect, who supplies the lowest-quality set of drawings, which is subsequently given to a general contractor to bid. The general contractor then awards the contract to the lowest bidder, resulting in the work being done by the lowest-priced subcontractor for each trade. In theory, the owner expects the highest-quality job for the lowest possible price — but this never happens. To deliver a high-quality product for the best possible price requires a single source of responsibility, one that combines the architect and builder into one entity. This allows the builder to assign actual costs to each part of the building throughout the design process. It also gives the owner a more accurate “picture” of project costing. In this approach, the design is driven by the budget — not just the dream. Rodney James is Director of Business and Finance for Churches by Daniels Construction www.churchesbydaniels.com. Located in Broken Arrow, OK, this construction company specializes in designing and building churches nationwide.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Floor planning makes all the difference By Amanda Opdycke
Congratulations! You and your congregation have made the decision to invest in new sanctuary seating.
Sauder Worship Seating installation at Apex Baptist Church (Apex, NC) — a combination of radial and mitered pews, along with Clarity auditorium seating
Now what? There are a number of details to consider as you move forward — back-to-back spacing; 36 inches from the back of one row to the next is including (and especially) floor planning. Knowing the type of seating recommended. This provides enough space to comfortably move through you intend to use will provide a better definition of the worship space, By Amanda Opdycke the row. Most building codes will allow for less back-to-back spacing, but it is likely to result in a significant level of discomfort for the parishioner as well as assist in the decision-making process. while in the seated position. Taller parishioners will likely have to deal with their knees hitting the back of the chairs or pews in front of them. Seating style The decision to purchase straight pews, curved pews, flexible chairs or auditorium seating will impact the overall worship experience, individual comfort and how the worship space is used. There are a variety of pew options in the market which have the ability to create a diverse range of experiences. If you are looking to achieve a warm, welcoming experience where the parishioners are experiencing the service as a community, curved pews are the best option. The degree of the radius or curve of the pew will vary upon the layout and space of the sanctuary. Auditorium-style seating is often used in more contemporary churches who still want to have a dedicated worship space that can be used for weekly services. Flexible chairs might be the best option if your church will need to use the worship space in various ways throughout the week.
(Above) People are seated on a pew allowing 18 inches per person; most will not naturally want to sit this close together. (Below) People are more likely to spread further away from each other and settle into their seat s as the worship service begins.
Comfort vs. capacity Once the style of seat is determined, the next important step is to decide whether maximum comfort or maximum capacity is required. Most churches will want to create a layout that will satisfy both; but, if your church is renovating an existing space, that might prove difficult. Most seating companies and building codes requires 18 inches per person on a pew. For example, if you have a 12-foot pew, you will be able to fit eight people on the pew. However, given the way people actually sit in a pew, it is more likely that each person will occupy closer to 23 to 25 inches. Another aspect of how comfort and capacity can be impacted is 48
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Sauder Worship Seating installation of Clarity auditorium seating in The Hills Church (North Richland, TX)
Architect and CAD drawing Architects and designers might need to work collaboratively with the seating manufacturer to achieve the best layout possible to solve any seating challenges throughout the process. The architect will also need to define aisle and egress patterns, such as whether to have center or side aisles and how wide the aisles should be. If you are renovating, then the ability to adjust aisles might be more limited. The architect will also need to keep in mind focal points and sight lines. Since the goal of the worship experience is to provide God’s word to parishioners, clear sight lines to the altar and stage area will be necessary. ADA compliance The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the code used throughout the United States to ensure all Americans have equal access into buildings and designated handicapped spaces for seating. ADA includes parking spaces, too. Some architects might choose to use the International Building Code, which is similar to ADA. The codes are based on seating capacity and will impact the flow of the worship space. The handicap spaces can be a designated location or by using wider aisles. Throughout the process of purchasing seats, create an open dialogue between the church committee, architect and seating manufacturer. Doing so will ensure everyone involved understands seating capacity needs and the aesthetics of the worship space, and will also ensure successful installation. Amanda Opdycke is Worship Market Manager at Sauder Worship Seating in Archbold, OH. www.sauderworship.com churchexecutive.com
purpose The rise of socially responsible investing Don McLeod, CFP®
We live in a vocal age. People want to share what they had for breakfast on Facebook and live tweet their personal opinions of a TV show for the world to see. Our society is filled with individuals who want their voices to be heard — and it appears that Americans are now putting their money where their mouth is, too.
More than ever before, individuals are aligning their finances with their personal beliefs. The noted increase in charitable giving in the United States, as shown in recent findings from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, is a great example of this positive shift. But, individuals are not only trying to use their finances for good by helping others; they are investing in companies that align with their values, too. For example, last year, one out of every six dollars invested under professional management — $6.57 trillion or more — was invested in a socially conscious investment strategy, as reported in the 2014 Report on Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends in the United States by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. While the strategies go by various names — environmental, social and governance investing (ESG), socially responsible investing (SRI), biblically responsible investing (BRI), ethical investing, impact investing and many more — the goal of these fund managers is to reflect the beliefs of the investors they serve. This trend toward SRI is especially good news for us as Christians, because it allows us to use our finances to protect the values we cherish most — while still achieving our financial goals. churchexecutive.com
What is socially responsible investing (SRI)? SRI is an industry term used to describe investments made based on the beliefs of an individual or corporation with the ultimate goal of making a positive impact. There are a variety of criteria used to determine if an investment falls under the SRI category, but socially conscious investment decisions are primarily categorized based on personal views about the environment, economy, social issues and / or specific products and services. One form of SRI is advocacy investing, where an individual chooses to invest in a company due to practices or stances the company has in place that align with his or her personal beliefs. For example, some investors choose to support a company based on their implementation of ecofriendly initiatives in an effort to protect the environment. Another common strategy of SRI is known as screening, where the fund manager excludes companies from their investment portfolio due to practices or stances that do not align with a set of core beliefs. For example, Christian-screened funds might choose to avoid investing in companies in the alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography and / or abortion industries. Does SRI impact performance? While personal values are the main driver in choosing SRI, socially conscious individuals also expect to achieve competitive returns on their investments. Many investors have feared they would have to sacrifice one for the other, but the interest and shift toward SRI across the investment industry shows that performance with values is an attainable option for investors. A recent study by the Christian Investment Forum shows that return performance was not reduced due to incorporating Christian-based SRI. In fact, over the last five years, a composite of the returns from all the equity mutual funds within the Christian Investment Forum outperformed the industry average by 77 basis points on an annualized basis. How can your church use SRI? The most common forms of SRI can be found in mutual funds that are created based on either set of criteria mentioned above. While SRI options are available to any individual who wants to personally invest in line with their values, many churches and ministries also offer SRI options through their employer-sponsored retirement plans. The ministers and staff members at your churches have devoted their lives to a greater calling, and it would make sense that they would welcome the opportunity to invest differently, too. You might want to consider researching the investments currently in your plan to make sure they align with the values of your church or ministry. If you are investing a church endowment or reserve dollars, consider encouraging your finance committee to research SRI options. Your church members would likely feel better knowing that their contributions are invested in line with their beliefs. How can you access SRI? SRI mutual funds have become increasingly available as demand has increased in recent years. In fact, Peter Ortiz stated in a recent Ignites article titled “Social Fund Launches Jump as Distributors Drive Interest” that 15 new mutual funds with SRI investment strategies have launched so far in 2015 — double the number of SRI fund options launched in 2014. Among the options available to you is GuideStone Funds — the nation’s largest Christian-screened mutual fund family. GuideStone, which formulated its screening philosophy decades ago, offers investment options across all major asset classes to help meet your employees’ investment needs while staying true to their values. Don McLeod, CFP ® is a Regional Director of Retirement Relationship Management at GuideStone Financial Resources www.GuideStone.org in Dallas. With more than 21 years of experience, McLeod helps churches, pastors and executive leaders financially prepare for retirement. September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Streaming Made Simple
Step Up your Streaming Game From newbie to pro, here’s some equipment advice from the experts By Andrew Ng
In the previous issue (“Not streaming yet? 3 excellent reasons to get started”), we talked about the main reasons churches are getting into streaming: it’s cost-effective, not overly complicated, and its reach is virtually limitless and immediate. Now that we know the “why,” let’s get into the “how.” Here’s our best equipment selection advice for church leaders at any level of streaming prowess. For beginners If you’re a church leader who wants to start streaming content, a few equipment options can get the process started rather effortlessly. If you already have a camcorder or are ready to purchase one, consider a VidiU Mini. It fits in the palm of your hand and is typically mounted on top of your camera. It has a built-in two-hour battery and is USBpowered; so extending battery life — with USB power supplies — is easy and affordable. Just plug the HDMI output on your camera into the HDMI input of the VidiU Mini; cables are included with your purchase. Then, connect your VidiU Mini to the Internet, which can be supplied either through Wi-Fi or your smartphone or iPhone. After that, input the destination of your stream. We have natively integrated some of the most popular Content Delivery Networks (CDN), including Ustream, Livestream and Youtube Live, but the possibilities are endless with the VidiU Mini’s manual destination function. All settings and configurations are accessible through the free VidiU app, available for both Android and Apple devices. You can also use a computer! If you don’t have a camera yet or plan on buying one, check out the free Live:Air app, which lets you stream with just an iPad: http://teradek.com/pages/liveair. You can add titles, graphics, lowerthirds, and even multiple camera angles. All you need is an iPad; an iPad Air 2 is highly recommended. For intermediates /advanced streamers If your goal is to ramp up your church’s streaming efforts, consider a few scalable products mentioned above. However, while the VidiU Mini is an excellent solution, the VidiU would be a level up. About the size of a deck of cards, VidiU features an onboard OLED screen for quick adjustments and configuration. It also offers two additional methods of connecting to the Internet: an Ethernet port for a hardline connection and a USB port for cellular modems. 50
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Left: Teradek’s free Live:Air app is a turn-key solution for beginners and a featurepacked workflow for experts. A portable setup for capturing retreats and gatherings in the field. Below: Now shipping, Teradek’s VidiU Pro simplifies premium streaming, bringing broadcast technology to the masses at an affordable price point. An all-in-one streaming solution, VidiU featues enhanced Wi-Fi, built-in recording, several new streaming options and simplified workflows.
The process of encoding a live stream requires significant computer processing (CPU), as does the function of switching, adding graphics, and transitions. A hardware live streaming appliance – VidiU or VidiU Mini – relieves the processing demand from your switcher and lets you disperse the payload. So, if the switcher is processing a lot of video, this reduces the chance of a switcher failing or “freezing” by allowing your live stream to go uninterrupted. Again, the Live:Air app is a great option. Advanced users would benefit from its ability to add multiple camera angles wirelessly using additional iOS devices. For example, by running Live:Air, you can have your iPad Air 2 capture a wide angle of the congregation, a separate iPhone can provide a close-up of the altar, and an iPod Touch can focus on the band. Multiple camera angles can also be achieved with typical cameras. Just keep in mind that each camera used with Live:Air will need at least a VidiU Mini; however, you can also use the VidiU, VidiU Pro, or the Clip and Cube encoders. Additionally, Live:Air lets you transition between these angles and even do a picture-in-picture. For experts If you’re looking to improve your church’s already impressive streaming setup, consider VidiU Pro, which includes our ShareLink™ technology. Until recently, this tool was only available to professional broadcasters; now it’s not only accessible to all streamers, but it’s also affordable. ShareLink combines the power of multiple Internet connections to create a robust, reliable Internet connection. For example, when streaming in the field — where stable Internet connectivity is the most challenging — you can combine the strength of up to four iOS devices to “go live.” While one phone’s connection is typically enough for a 720 HD stream, by adding more connections you can ensure a Full HD 1080 stream. For stationary applications, using ShareLink is key to providing an uninterrupted stream. For instance, a venue might provide a dedicated Ethernet line for connecting to the Internet; however, that single Ethernet connection could drop out. To avoid this vulnerability, ShareLink can supply backup Internet connections via Wi-Fi, USB cellular modem, or iPhone connections. We also recommend Live:Air for expert-level streamers. You can deploy the app as its own mobile production team in the field. Especially for retreats in remote locations, this app lets you take a professional workflow anywhere. No matter where you are in terms of streaming expertise, there’s always room for improvement and a more impactful result. All you need is the desire to learn and the right equipment. Andrew Ng is Marketing Manager at Teradek in Irvine, CA. www.teradek.com churchexecutive.com
media duplication How to determine your church’s equipment needs By Jennifer Loegering
Thousands of churches and religious organizations use CDs and DVDs as the primary means to distribute important content. It’s for good reason, too: CDs and DVDs are inexpensive to produce and user-friendly for even the least tech-savvy viewers and listeners — whether they’re at home, in the car or at the office. In a church setting, common uses for media duplication include: • Music, choir and drama programs • Sermons, lectures and presentations • Photos and videos • Educational and training material. More within reach than ever In the past CD, DVD and Blu-ray duplication and printing was a long, tedious process. Each disc required special attention to burn, print and apply sticky labels, one at a time. Finally, you can automate this process. CD and DVD publishers take the stress out of the duplication process, allowing you to start the job and continue going about your daily business while the machine does the work for you. 3 factors for informed equipment decisions So, now that you know the basics and your church is ready to automate its CD / DVD / Blu-Ray duplication process, here are a few things to consider while narrowing down your options.
The BRAVO 4102 disc publisher has a 100-disc capacity and features two highspeed recordable DVD / CD drives and color inkjet printing at up to 4800 dpi.
Fully automated CD and DVD publishers — the Bravo SE and Bravo4100-Series, for instance — hold 20 to 100 discs at a time. These tools not only duplicate the content, but also print onto the discs. Because disc publishers come in various models and capacities, it is vital to understand your quantity needs in order to determine what type of machine will best fit your congregation. #2: Speed Need to be able to produce professional-quality discs in a short period of time? Consider the Bravo 4100-Series, a high-speed duplicator that prints each disc in just six seconds, with 100-percent coverage and nearperfect quality. 4100 Series machines are great for churches that want to be able to produce large quantities of discs that will be available right after a service, bible study, performance — even a wedding. To learn the ins and outs of church-based media duplication, check out this helpful video review of the BRAVO 4102 Duplicator by Jon, a Texas-based minister and Dadislearning.com blogger: http://www.primera.com/videos/#!prettyPhoto/8/.
#1: Quantity First and most important, you must know the quantity of discs you will need to be able to produce at one time. Tower duplicators are great for larger churches that need to duplicate multiple discs at one time. churchexecutive.com
#3: Investment Disc publishers are no longer just for big name recording studios; now, your church can own its own fully automated publisher — the Bravo SE — for less than $1,500. This piece of equipment lets your church produce professional, high-quality CDs and DVDs in-house. Jennifer Loegering is marketing manager at Primera Technology, Inc., in Plymouth, MN. www.primera.com September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
BEST PRACTICES: purchasing and supplies
Tried-and-true strategies for keeping café costs in check By Levi Andersen
There are three ways to make money from a café: sell more, raise prices, or lower costs. While selling more is always worth pursuing, raising prices can be tricky. So, the fastest way to make your church café more profitable is to lower costs. Start tracking product waste and promote consistent measuring. Require your baristas to pour every bit of leftover milk into one container and excess made product into another. See how quickly it adds up. This eye-opening exercise helps them understand how precise measuring can make an impact. If you serve espresso drinks, lattes are very consistent in how much milk they need. It only varies because of extra flavors or shots, what type of milk you’re steaming, or if they want it extra foamy. Those three variables aside, you should be using the same amount of milk for each drink; so, why not identify how full your steaming pitcher needs to be each time? I use my steaming pitcher’s spout as a gauge for measuring. If I fill my 20-ounce steaming pitcher right to the base of the spout, then I know I will have too much milk left over. Consider buying a 12- and 20-ounce pitcher for this exact waste issue. It could save 5 ounces of milk (at $.03 per ounce) each drink, each week, over years. That’s a lot of “moo-la!” Use shelf-stable products. Depending on the brand, powdered beverage mixes can last for a long time — usually, 12 to 16 months. Liquids might DaVinci Gourmet’s Drink Profit Calculator helps need to be refrigerated. café operators figure out costs per serving. It also Also, many blended includes some preformatted beverage ingredients iced coffee mix powders costs that are editable. already have powdered coffee in them, negating the requirement for espresso machines. For chai teas, some baristas prefer a liquid base. Many churches buy shelfstable Oregon Chai Super Concentrate; just add hot milk or, for iced versions, ice and milk. Big Train powder chai has a loyal following of consumers nationwide. Instead of liquid bases for frappes, you can easily find hundreds of powder options. These won’t be sitting in your refrigerator during the week when you have no ‘customers’ buying them. 52
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What other costs are you giving away? When I worked for Caffe Ladro in Seattle, WA, we didn’t double-cup or put a sleeve or lid on any drink. If you wanted a lid (even for an iced drink), you had to grab one from the cream station. A few things about this approach made an immediate impact: • Not all people even wanted a lid, which lowered supply costs per drink. • It sped up our service times because we didn’t have to hold a drink in front of the customer and ask: “Do you want a straw? How about a sleeve? No sleeve, but a double-cup, you say? OK, we can do that.” • It seemed to make people more comfortable with bringing in their own to-go cups because they saw that we really cared about waste. Do you accept credit cards at your church café? You should! How many folks carry cash anymore? Lowering credit card transaction fees can be an instant lift. Square Up [ www.SquareUp.com ] offers multiple device options, including a white square accessory that connects easily to mobile devices. No setup costs or monthly fees; only a small withholding when a credit card is used. You can also use it to manage inventory and see what is going on at the shop, even while away. And, if your café is cash-only, you can use it for free. Whether or not you can charge customers to use credit cards varies, legally, from state to state. One way to get around charging surcharges is to simply offer a lower “cash price” versus “credit card price.” Consult your credit card company or legal team for more information. Take advantage of sampling programs. Curious about a new frappe, pancake or fruit smoothie mix? Many beverage mix suppliers offer samples to make it easy to decide on new products. Just reach out. Calculate your margins. DaVinci Gourmet has a Drink Profit Calculator that helps café operators figure out costs per serving. It includes preformatted, editable beverage ingredients costs. Use coffee? Enter the price per pound. Based on drink size, it figures out the cost per cup. Have milk? Enter the price per gallon. Enter the price you’re thinking of charging for the drink, and voilà! The profit margin is calculated. Once you know the cost per cup for every ingredient, you can make better decisions. For example, if your organic coconut milk is twice as expensive as your 2% low-fat milk, consider charging for the difference in cost — $.50 more for coconut or soy milk, for example. Levi Andersen is a seasoned barista, coffee stand owner and host of the Audio Café podcast. Currently, he is the Beverage Product Specialist for Kerry, concocting recipes and menu strategies for foodservice and café operators serving DaVinci Gourmet, Big Train, Oregon Chai and a few other global coffee brands. Andersen attends marketplace tours to taste emerging trends, and speaks at beverage industry events. churchexecutive.com
FOCUS ON: MDiv options & chaplaincy training Sometimes, a change is in order. For many church leaders, the prospect of a chaplaincy role is intriguing. But, it can be difficult to know the first steps to take in that direction. Likewise, change — in the form of an advanced degree or continuing education courses — can certainly enhance (and even transform) a church leader’s trajectory. Or, it can equip a ministry-minded individual — like a returning veteran — for a fulfilling career in the Church. If continuing education or chaplaincy training is something you’ve considered yourself, you’ll want to read on. In the next several pages, our continuing education experts will examine: The need for pastors who know the Bible and theology. As Mark A. Jacobson, D.Min., Associate Professor of Theology in Corban University’s School of Ministry, explains, theological aptitude is just of three traits of a maximally effective pastor. The other two: pastoral care and administration. “We’re just not wired [to be good at all three],” he explains. “Experience suggests that a good pastor will excel in one area, be adequate in a second, and barely adequate or even weak in a third.” Even so, he emphasizes that people expect to hear sound, biblicallybased preaching from the Scriptures when they visit a church. So, the case is clear for advanced theological training. To this end, his university offers a fully online Master of Divinity: Church Ministries track. It also offers online courses in interpreting Scripture, overviews of the Old and New Testaments, systematic theology, survey of church history (the basic core of biblical studies), plus courses on homiletics. “Both include the level of instruction in Bible and theology that equip pastors to communicate God’s Word more effectively,” he says. “[And] communicating God’s Word effectively is not an option.” Using VA benefits for biblical training. More and more veterans are interested in serving the Church in a strategic way. Fortunately, as Josh Bleeker — director of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS)-Washington, DC — explains, veterans can and should use their VA benefits to get the biblical training they want. “I have had the honor of meeting [many] veterans, and quite a number of them actively serve in their local church,” Bleeker writes. “Their experience and training through military service equipped them to lead and serve effectively in various ministry settings.” “Yet, more and more recognize the opportunity before them: their VA benefits will pay for additional education,” he continues. “[A]nd this education can develop them in ways no other training ever could — by equipping them to communicate God’s truth and conforming them to Christ’s image.” To help veterans navigate the path, he outlines four simple action steps. Residency training for Master of Divinity program pursuits. Recently, Grand Canyon University (GCU) completed its second residency for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. As Marketing churchexecutive.com
Editor and Copywriter Mark Heller explains, the program is unique in that learners participate in three, week-long required residencies in Phoenix — approximately one residency per year. “The residency effectively fosters interpersonal communication skills and develops biblical leadership qualities,” he explains. “Learners can share these concepts along with real-world experiences within their own communities.” Three residencies are available: Christian Worldview and Mission; Christ-Centered Preaching; and Pastoral Theology. You’ll learn more about each in the following pages. How Mark Batterson’s “God-sized dreams” were fueled by continuing education. New York Times best-selling author Mark Batterson — who graduated from Regent University in 2012 (Divinity) — has accomplished quite a bit by “believ[ing] in dreaming big and praying bold prayers.” As lead pastor of National Community Church (NCC) in Washington, D.C., his “God-sized dreams” have included a $1-million conversion of an abandoned former crack house into a coffeehouse; the raising of $1.8 million to fund mission projects around the world; and turning a derelict apartment building into the D.C. Dream Center. When finished, the facility will serve the poor and destitute. According to Batterson, overseeing efforts of this scale requires, first and foremost, “the willingness to ask God for big things and the flexibility to follow His leading.” But, it also takes strong leadership skills — something Batterson definitely honed during his Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) studies. Learn more about his journey on page 52. And, be sure to check out our digital issue [ churchexecutive.com/ digital-edition ] to learn more about the chaplaincy training / certification and MDiv offerings available from Ashland Theological Seminary. W. P. Payne, Ph.D. & Terry Wardle, Ph.D., discuss the ways in which an MDiv degree from Ashland is unique (it’s a “personal” experience, for sure!), as well as how the offerings have been specialized and honed to address emerging areas of need among senior and executive church leaders. Payne and Wardle will also discuss the chaplaincy training offerings available from Ashland, as well as the skills, aptitudes and endorsements necessary for making the transition. If you’re considering continuing education, or a transition to chaplaincy, we hope this targeted series will help. We welcome your input on this and every “Continuing Education” Series installment. — The Editors September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Making MDiv residency work for busy pastors By Mark Heller
Grand Canyon University (GCU) recently completed its second residency for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. GCU’s MDiv program within the College of Theology offers learning with interpersonal collaboration to develop and inspire future worship leaders. Learners take part in three, week-long required residencies in Phoenix (approximately one residency per year) designed for learners to interact and collaborate with College of Theology peers, faculty and other community leaders. GCU strategically plans special conferences, elective sessions and professional exchange forums within residencies. The residency effectively fosters interpersonal communication skills and develops biblical leadership qualities. Learners can share these concepts along with real-world experiences within their own communities. Each residency experience centers on a major area of study that draws on knowledge gained through recent coursework: Residency I: Christian Worldview and Mission: Explore the biblical, historical and theological bases for cross-cultural contextualization of the Christian worldview. Residency II: Christ-Centered Preaching: Develop skills for the preparation and delivery of powerful expository sermons through an integrative study of biblically sound principles and practices for rightly handling God’s word. Residency III: Pastoral Theology: Examine the roles and responsibilities of ministers as they lead and shepherd God’s people in a practically oriented, theological study.
A recent MDiv residency in session
“Whether you want to be a pastor, a missionary, or serve in some other way, GCU will prepare you to respond to the call God has placed on your heart,” says Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of GCU’s College of Theology. Learners are exposed to a profound depth of biblical and theological knowledge as they nurture the skills of a leader in Christian study. An integrative examination of the Bible allows a learner to deeply connect with the world through powerful expository sermons that deliver the word of God in its true intent. Early in the program, learners progress through a series of focused interpretive classes on the Bible that instill a precise understanding of the Word of God. Learners explore the great doctrines of Christian faith and the significance of these doctrines in life and ministry. After establishing a strong foundation in biblical and theological knowledge, the program turns its attention from the study of Scripture to the contexts where ministry happens. Learners investigate the major world religions and ideologies from an evangelical perspective. While many seminaries at other universities require students to leave their parishes for extended periods to attend classes on campus, GCU’s online learning and networking opportunities bring academics into your home or office through an intuitive LoudCloud learning system. The university’s online learning environment provides students with access to full-time online instructors, counselors, tutoring and other tools to aid success. Most online classes have professor-narrated PowerPoint presentations, video walk-throughs and opportunities for satellite study groups. Combining engaging, interactive online learning with residency programs helps gospel-minded students enhance their leadership skills and connect with others. “When you learn to rightly handle God’s word and apply it in real-world situations where ministry happens, you’ll be able to serve others more effectively than ever,” Hiles says. To learn more about GCU’s College of Theology programs please visit www.gcu.edu/theology.
Dr. Jason Hiles, dean of GCU’s College of Theology
About the online Master of Divinity Inspiring a life of faithful ministry, the online MDiv caters to current and future church leaders with busy schedules. This intensive program provides learners with the convenience and flexibility to explore the Gospel whenever and wherever they wish. Learners can continue working in churches or other organizations while taking course without commuting and worrying about attendance in a physical classroom. 54
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Using your VA benefits for training
By Josh Bleeker
You’ve served your country faithfully. Now, you desire to serve the church more strategically. How can you best use the VA benefits you’ve earned to get the biblical training you want? Since moving to the Washington, DC area to serve as campus director for DTS-DC, I have had the honor of meeting veterans, and quite a number of them actively serve in their local church. Their experience and training through military service equipped them to lead and serve effectively in various ministry settings. Yet, more and more recognize the opportunity before them: their VA benefits will pay for additional education, and this education can develop them in ways no other training ever could — by equipping them to communicate God’s truth and conforming them to Christ’s image. Does this ring true in your heart? If so, consider these simple action steps: #1: APPLY for your benefits. You have “free” money sitting there with your name on it. Use it! If someone were willing to keep your fridge stocked with fresh food, would you decline and spend your own money? So, confirm your particular GI Bill* and then visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Education and Training page — www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/ — to apply. #2: ITEMIZE* the specifics. The DVA will send you an eligibility letter which delineates three critical pieces of information: 1) Your eligibility level. Depending on a number of measures, including your term of service, the DVA articulates a percentage of benefits due to you. 2) The number of months of benefits available. Think of it in terms of “months when I am actively drawing benefits.” In other words, in a 12-month calendar year, you might only use three or four months of benefits when school is in session. When school is not in session, your VA benefits are not being used, permitting you to stretch out the use of benefits over several calendar years. This is why you need the subsequent data point. 3) The expiration date of your benefits. With this piece of information, you’re positioned to take the next step.
#3: STRATEGIZE your degree completion. In general, you can map out your route based on the standard seminary degree models. Many schools offer one-, two- and three-year programs if going full-time. Each school sets its own definition of “full-time,” so be sure to check. The amount of housing benefits you draw — and when you can draw them — depend on this definition. As an example, the DTS-DC campus hosts hybrid classes, which combine the best of online and on-campus instruction. The hybrids minimize the students’ commute (only three Saturdays on campus) and maximize their benefits (more time for family, and students draw VA benefits the entire semester). Make a rough sketch of how many months of study you need to finish a certain degree. Check out SeminaryComparison.com to whittle down the list of potential degrees. Once you determine the credit hour requirement, you can strategize how many classes you need to take each semester to finish the degree within a given time frame. #4: GET ADVISED by the experts. Want to know the biggest mistake you can make? “Too much too fast.” I’ve heard this repeatedly. Pull back from the drive to crank out the entire degree in 12 months just because you have 12 months of benefits available. Yes, you want to get the most out of your benefits, but is it worth it if you burn out before you even graduate? Academic advisors strive to match students with schedules that promise success. Advising staffs can provide tips on time management, online learning techniques, and degree planning (see DTS’ www.dts.edu/advising). As you bring all this together, you might find that the best decision for you means taking a bit more time in order to remain healthy. Your opportunities await. Apply, itemize, strategize — and get advised! Josh Bleeker graduated in 2004 with his ThM in Systematic Theology. Soon after, he joined Dallas Theological Seminary’s Team Admissions full-time and was appointed Director of Admissions in 2007. In 2014, he became Director of DTS-Washington, DC. www.dts.edu/dc * The following examples assume using the Post–9/11 GI Bill (Ch 33). Other common ones are Ch 30 (Montgomery GI Bill), Ch 1606 (Select Reserve GI Bill), Ch 1607 (REAP GI Bill), and Ch 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment). DTS is approved to certify all of these at our Virginia, Texas, and Online campuses.
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Author, Pastor Mark Batterson & the secrets of pursuing
“God-sized dreams” New York Times best-selling author and Regent alumnus Mark Batterson ’12 (Divinity) believes in dreaming big and praying bold prayers. It is a principle that he explored in his popular book The Circle Maker, and one that has guided his ministry for the last 18 years. As lead pastor of National Community Church (NCC) in Washington, D.C., his God-sized dreams have resulted in a vast ministry reaching thousands.
Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., and Regent alumnus
atterson’s journey to becoming pastor of the D.C. ministry was one he says he never expected. After attempting a failed church plant in Chicago as a seminary student, Batterson says he felt called to move his family to D.C., where they connected with a small group already meeting regularly. “When I started pastoring NCC, we had 19 people,” Batterson recalls. “We started very small, but we had a big dream. We dreamed of reaching thousands of people. The Lord has blessed us, and we are now one church with seven locations.” The congregation continued to dream big when they started praying about purchasing an abandoned building — a former crack house — one block from Union Station so they could convert it into a coffeehouse. The $1 million price tag made the project seem impossible. Today, Ebenezers Coffeehouse is a reality. It sells fair trade coffee with all the proceeds going to local and international mission projects.
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
“People will ask me, ‘Why would a church build a coffeehouse?’” Batterson says. “Simply put, Jesus didn’t just hang out in the synagogue; He hung out at wells. I think coffeehouses are postmodern wells. We wanted to be in a place where the church and the community could cross paths.” Missions is at the heart of NCC’s ministry In 2013, the church gave $1.8 million to mission projects around the world, and it plans to increase its giving to $2 million annually by 2020. The church also wants to mobilize to make an impact locally. In summer 2012, NCC acquired an abandoned apartment building which it plans to convert into the D.C. Dream Center, a facility that will serve the poor and destitute in an area of the city known for high rates of poverty, unemployment and teen pregnancy. With all of these huge endeavors, what does it take to oversee a ministry the size of NCC? Batterson says it requires the willingness to ask God for big things and the flexibility to follow His leading. “Nothing keeps me on my knees like a God-sized dream,” he says. “Those dreams help me rely on Him and operate in faith.” Honing leadership gifts Directing NCC also requires strong leadership skills — something the pastor honed during his studies in Regent’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program. He says he chose Regent because he greatly respected the faculty — several have become lifelong friends — and he was drawn to the university’s theological perspective. “It was the beginning stages of the D.Min. program that really helped define my leadership gift and lay a foundation for what the Lord’s done. It gave me the practical tools that I needed,” he says. “We now have 55 staff members with seven locations, and our vision is to have 20 locations by the year 2020. The only way to get from here to there is as I keep growing as a leader. I knew the program at Regent would be a catalyst for that, and it has been.” Regent’s School of Divinity is a transdenominational seminary located in Virginia Beach, VA. The school offers a spectrum of course-delivery options — completely on campus, completely online, online with minimal residency, and blended structures — to put students in the driver’s seat as they earn their degree. Recently, Regent’s Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Practical Theology was approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) to be offered completely online, with no residency. Other Regent programs include the Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry, and Ph.D. in Theological Studies. “At Regent, no matter which format you choose, you will receive an affordable, streamlined, high-quality education,” says the school’s interim dean, Dr. Joseph Umidi. “More than that, you’ll receive a biblically based education that emphasizes the vital role of the Holy Spirit in transforming lives. And you’ll connect with professors who care deeply about you and your God-sized dreams.” This article is provided by Regent University’s School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, VA. www.regent.edu/divinity
Desperately needed: Pastors who know the Bible and theology By Mark A. Jacobson, D.Min.
While no one model for the “ideal pastor” exists, the work of pastors can be divided into three broad categories: (1) ministering the Word, (2) pastoral care, and (3) administration. No one person can excel in all three of these areas; we’re just not wired that way. I have known only one pastor who excelled in two of these areas — preaching and administration — but he was notoriously weak in dealing with people. Experience suggests that a good pastor will excel in one area, be adequate in a second, and barely adequate or even weak in a third. It follows, then, that not every pastor needs to excel in preaching and teaching the Bible. Then again, when people visit a church, they expect to hear sound, biblically-based preaching from the Scriptures. When my wife and I moved to Salem, OR, we visited a number of churches in the area, some of whose ministries had little or nothing to do with weekly pastoral preaching. So, we were willing to put up with less than excellent preaching if other factors outweighed it. But, we still wanted to hear a sermon that got the text right exegetically and then had some meaningful application to the audience that was directly related to the text. It took us months to hear a sermon that met this relatively low bar. We are now active members of that church. In most (if not all) cases, the lack of skill in ministering the Word can be traced back to inadequate training in biblical and theological studies. As in any profession, it’s fairly easy to spot the difference between those with adequate education and those without it. This does not mean, however, that pastors necessarily should be skilled in all areas of theology and be able to read Greek and Hebrew. While my own M.Div. training prepared me in biblical and systematic theology, reading the original text, and church history — the classical seminary curriculum — I have never thought that this level of biblical training was necessary for good, solid biblical preaching. You don’t need three years of Greek and Hebrew to preach exegetically sound, relevant sermons. But, you do need to preach well, even if preaching / teaching is not the area in which you excel. This is where additional education and training come in Help for pastors is readily available today — and more accessible than ever — due to online instruction. In my own setting, online courses are available in interpreting Scripture, overviews of the Old and New churchexecutive.com
Testaments, systematic theology, survey of church history (the basic core of biblical studies), plus courses on homiletics. At Corban University, the Master of Divinity: Church Ministries track is fully online. The Biblical Languages track combines online and oncampus instruction. Both include the level of instruction in Bible and theology that equip pastors to communicate God’s Word more effectively. Communicating God’s Word effectively is not an option. Let’s never forget what Paul told Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NLT). We want people in our churches to profit from the reading, studying and application of scriptural truths in their lives. To that end, they need to see a model of how to do that in their pastor’s sermons. They need to hear good theology based on good exegesis skillfully applied to their lives. Of all that pastors do, this work has the greatest potential for establishing solid, healthy, growing churches. Mark A. Jacobson, D.Min., serves as Associate Professor of Theology in Corban University’s School of Ministry in Salem, OR. https://grad.corban.edu/ministry September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
Making the MDiv personal By design, MDiv degrees develop competency in ministry skills. That’s a given. But, at Ashland Theological Seminary, the process starts, continues — and concludes — with an emphasis on personal formation, as well. “We’ve designed the MDiv degree in such a way that, on the front end of students’ practical training, they spend a lot of time on issues of personal development, personal growth — personal formation,” explains Terry Wardle, D.Min., Professor of Practical Theology and Director, Institute of Formational Counseling at Terry Wardle, D.Min., Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, OH. Professor of Practical “Then, we begin to weave ministry formation Theology; Director, Institute of Formational into personal formation.” Counseling Read on to find out more about this personal formation focus, how Ashland is making the pursuit of an MDiv work with busy church leaders’ schedules, and more. In what ways is an MDiv degree from your seminary unique? Wardle: One of the required courses in our MDiv program is “The Person in Ministry,” which focuses on what Richard Foster calls the “upward and inward journey.” How will people who will be in ministry attend to their relationship with God, their intimacy with the Lord, their spiritual vitality, and their ongoing personal growth? We spend a lot of time on this, both curricularly and co-curricularly. Our experience has been that people don’t fail or lead in ministry because of competencies; the outcome depends more of their own spiritual vitality, the strength they have in Christ. We’ve interwoven four primary core values — “the 4 Cs” — into the curricula: core identity, character, calling and competency. In every single course, we want to make sure our students are, in some ways, being impacted by all four. In the past, we’ve found that students can get so focused on a competency (for example, how to administrate a church, or how to exudate scripture) that they begin to lose sight of how it integrates into the broader questions pertaining to being in ministry. So, we’re very intentional — even to the point of our syllabi — of designing courses that in some way are going to help students understand who they are in Christ (i.e., core identify); the importance of character; and then competency. I’ve found this to be an outstanding paradigm to keep all our courses mapped together in a significant way. In what ways has the MDiv study format at Ashland evolved to suit church executives’ increasingly busy daily schedules? Wardle: First, we’ve sought to decentralize our program so that it goes beyond our main campus here in Ashland to three satellite campuses in Cleveland, Detroit and Columbus. Two other things have also become very important in this regard. One is offering courses in intensive modules so that a student can attend for a shorter period — maybe a weekend, or a five-day concentration — and pick up a course. Second, of course, they can also take courses online. 58
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
Let’s talk more about how the MDiv curricula at Ashland has adapted to hone spiritual formation. Wardle: Sure. At Ashland, we have developed a very integrated new program — Life 6:31 — that comes out of Mark 6:31: “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while.” In this program, students come to our campus for something like a residency, similar to the new monastic movement. We provide them with free housing, and they are here for three years. We then work hard to integrate spiritual formation into ministry formation so they’re not only taking their courses, but they’re also involved in pre- and post-retreats every year. They’re in a weekly journey group. They have a spiritual director. Then, they go through a rotation of ministry incubators very similar to what someone would have done in the medical school — a different rotation and various specialties. Life 6:31 kicks off in fall 2016, but we’ve already started to market it, with a tremendous response. Many people thought that the days of residency were over; but, we believe there are people out there who are very hungry for a deeper experience of Christ and community. We’ve designed this Check out Ashland Theological program so that students Seminary’s “Continuing take their classes as a Education” eBook to read an cohort. They move through insightful Q&A with William P. the whole curriculum Payne, PhD, who oversees the MDiv as a group, building program in chaplaincy at Ashland deep relationships and Theological Seminary. learning how to lean in As a 30-year chaplain in the to another — and, most Marines and Navy — and a fully definitely, coming to an credentialed chaplain for both the understanding of the military and hospitals — Dr. Payne relationship between their sheds light on: own spirituality and their · The study options available at Ashland effectiveness in ministry. · The career prospects for graduates Not just among · The skills and aptitudes that lend MDiv students, but also themselves well to this unique among individuals who ministry role. are going into church administration, I’m finding they’re really hungry for a deep spiritual vitality. There needs to be some guidance so that they’re not getting caught up in the barrenness of busyness. Or, to say it another way, so that they’re not sacrificing being in the interest of doing.
Are there other ways in which the MDiv curricula at Ashland have been specialized and honed to address emerging areas of need among senior and executive church leaders? Wardle: One way is by having a cohort of students go through the practical ministry courses together. That happens in their second year of study. At that time, we also bring in specialists in the business field. Over lunch, they provide lectures and dialog with students about topics such as personal health and well-being, how to deal with student debt, better understand the culture, and so on. — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh churchexecutive.com
e-Books In-depth, in-demand church management tools — at your fingertips! Churchexecutive.com/ebooks Our e-Book library is full of strategies and solutions for church leaders. In response to your request for in-depth information on a variety of top-ofmind topics, you’ll find e-Books about: • Continuing Education • Lifetime Learning • Transportation • Finance • Risk Management / Insurance • Pastor-Friendly A/V • Church Management Software (ChMS) • Architecture & Design • Generosity • Signage • Accessibility & Inclusion • Seating • More! Download them all at: churchexecutive.com/ebooks Or, get our e-Books in your inbox! By signing up on the Church Executive homepage — churchexecutive.com — for our eNewsletter and digital magazine, you’ll also get new e-Books and e-Book chapters automatically!
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Achieving Accessible, Inclusive Churches Highlights from a Church Executive panel discussion on accommodating worshipers with hearing loss By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
Recently, Church Executive led a live panel discussion to examine the risks churches face by failing to provide a welcoming, inclusive worship experience for all — including worshipers with hearing loss. Here are some highlights from this informative discussion. A silent (yet widespread) disability
Dr. Joseph Montano
“By 2030, one out of five adults will have hearing loss. Right now, about 25 to 60 percent of the 60-plus population has sensory-neural hearing loss. Even so, one stereotype is that wearing a hearing aid makes you look old. So, people tend to live with hearing loss long before they get a hearing aid. In fact, only about 25 percent of people who need hearing aids actually get them.” — Dr. Joseph Montano
A true ministry opportunity MODERATOR: Dr. Joseph Montano — Associate Professor of Audiology in Clinical Otolaryngology and Director of Hearing and Speech at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital PANELISTS: Rev. Lewis Groce — pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church (Hendersonville, TN) Maile Keone — Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Listen Technologies (Bluffdale, UT) Dan van Goidtsnoven, RCDD — part-owner of Hearing Technologies, LLC (Nashville) Steve Anderson — committee chair, deacon and elder at Woodmont Christian Church (Nashville) Larry Nelson — Communication Coordinator at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church (Hendersonville, TN)
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
“We had a loop installed at our church three years ago. Almost every Sunday, people come up and say, ‘I’m hearing things I haven’t heard before.’” — Larry Nelson “Hearing loss leads to depression and anxiety. Social isolation (not attending worship services) is one of the most common aspects, which leads to disengagement — meaning they just tune out during worship. Church services are spiritual and religious in nature, but they’re also social environments.” — Dr. Joseph Montano
System options, explained “With a loop, the vast majority of users are wearing a device in their hearing aids called a ‘T-switch.’ So, when they come in to the church, put their hearing aids into the t-position, and those will act the same way as a personal receiver, but amplified.” — Dr. Joseph Montano “There are three basic types of assistive listening systems: FM (RF), IR (Infrared) and induction loop. A loop takes the sound from the mic and puts it directly into the loop, which goes directly to your ear if you have a T-switch-enabled hearing aid. It will be physically put in to the building; it’s permanently installed. “The FM system requires you to wear a receiver around your neck. And, IR is the same kind of thing as FM; it’s just infrared.” — Dan van Goidtsnoven, RCDD churchexecutive.com
The full audio recording of this panel discussion is available on ChurchExecutiveTV.com.
(left to right) Larry Nelson, Steve Anderson, Maile Keone, Dan van Goidtsnoven, Rev. Lewis Groce
“It’s really important to decide what technology is the right technology for your house of worship. Cost is a factor, of course. But also, do you have carpet or tile or concrete floors? It’s great to have a professional help you vet those considerations.” — Maile Keone
An education process “There’s a whole ecosystem around successful implementation of assistive listening technology in house of worship. There’s the technology, but also education, signage — you really have to be intentional. You can’t just buy it, and then ‘set it and forget it.’” — Maile Keone “Now that we’ve got our loop installed and have educated people on its use, every few months I put an article in the e-newsletter that explains it again and encourages members to invite their friends and family with hearing aids to attend worship services. Or, if they’re buying new hearing aids, to consider a T-switch-enabled one.” — Larry Nelson
It (often) takes a champion “When we decided to put in a hearing loop, it was because there was an advocate in our congregation. That was important: having an advocate to say, ‘This is significant to me, and it’s significant to a lot of other people.’” — Rev. Lewis Groce
wanted the problem alleviated for herself and for others.” — Steve Anderson “Someone on our board of trustees had heard about the need [for an assistive listening system] and brought it forward. There was very little resistance, if any, to its implementation.” — Larry Nelson
Key building / installation considerations “We were remodeling the sanctuary at time of installation. It was perfect.” — Larry Nelson “We retrofitted our sanctuary [to accommodate the hearing loop]. We had a slate floor. The installers went in with a Dremel-like tool and took out the grout. The wire went in, and there was no problem.” — Rev. Lewis Groce “I want to speak to the issue of ‘ripping up the carpet.’ The loop installers don’t rip it up; they curl it on the edge, put the wire in there, and lower it back down. You can’t tell anything was done, and it doesn’t really take long.” — Steve Anderson
Suited for non-sanctuary spaces, too “Two years after our sanctuary hearing loop was put in, we’re building a fellowship hall. There was no question about whether or not we’d loop the new space.” — Rev. Lewis Groce
“Our church’s loop advocate is a real charming person, and insistent. She churchexecutive.com
September / October 2015 • CHURCH EXECUTIVE
“From an installation standpoint, we’ve installed loops in many church meeting rooms and cry rooms. This morning, we did a survey for a sanctuary, a fellowship hall and a small meeting room at a church.” — Dan van Goidtsnoven, RCDD
Not a “new” technology “Really, looping has been around for a long time. Classrooms in the 1960’s were often looped.” — Dr. Joseph Montano
“Yes! As is every taxicab in New York. Over the next 10 years, I believe, they’re phasing them in. “The Europeans are so far ahead of us in terms of hearing technology. There, you find systems at pharmacies, ballparks, in subways — anywhere there’s voice transfer. Even trains and buses are looped.” — Maile Keone
Funding the solution “To pay for our loop systems, we founded partnerships with civic organizations — groups that used our facility and were familiar with us. We also used memorial funds from people who knew someone to whom this technology was (or would have been) significant. And, we designated funds in the ministry plan.” — Rev. Lewis Groce “We have a finance committee, and they had to sign off. They didn’t give much resistance.” — Steve Anderson
Rev. Lewis Groce
“We had an advocate for the loop, and it was pretty simple to get the church to say, ‘Yes, let’s move forward with this.’” — Larry Nelson “Often, there’s someone in the congregation who can’t hear. They’ll say, ‘I don’t care what it costs; you [the church] go find the solution and I’ll write a check.’ We actually hear that quite a bit.” — Maile Keone
Multiple systems might be ideal “I believe 70 percent of hearing aid users have T-switch-enabled hearing aids. So, if you have a loop in your church, you’re potentially leaving out 30 percent of the potential users. You still need to have FM or IR receivers if you want to serve 100 percent of your population.” — Maile Keone Steve Anderson
“We have a loop, but we also have some receivers because not everyone has a T-switch. Every Sunday, several people bring their own earbuds, and they’re compatible with the neck loops.” — Larry Nelson “I really like the individual units. When someone in the congregation says, ‘I don’t think I need a hearing aid’ — oh man, it makes a huge difference! As much as a person might like the sermon and be able to hear it well, there’s a lot of other things happening, too. As long as those things are running through your sound system, users of these units don’t have to miss out.” — Rev. Lewis Groce
“When I talk about hearing loss, I frequently talk about it in the context of a journey — someone’s acceptance of the issue and then getting the help they need. Any time they have an experience like Rev. Groce alluded to, it’s really an eye-opener.” — Dr. Joseph Montano
Language translation: another application “The technology absolutely supports language translation. Some of our house-of-worship customers say they love using it in this way because they don’t have to have separate worship services for different languages.” — Maile Keone “For language translation, a church is going to need an FM or IR system.” — Dan van Goidtsnoven, RCDD Dan van Goidtsnoven
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
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The cost of ‘knowledge’ in the Information Age By Michael J. Bemi
The synod headquarters office — being a central repository of a great deal of sensitive information — had taken security very seriously, in every possible regard. The synod building itself was accessible only via secured passkeys issued only to employees — never to contractors or guests — and the use of which was monitored and registered, so that a computer log was maintained which could be referenced to determine whenever an employee entered or exited the building and who that employee was. Guests were required to log in and log out and were given guest IDs that had to be visibly attached to clothing and returned for log entry at the time of guest departure. All entry / exit points were monitored by closed-circuit television, which recorded tapes for later review by building security. The building also employed a central station smoke / heat / fire and burglar alarm system. Archival storage areas in the building were accessible by a very limited group of employees, and the storage cabinets and containers for files, tapes, records, discs, etc., were themselves constructed to be highly fire-resistant, and all were continuously kept locked. This level and quality of attention to detail was also reflected in the information technology / digital realm. IT Department access and synod server access were stringently controlled. An internet service provider (IPS) was selected not only for its available download / upload data transmission speeds and capacities, but also for its data security measures (external to the synod’s measures). The synod IT system was protected by hardware and software firewalls. The system also employed three different anti-malware (anti-virus, spyware, adware, etc.) products which the IT Department configured to be updated automatically on all synod servers, desktops and laptops and which were also configured to automatically run scans daily. The few laptops, tablets and peripheral devices which were allowed to be taken out of synod headquarters were all encrypted. An excellent policy and related protocols were distributed to every employee regarding their privileges and obligations in relation to the synod system and its devices, plus employees’ use of their own electronic devices for work purposes (part of the synod Bring Your Own Device to Work, or BYOD, protocol). By most all conceivable measures, the synod had done everything possible to protect and secure the sensitive personal information which it produced and maintained on employees, volunteers and church members themselves. 64
CHURCH EXECUTIVE • September / October 2015
So, what went wrong? One such critically sensitive set of information was the background screening check data developed in relation to the synod’s very robust safe environment program, for the protection of children and other vulnerable individuals. Apart from any actual criminal history reported, this information contained other highly sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers. Unfortunately, one day a highly regarded and long-standing employee was duped by a quite excellently crafted “phishing” email that essentially duplicated the appearance of the website of the synod’s primary banking partner. Clicking on a link that would supposedly redirect the employee to bank personnel that could address and resolve a serious issue, the employee inadvertently loaded malware onto the synod system, which allowed hackers to breach system security and harvest a huge amount of personally identifiable information (PII) stored on the servers. Worse yet, the breach was not discovered until well after its initial occurrence. The costs to the synod of crisis management for credit monitoring, forensic investigation, repair of public relations damage — and still possible third-party lawsuits — has been very significant and remains as yet incalculable in total. What the synod overlooked It should have had an education program for employees helping them to recognize and avoid “phishing” and other systems-related scams. It should have encrypted all of the most sensitive data it kept. It should have employed some nature of continuous system monitoring to “flag” system anomalies. And, it might also have considered using an outside firm to perform occasional penetration testing and threat assessment. Michael J. Bemi is president & CEO of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. (Lisle, IL) — a recognized leader in risk management. To learn more about available coverage — and to get valuable tools, facts and statistics — visit www.tncrrg.org.
A COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT “OURIS SOMETHING EMPLOYEES ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE SHOULDDESERVE SINK INTO.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS. I wish we could afford them.”
We hear it all the time. “We’re a ministry, not a business. We just don’t have the money to offer financial benefits.” But the truth is, affordable financial benefits are not out of reach. MMBB Financial Services thoroughly understands the needs of faith-based organizations. And as benefits consultants, we will tailor an affordable plan so that everyone in your organization will enjoy retirement, disability and life insurance benefits that are sensible and secure. To find out more, visit us at MMBB.org/affordablebenefits. Or call 1-800-986-6222. We may just have some very good news for you and your employees.
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Real Planning, Real Solutions. That’s Our Calling.
Helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.