HELPING LEADERS BECOME BETTER STEWARDS
HOW PEACEMAKING CAN
THE CHURCH’S ROLE IN
IMMIGRATION | 16 ADULTERY
IS LIKE A FIRE | 34
BILL CRIPE SR.
A PROSPEROUS MAN IN GOD’S WAYS
april 2012 FE ATU RES CHURCH CONFLICT: THE CONTEXT DECIDES ITS OUTCOME 14 By Kenneth C. Newberger
Members view conﬂict as an aberration to the way a church is supposed to be.
the Ce iNterv ieW
By Ronald E. Keener
Bill Cripe’s faith journey began in high school when he attended the First Church of Christ Scientists, and on entering the Army two barracks buddies recently converted to Christ began challenging him on his beliefs as a Christian Scientist.
WOMEN’S MINISTRY TODAY IS NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S CHURCH
SPECIAL SECTION: TRAVEL
By Janet Thompson
Former Saddleback women’s director says a woman on staff can reach other women inside and outside the church.
THROUGH THE WARDROBE: FROM NARNIA TO THE BAHAMAS 24 By Cindi Brodhecker
the diversity of faith-based travel provides opportunities for visitors to learn, connect and rediscover their faith.
CONGREGATIONS’ ROLE IN RESOLVING U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY 16 By Ronald E. Keener
Pastors are advocating for ‘a more just and common-sense solution’ in what is a moral discussion.
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT EFFECTIVE LIGHTING 20 By Will Sutliff
the principles of good lighting can help draw people deeper into worship.
ADULTERY IN THE PULPIT IS LIKE A FIRE 34 By Ronald E. Keener
DE PARTM ENTS
Failure in marriage ﬁdelity shows up clergy as big-time hypocrites.
7 ron Keener 8 News update
Church Executive (Copyright 2012), Volume 11, Issue 4. Church Executive is published monthly by Power Trade Media LLC, a subsidiary of Friendship Publications Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016.
27 Speaking volumes
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By Ronald E. Keener
28 Financial Solutions By Dan Mikes
32 human resources
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 Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600, ext. 203. Copyright 2012 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.
By Brian McGown
helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.
4 | ChurCh exeCutive | 04/2012
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Keeping Cool The economy and its affect on the church still ranks high on the projected list of concerns in 2012, say our experts. What say you? the most overused word in an election year is probably “projected,” as in Wolf Blitzer saying, “CNN now projects the winner will be…” We all like to think about what a new year will be like, usually giving it a more rosy picture than it will turn out to be, but then the human condition thrives on hope, doesn’t it? i turned to Church Executive’s editorial panel (their names are on page 6 on the masthead) for some wisdom for the year ahead, and “it’s the economy, silly” that came to the top of the heap, of course. “interest rates have been bouncing off of historic lows for a number of months now [this being written in January],” writes Dan Mikes, evp and manager of religious institution Banking at Bank of the West. “Consequently, it has been easy for religious organizations with existing debt to be complacent about refinancing. however, at some point the market will anticipate that a sustained economic recovery and unprecedented levels of cash printing will bring inflationary pressures, and this will cause interest rates to move upward, perhaps significantly. “Consequently, even churches facing prepayment penalties should do the math now to determine whether refinancing makes sense,” says Mikes. “We expect to see an increase in construction financing requests as the economy continues to recover. As consumer sentiment improves, church leadership may be more com-
fortable with moving forward with expansion projects that may have been put on hold.” From the insurance side of the economy, Eric Spacek, senior manager for GuideOne risk Management and Loss Control, observes that “churches have been enjoying very competitive and low rates for their property, liability and business auto insurance coverage over the past several years. however, the insurance market is showing initial signs that it is starting to turn. “if this continues to happen, it is anticipated that churches will start to see hardening or increasing property and casualty insurance rates in 2012 and beyond,” Spacek believes. CFO Denise Craig at Abba’s house suggests that it is a “pivotal year” and that “leaders need to be at the top of their game, honing their skills and remaining dedicated to life-long learning in a time of rapidlyadvancing technology.” Mark Simmons, business manager at California’s Christ Community Church, sees accelerating trends toward online church activities with an increasing variety of devices. “As an example,” he says, “our pastoral search went through almost wholesale transformation as a printed report describing our church was replaced with multi-media available through our website, initial reviews from a couple page resume were replaced by the search committee listening to the candidate speak by downloading podcasts and going to their current church’s website and blogs to learn more about the candidates. Similarly on the technology side, he sees the beginning of new church systems
software that integrate the various church functions into a suite of applications. Circling back to the economy, Steve Briggs, associate pastor for administration at First Baptist Church, hendersonville, NC, worries that “many churches will continue to struggle to meet their operating budgets. Mainstream media will ‘spin’ a lot of good news about the economy in a presidential year that may or may not be real.”
Got a question or comment? email ron@Churchexecutive.com
04/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 7
Jury awards nearly $6 million verdict in mission trip accident An Arizona jury returned a verdict in June 2011 of nearly $6 million against an Arizona‑based church and a San Diego‑based ministry after a month‑long trial. The verdict was premised upon the negligence of the church and the ministry and the extensive brain and spine injuries to a mission trip volunteer. On November 12, 2006, Ron Day (“Day”), age 37 at the time, was volunteering, on a mission trip to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. The mission trip was scheduled, planned, and coordinated by Central Christian Church of the East Valley, in Mesa, AZ., (“Central”) and Amor Ministries (“Amor”). Day and his family were members of Central. Central’s supervisors assigned Day to work on a church’s wood‑frame roof. While assisting his supervisors on the roof, Day stepped on a wooden rafter board that broke under his weight and caused him to fall
more than 10-feet to the concrete below. Severe injuries Day also suffered severe injuries, including a basilar fracture, traumatic brain injury, a neck fracture, and a spinal burst fracture in his lower back. Day’s brain injuries have caused him to suffer limitations in executive function, decision‑making, and emotional control. It also has caused depression, anxiety, lost hearing in his right ear, and lost taste and smell. At the time of the fall, Day owned and operated a successful loading dock installation and maintenance business. Due to Day’s permanent multiple disabilities, the Days were forced to close it. The jury considered past medical expenses of approximately $400,000 and past and future economic losses between $2.8 and $3.4 million. Day and his wife sued Central and Amor, alleging that they failed to provide a reasonably safe job site, safe materials and a
safe design, and failed to properly train, supervise, and warn volunteers, particularly regarding the hazards of working on an over‑spanned and undersized unsheathed roof structure. Church’s responsibilities Central was responsible for constructing the church structure, evaluating the skill level of its volunteers, assigning the volunteers to particular tasks, and instructing and supervising them. The evidence showed that Central failed to properly evaluate Day’s skill level, negligently assigned him to work on the roof without any construction or training, and failed to warn Day of the risks of working on an unfinished roof, particularly the risk that unsheathed 2”x4”x12” rafters are likely to break under the weight of an adult man. Amor selected the site, provided the construction materials, and designed the structure. The testifying structural engineers agreed that the
roof design was undersized and over‑spanned. Amor’s written materials (which were not made available to volunteers) contained no warning with respect to roof construction. Central and Amor blamed each other for the negligence and also argued that Day was negligent in stepping upon the rafter board. Amor additionally argued that Day had signed a release prior to the trip. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $5,945,000 and assigned 80 percent liability to Central, 15 percent liability to Amor, and 5 percent to Day. The trial court denied post‑trial motions and a final judgment was entered. Central filed an appeal of the judgment. Amor did not appeal. — Elan Mizrahi is a partner with the law firm Jennings, Haug & Cunningham in Phoenix, AZ. He served as co-counsel in the Day case, successfully representing the plaintiff. [www.JHC-Law.com]
WHY CHURCHES NEED FINANCIAL CONTROLS • Molly L. Marteney, 62, who had been treasurer and bookkeeper at First Assembly of God Church, Lebanon, OR, pleaded guilty to theft in connection with $120,000 that disappeared from the church. The church did not ask for reimbursement, and she received probation. • Deborah Collingsworth, 48, received a four-year sentence in prison after pleading guilty to sev8 | Church executive | 04/2012
eral theft charges amounting to $140,000 from two churches where she was a part-time bookkeeper, said the Sandusky, OH, Register. The paper said she would write herself checks from church bank accounts and steal money from tithes. • Phillip D. Story, 49, of Harvest, AL, received a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty of what the prosecutor called a pyra-
mid scheme targeting members of Plainview Church of Christ, Hazel Green, AL. The scheme involved his claim of having an investment opportunity that allowed him and a business partner to buy foreclosed properties before they went up for sale to the public. He is said to have gone on church mission trips and occasionally preached at the church.
THE CE INTERVIEW
WILLIAM E. CRIPE SR. Senior Pastor | Faith evangelical Free Church | Waterville, Me
Bill Cripe’s faith journey began in high school when he attended the First Church of Christ Scientists, and on entering the Army two barracks buddies recently converted to Christ began challenging him on his beliefs as a Christian Scientist.
BY RONALD E. KEENER
10 | ChurCh exeCutive | 04/2012
“i realized i needed to learn what Christian Science actually taught, and on reading Science Health, the teachings of the church, i realized that Mary Baker eddy, the founder, redefined virtually every tenet of biblical Christianity. So while the language was similar, it had radically different meaning,” he says. he particularly took issue with Mrs. eddy on page 23 where she wrote: “that God’s wrath should be vented upon his own beloved son is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made.” remembers Cripe, “in one sentence she discards the very core of salvation by grace through faith. Jesus is totally redefined in Christian Science as a normal human being who ‘demonstrated the Christ principle’ or ‘Christ truth.’” Is there a tie between Christian Science and the prosperity gospel of today? Not an intentional tie certainly but the process of refusing the intrusion of reality in a fallen world is pretty much the same. through positive thinking, positive affirmation or positive confession, you change what otherwise might have been a negative outcome. You write in your book, “The prosperity gospel is the very antithesis of the gospel of Christ.” Jesus came to have first place in everything. Because of Jesus and the Gospel, we see what is important in life; God’s Spirit empowers us to give up right to self to the glory of God. All that we do is supposed to be for the glory of the Lord. the prosperity gospel, however, is all about Me and how God exists to grant my every wish. i am at the center of everything. even when the prosperity preachers speak of giving they do so in self-serving terms. that is, give so that God will give YOu back even MOre! So what is the “proper pursuit of prosperity,” the title of your book? “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything else will be added unto you.” there is blessing in obedience but we still live in a fallen world with old natures that war against the soul. the rain still falls on both the just and the unjust and not necessarily because of a lack of faith. if we are seeking to glorify the Lord in all that we do, not so that we can enrich our surroundings, but because he is worthy of our love regardless of what he does or doesn’t do; that is the proper pursuit. What is your main concern for prosperity preaching? You write, “One of the hallmarks of prosperity preaching is that it focuses on the shinier parts of Scripture while selectively ignoring the
not-so-lustrous ones.” it contains many partial truths and “god talk” to sound perfectly biblical. But context is often entirely ignored or even full statements are condensed to avoid the “rest of the story.” For example, “he will give you the desires of your heart,” is a nice thought; “trust also in him, and he will do it,” is reassuring. But the Psalm contains a rather important caveat, for the complete thought says, “delight yourself in the LOrd” and “Commit your way to the LOrd.” this puts an entirely different emphasis on the real promise beyond God existing to be one’s personal wish machine. People are being duped into a “religious” understanding of who God is and why they exist, but it is a bill of goods. What do you make of Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel? Osteen’s variety of it is over the top as clearly revealed in Your Best Life Now. At times it is hard to tell the difference between his recipe for prosperity and the New Age Movement’s suggestion that we can create our own reality. You write in the book, “As far as we could tell from the pages of the Bible, the only prosperity God promised was giving us our daily bread, and even in that, we needed to exercise some responsibility.” What do you mean? the words are foundational to the understanding of what God’s promises as provision entail. to the prosperity preachers, it assumes far more than “needs.” But the prosperity gospel feeds right into the American mindset of abundance. God’s promise for provision as you trace it through the history of God’s people right into the New testament (Matthew 6) are for the essentials of life — shelter, clothing, and nutrition. even in that, God still expects human responsibility and integrity to be part of the equation. it is always curious when someone walks in off the street to our church asking for “help” with gas or food. they invariably reek of cigarette smoke and they almost always have a cell phone. even many “poor” who claim a faith in Christ have cable or dish tv, internet, a vehicle and many luxuries of life. (i’d love to write on the “real” poor and a biblical understanding of welfare for my next book.) Isn’t it difficult to tell people, as you write in the book, that “The hard truth is that a tendency of suffering in this life is more normal for the Christian than the promise of perfect health and extraordinary wealth”? What is the short answer to us in accepting that statement? ironically, this takes little convincing since that is what most people’s reality is! the prosperity gospel is utterly contrary to what most people live and experience around them, but they want it so bad that they will grasp at nearly anything. What do you mean when writing about “Christianized junk food”? i like a good custard-filled danish with a cup of coffee for breakfast, extra cheesy pizza for lunch, a mocha chip grande frappacino in the afternoon, and KFC for dinner with a night cap of two scoops of ice >>
04/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 11
THE CE INTERVIEW cream with hot fudge and whipped cream. it would be sheer reverie. And if that was my steady diet i would be malnourished and sickly. it all tastes great but it isn’t what my body needs to remain alive and active. the prosperity message is so narrowly focused and redundant on only the very positive aspects of the Bible and they may sound great, they may make you feel good, and they may — for a season — lift your spirit. But there is so much more in Scripture that categorically warns against our earthly existence being defined by what we have. After all, it is all destined to perish even if it is realized here and now. the prosperity preachers i listened to or read when writing my book only ever serve pretzels, cupcakes and soda consciously omitting the other side of the walk of faith. (hebrews 11 for example.) Once the realities of living in a fallen world set in, faith is destroyed for the only explanation is that either i didn’t have enough faith, or God just doesn’t think as much of me as he does the “blessed” one. I understand you have a burgeoning Muslim community developing in Portland and Lewiston that may come to your town too. How should Christians relate to Muslims? i recently spoke on this using the book of Jonah, relating the Ninevite “problem” with the Muslim “problem.” (Audio streamed at www.fefchurch. org.) Muslims are people made in
the image of God for whom Christ died. i was wayward as an adherent of Christian Science and two friends who cared about me were willing to challenge me on what i believed. Muslims have a devout faith and sincerely want to go to heaven, but in the rubric of islam that is impossible to know and impossible to become a reality if the Bible is right — which it is. Muslims are more difficult to reach than some because there is tremendous fear on the followers of islam. exploration of other faith systems isn’t tolerated. We have a couple in one of those communities who are obtaining training in hopes of returning to the Middle east. they reside in a Muslim community of refugees trying to get to know them and to show them the love of Christ. it seems the Lord is bringing them to us! reaching out to Muslims as we would any unbeliever is what we are called to do. But this doesn’t mean we – as a nation – must abandon principles of common sense and fiscal viability. there is a steep cost involved and our system of welfare is not sustainable. if we are to continue helping people who truly need it we cannot welcome a limitless number of people with a limitless bucket of benefits. As Christian Americans we are also called to participate in the freedoms we have by virtue of our system of government which means we must be involved in the political discussions, decisions and legislative processes of our country.
The influx of Muslims into some of the communities in Maine are not without challenges, both attitudinal and practical. How should a pastor prepare his congregation for a demographic change that brings Muslims to the community, to the schools, to the churches? Jonah hated the Ninevites and with good reason. they were a violent, relentless and merciless war machine which God had used to discipline israel numerous times in their history prior to Jonah. the last thing Jonah wanted was for them to be spared. For many Christians, i believe Muslims are the new Ninevites. the Bible doesn’t call on us to be naive. Obviously there are Muslims who want us dead. But Muslims are coming to America. Where some are trying to restructure our culture, we can and must resist the redefining of America to a country of Sharia Law or a country having one set of rules for them and one for us. But not all Muslims are the enemy. i am realizing that just as we have many people who call themselves Christian, and have a very warped understanding and explanation of much that is in the Bible, Muslims are no different. they have disparate views of the teachings of the Koran and what they mean. the bottom line is, i truly have to submit to the Spirit of my Lord, not to my fleshly patriotism. At the end of it all, i exist to advance the Kingdom of God, not
‘Cheap graCe’ aBoundS in many ChurCheS The book, The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity: Balancing the Promises of Heaven with the Experiences of Earth (Tate Publishing, 2011), highlights the most obvious abuses of the Gospel of our Lord but the concern is across the board and goes well beyond prosperous North America. Every pastor of every church wearing the name of Christ should examine the quality of his or her preaching, realizing we will be held to a stricter judgment. (James 3:1) When the budget of the local church is already pretty tight, and the pastor’s preaching brings them to eternal punishment, or moral purity in all we do – pornography, sexual impurity, sexual perversion, addictions (which include caloric intake, caffeine, and sugar not just cocaine, heroin and marijuana and alcohol) or financial responsibility, tithing and credit card abuse — and the pastor avoids it because of the negative impact it might have on attendance, that church has just taken another step closer to the prosperity gospel. Dietrich Bonhoffer’s “cheap grace” abounds today in many of our churches. What we are producing are pseudo-Christians who will run at the first sign of their faith costing them something. — WEC
12 | ChurCh exeCutive | 04/2012
the kingdom of America. Your congregation’s facilities are in what is termed a “big box.” How did that come about? How is it “a beacon on the hill” for your community? Hoyt’s Cinema divested themselves of their American theaters and the Waterville Cineplex (six theaters) went up for sale. We were in a converted duplex outside of town which had a maximum capacity of about 200 seats and we were landlocked. We scrapped our plans for building at a new location and bought the cinema. After running into nearly unanimous opposition from our city due to the loss of potential tax revenue, the Lord gave us a way to by-pass the City Fathers and we purchased the property, retrofitting it for our purposes. Waterville is a small town and the theater is on the main drag in the heart of the business strip. For a decade leading up to this move I was a columnist for the Central Maine newspapers so my name and the church were well known before we ever moved, but we were invisible. Now it is hard not to pass the building going in or out of town. The physical visibility has been a blessing. In what ways is the congregation engaged in its community? From our earliest days as a small church we inserted ourselves into the community through my writing in the newspapers but also by offering a very Christ-centered community Easter and Christmas Eve service on neutral territory. For us it was in the town’s historic Opera House. Even though this bi-annual event cost our tiny church nearly $2,000 for each service, the result was “everyone” knew of us. As a matter of course, we have sponsored events that have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to aid our community with everything from heating oil to winter clothing for families of the community. There is a beleaguered community only a mile from our church, but it is another
culture. We began penetrating the community by repairing bicycles for the kids and cleaning up the neighborhood each Spring. After a few years, we were trusted more in the community and we seized an opportunity to provide an after school program for the children that now goes through junior high. We also help with Christmas presents and other
practical expressions of Christ’s love. Just this past weekend we were cited in the paper for contributing about half the cost of a 60-bed homeless shelter operated by another church in another community to our north. [www.fcfchurch.org]
04/2012 | Church executive | 13
conflict: The context decides its outcome
Members view conflict as an aberration to the way a church is supposed to be. By Kenneth C. Newberger If an American pastor was sentenced to death by an American court because he refused to recant his faith, we would be shocked. Such a verdict would stand in direct contradiction to the First Amendment of the Constitution which states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Religious freedom has flourished in our country for 235 years. Given this backdrop, a sentence of death because of one’s Christian faith is unlikely. But such an outcome is not far-fetched in other parts of the world. In October 2011, regrettably, one newspaper reported, “The self-styled Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced to death by hanging a Christian pastor, born to Muslim parents, for apostasy. At the time of writing, Youcef Nadarkhani, head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, is on death row for refusing to recant and convert
14 | Church executive | 04/2012
back to Islam.” The difference between these two scenarios is context. In one, Christianity is freely permitted. In the other, it is not. Context impacts outcomes. Consider something as simple as your car key. The only reason it makes sense for you to carry around this oddly shaped piece of metal is because it fits into the ignition switch of your car. It makes sense to you. Stumble across some weather-worn key buried in the sand at the beach, you ignore it or throw it away. There is no larger context (car) into which it fits.
Church conflict Conflict in churches is usually viewed in the same way as the lost key. People don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t positively fit into a larger context. Members view
it as an aberration to the way a church is supposed to be. there is no value associated with it. to the contrary, it is viewed as destructive. this leads to an attempt to suppress it, but the ability to do so successfully is rare. too often, both people and ministry are hurt for months, if not years. Conflict finds fertile ground in churches because of another contextual reality universal in all organizations: bad news gets filtered out on the way up. this means that those in leadership have a rosier picture of reality than is warranted. the CBS television show, “undercover Boss,” provides graphic evidence of this. the CeO of a large company puts on a disguise to work with front line employees for a week. invariably, the program shows how clueless the CeO is to the actual difficulties employees face in their jobs. the show typically ends up with the CeO returning to his board with a list of changes he or she wants to see happen based on that firsthand experience. this reality would have otherwise remained outside his or her purview. A whole host of problems get filtered out on the way up in churches as well. the larger the church, the more pronounced this becomes. in this context, conflict escalates. Pastors are among the last to know about an issue that has been brewing. When it finally explodes onto the scene it may be too late to prevent real damage.
Judeo-ChriStian model of peaCemaKing vS. matthew 18 Matthew 18:15-18 is a passage that outlines the process of church discipline. For it to be carried to fruition, a number of conditions have to be met (notice the five “if” clauses). The first condition is that there has to be chargeable “sin.” Differences of opinion, for example, do not come under this category (see Acts 15:36-41). Additionally, for this process to advance, there must be “witnesses,” not to the accusation of sin, but to the act of sin itself (see Deut. 19:15, the passage Jesus cites in Matt. 18:16, cp. Numbers. 35:30). Being a witness to the accusation of sin proves or disproves nothing. Being a witness to the act of sin is required (cp. Mark 14:56 with Mark 14:61-64). When two or more people are witnesses to another person’s sin, Matthew 18:15-18 takes precedence over any other process. However, Matthew 18 cannot and should not be used if these two conditions do not exist, lest one misapply the text. What then do you do when there is conflict in the church and Matthew 18 cannot be used? This is when the Judeo-Christian Model of Peacemaking is utilized. This model mirrors the process that God used to make peace with mankind (which was not Matthew 18). To learn the model’s specific contours, I have authored Hope in the Face of Conflict: Making Peace with Others the Way God Makes Peace with Us (Three Sons Publishing, 2011). — KCN
a healthy church Conflict can have a healthy impact on congregational life if it occurs within the right context. With the help of the accompanying diagram, reflect upon what a healthy church looks like. Leaders set forth the vision of the church. Policies and procedures are established to support the attainment of this vision. Within this structural framework, staff and volunteers engage in the work of the church to make the vision a reality. Conflict inevitably emerges. the question is, “is there an in-house peacemaking process in place, one that is based on solid biblical theology and best practices for organizations?” if the answer is no, the work and fellowship of that church are in unnecessary jeopardy. if the answer is yes, conflict will more likely be resolved. But this should not be the end of the story. healthy churches not only have a pre-existing blueprint to deal with conflict, but built into the overall process is a feedback component for leadership. in the plan i personally advance, the First responders initiative (based on the theological Judeo-Christian Model of Peacemaking), the director of the initiative intermittingly reports to the board (without breaking confidentiality) the kinds of conflicts that have been addressed by volunteers who have been trained to resolve in-house disputes among members and staff. the board is now in a prime position to determine if policy or procedural changes need to be made so that the same problems don’t arise again. Within this larger system, conflict gains new meaning. it becomes the fuel for longterm ministry improvement. in this environment, disputes are positively transformed. Fellowship becomes stronger. Ministry becomes more effective. Members become more loyal because leaders have become more responsive at the point of their need. this is the practice of “servantleadership” at its best. Conflict’s larger context is a major factor determining whether its impact will be for good or ill. For it to take on a constructive meaning, a regenerative framework needs to exist into which it is integrated. Chances are your church does not have such a framework. Why not establish one? in the same way God established his peace plan before any of us ever sinned and entered into conflict with him, should we not do the same to make and maintain peace with each other? the answer is obvious. CE Dr. Ken Newberger, a former pastor and living in Fort Myers, FL, has a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution. He is a leading authority on resolving church conflict and facilitating congregational health. [www.ResolveChurchConflict.com]
04/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 15
role in resolving
U.S. immigration policy
By Ronald E. Keener
Pastors are advocating for ‘a more just and common-sense solution’ in what is a moral discussion. Reform of immigration law remains on the nation’s agenda — and on the agenda of congregations in this country as well. “Congregations can help America find the way forward by re-igniting the conversation on immigration reform. We can move it from partisan politics to a moral discussion,” says Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, a network of Latino Evangelical congregations. “Some pastors have already started immigrant ministries and some have even advocated for a more just and common-sense solution. Leaders as diverse as Bill Hybels, Rich Nathan, Chuck Colson, Richard Land, Leith Anderson, and Joel Hunter have already engaged in conversation and public declarations for the church, for the sake of mission and witness, to act,” Salguero says. “Congregations should engage in real conversations with immigrant churches and leaders and together as God’s people lead the way. Our faith and conscience demand no less,” he says. Church Executive posed questions to Rev. Salguero, who co-pastors, with his wife Jeanette, the multicultural Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City. He also 16 | Church executive | 04/2012
consults on multi-ethnic ministries and urban congregations. What are a few main points on the American immigration debate of the NaLEC? We feel that the American immigration debate is at an impasse and Christian churches can play a critical role in helping move past this stalemate. Evangelicals understand the need to balance the respect for laws while advocating for more common-sense and humane immigration laws. In short, Christains are calling for a balance between mercy and justice. The main point is that we can reform the immigration laws in ways that reflect love of neighbor, respect for the law, and serve as a boom for our economy. We believe that the immigration laws as they stand can be improved by taking the following simple steps: (a) Requiring immigrants to pay back-taxes, (b) Exacting penalties to employers who may have circumvented the system, and (c) Providing a path to earned citizenship for the close to 12 million men, women and children who are already here living, working, and worshipping among us. Generally, what issues have prevented the U.S. Congress from dealing with the immigration issue?
Although close to 67 percent of Americans would like to see common-sense solutions to the immigration debate, Congress I think feels stuck between extremes. Congress has to find a way to balance between these polarizing rhetorics of amnesty and enforcement-only. Neither is the solution; rather Congress can provide a strategy that offers a pathway to integration that make sense for the country. I think one of the major hurdles for Congress is learning to balance enforcement and integration. What path do you advocate to legal status for undocumented immigrants? One of the major obstacles for undocumented immigrants is that no clear path has been made for attaining legal status once you’re undocumented. I often hear people say, “They should get to the back of the line.” The truth is that we need laws that create these lines for the undocumented. If you’re undocumented, an earned path would allow you to pay any back taxes, learn English, and it would create a line that would allow you to contribute to the good of the host nation. How is the stance of the NaLEC (a Christian view) differ from others on this issue? As Christians we are not politicians, pundits or lobbyists; our perspective is a pastoral and prophetic one. We hold fast to our Christian mandates to both obey the law and welcome the stranger. Christ’s injunction in Matthew 25, “for I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” deeply informs our role in this national debate. Moreover, we believe that we should obey laws in so much as they don’t violate our conscience or our faith. So our stance as followers of Jesus is to say, “We can do better. We can create better laws.” We want laws that allow us to integrate people into our neighborhoods and churches. Pew Forum Research has said there are more than 10 million Latino evangelicals (this does not include the many evangelicals from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia) in the United States, many of these evangelicals have relatives who’ve tried to earn a path to citizenship, but because of back-log, clerical errors, or immigration scams, have not
been able to do so. These are people who are trying to do the right thing. In addition, many of them are children who were brought here and now don’t have a way to earn a path to citizenship. Their only fault was obeying their parents. Immigration reform would help these people the most. As Christians, we think the law can create a just way to integrate these men, women and children who wish to contribute to our society in open ways. I take it your organization does not favor amnesty. What approach do you advocate for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.? The NaLEC tries to articulate our position in biblical and ethical language, though this is not always possible. I think the term amnesty has been too politicized. We have a similar biblical term to amnesty; it’s called grace or unmerited favor. We are trying to balance both grace and justice. What we talk about is love of neighbor and respect for the law. St. Augustine gave great advice to Christians when dealing with thorny issues. His advice was always to seek what he called the “summa bonum” — the highest good. For NaLEC we are asking, “What is the highest good for us as believers?” How do we demonstrate genuine hospitality and love of the stranger in a way that shows Christ’s character. What laws can we support that move us away from partisanship and into the Gospel? Those are our fundamental commitments. You’ve praised the stance of the Southern Baptists in backing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Is this a breakthrough? Is it different than what the mainstream denominations, such as the Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians are saying on the matter? We think the Southern Baptists have made a good initial step. Still, we all have a ways to go. A Christian response to immigrants has still not seeped down into the pews. I think we still need our pastors and preachers to talk more about what God requires of us when it comes to immigrants and the laws. Christians, I think, should take their cues not >> 04/2012 | Church executive | 17
from our favorite political party but from Scripture. Scripture, I think, presents a just view on how we devise laws in regards to immigrants. I think a real breakthrough will come when people in our congregations begin to really wrestle with the balance between law, justice and mercy. Yes, we back a path to legal status, not to gain political points, but as a pastoral response to the immigration crisis particularly among families and young children. Our stance is premised on the belief that these laws, which have not been amended in more than 20 years, can be more humane and just to all undocumented immigrants many of whom are members of our congregations. You propose a Just Integration Strategy; what are its main points? What I am proposing is a third-way forward. Just Integration is the idea suggested by a Hispanic evangelical
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leader in California. What we are calling for is a humane integration strategy. What we propose is that we reform the laws that help immigrants integrate legally, while creating pathways for contribution economically, culturally, and in every area of our nationâ€™s life. In this way, both immigrants and citizens are both enriched; the country is enhanced by the great diversity of Godâ€™s people. I think the obstacle is that some people see integration as a threat rather than an opportunity. Integration creates opportunity for the church, state, or country to see how God is working through the diversity of people, culture and languages. This is rooted in a view of the church started at Pentecost. Immigration reform is not seen as a hot topic until after the next Presidential election. What progress do you feel can be made in the meantime to resolve the countryâ€™s immigration challenges?
I think that one of the intermediate steps we can take is allowing young people who were raised in this country to benefit from the DREAM Act. Most of these young people were brought here as small children and know no other home. The DREAM Act would allow them to serve in the Armed Services or go to college and better contribute to the future of this country. California has already passed legislation that looks something like this and I think it is a win-win for everyone. We invest in our best, brightest, and those willing to serve, and the return is immeasureable. Of course, the hope is for something more comprehensive that presents a more long-term solution. I think the task of the church is to continue to highlight the plight of the immigrants in this country and how our country could do better. I think what we must do is lead with love to overcome a lot of the fear that surrounds our engaging with immigrants.
Love will cast away all fear. Ministries that engage our congregations with immigrants will help dissuade much of the fear and misinformation. Once we enter into deep relationships we can advocate from a place of relationship and knowledge. In the meantime, we need to continue to minister and serve the immigrants in our communities with Christian love. What stereotypes do Americans have of immigration reform and coming to a solution on the issue? I think there are many myths that we as pastors and leaders need to address. The first myth is the myth of win-lose, that somehow by integrating good, hard-working people our nation will be diminished. Nothing could be further from the truth. Immigration reform would allow people to contribute more openly and would actually benefit our nation. Moreover, as Christians, we try to stay clear of a them
versus us narrative. There is no us and them, there’s just us. The second myth is that those who advocate for immigration reform are advocating for breaking the law. The reality is that what we are calling for are better laws. Laws can and should be improved. Historically, our country has had the courage and will to change laws that have had devastating effects on large groups of people. We changed laws in the abolition of slavery, the ending of segregation, the right for women to vote, and this is one more time where we can call for better laws — laws that allow for justice and mercy to walk hand in hand. The third myth is that integration will bring our economy crashing down. Actually, many studies show that by integrating these undocumented immigrants, the economy will have close to $1 trillion boom. What human and economic “capital” is the U.S. losing by not
tackling the immigration issues? How might the American church be positively affected? I think in 30 years Christians are going to ask where we, the leading evangelical pastors and leaders, were on this issue. Were we silent or did we seek to positively impact our culture like Wilberforce and Wesley? More than a political issue this is an ecclesial issue. How does the American church define itself in this globalized culture? American churches who seek to have great relationships with their sister churches in the Global South of Africa, Latin America, and Asia need to lead the discussion concerning immigration. People are what matter most. Our Christian witness will be judged by our posterity on how faithful we were to the commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves. CE [www.nlec.org]
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Be intentional about effective lighting By Will Sutliff
The principles of good lighting can help draw people deeper into worship.
Lighting for worship is as much artistic as it is technical. Crafting a lighting design in a church environment involves understanding the congregation to the same degree, if not more, than the layout of the space. It is important to plan and prepare the technical aspects, including instrumentation (lights, also called fixtures), hanging placement, focus, color, etc. However, bringing the right brushes and canvas to a painter does not guarantee that they will create a painting that moves the viewer. It is up to the lighting designer to use the tools available to enhance the worship environment. Our culture has grown accustomed to a variety of entertainment lighting. Concert designers spend a great deal of resources on wowing their audiences with spectacle. Game shows have colorful lights covering the sets in an attempt to keep the audience visually interested in the show. Whether someone is going to a concert, watching a game show on TV, or attending the theater, lighting
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principles are being used to help captivate and draw in the audience. Those same principles can help draw people deeper into worship. Lighting can create a variety of emotional responses and can be used to enhance the desired environment. Think about how much a sunset can change your mood on the drive home from work. Seeing the magnitude of the color pallete and the way the light shines through the trees has a way of melting away the stress from the day. That same concept allows the lighting designer to craft a wide array of environments such as celebration, reflection, praise, stillness and deep worship.
Reaching the emotions The lighting designer can use color, texture and movement to create a captivating environment that taps into the emotions presented by the dynamics of the music or service element. For example, in a high energy and >>
Use new technology to solve an old problem We all know about how popular LED lights are for the stage, and chances are your worship team has either acquired some for your facility or is looking into the possibility for the future. But what about the rest of the building? Are there places where the rest of the church can benefit from the same advanced technology that you use in the sanctuary? Of course there are. There are plenty of ways that LED lighting can be used to cut down on operating expenses all over a worship campus, not just in the sanctuary. Just this spring Philips Lighting debuted the new L-Prize Lamp, winner of the U.S. Department of Energy competition to redesign the classic 60-watt bulb. With more than 971 million 60-watt bulbs in use in the United States, the DOE anticipates huge reductions in energy cost, replacement cost, and waste across the country with this new technology. Think about it: a new lightbulb in every table lamp that can run for almost three and a half years constantly without ever being replaced — and drawing fewer than 10 watts! You can get more light (the tested L-Prize Lamp put out light equivalent to a 75W bulb) for one-sixth the power, and it lasts for three years. How can you go wrong? And it’s not just in regular lamps. Downlights in the sanctuary can benefit from LED replacement as well. We all know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to change out lights over seating, especially if you have pews that are bolted to the floor. The new LED fixtures feature extremely long life, so with the normal use cycle of a sanctuary, it might be decades before the lamps need to be replaced. That savings on lift rentals and time adds up pretty quickly. The recent renovation of Catawba Heights Baptist Church in Belmont, NC, is a prime example of this kind of energy-conscious thinking. The church had Barbizon replace not only their stage lighting, but put in Solais LED PAR 38 replacement lamps in the fixtures over the seating area as well. While slightly more expensive to install, the LED fixtures allowed the church to forego expensive catwalks and suspension apparatus, resulting in an overall savings for the church. The savings will really start to rack up once the power bills come in, though, as the low-energy fixtures draw roughly 20 percent of the power of traditional sanctuary lighting. Handy energy calculators are available online for you to determine how much money you could save by upgrading your current lighting. They include:
Solais Par 38 LED Lamps installed in Elation PAR 38 cans.
Elation Platinum 5R Pro spots in the air and Platinum 5R Beams on the floor.
• www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/financial-tool.html • www.creeledlighting.com/Resources/Energy-Savings Calculator.aspx • bit.ly/simpcalc There are lots of ways that this new technology can be used to save your facility money, labor and effort. Contact your local lighting company to see how moving to the future might save you cash. CE
John G. Hartness is systems manager in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Barbizon Inc. [www.barbizon.com]
Existing fixture retrofitted with Chauvet Slim par LED for ambiance and ETC Selador Vivid-R LED for backlight.
04/2012 | Church executive | 21
fast tempo song, yellows, ambers and other warm colors could be used to visually support the pace. A slower more reflective song may call for blues, lavenders and other cool colors to match the mood of the music. If robotic lights are being used, the lighting designer will want to listen for dynamic changes within a song that justifies a movement of the lights. As an example, a slower pace verse of a song may transition into the full band chorus
where energy is being built. In those moments, slowly moving the robotic lights can represent the energy that is increasing in the music. Movement and energy can also be built with intensity. When the energy of the band builds, increasing the intensity of the lights can visually represent the change in the music. All lighting changes should reflect the dynamics of a song. Paying attention to subtleties and dynamics of the music can separate impactful lighting
that is visually representative from seemingly random designs that distract the worshipper. Lighting should also be intentional. Certain colors and angles complement each other like a painting. Blues and greens work well together as do reds and lavenders. Other color palletes may work against you, such as green and red, which may remind people of Christmas. In the same way using red, white and blue all together can remind people of patriotic themes. Lighting for worship must be approached in a different manner than lighting for entertainment. If the goal is to facilitate an atmosphere that helps the congregation to engage in worship, they become an important element to consider. It is essential to understand the congregation so that you know what will enhance worship and what will distract from it.
Avoid distractions For example, if a congregation has never seen robotic lights in a worship environment, it will be a distraction to them if the lighting designer crafts concert-style lighting from day one. If concert-style lighting is what is desired, it is going to take a gradual implementation plan to be effective. In this situation the lighting designer might start with just turning the robotic lights on in a particular color. The lighting designer must remember that worship is not a show. If people walk away saying how amazing the lights were, the focus may have been more on wowing the audience than enhancing the atmosphere. Instead the lighting designer might ask, â€œHow can I help lead people into worship?â€? If the congregation leaves the service knowing they were able to worship God, then the lighting designer can be proud of the looks they created, regardless of whether the congregation remembers any of them or not. CE Will Sutliff is technical director at Mission Community Church, Gilbert, AZ. [www.mission68.org]
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Through the wardrobe: From Narnia to The Bahamas
By Cindi Brodhecker
Castle in Northern Ireland.
The diversity of faith-based travel provides opportunities for visitors to learn, connect and rediscover their faith. Faith-based travel can be as diverse as the people traveling. Stop for a moment and think of the places your mind takes you when you think of faith-based destinations: Are you in the Middle East of Israel, Jordan or Palestine? Perhaps you’re visiting Greece, Turkey or Egypt as your thoughts travel. Have you ever thought of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England or even the Bahamas? The beauty of diversity is that the possibilities are endless. Everyone that has interest in enriching their faith should go to the Holy Lands of the Bible. Pilgrimages and study tours for all ages can change your life and grow your faith. Traveling with Bible teachers that share the Scriptures on site will renew your personal Bible study and enrich your spiritual life. But keep your passport open and your suitcase in reach because the blessings and rewards of faith-based travel extend beyond the usual destinations. Ireland’s Christian heritage goes back more than 1,500 years. From the distant mists of the monastic
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settlements at Bangor Abbey and the rolling drumlins of the County Down locations so closely associated with St. Patrick, the early Christian pilgrims and scholars reached out across Europe. The historical footprints of their work remain etched on the European landscape.
Footsteps of C. S. Lewis In modern times, scholars like C.S. Lewis have made important and significant contributions. Lewis is said to be the most quoted Christian author of the 20th Century. The impacts of his life and work still reverberate on this side of the wardrobe door. Those with an interest in Lewis
and his writing will want to learn more about where the ideas for the “Wardrobe, the Lion and the Lamp-post” came from. Lewis gives us a clue. In an article written at the request of his publisher he records, “It all began with a picture.… The picture had been in my mind from when I was about 16. Then one day when I was about 40, I said to myself: Let’s try to make a story about it.” Where had he spent his childhood and early teenage years? Lewis was born in Belfast in 1889. He was born the son of a solicitor and a clergyman’s daughter and had an almost idyllic childhood. His first books were written in Belfast and it is this set-
Event-based travel • • • •
Event-based travel is something for travelers to consider as well. World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil (www.worldyouthday.com) 2013-Celebration of 1,700 years of Christianity in Europe and Edict of Milan which would include travel to Rome and Istanbul. 2012-Eucharistic Congress in Dublin (www.iec2012.ie) Luther Year 2017 in Germany (www.germany.travel/en/specials/ spiritual-travel/martin-luther/martin-luther.html)
Photos courtesy of Dr. Alexander Smith.
ting that formed the early years of Lewis’s life. Visitors to Ireland, who are interested in following in the footsteps of Lewis and being introduced to his life and work using the very backdrop that shaped his life, will
love this type of tour idea. To imagine ancestral settings and to acquire a lasting impression of the region that gave rise to Narnia and much more besides, Belfast can form the short launching pad that includes a visit to
the historic City of Oxford, the scene of the second half of Lewis’s life. So now that we are “across the pond” why not visit Scotland and the background of the Presbyterian Church and John Knox, the >>
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Travelers to Ireland can travel in the footsteps of C.S. Lewis.
thundering Scot. The history of Knox can be found in Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and Glasgow and beyond. He traveled to Germany and Switzerland only to return and lead the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. Travel south to England for the history of the Methodist church or even Baptist church history. Faith-based travel can also include gathering your congregation for cruising, retreats and island relaxation and refresh type of travel. The fellowship of people in different settings, away from the rush of daily and weekly routine can be what you need. Even The Bahamas in the Caribbean would offer a faith-based experience that is closer to home â€” and a smaller budget. So remember no matter where you go on a church travel ministry experience, the diversity is there and so are the possibilities. It is not always the places you lead your group but the people that are in your group. Strengthen relationships that develop away from the church pew and the daily tasks can sometimes be the strongest. CE
Cindi Brodhecker is the founder of Faith Travel Development & Consulting and The Priscella Woman Tours, Ephrata, PA. [www.FaithTravelDevelopment.com] [www.priscillawomantours.com]
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learn to speak from the best BY rONALd e. KeeNer those who carry responsibilities in congregations, whether employed staff or volunteer leaders, need to speak well for themselves and their churches. Lynn Wilford Scarborough has written a helpful book, Talk Like Jesus (Phoenix Books), that many church administrators might gain from. Scarborough suggests that we can learn lessons “from the most effective speaker of all time.” She is founder of emPowerCom, a firm in strategic business communications and media training [empowercom.us]. Scarborough responded to questions from Church Executive: What can we know about how Jesus did talk? Jesus was an amazing master communicator. the gospels give us a tremendous amount of information about what Jesus said but also how he said it. When Jesus spoke he used stories, analogies, images and questions in a simple yet direct manner. he was able to communicate on multiple levels simultaneously (from senses to head to heart to spirit) and transmit spiritual principles.
think of it, today even the smallest child can remember his stories and the wisest of men still ponder their meaning. today’s critics would accuse him of telling children’s stories, complain he was too blunt or they would be angered by his ability to deflect their arguments. What should we make of it that Jesus did not always give a response? Is that a useful tactic in today’s business world? Jesus taught us that “No Comment” can be a safe place. Jesus did not feel obliged to answer or respond to situations that were no-wins, set ups, emotionally charged or when people had closed minds and hard hearts. talking before thinking is never a wise move. Jesus’ example gives us permission and the freedom to avert conflict or possible disaster by taking a “pass.” What should we make of Jesus’ “incredible popularity” in his day? Jesus used analogies, props and stories that everyone could relate to with their senses and understanding. the stories have humor and drama. Common sense also tells us that he must have been a dynamic and expressive storyteller as well. People don’t sit in the hot sun and walk for hours or days unless there is a great presentation. You write about him using “stories and analogies to deflect an attack.” Is there an example that can be applied to today’s church administrator? Jesus had a remarkable ability to avert aggression. When the Jewish leaders demanded to know if Jesus was the messiah, Jesus talked about the auditory responsiveness of livestock. (Sheep hear the good shepherd.) What Jesus realized was that the answer to the question wasn’t the issue; it was the intent and subtext that was the driver. in ministry there are always individuals who feel entitled to information and want to influence us as leaders. the wise administrator needs to have a cache of stories, analogies or quotes that can be used to redirect or deflect questions that are inappropriate or manipulative. You give Pilate credit as a good communicator? How so? i was surprised to discover that Pilate used the same principles that we teach for dealing with a media crisis. When you combine all the gospel accounts, Pilate tried over 20 ways to avoid crucifying Jesus. he told them it wasn’t his problem, not his job, there was no basis to the claims, asked for evidence, stalled, said Jesus was innocent, passed it off, tried to compromise, negotiated, and renegotiated. unfortunately Pilate was wrestling against the divine will of God. even though he was trumped by the Jewish leaders, Pilate’s story is an outstanding example of how to handle a difficult, adversarial or media crisis situation.
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advice they may be able to offer. You can also contact, or visit the websites of various religious trade organizations and magazines. The most important point to remember is you should not limit yourself to dealing with local institutions. Although you may have relationships within the community or a desire to support local commerce, the overriding commitment should be to stewardship. Several national lenders which specialize in church financing have financial products tailored specifically for churches. Their products exclude onerous and potentially expensive loan covenants. Expert church lenders also offer a well-defined and efficient process as well as deep experience with cash management for ministries, guidance regarding future borrowing capacity, and numerous other helpful tips which they have gathered from working exclusively with churches. When contacting prospective lenders there is a basic list of items which you should be prepared to provide. Each lender will then specify additional items which, upon their receipt and review, will likely result in a series of up-andback communications which will serve to fully orient your ministry with the bank.
Take advantage of low rates By Dan Mikes
In recent months the Federal Reserve has been uncommonly explicit regarding their intentions to hold interest rates low for the next couple of years. While this is hard on savers it certainly extends a rare window of opportunity for borrowers. Refinancing an existing debt at todayâ€™s low rates can free up substantial resources for outreach or new hiring which may have been frozen in recent years in response to economic circumstances. Knowing what to prepare and how to approach a prospective lender could prove key to securing a highly advantageous offer.
Identify prospects You should begin your refinancing quest by identifying prospective lenders. Other churches can be a good referral source. Ask them who their lender is, whether they would recommend that lender, which other lenders they included in their competitive bid process, and any other
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Guide through the process An experienced lender can guide you through this process and deliver a detailed Term Sheet or Preliminary Expression of Interest letter outlining pricing, loan structure, and sample covenants usually within one or two weeks. Allow up to a month or more with local lenders or banks which do not specialize in financing ministry. After selecting a lender, assume an additional four to six weeks to close the loan. The initial list of items you should be prepared to submit to a prospective lender includes: three years of income statements and balance sheets, three years of adult worship attendance totals, details of any capital pledge campaign, number of years in existence as a church, lead pastoral tenure, by-laws, board composition (i.e., family, staff, local lay persons, long-distance ministers, etc.), a brief description of real property owned and a laymanâ€™s estimate of the current market value. If physical plant expansion and related borrowings are anticipated within the foreseeable future, be sure to discuss this with the bank so that you are entering into your new relationship with mutual expectations. If your church has fewer than 500-600 adults in average weekly worship attendance the bank may not be concerned if the pastor or a board member acts as the lead contact person for communications with the bank through the financing process. However, churches with larger
congregations have the financial wherewithal to employ a qualified full-time business administrator. Frankly, when the pastor, board member, or, worse yet, a loan broker is identified as the banking contact for a large church the bank will see this as a red flag weighing against the prospects for loan approval.
Assessment of worthiness Banks work with businesses of all sizes on a daily basis. One of the key risk matrixes in the assessment of the credit worthiness of any organization is its management team. At a point, the sheer size of an organization dictates that in order for continued success there must be sufficient staffing, separations of duties and delegation of authority. That is not to say the pastor is not recognized as the head of the organization or that he should not be present at the eventual meeting with the bank and capable of demonstrating a sufficient grasp of the business side of the ministry. Pastoring a large church is an enormous task as well as the top priority which contribute to the continued success of the ministry.
Above a certain level of financial exposure the lender needs to know there is a capable business contact whose livelihood is linked to the continued success of the organization, and who is available to interact with the bank and the ministry’s other business partners on a full-time, daily basis. The loan application process provides the opportunity for the bank to make these observations. Designating a board member or a loan broker as a contact person obstructs the bank’s ability to make this key assessment. In closing, don’t wait to move to move forward with your efforts to refinance your church’s existing debt. Interest rates have never been lower and they will eventually move higher. Admittedly interacting with lenders is a time consuming stewardship task. Experienced church lenders have a well-defined process and can streamline your efforts, thereby leaving time for your other responsibilities which carry greater eternal significance.
Dan Mikes is executive vice president/manager church banking division, Bank of the West, San Ramon, CA. [www.bankofthewest.com]
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Women’s ministry today is not your
Former Saddleback women’s director says a woman on staff can reach other women inside and outside the church.
By Janet Thompson It’s an undisputed fact that the role of women in the church, the home and the culture is in perpetual flux. Pastors wrestle with how to meet the ever-changing needs of the generations of women in their congregations and debate whether an organized women’s ministry is the answer. Some pastors expect the women to “figure it out” on their own. I have good news! It’s not as complicated as you might think and a well-managed women’s ministry can help the pastor as he leads his flock. As a women’s ministry recipient and vocational equipper of women in the church, I have consulted with women from many churches. I can assure you that every church needs a woman on staff who is equipped to scripturally develop teams to “come along side,” strengthen women in the congregation and to reach women outside the church.
No longer grandma’s church It was common for women in my grandmother’s generation to connect with each other at church by cooking in the church kitchen, cleaning the buildings, teaching Sunday school, doing office work, or quilting and sewing.
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They often chatted and prayed together over a cup of tea at the kitchen table. Spiritual maturity and biblical knowledge came from the pastor’s sermons and reading the Bible, which was often lying open in my grandmother’s lap as she read Bible stories to my cousins and me. Unlike my grandmother’s generation, today’s “church woman” is looking for meaningful opportunities to use her giftedness to serve, to learn, and to connect. She doesn’t want to be treated like a “coffee and cookie maker” or “bulletin folder.” Today’s women want to be taken seriously in ministry, both spiritually and personally. This has been a frustrating and difficult transition for both the church and women, who often feel minimized.
The church adapting When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, I was a leader in the business world and had a vision of how a ministry for women could be developed using basic business principles such as: • Job descriptions, renamed Opportunity to Serve Descriptions. • Organization charts, which became ministry team charts.
• Interviewing to discover the right role for each woman that matches her gifts and talents. i appreciated the male pastors who took me seriously when i presented my ministry plan and handed me the “12 Steps to Starting a Ministry at Saddleback.” this was an organizational tool i understood and it allowed me to develop the ministry under the parameters of the church guidelines. When i completed the steps and reported back to the pastors, i listened to their input and they listened to mine. A ministry was launched that has been duplicated in churches around the world for more than 16 years. three “adapting” points to consider are: 1. include the women’s ministry director in staff meetings and leadership training so she can learn how to develop, equip, lead and commission teams that encourage women to use their gifts. 2. Support the women’s ministry in learning the dynamics and needs of the women in your church by utilizing technology and networking tools, to reduce program-oriented structure and implement fluid and flexible ministry opportunities. For example: online Bible studies; communicating via websites, blogs, email, twitter and social networks; one-day conferences replacing go-away retreats. 3. encourage women’s ministry to participate in a
church-wide effort to idenno woman left tify the next generation of Behind leaders and mentor them Carolyn Custis James in two-way relationships lives in Boxford, MA, and has authored Half where each generation the Church: Recapturlearns from the previous. ing God’s Global Vision Chris Adams, LifeWay for Women (Zonderwomen’s ministry senior van, 2011). She says specialist, agrees: “if we the church attempts are going to pass down the to speak with relevance to women, but the message often legacy to the younger genfails to address the opportunities, eration, we must mentor.” changes and contingencies of life A church that invests in a fallen world. in and supports the development of women’s ministry will experience significant growth and spiritual maturity in the congregation. “do we really need a women’s ministry? is it worth the effort?” i believe the answer is an irrefutable, “Yes!” CE Janet Thompson lives in Idaho and is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. She recently released a book, The Team That Jesus Built: How to Develop, Equip, and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team. (New Hope Publishers) [www.womantowomanmentoring.com]
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(which are still in process) to two general areas of focus to be immediately addressed: staff-wide communication and one-on-one communication.
Communication aids strong staff By Brian McGown It’s been said that the three most important rules of real estate are “location, location, location!” Likewise, managing any size church staff has a similar critical rule: “communication, communication, communication.” Like most great leadership lessons, we learned this the hard way. Early last year I sat in a meeting discussing the challenges of keeping a staff of high-octane people on the same page, avoiding train wrecks, easing frustration, and building trust between more than 50 teammates. As our church reached adolescence (14 years old) we were experiencing some growing pains that accompany double-digit attendance growth each year for the last five years, including a year of 65 percent growth when we moved out of a school and into a permanent facility. Our leadership staff knew we had to make some changes to maintain the healthy culture we had spent years cultivating. We narrowed the communication issues
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During a providential trip to a great church in Indiana for some benchmarking, I was encouraged and challenged by the intentionality with which they joined their whole staff together each week for a time of fellowship, worship, teaching and prayer. Rather than the typical all-staff business meeting, this time served to join the large staff together and pour life and encouragement into them. I quickly felt the sense of urgency and confirmation that Faithbridge needed a similar moment in our busy week. We decided to phase in the meeting, first quarterly, then monthly, and now we have “StaffLink,” our weekly Tuesday morning all-staff meeting, for one hour. We come together for fellowship, worship, teaching, prayer and announcements. This moment in our week has made a huge difference in the forging of relationships and trust between ministry areas and between the leadership and our staff. We are continually revamping and retooling to make sure that the one hour is a “get-to” and not a “have-to,” discerning the overall temperature of the staff. This past December we opened our second on-site venue during the Advent season capped off by eight Christmas Eve services and we could tell that the staff was tired. We needed a way to celebrate a great year, a completed building project, and a successful Advent season, so we converted “StaffLink” into a three-hour long “Staff Fun Day.” We asked the staff members for interesting facts about themselves, created a sheet for all to guess which fact went with which staff member, took all (now 60) team members to lunch at a local family-style Italian restaurant and just enjoyed each other’s company. It truly was a special time and everyone came back to the church offices with big smiles and happy memories. Celebrating all God has done in our midst was definitely a landmark on the landscape of our staff culture.
One-on-one communication There is nothing worse than doing a good job and not knowing if your supervisor even notices all the hard work and effort you put forth. The flip-side is also true; it is completely unfair to an employee to let them continue down a path that is unhelpful, unhealthy, or just plain wrong. With
that in mind, we have decided to no longer accept the minimum standards of an annual review that deals with 12-month-old information and delays praise or correction. Instead, an annual review is only part of our overall performance review process. Currently, we have in place a three-tiered approach: monthly check-in, quarterly review, and annual review. The monthly check-in is an informal hour set aside specifically for celebrating achievements and dealing with correction. The timeliness of the celebration of an achievement is so important and helps keep momentum and energy building within the employee. Likewise, the timeliness of dealing with an employee or a situation that needs some correction is vital to maintaining health, holding short accounts, and clearly defining expectations.
quarterly review times. This three-tiered approach has served the leadership and staff well in communicating very deliberately and clearly the expectations for both supervisors and employees. Frequent, specific and focused communication is the pulse of any healthy organization. We are striving to communicate well on a large scale and on a personal level, pursuing what we call “Ministry Excellence,” recognizing we are not perfect but giving our best to honor God and inspire others. Brian McGown is executive pastor at Faithbridge, a United Methodist Church, Spring, TX. [www.Faithbridge.org]
The quarterly review The quarterly review is a set of five questions that focuses on key information for discussion and future planning. We essentially do three quarterly reviews (1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarter) while the fourth-quarter review is a combination of an annual review and all three previous quarters. The five questions we ask our staff to complete prior to each quarterly review are:
My greatest sense of ministry accomplishment or fulfillment the past quarter has been …
The ministry goals I am prioritizing highest the next three months are …
We will know when each of these goals has been achieved when we see the following outcomes …
To help lead my area of ministry to achieve these goals, I am presently taking the following steps/prioritizing the following key activities …
The way you (your supervisor) could best help me in my ministry right now is …
The annual/fourth-quarter review is a 20-question self-review and adds questions regarding long-term goals and dreams. The annual review rarely has any surprises since we hopefully have celebrated accomplishments and dealt with issues as they arise in the monthly check-in and
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in the pulpit is like a BY rONALd e. KeeNer
Failure in marriage fidelity shows up clergy as big-time hypocrites. the health of a pastor is about more than germs and disease; it is as much about thoughts and temptations. Adultery is one of those temptations, and edward F. Mrkvicka Jr. says “avoiding the temptation of adultery is like a fire. When it first starts it can be put out rather easily, but if we don’t act immediately, a small fire can quickly escalate and burn down our house and everything in it.” it is a fire that has and can consume clergy as much as the parishioner in the pew. But there is a higher bar to be reached by pastors and church leaders. “As God’s earthly representatives, clergy must be held to a higher standard, as when we fall, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people see and/or feel, that Christians are nothing more than heathens who go to church on Sunday. A clergyman cannot be a hypocrite,” says Mrkvicka, a lay minister and counselor living in Marengo, iL. he has written a book on the topic, No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery, (tate Publishing, 2011) with his daughter Kelly Mrkvicka. Church Executive asked him about what he has found on the topic within the church: Do we have any evidence of the prevalence or impact of adultery within ministry? the alarming statistics of adultery are applicable to all; i.e., the clergy is not exempt from temptation. truth be told,
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because of counseling obligations, the lure of adultery to clergy, if anything, may very well exceed the norm; e.g., in various studies it’s reported that 70 percent of clergy have directly counseled a woman who had or was cheating on her husband. that’s potentially dangerous and too often leads to their sin becoming our sin. Does adultery always prohibit service within pastoral ministry? if we’re talking about an unrepentant adulterer, the answer is a resounding yes. As the Bible says, adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom, they most assuredly should not be practicing clergy here on earth. You write, “Adultery is choosing Satan over Jesus, death over life, and hell over heaven.” Tough words; what causes people to do so anyway? i once wrote an article on that topic, entitled “Why Adulterers Cheat,” the conclusion being that adulterers are, in their heart of hearts, narcissistic. i ended by saying, “it is impossible to be a narcissist and a practicing Christian at the same time. they are mutually exclusive. On the other hand, when God, instead of self, becomes the center of our universe, suddenly the natural flow of life becomes obvious — and makes sense.” What salvation is available to those who have committed adultery? You’ve written, “Unrepentant adulterers will not spend eternity in heaven.” repentance, repentance, repentance. We must repent or perish. this is not salvation through works, as such a thing is not biblically possible. it is instead, a holy response to the completely unmerited gift of everlasting life given to us at such great cost by our Savior. I’m aware of one pastor who confided in his wife the type of woman who was a danger to him (or to whom he is attracted), and together they worked through those times of temptation. Do you recommend this approach? i recommend we do whatever is necessary to remain clean and holy, as long as the approach is not in conflict with the Word. From a secular perspective, there is usually more than one answer to a problem. From a Christian point of view there is only one — we, as an expression of our love of Christ, must remain obedient so we have the right to claim his name. How can wives help their husbands in this tricky territory; where do pastoral couples go wrong in working this out together? My experience is that the number one mistake couples make in this regard is reacting after-the-fact instead of being vigilant before-the-fact. Perhaps it’s a it-can’thappen-to-us mentality, but as we unfortunately know, it can. Of course, once an adultery has happened, the ball is always in the adulterer’s court. here the mistake is that we try and save the marriage, without realizing that the marriage cannot be saved until the adulterer first gets right with God. There was one well known pastor who committed adultery, left the pastorate, did other church work, and I believe today is back with a congregation in the pulpit. Under what circumstances is this possible for others who might be selling shoes rather than preaching the Gospel? Fallen clergy who have truly repented, may, if offered, return to their position. the issue then becomes, have they actually repented? We must look to their actions to know their heart. Many pastors talk a good game after being exposed, but when you strip away the tinsel, instead of repenting, they blame-shift, try and rationalize their bad behavior, possibly remarry, and in the end take further advantage of a loving congregation that wants desperately to forgive the betrayal. Should pastors seek therapy on an ongoing, general basis to counter the stresses of ministry, among them temptation to adultery? >>
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I recoil at the word “therapy,” as it has a secular connotation. To be honest, I often have trouble with even some Christian counseling, as it is frequently little more than secular claptrap with a short prayer before and after the session. On the other hand, Christian fellowship based completely and solely on the Word of God is most assuredly
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helpful as we all need to be constantly reminded of God’s standards and our responsibilities. Are covenant groups with several pastors useful in giving support against the temptations of stepping outside their marriages; or does so much depend on the willingness of participants to really open up in such settings?
I have seen pastor groups do great good. Others, while properly intended, fail miserably. That being true, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that those attending determine the results — good or bad. For me personally, I love to talk and interact with those of like faith, but I’m very careful to always remember that nothing even comes close to some one-on-One time with the Lord. What do you mean when you write about “committing adultery without knowing it”? Many people, ignorant of the Word, remarry without biblical grounds. They have been deceived, and sometimes “innocently” misled into believing what God calls adultery is not adultery. But God’s Word says what it means, and means what it says — and we are to know the law. Where does forgiveness play into turning away from adultery? Unlike what you might think, forgiveness is too often used and abused by sinners to relieve the pressure of knowing they are in willful spiritual rebellion. They tell themselves their sin will be washed away, no matter what they do. That is treating the blood of Christ as a common thing, and God will have none of it. How heartbreaking that the glorious gift of forgiveness has been perverted, as Jesus died on the cross so our sins could be forgiven, not so we can continue to sin. Where can ministry go from “here” in lowering the incidents of adultery with pastors and ministry leaders? As the world needs real Christian leadership now more than ever, we cannot shirk our duty by not following the example of our God who can do all things except fail. We must be a holy case in point. Failure is not an option. Lastly, we need to openly and often talk about adultery among ourselves and with our congregations, as God’s truth is the greatest disinfectant. CE
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