Church Executive Magazine, July 2012

Page 1


JUlY 2012




AND reCreATION | 20

WilloW CreeK uSeS reGIONAL STrATeGy | 40




A blueprint for achieving the kind of life and career enjoyed by society’s super elite.


The process is defined and remedies are available if you take appropriate steps.


The Ce INTerv IeW

By Ronald E. Keener

Thirty years ago this April, a number of families joined together to form Christ’s Church of the valley in Peoria, AZ, which now has grown to 17,000 weekly attenders. Their purpose was to impact the north Phoenix valley for Jesus Christ – “acting like a missionary,” says senior pastor Don Wilson.

Don and Sue Wilson


Kansas church relies on concealed carry rather than a professional security team.



Security of three campuses can be monitored from one location, even from one’s home.


Damages can result in irreversible harm to a congregation’s image and sustainability.

Willow Creek Community Church reaches more people with strategic regional campuses.

TOO BIG TO FAIL? 43 By Samuel R. Chand

A lack of succession planning will hinder an organization from moving forward.


With phase one completed, Cape Christian continues to raise funds to finish the project.


Gyms and fitness classes are great perks, but make sure proper safeguards are in place.



Michigan church builds a ‘third place’ for families in surrounding communities.


8 ron Keener Church Executive (Copyright 2012), Volume 11, Issue 7. 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. ™

9 News update CorreCTion:

32 Speaking volumes By Ronald E. Keener

45 Technology Solutions By Aaron Goin and Josh Whitehead

46 Marketplace

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An error occurred in the June issue regarding Todd Clark’s eat Art program. It should have read, “Sixty percent of every eat Art purchase sends food overseas and the other 40 percent is used to print and ship the artwork.” Church executive regrets the error.

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 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. helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.

c h u rc h e xe c u t i ve . c o m









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Publisher/editor in Chief Steve Kane, ext. 205 editor ronald e. Keener, ext. 204 executive editor rez Gopez-Sindac Phone: 512.904.9007 Director of Sales Jennifer Owens ext. 202 Account executives Julius Tiritilli ext. 221 Maria Galioto ext. 201 Production Director valerie valtierra, ext. 203 Art Director renée hawkins, ext. 207 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

CeO Building Better Churches | Colorado Springs, 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

volume 11, No. 7


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vice President operations valerie valtierra Accountant Fred valdez

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ron Keener

WhO SPEAKS UP? ‘A new generation of pastors isn’t so driven to be that one, national voice.’ I never met Chuck Colson nor heard him speak, but I grew to love his viewpoints on Christianity and the church and his perspectives on today’s culture through his daily Breakpoint e-mails. After his death at age 80 I feel a tremendous loss without his wisdom and candor for the church. I have to wonder: Who speaks for the church now? Billy Graham is 94 in November and we miss his presence in the pulpit. Franklin Graham has a strong message but his attention is Chuck Colson rightfully overseas and focused on the parachurch. When CNN’s Larry King wanted a point of view from the evangelical church he went to Jerry Falwell or Pat robertson, as if either of them really spoke for the church-at-large. Occasionally John McArthur, now 72, showed up at the “King’s Table,” and one or two other well-known preachers. robert h. Schuller used to be a favorite, but, well, we know that recent sad story. Today, Piers Morgan is enraptured with Joel Osteen every six months or so. But do any of these people represent the wider church and speak for evangelical Christianity? The extremes, yes; for the prosperity gospel, sure. Get past the “celebrity pastors” and who speaks for the larger faith? Many of the best speakers for the faith, and for the church in the world, keep busy with their own congrega-

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tions and avoid the national media scene. Chuck Smith Sr. is 84 and ailing. Charles Stanley is 80. Chuck Swindoll and Jack hayford were born in 1934. houston’s ed young Sr. was born in 1936 and Phoenix’s Tommy Barnett in 1937. (Thanks to Leadership Network for the birth years.) Willow Creek’s Bill hybels, 60, doesn’t feel the need to speak out on every social, cultural and political argument in the headlines. In that he plays the smart game. Saddleback’s rick Warren, 58, takes a more visible approach to public issues, as “America’s Pastor” some would say, but chooses his themes carefully . Where are the “young bucks” within the church who bring it fresh thinking? And I don’t mean universalist rob Bell. Such as David Platt, Pete Wilson, Mark Batterson, randy Frazee or rick rusaw? And the “not so young” Buster Soaries, Chris hodges, Miles McPherson and Larry Osborne? They are pretty silent. The church is under attack like no other time, and if responsible church men and women don’t speak up on its behalf in these turbulent social and cultural times, others, not so well meaning, will. The day this is written President Obama advanced the gay agenda another notch. Truth is, as Joel hunter found out, when the culture engages the church, the church loses. Still, one cultural observer suggests “I’m not sure that need [an

acknowledged spokesman for the church] hasn’t passed.” Phil Cooke, a media consultant and pastor’s son, in Burbank, CA, says, “This generation is driven by ‘community’ and that’s why a single leader-spokesperson isn’t emerging. A new generation of pastors isn’t so driven to be that one, national voice. We’re also finding that second generation leaders, even of major national figures, aren’t as – shall we say – egotistical.” “Look at Jonathan and Jerry Falwell, robert Anthony Schuller, Gordon robertson and others. All very low-key, but capable leaders. Not seeking to make a grandiose statement, just trying to take care of business,” Cooke says. enough to do, right at home!

Got a question or comment? email


RELIGIOUS WEBSITES MOST PRONE TO HACKERS Online religion may be good for your soul but dangerous for your computer, according to a new report. A report by Symantec, a company that sells computer-security software, rates websites devoted to religion or other ideologies the ones most targeted by malicious hackers. Infected religious websites averaged 115 threats, most commonly fake anti-virus software, says Symantec. That was three times the rate of hosting and personal hosted websites and fourand-one-half times that of pornographic sites. The safest places for web surfing are sites about sports (average 13 threats per infected site), automotive (11) and

shopping (9). Symantec says it blocked more than 5.5 billion malware attacks in 2011, an 81 percent increase over 2010. An average of 82 targeted attacks takes place each day, and you are more likely to be infected by malware placed on a legitimate website than one created by a hacker, the report says. Mobile phones are becoming increasingly susceptible to malware attacks, with smart phone sales projected to reach 645 million in 2012. The report said 232 million identities were stolen in 2011. The most frequent cause of data breaches was not online but the theft or

loss of a computer. Macs are not immune from attack, and spammers are starting to use Quick Response, or QR, codes to trick users into installing Trojans – benign programs that also conceal another malicious program – onto their Android phones. The report advises computer users to use up-to-date security programs and become educated about hacker tricks like getting them to believe their computer is infected and can be fixed with an automatic download or offering “free” or “pirated” versions of

QUESTION ABOUT ‘UNREPENTENT ADULTERERS’ I appreciated your article on adultery in the pulpit. [April 2012] It is a serious issue that should be dealt with seriously. However, I have an issue with one of the statements made by the book’s author and person interviewed. I assume you asked the question regarding those who have committed adultery and what “salvation is available to them.” You even quote him as saying, “Unrepentant adulterers will not spend eternity in heaven.” If the person who commits adultery is a believer, to say they will not spend eternity in heaven can only imply they will lose their salvation. While this isn’t being saved by your works, it implies that you have to have good works to keep your salvation. Either option is a contra-

diction of grace. I have to be good to get salvation or I have to be good to keep salvation. Grace has nothing to do with good works. I don’t think this represents the position of your magazine or one of the basic tenets of Christianity.

computer programs. Symantec recommends passwords that are a mix of letters and numbers and to change them often. Never open or execute an e-mail attachment unless you expect it or trust the sender, and be cautious when clicking on links in e-mails or on social media. In addition to technology solutions, the report recommends guarding personal data by never disclosing any confidential information without confirming the request is legitimate and monitoring bank and credit-card accounts for irregular activity. — Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.


are to know and obey God’s law. If we are to be known and judged by our works as the Bible says, and chose to willfully sin (com-

Daron Adkison Executive Pastor Fairfield Baptist Church Cypress, TX [Response by Ed Mrkvicka] We must be careful to differentiate between good works and obedience, two different subjects often confused to the detriment of our faith. The Bible notes, as do I in the article, that salvation through works “is not biblically possible.” It is a gift, plain and simple. But we

mit adultery), and then refuse to repent (Luke 13:3), perhaps we’re not the Christian we claim to be and were never saved in the first place. Unrepentant adulterers are an enemy of God (James 4:4) and will not inherit the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), notwithstanding their claim to be saved.

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the ce interview

Don Wilson Senior Pastor | Christ’s Church of the Valley | Peoria, AZ

Thirty years ago this April, a number of families joined together to form Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, AZ, which now has grown to 17,000 weekly attenders. Their purpose was to impact the north Phoenix valley for Jesus Christ – “acting like a missionary,” says senior pastor Don Wilson.

By Ronald E. Keener

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“To act like a missionary means we have to think strategically about how to reach an unchurched culture, instead of thinking like a pastor where our primary concern is how to keep the church members happy,” Wilson says. What did the church do to observe the anniversary? We decided to celebrate by giving to the community instead of doing something for ourselves. We adopted 300 elementary schools and honored the teachers and provided paper supplies to the schools. We served 300,000 students, 11,000 teachers and 300 schools. Was there a “train wreck” or two during those growing years that you had to get past? I had four staff turn on me and make false accusations regarding my integrity. I went through a three-hour congregational meeting and lost my energy for ministry for about six months. They resigned and left the staff, but the hurt remained for a long time. The congregation has a somewhat distinct marketing or growth strategy. How do you define it? Our major growth strategy is three-fold: We want to reach the man so we can reach the whole family. Statistics overwhelmingly say that if you reach the man you will have a much greater chance of reaching the whole family. We want to reach the younger generation so we have a future. We want to reach our neighbors so we can change the culture. Can you expound on the challenges to the congregation you spelled out in your State of the Church message? One of the biggest challenges for our church as we move ahead is being the church instead of just coming to church. We have to continually develop a ministry philosophy and strategy that pushes our people off of the campus and into the community and the marketplace. What did you mean when speaking of what Jesus loves vs. what people love? Something along the lines that Jesus loves lost people, but is the church concerned? I believe the longer the local church is in existence, it naturally wants to turn inward. We have to continually fight the consumer mentality in the church where people think it is all about meeting their needs. One way we do that is by constantly focusing on reaching people who are far from God. How would you describe Arizona in terms of the Christian church losing its influence? I don’t know the exact statistics in Arizona, but I have heard that between 80 to 90 percent of people in our state don’t go to church. If that is true then we have lost most of our influence and found ourselves on the defensive. You have a story of your family moving to a new home and

reaching out to your next-door neighbor. My wife and I moved into a new home in a new community more than two years ago. My mission field is the 20 homes next to where I live. After two years of inviting my neighbor to church and trying to build a relationship with them, they came to church. I asked them what finally got them to come and the wife made a very interesting statement. She said that you can only tell your friends “no” so many times and that sooner or later you are going to have to say “yes” to them. The moral of the story was: Don’t give up too soon. Keep planting seeds and watering and God will give the increase. Why do many people find it hard to share their faith? I think most people find it hard to share their faith for several reasons: One reason would be the fear of the unknown. Another reason would be they don’t know the Bible well enough. Another reason would be we really don’t think people are going to hell without Jesus. And another reason would be because they don’t know how to share a salvation message and lead someone to faith in Christ. You’ve used the expression that the church is the visiting team and needs to be trained to be the home team? How so? When I say the church is the visiting team, I mean that most of our culture today does not like the church. The mention of the church creates lots of emotion and hostility, much like >> a visiting team going to play in their rival’s stadium. Most of us as pastors were trained at a time when the church was still the home team and people respected and valued the church. So we are going to have to change our strategy to win the hearts and minds of those who oppose us. You had a recent trip to Uganda for leadership. I as well as our church are involved in >> 07/2012 | Church executive | 11

John Maxwell’s EQUIP leadership training. I have trained pastors in Peru, Portugal and am presently training pastors in Uganda. Our church staff and key laypeople will be training more than 8,000 leaders in more than 15 different countries this year. What is the church’s strategy for multisite? We have a large 100-acre campus at our Peoria location that attracts almost 17,000 people on a weekend and 2,000 people on our Surprise campus. We realized that no matter how big our campus is, we can never impact the city at just one location. So we decided to be one church in many locations. We will be opening up a campus in Scottsdale this August. We currently have more than 1,500 people in the Scottsdale area that drive to CCV. If we can get a campus closer to where they live, it will be easier for them to invite their neighbors. What are your plans for succession or transitioning? How do you feel about being a “grandfather figure” to many of your young parishioners? Our elders have an emergency plan in place and we are also working on a succession plan together. In the last few years I find that I am being perceived by the younger generation as a grandfather figure instead of a father figure. For some reason that has allowed me to still be able to connect with the younger generation on a different level and from a different perspective. I am really a frustrated youth pastor at age 64. I love students and am honored when they ask me to speak to their student groups. []

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BEING PASTORS OF INFLUENCE I have been asked to lead what is called the Pastors of Influence in our city. This is a group of larger churches from different theological backgrounds that have decided to work together to serve our city. We are now calling it UNDIVIDED – one church serving the valley. We want to encourage and include all sizes of churches in our city to work together to serve the needs of our city. Our focus is on the needs of our communities. This includes three initiatives: Adopt every school, eradicate hunger, and empty foster care by serving and collaborating with existing organizations, agencies, and institutions that are doing good in the community. — DW

how to create, build and monetize pastoral

A blueprint for achieving the kind of life and career enjoyed by society’s super elite. By rONALD e. KeeNer

you see or hear about “celebrities” like Max Lucado, Joel Osteen and rick Warren and you probably wonder how they got to the top. Well, wonder no more. Personal branding experts Jay and Maggie Jessup of Seattle-based Platform Strategy spill out the secrets to achieving visible professional and personal success in their book Fame 101: Powerful Personal Branding & Publicity for Amazing Success (Sutton hart Press, 2010). But first, some clarification from the authors: “The sort of fame we wrote about is not the Paris hilton, Kim Kardashian or other superficial self-focused or money-focused celebrities. What we call fame is the coordinated use of branding, publicity and marketing to maximize a person’s impact.” here, the authors share with Church Executive what they claim is a fame formula “to create success beyond all imagining.” Do you find that pastors strive for celebrity status as much as anyone? I imagine that few, if any, would seek out celebrity or fame simply to get their name in the paper or to be invited as an expert for television appearances. At the same time, we see many pastors who, by writing a book or providing unique insights into cultural trends, are discovered by the media. Franklin Graham would be a good example. his appearances on Larry King’s show delivered his message and perspective to millions, which is a high-impact 14 | ChurCh exeCuTIve | 07/2012

FOUR STEPS TO CULTIvATE FAME So we have a pastor who has talent and something to say on behalf of evangelical Christianity. What should he do to cultivate fame for himself? Fame – visibility, recognition, credibility, impact, reach – is built with several foundational elements. A pastor, seeking this sort of fame, can build a great platform by focusing on four areas. • He needs a professional online presence for himself, his message and his activities. • He should definitely write a book because Americans elevate authors to a special status. It will open doors to speaking and the media that require author status for admission. • He should train and practice to become a professional speaker; the fees can be amazing, and effective communicators are rare and always in demand. Professional speaking can be learned and mastered surprisingly quickly. • Finally, he should familiarize himself with how to capture and keep the media spotlight because that’s how to connect with thousands or even millions with his message.

ministry or evangelism if you will, but I’m certain he didn’t seek media attention for personal aggrandizement. Certainly, some pastors position themselves to capture the media spotlight for their ministry, and many are more impactful and effective for the effort. How can church leaders use fame for the good purposes of the church or humanitarian ministries? That’s a great question as fame can surely be used for good or not-sogood. Pastors are in a terrific position to use fame to enhance their ministry as they already have some visibility. One quick way to use fame to help in any effort is to co-opt the fame of another who has already achieved it. A fundraiser or annual picnic will be better attended, more talked about, and spotlighted by the media if a pas-

tor secures a local or regional notable to give a short talk, attend a ribbon cutting, or present a youth service award. This is someone people have seen in the news or on television as Americans elevate people in the news to a special status. Knowing that fame can deliver more people to events (or weekly services), a pastor might well seek some increased visibility for himself through a radio show, by authoring a book, or training to become a professional speaker. How is fame being used badly within the church? history and even today’s geopolitics have their share of people who manipulate people by abusing the power of fame. Despots spend millions on publicity, learn to become powerful communicators with speech trainers and writers, and too often

disguise bad intentions within the flag of patriotism or in the guise of faith. Fame can be and is used to cause people to part with their money, time and principles. Fortunately, we live in an increasingly transparent world where we’ve seen dictators fall, false ministries exposed, and leaders who exploit people by using the power of fame fall to the wayside. There are many more examples of fame being used within the church for good than for negative purpose. Church leaders who abuse their power are in the news because they are exceptions to the norm and therefore newsworthy. You say that one can become famous “by developing the best authentic you.” Don’t most people look at fame as being inauthentic and just an image one projects? We need to draw the >> 07/2012 | ChurCh exeCuTIve | 15

distinction between the kind of fame we write about (and help people develop) and the Hollywood sort of celebrity, which is inauthentic, imagefocused, and particularly self-focused. But fame, as we describe it, is a powerful tool that has been used by pretty much every high-impact notable in modern history – from Billy Graham and Mother Teresa to Suze Orman and Sara Palin. The key here is that to achieve professional fame (recognition, cred-

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ibility, effectiveness) one must remain authentic and true to their own traditions and values, offering a face and voice to the outside world that conveys that self. Anything less than authenticity might get someone what Andy Warhol called 15 minutes of fame, but for lasting professional effectiveness, authenticity is a foundational requirement. What “authentic you” does a Robert Schuller or a Joel Osteen project? Can you speak to how

they use fame to project their ministries? I think Joel is a better example as Dr. Schuller is more of a relic from a prior generation. Joel Osteen is an ideal example of building a powerful personal brand. While some might disagree with his message, there is no doubt that he has embraced available tools and technologies to maximize his impact and connect with millions of people. He is an excellent communicator and understands the need to master the “entertainment” aspect of speaking to a big audience. There is no doubt he has trained and practiced tirelessly to perfect his presentation skills and packages his message with almost precisely the formula used by Billy Graham. He engages the audience and uplifts the audience to maximize their openness and eagerness for his spiritual message. It’s brilliant timing, exceptional presentation and, in my opinion, he couldn’t pull it off if he wasn’t indeed authentic. Certainly, he is well-packaged and well-trained; in essence the best authentic Joel Osteen. Give examples of how someone can use fame to spread the reach of their message and get things done. The fame we help create and have been mastered by some of the best-known pastors uses a mix of branding, publicity and marketing to maximize the impact of their message. Recognition is one of the benefits of building a powerful personal brand, and that does indeed get things done for pastors or anyone. Who would have more success at getting any A-list entertainer to appear for a fundraiser or even getting a call through to issue the invitation? Rick Warren or John Doe; Joel Osteen or Bob Doe? If Franklin Graham needed some government clout to send a team to Haiti, China or wherever, do you think he would have a problem getting through to the White House? Assuredly not. That’s fame and it’s a valuable tool to achieving important goals. Can you give some observa-

tions on the use of fame by Joel osteen, Billy Graham, rick Warren, Max lucado and others? Billy Graham was one of the first to master the power of broadcasting with his radio show in the ‘40s and leveraging this into a worldwide ministry. rick Warren was an early adopter of using technology, specifically the Internet, to share and spread his message and serve a community. he built one of the largest congregations in the u.S. and wrote and marketed what became two of the largest-selling faith-based books in history, partly leveraging his online resources and community. Similarly, Max Lucado catapulted from a West Texas pastorship into the national spotlight with well-publicized books and book tours, speaking to audiences of 10,000 or more across the country and winning the national spotlight as a credible expert on faith in modern culture using the same publicity techniques used by every hollywood icon. Joel Osteen built a very well-

defined brand and then publicizing and selling that brand using the same tools, techniques and technology as the most powerful 1 percent in every field, whether science, entertainment or the church. These church leaders have used the same fame formula to maximize their outreach and impact and connected with millions in the process. You make a point that fame does not automatically make a person rich. Yet you also note that it’s because they didn’t monetize it. Please explain. Fame and money are two different things although, frequently, they can be found together. The point is that one does not lead automatically to the other. Fame, at least our definition of it as very visible and powerful professional success, only assures that you have well-packaged and publicized expertise. Whereas this will attract some opportunities for pecuniary gain, the greatest opportunities for profit require proactive steps either in the

brand building/publicizing process or afterwards once the professional brand has traction. Professional speakers are surprisingly well compensated, and professional visibility is a prerequisite to winning those opportunities. But you must work to connect with meeting planners, conference organizers and such to get booked. The same principle is evident in book deals or winning new clients for a professional practice. If you want to monetize your brand, you have to work at it strategically. Fame does not automatically create an enhanced income stream; however, it does make developing that income stream much easier. CE

07/2012 | ChurCh exeCuTIve | 17

SPeCiAl SeCTion


Church builds park to

serve city

With phase one completed, Cape Christian continues to raise funds to finish the project. By ChAD WOOLF

Cape Christian is a large contemporary congregation in a city ranked as one of the top in the nation for foreclosures and unemployment rates. This reality prompted the church to shift its focus – from building a $15 million worship auditorium to building a 100,000-square-foot park for its

city. After assessing how loss of jobs and homes was impacting families, Cape Christian launched a campaign to build Fellowship Park. Open to the public, Fellowship Park will include the city’s first amphitheater, a splash pad, four children’s playgrounds, sports and multipurpose

fields, common areas, a zip line, a jogging trail, pavilion and café. It will be funded, built and maintained by the church. In addition, Cape Christian launched the community-wide campaign, “Not in My City,” providing comprehensive resources for children, married couples and people in crisis. “It’s alarming that 350 children are homeless in our city. Assessing the community’s needs was sobering and led us to turn our attention outside the walls of our church,” says Cape Christian lead pastor Wes Furlong. “even though we’ve outgrown our facility, we cancelled our plans for a new worship center. Instead, we’re building a park where families can gather, play, attend concerts and community events. We’re also providing resources to help families who’ve lost homes or jobs. We are a church that exists for our city.”

Phase one completed

Fellowship Park rendering, when fully completed for the community.

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Phase one of Fellowship Park was completed in only 10 days thanks to an army of nearly 400 volunteers and cooperation from city leaders. Phase one includes a large sunken fountain, beautifully paved courtyard, a huge seating area underneath crepe myrtle

SPeCiAl SeCTion trees, and hundreds of plants, palm trees and other lush vegetation. “The idea was to create a space where anyone could come and just enjoy the beautiful, natural paradise we live in,” comments founding pastor Dennis Gingerich. he and his wife, Linda, founded the church 25 years ago with a dream of reaching families who wouldn’t normally join a local church. “We’ve always had a heart for the families of Cape Coral; this park is just the latest expression of that passion. We can’t wait until we finish the other two phases and this place is filled with the sounds of young families every day.” The park will eventually become the city’s premier venue for events, but more than that it will serve as a visible sign of Cape Christian’s commitment to meet the needs of its neighbors as seriously as it meets the needs of its >>

SAFE, EASy ONLINE SPORTS REGISTRATION When it comes to the tedious task of registering hundreds and sometimes thousands of youth sports league participants, churches can count on SportsSignup to make the process easier. The company specializes in online registrations for youth sports, online fundraising and background checks of volunteers and coaches. Benefits of putting the registration process online include: fewer man-hours in processing handwritten forms via elimination of data entry; reduced cost of postage paper, ink and postage; increased productivity; reduction of errors; increased responses, attendance and revenues; and an e-mail database that allows easy participant notification. The process of registering just one child for a sports team or event takes an average of eight sheets of paper, including the registration form itself, a parental/guardian consent form, medical waiver, league information form, special notices, and flyers to advertise the event. Think about how many children are playing recreation sports. According to, there are about 50 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 17. That’s a lot of paper. Every aspect of an online registration is paperless and handled electronically. The company estimates it has already saved more than 500 tons of paper since the company’s inception in 2003, and says it will save 100 tons of paper alone in 2012. Included in that savings are more than 100 parishes and organizations who participate in the Catholic Youth Council (CYC) of St. Louis, MO, which named SportsSignup as its official registration program in February. “We are confident that the process will help move our entire sports program forward by allowing all of our parishes, districts and our main office to share information and streamline the registration process,” says Paul Scovill, CYC St. Louis sports director. “It solves real problems and eases the burden on volunteer administrators.” — Rich Thomaselli []

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members. “So many people are skeptical of the church’s true motives; we want to do everything we can to demonstrate God’s love in a practical way, not just in the words we speak during sermons and personal conversation,” adds pastor Gingerich.

Externally focused The largest Mennonite church in the U.S., Cape Christian has doubled its attendance in five years and created more than 20 ministries for the city, including a mentoring program for young mothers and a state-

New fountains, with church facility in background.

approved character curriculum in public schools. Its “Feeding Cape Coral” program has stocked food pantries with more than 23,000 items. In addition, the church is recruiting volunteers with the goal of logging 1 million volunteer hours within public schools. Cape Christian also plans to launch the Center for Family Life to create resources for parents, married couples, and people with addictions and other life-controlling issues. Now that phase one has been completed, the church will continue to raise funds to start phase two. The park will also feature Cape Coral’s first interactive play area that incorporates electronic gaming elements with physical exercise. CE Chad Woolf is director of Not In My City, a ministry of Cape Christian Church in Cape Coral, FL. ( More about Not In My City at

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Members get

Sports SPeCiAl SeCTion

without getting hit Gyms and fitness classes are great perks, but make sure proper safeguards are in place. By erIC SPACeK

Many churches are providing their members with more than a building in which to worship on Sundays. Some have coffee shops or offer business classes. Some have gymnasiums, fitness centers and on-site fitness classes. While these are great perks in today’s age of wellness awareness, they also bring liabilities and require extra precautions.

Establish guidelines No matter what type of fitness opportunity you offer at your church, it is important that the participants are physically capable of taking part in the activity. Post a statement urging all participants to be evaluated by a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. establish rules of conduct and have all members sign a form acknowledging they are aware of these rules. Post these rules at your facility to remind the participants what you expect of them while they are on the property. Include rules on attire, conduct, sanitation, hygiene, food and drink, valuables, and reporting of problems. Facility procedures also should be established, including facility hours

and emergency response procedures. having the proper staff is important in keeping your members safe. This means having an adequate number and keeping them appropriately trained, including training on CPr and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AeD) if your facility has one. A church representative should be present at each activity in the gymnasium. he is responsible for implementing rules and responding to emergency situations. She also should be trained to respond to and report injuries. For fitness classes, only hire certified instructors. If you are hiring an outside instructor, have a written facility-usage agreement with hold harmless language. Also, require a certificate of insurance, with the church added as an additional insured. The exercise equipment in your fitness center is prone to wear and tear over time. Perform regular inspections of the machines, as well develop a plan to remove malfunctioning equipment from service. After the fitness classes, equipment should be properly cleaned and stored. Decide who will be allowed to use your facilities. There are certain

liabilities that come with opening your doors to minors and outside groups. By putting extra safeguards into place, the potential for an incident can be reduced.

Get release forms If minors are allowed, establish a minimum age limit. require the minor’s parent or guardian to sign a parental consent/release form and a parental consent to treatment. When outside groups are allowed to use the facilities, put together a facility usage agreement with hold harmless language. require a certificate of insurance from the outside group naming the church as an additional insured. Offering fitness facilities to your congregation can be a great benefit, but it comes with additional liabilities for your church. establishing guidelines, posting expectations and taking precautions can help reduce your chance of an incident. CE

Eric Spacek is senior risk manager at GuideOne Insurance, West Des Moines, IA, and a former liability litigation trial attorney in Washington, D.C. []

07/2012 | ChurCh exeCuTIve | 23



Making an


in greater Detroit

Michigan church builds a ‘third place’ for families in surrounding communities.

By David Dummitt

We want this to be a facility that extends beyond Sunday morning, reaches out beyond our regular church attendees. This is our gift to the community we love and have served for more than six years. This is a nostrings-attached gift. You don’t have to go to our church, or to any church, to enjoy the community center. In fact, we’d like to hear from the community as to how to best use the space. What kind of space does the community feel is most needed – sports courts, coffeehouse, school for the arts, What’s with the name? refers to the Bible verse in Acts, chapter 2, teen center? verses 42-47. It explains the original model of how the church should be like. The goal is that Brighton area residents will adopt the facility as their third home, building relationships and becoming more invested in their community. Why is Community Church undertaking such a huge project? The leadership would simply say, “We’re passionate about helping people take their next steps with God.” Community Church launched on Feb. 13, 2005 at Scranton Middle School and soon moved into the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Brighton High School, and has grown to 1,100 weekend attendees. In addition to the 300-person Ann Arbor campus launched in Commitment Sunday at the Brighton campus of Community Church. 2009, our Thru47 ( is

We knew that Livingston County could use a “third place” – somewhere other than the home or workplace – to meet with friends and neighbors, build relationships and create community. Community Church purchased the obsolete Brighton Athletic Club on Grand River across from the local hospital. When renovated – anticipated within the next 14 months – the building will become a multipurpose facility for the community. Residents will be able to meet

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friends for coffee at the indoor/outdoor cafe or invite a coworker to play pickup basketball during lunch hour. There will be opportunities to attend winter concerts in the auditorium, use the space for meetings and organize a playgroup at the play structure. The teen space is designed so that middle- and high school kids can have a safe place to hang out, get homework help or take music lessons at the school for the arts. And yes, on Sunday, there will be church.

Right flooring saves church big money Most churches have fellowship halls – a place to hold events and gatherings and where community takes place. Because this type of space demands multipurpose use and attracts heavy foot traffic, choosing the right flooring is crucial. The leadership at Flemington First Church of Christ in Pennsylvania made such an important decision. When the church started eight years ago, the congregation thought they would just refurbish an existing building. However, they ended up constructing their own building.

our effort to make a larger impact on the 67 percent of people who are far from God and the 20 percent of people living on less than $2 a day. God has done amazing things through over the past six years. Now, he is presenting us with one of our most defining moments. We believe God has a vision for to

be an impact church – a church that transforms the spiritual landscape of Brighton and Ann Arbor, our surrounding communities, the greater Detroit area, and the world. CE Dave Dummitt is lead pastor Community Church in of Howell, MI. []

Padenpor seamless flooring.

For the past two years, Flemington has been building a 25,000-square-foot church – one of the largest in the East Coast. For flooring, they chose Padenpor for its multipurpose capability. The sanctuary is divided by two 20-inch-wide doors that open to a multipurpose area. The church plans to use the area for volleyball and basketball tournaments and other sports events to reach out to the community. The space will also be used for stage productions, film showing and wedding receptions. Padenpor is manufactured by Abacus Sports Installations Ltd. in Lancaster, PA. Seamless flooring like Padenpor has proven to be the most durable, diverse and sustainable type of flooring for multipurpose areas. By building a multipurpose room and having additional special design applications, Shaffer said construction costs were reduced to $2 million – from the original plan of $6.5 million. Even though the Padenpor flooring cost a little more than the tile floors the church first considered, it enabled the church to take advantage of the flooring’s multipurpose capabilities, thus reducing overall costs. — Rus Shaffer, Acabus Sports Installations []

07/2012 | Church executive | 27

When churches face


Defaulting on loans comes to church too

By Daniel P. Dalton

The process is defined and remedies are available if you take appropriate steps. The Wall Street Journal sounded the alarm on the rise in church foreclosures in a Jan. 25, 2012 story titled “Church Foreclosures Seen as ‘Next Wave’ in Crisis.” It is very important to take the issue of defaulting loans seriously and address them as soon as possible. One of the first things to do in a commercial foreclosure process is to review all loan documents. Review the lender’s entire loan file and talk with the loan officer in charge of the file. Common documents to be reviewed include the basic loan documents of the note(s), mortgage(s), all applicable amendments or modifications and co-lender or participation agreements if the loan is participated. Other documents include assignment of rents, crosscollateralization agreements, security agreements and guarantees. These documents will give you an idea of what is involved in the loan, who may be responsible for

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payments in the event of default, and how foreclosure may occur upon default. If you are in default, what happens next? The timeline for commercial foreclosures is based on state foreclosure laws, and may also depend on whether the property is owner occupied, and in some cases the property type. It is important to consult with a professional who has the basic knowledge of the process for the state where the loan is located.

Procedures will vary Although foreclosure procedures vary from state to state, the following is a general overview of the commercial foreclosure process. All foreclosures begin with the lender notifying the borrower that it is in default of the loan agreement. Once a

agreements have a “Power of Sale� clause in a note or church defaults on a commercial mortgage, the lender will security instrument, which allows the lender to foreclose send a notice of default via certified mail and will include and sell the property if the borrower defaults on the terms the total amount that must be paid by the borrower in order of a loan. to reinstate the loan. After satisfying all statutory notice provisions, the If the borrower fails to reinstate the loan, the lender lender may proceed with a non-judicial foreclosure, which is will send him a notice of acceleration demanding payment an auction-type sale that usually takes in full within a specified period of time place on the courthouse steps in the to avoid foreclosure. county where the property is located. The third notice is a notice of A non-judicial foreclosure The property is sold to the highest foreclosure notifying the borrower of is an auction-type sale that bidder; if there are no bids, the lender the lender’s intention to foreclose. The usually takes place on the is automatically deemed to be the highnotice contains the total amount due courthouse steps. est bidder and takes possession of the on the loan, the date, time and location property. of the foreclosure sale, and identifies the instrument by which it claims the right to foreclose. Post-foreclosure sale The final notice is the IRS notice. If the IrS has a tax After the foreclosure sale is completed, the church is lien against the property, the lender must send the IrS a left with eviction, and possibly a deficiency judgment and notice at least 25 days before the foreclosure. redemption. eviction occurs after the sale is completed; the lender or a new buyer may evict the church from the premises. State law governs the eviction process. The foreclosure sale In some states, the lender may also pursue a defiOnce the notice requirements are satisfied, the ciency judgment to go after the balance of the loan from lender will be able to proceed with the foreclosure sale the borrower if the lender is not able to recoup their origiand, depending on the state, foreclosure can be by nal principal. This is not allowed in all states, and may >> advertisement or by judicial action. Most commercial loan

07/2012 | ChurCh exeCuTIve | 29

also depend on whether a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process was used. In some states, there is a redemption period for commercial properties. A right of redemption after a trustee sale/foreclosure sale allows the borrower who just lost their property at the foreclosure auction the opportunity to buy it back from the bank (or winning bidder), usually at the same price as the highest bid at the trustee sale. To avoid losing the building when in default of a loan, a common consensual resolution is loan restructuring. A church must come up with mutually agreeable terms based on its current cash flow and create a realistic payback of the loan with the understanding the principal will likely not be reduced. Another option is a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Acceptance of this option relieves from personal liability all persons who may owe payment, or the performance of other obligations secured by the mortgage except to the extent that person agrees not to be relieved in an instrument executed contemporaneously. A third option is consent foreclosure, which forecloses the interests of the mortgagor and any other lien claimant,

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other than the United States (which can be foreclosed only through a judicial sale).

Other things to consider It is important to retain consultants knowledgeable in the legal and lending arena to protect the church’s interest to negotiate a resolution and keep the building. Far too often, the church leader walks alone in the process, becomes overwhelmed with the financial issues, neglects the spiritual issues and ends up leaving the ministry. Stay away from residential mortgage modification “specialists.” And maintain constant, honest and direct communication with a lender. Do not lie. Do not run away from calls, meetings or other communications with your lender. Provide all requested information and supplement financials to give the lender a clear picture of what is happening at the church. Most lenders want to work with religious borrowers in modifying loan agreements. However, if the church fails to communicate or is not honest in its dealing with the bank, expect swift, expensive and difficult foreclosures to occur. CE Daniel Dalton is the cofounder and partner of Dalton & Tomich PLC, Bloomfield Hills, MI. []

SPeAKinG volUMeS

Prepare to make hard decisions By rONALD e. KeeNer In writing There’s Hope for Your Church: First Steps to Restoring Health and Growth (Baker Books, 2012), author Gary L. McIntosh says “most pastors literally hate to confront others about anything.” “Making difficult decisions means someone in the church won’t like you, which is very hard for many pastors to take. If a pastor is going to be a turnaround leader, he must be willing to pay the price of not being liked by some in the church,” he says. McIntosh is a veteran consultant and president of Church Growth Network and teaches at Talbot School of Theology. Church Executive asked him about the chapter “Make hard Decisions”: one hard decision is to “cut the fat,” you write, to stop the hemorrhaging. Any first steps? One of the best questions to ask in a turnaround situation is “Would we do this if we were starting a brand-new church?” Particularly for small churches, I recommend going

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back to the beginning and looking at the church as a new church plant. If you were starting today, what would you do? What would you not do? Then cut the fat, the things you wouldn’t do today. The inclination of most pastors is to stay out of the finances, but you say, “Control the cash.” Someone must keep a close eye on the cash; that is, the income, payables, etc. The pastor must know what is going on financially. he or she should definitely keep “close watch” on the finances, and by that I mean every Monday morning a complete review of the entire financial situation. What should a pastor in these circumstances do before even taking the job to ensure he isn’t fired after the first month? Before accepting a call or appointment to a turnaround church, it is wise for a pastor to be open and upfront with what must be done to turn the church around. This means not just asking, “Do you want your church to grow?” A question like that is way too general. Instead a pastor should be as specific as possible. For instance, something like, “We will have to close the school by the end of the year.” Then get it in writing that the church will do it, or have them do it before you accept the call or appointment. I also suggest that the pastor get a signed agreement that he cannot be dismissed for x number of years, or something like that. each pastor has to work within the denominational or associational guidelines of the church, but do what can be done to secure agreement before accepting the call. What is a problem person that you say needs to be confronted in order to move the church forward? There are always people who keep the church from making the tough or necessary decisions. These people must be confronted and removed from control if a church is to turn around. If a pastor knows who such people are before coming to the church, it might be possible to require them to step down before accepting the call or appointment. I don’t mean to imply a problem person is always a bad person; sometimes they are very nice people, but just blocking the road forward. To allow them to keep control will mean the church never is able to turnaround in a new direction. Some people will say you aren’t being very “Christian” when you show people the door? My advice is to communicate a clear direction and tell people if you are with me, I encourage you to stay and help us turn this church around. I never suggest saying that people should leave, but the implication is if you aren’t with me why stay? however, if a person is extremely obstinate, vocal or controlling, they may need to be confronted and asked to leave.

High-tech security at

budget price

By Dennis James

Security of three campuses can be monitored from one location, even from one’s home.

Victory World Church is one of the fastest-growing multicultural churches in America, with a main campus in Norcross, GA, and two satellite campuses in the greater Atlanta area. With more than 10,000 people coming to the campuses each weekend, security is a big concern. In researching our needs, we turned to Atlanta-based Remote Protection Systems for a cost-effective security solution for the new sites. We took everything we learned and incorporated them into the Victory North and Hamilton Mill sites at the beginning of construction.

Room for growth “Victory World wants the latest technology to protect its property, and they also work hard to stay within their budget,” says Scott Hightower, president of RPS. “We put in a Honeywell system that integrates video surveillance, intrusion detection and userfriendly access control. It’s perfect for their needs now, and it will expand with them as they continue to grow.” Hightower recommended a com-

bination of high-definition dome cameras and high-resolution day/night fixed cameras to provide complete coverage of the church properties during the day and at night. Surveillance footage is retained by digital video recorders, and access to the buildings is easily handled with access control software. We have 850 staff and volunteers who have access to different areas; plus, people are constantly changing roles. Someone might leave employment with Victory but continue to volunteer, which might change areas where they need access. I used to spend a lot of time making new cards and deleting old ones. The Honeywell system makes it easy to update a card right away. In addition to having the sites monitored by a central station, church officials use a web-based access control to manage the integrated access, intrusion and video systems remotely from their homes. Here in Atlanta we have a lot of storms each fall, and our old security system would go crazy. I’d be out in the storm at 2 a.m., driving around the church and checking doors. Now, if the

alarm goes off in the middle of the night I can just check my home computer. I don’t have to get out and drive over.

Access cards used Another benefit is the ease of tracking the numerous access cards issued. Hightower showed church security staff how to make a temporary card for someone, for example, on the first day of the month that will automatically expire on the last day of that month. The investment in Honeywell security helps us fulfill our mission to spread the Gospel, and also supports our commitment to being good financial stewards. The installation at Victory North gave church officials a chance to see what the integrated technology could do and gave them a head start on ideas for the new construction. We’re looking forward to using the system for a long time. Best of all, when construction is finished, staff will be able to monitor all three campuses from one site. CE Dennis James is director of security with Victory World Church, Norcross, GA. []

07/2012 | Church executive | 33

Churches target of

data thieves

By David A. Jones

Damages can result in irreversible harm to a congregation’s image and sustainability.

Worldwide cybercrime, the theft and abuse of personal identification information, is a billion-dollar business now surpassing illegal drug trade. In April 2012 Robert Mueller III, director of the FBI, reported to The New York Times,“Cyber attacks [will] soon replace terrorism as the agency’s No. 1 concern.” Congregations are cast as easy targets for data theft. Frugal budgeting and limited resources in technological intelligence inherent with religious organizations often lead to weak security controls. The risk of losing data is high, given the scope of programs happening at all hours on and off campus. Furthermore, the high concentration of children under 18 – their stolen-identity value is higher than adults – makes churches more appealing to cyber thieves. A data security breach occurs when an unauthorized person inadvertently receives or steals any nonpublic, personal identifiable information from an electronic system or mobile device. An example of a breach is when a youth pastor misplaces his iPad containing a youth group’s medical information while on a mission trip, or an executive pastor leaves his iPhone in an airplane seat pocket, providing access to reports with church members’ birth dates, phone numbers and addresses. Churches are vulnerable to a breach if they: • Record or store credit card, tax identification information and birth dates on donors, staff, members or volunteers.

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CYBER LIABILITY POSSIBILITIES Reckless posting of Internet content can lead to civil suits as well as image damage. The risk is increased if a church conducts the following activities: • Maintains a pastor’s blog, a social network page such as Facebook, an online book store or webcasts of services. • Posts songs from an audio file on a social media website like YouTube or a pastor’s blog. • Loads pictures of congregation or staff members on the organization’s website. • Permits free local Wi-Fi access to the organization’s wireless router or cable modems. Internal controls include: • Enact peer review of all posted Internet content. • Enable strong firewalls that are tested fre quently. • Control distribution of Wi-Fi passwords. • Maintain records on photography or music releases and in-source website programmers.

• Maintain drivers’ licenses, insurance or Social Security information. • Obtain medical information or histories on any church member for mission trips or youth activities. • Issue smart phones, iPads, laptops or other electronic devices to staff. An organization can incur several costs following a data breach, such as expenses for defense counsel and payments to a third party or victims of identity theft. Depending on the jurisdiction, civil fines and penalties will be assessed for not reporting a data breach accurately and promptly to victims and to certain governing agencies. Forty-six states have enacted laws holding data owners responsible for a breach and requiring notification to the injured parties. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2010 Annual Study of U.S. Companies, tangible activities such as forensic detection and then the response — including legal advice, invitation to a credit report and monitoring service for the affected persons, mailing costs and public relations — consulting — quickly add up to an average of $73 per breached record. Indirect damages such as lost business and overhead expenses can cost on average an additional $141 per record. Organizations can implement controls to reduce exposure and their data breach liability: • Ensure all agreements with outside vendors, contractors and cloud computing providers include strong holdharmless and indemnity clauses. • Maintain a single computer exclusively for banking and donor information. Limit access to drives. • Require, by contract, that all outside data providers and merchants stress-test their data systems for data breaches. • Use complex passwords and current encryption software on all data devices; more importantly, know where confidential data is stored. • Along with a “who-to-call” sheet following a breach, line up qualified consultants in PR and legal communica-

tion who have cyber expertise before an actual breach occurs. • Conduct simulation exercises on lost data and penetration tests on data systems. • Consider a data security or privacy liability insurance policy, which can restore a financial loss, cover notification expenses, and provide access to experienced legal, information technology forensic and PR advice. It is critical that churches main-

tain the highest internal standards possible for protecting their members’ records. It is part of their fiduciary duties. Being good stewards of funds also means being good stewards of private information. CE David A. Jones is a vice president at Lockton Companies, a privately owned, independent insurance and risk management broker. []

07/2012 | Church executive | 35

Prepare for the worst,

pray for the best Kansas church relies on concealed carry rather than a professional security team.

By Deb Kluttz

The headline of this article was spoken at the Ministry Security Regional Training Conference that I attended in Kansas City, KS, presented the other month by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety. “Prepare for the worst, pray for the best” makes sense to me as the executive pastor of Westview Community Church in Manhattan, KS. We are a Wesleyan church in the middle of the Flint Hills, with both a military base and a university within a few short miles of our building. The workshop alerted me to our need as a church for a security plan. When you begin discussing security, gun control becomes a major topic. Westview does not have any of the stickers on our doors that say “NO GUNS.” For us and other churches that do not employ a professional security team, it is a blessing to have cool-headed and responsible people in our congregation who are licensed to carry concealed firearms in public. They form an informal security team in our church. They have agreed to be alert, attentive and active if necessary. We also have medical personnel in our church that can be counted on in case of a medical emergency on-site. Our thoughts concerning the NO GUNS stickers being placed on our doors is that it would be the responsible, conceal and carry “packers” who would obey the stickers and leave their guns at home or in their vehicles. For those who were irresponsible with guns and weapons, the stickers would mean absolutely nothing. So of what safety benefit do the stickers really serve? I and several church staff have taken the concealed carry (CCW) class and obtained our licenses. We serve as the point people in any type of emergency in our premises, and each of us has brought our handgun to church. The 10th Continued on page 38.

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Continued from page 36.

anniversary of 9/11 was one Sunday that we contacted several people on our security team to be on high alert for all church services. When I say that we pack our weapons, this does not mean that our guns are showing outside of our clothing. In January 2011, a new gun law took effect in Iowa, allowing permit holders to openly carry their firearms in public. I don’t know what Westview leadership would do about that obvious indiscretion. Bob Brueggen from Harvest Bible Chapel in Davenport, IA, says his church has a professional security team of uniformed and plainclothes officers, and will simply ask people who display their weapons to leave them in their cars. If the person refuses, the church asks them to leave. If the person resists, a uniformed officer will escort them out of the property. Thomas Doidge at Woodridge Community Church, New Berlin, WI, says his church is figuring out whether those who are not part of the church’s security team should be allowed to carry firearms on-site. He says the leadership is leaning toward allowing weapons on the property but not in the buildings. Doidge says, “You could have a weapon in your trunk but

not in your pocket.” Steve Paxton, executive pastor at LifePointe Church in Fort Collins, CO, says, “It is good to have people you know carrying handguns for safety sake. Due to past church violence, I would say if you know who is carrying and you have a security training meeting, this is the way you have a sense of safety as a congregation.” Westview would agree with Paxton as our staff has had training on church safety and security, and has passed the safety and security training highlights on to our congregants. We have formed a nonprofessional security team with the standard of procedures for the various possible scenarios, and we feel somewhat prepared for the worst. But always, we pray for the best. We pray we will never have to implement any of this training or face any occasion where we would feel the need to discharge our firearms. CE Deb Kluttz is executive pastor at Westview Community Church in Manhattan, KS. []

KEY CONTROLS LOWER INSURANCE COSTS With open access to worship facility equipment such as computers, copiers and expensive media tools, access and key control is a challenge for congregations. One misplaced key represents a crack in the armor protecting a church against intruders.

Grace Christian Center in Killeen, TX, acknowledged that it can no longer afford to continue using a mechanical key system. The church is turning to smart-key solutions not only to improve security but to reduce vandalism and theft. With more than 2,000 members, three buildings and about 170 doorways to secure, Grace Christian faced a significant key control issue. The church had to hire outside contractors to rekey the buildings three times in a span of six years due to lost master keys. The church decided to use CyberLock, an

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electronic lock system. Pastor Steven Timmerman says, “We saved a great deal on installation costs because no wiring was required for the installation. The audit trail from the locks and keys is very important to us and has increased accountability throughout our facilities. We especially like being able to program each person’s key to allow or restrict their access to specific areas during set times of the day and week. Most importantly, we’ll never have to re-key again.” Grace Christian has also found additional cost savings. Facility manager Jim Reed observes, “Incorporating security has had a positive effect on our insurance costs. We invited the insurance company underwriters to evaluate our security improvements. After looking at the increased security measures we put in place, they lowered our rates.” Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA, had similar key control issues. With nearly 20,000 members, the church faced the challenge of raising the level of security across its large campus. Facility manager John Jackson wanted to implement a security system that was affordable and scalable. “As a church, we are concerned about every penny that is spent. Our first concern was keeping track of physical assets that help us minister to our people,” he says.

Calvary Chapel implemented a comprehensive security system that includes the CyberLock system. “With the electronic lock and key system, we can change someone’s access privileges on-the-fly without issuing cutkeys. Each person’s electronic key is programmed with the permissions they need to do their job, so we have overall tighter control. We also have electronic padlocks on the shipping cases that store our recording and sound equipment so only authorized people can access it,” he says.

When churches secure their buildings and assets through the use of practical and effective security measures, they not only increase security in their premises but also lower insurance premiums and reduce re-keying costs. CE

— James T. McGowan is vice president of sales and marketing at Videx in Corvallis, OR. []

Making church more


Willow Creek Community Church reaches more people with strategic regional campuses.

By Susan DeLay

In 1975, a group of young renegades in the Chicago suburbs decided to “do” church a new way. Starting in a local theatre, they brought a fresh approach to living out their faith in Christ. With 100 in attendance and a children’s ministry that met in one of the washrooms, no one could have imagined what God would do with these impassioned young adults. The small church that met in the Willow Creek Theatre in the northwest suburbs of Chicago became Willow Creek Community Church. Within 31 years, the suburban megachurch church had opened its fifth regional campus at another theatre – the historic Auditorium Theatre in the heart of Chicago. And in the fall of 2011, with more than 1,000 in attendance each week, Chicago’s regional campus had expanded, adding a ministry center for offices, meeting space and special events. Now with six regional campuses

in Chicago, including Casa de Luz for the Spanish-speaking community, Willow Creek experiences most of its growth from these smaller regional sites. Along the way, Willow has learned a lot. When does a church know it’s time to launch a regional site? “We began discussing a regional strategy in 1995,” says Greg Hawkins, Willow’s executive pastor. “We learned one-third of the congregation drove more than 30 minutes to attend church.” People who drive long distances were less involved in the life of the church. When they invited friends to church, they were turned down. Drive an hour to go to church? No thanks. “Our mission – to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Christ – needs strong participation and a commitment to relational evangelism,” says Hawkins. “Our mission was being compromised by geography.”

How is Willow’s strategy for regional sites unique? Regional sites offer a full scope of ministry to people at all stages of life. “When the leadership of a campus has their own expression of worship, small groups, Promiseland (children’s ministry), and student ministry, they own the outcome,” says Hawkins. “All the campuses operate under the same policy governance and elder board, but they survive because they have worked to establish their own identities based on their unique demographics.” “There is no one model for a campus,” says Steve Gillen, regional pastor of Willow’s church on Chicago’s North Side. “Each community is different and there is no one-size-fits-all. What works in a suburban area composed primarily of young families won’t necessarily translate to an urban area.” Jon Klinepeter at Chicago’s downtown campus agrees. “In our urban environment, people have different Continued on page 42.

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Continued from page 40.

attitudes, mindsets and a different pace of life. Because we’re in the center of the city, we have a greater diversity of people, backgrounds, ethnicity and a wider socio-economic band. That influences what we look like and how we spend our time and energy. The values are not much different, but how they play out is.” What does it take to launch a successful regional site? “Launching a campus takes optimal horsepower,” says Marcus Bieschke, the campus pastor of Willow’s Crystal Lake church, which recently birthed a new campus. “It starts with a strong healthy birthing campus, with a deep leadership bench that won’t leave a vacuum. Naturally it takes sufficient capital and a strong infrastructure, but senior leaders must have a God-led hunger to reach the people in the new demographic.” A successful site starts with a permanent campus pastor who is in place from the start, a committed core of people and the right location. What has Willow learned from launching multisite campuses? “We set an initial goal to launch a new site once a year,” says Hawkins. Several years into it, Willow slowed down the process. “Knowing that a good campus pastor with strong leadership skills and a critical mass of Willow DNA is essential to the success of a new campus, we discovered the key limiting factor wasn’t money or facilities, it was finding the right leader.”

From the start, a regional site needs a permanent (and fantastic) campus pastor. “It’s nearly impossible for an interim leader to cast vision for the future,” says Bieschke. “Campus pastors need to be senior pastor material with strong leadership and teaching gifts.” Campus pastors unplug from the central campus to teach at their sites approximately eight times each year. “All of us also teach at support workshops and classes, so overall, it amounts to a dozen or more times each year,” says Bieschke. This can translate into a recruiting challenge since most senior pastors want to teach more than eight times per year. Timing is also critical. “It takes a core of approximately 500 to open a new campus and in most cases, those people come from the birthing campus,” says Hawkins. “It’s important they be replaced because their departure is felt on multiple levels, including the energy in the room.” What are the challenges and advantages of a multisite church? Advantages: “We’re free to lead. Just lead,” says Bieschke. “We get direct coaching from Senior Pastor Bill Hybels, a man who has advised presidents and who Jack Welch said should be president. That’s invaluable.” Disadvantages: A campus site has to do more ministry with fewer resources. “The sagging economy is a transcendent reality for any church,

Who is a successful campus pastor? • • • • • • • • • •

A successful campus pastor: Has the spiritual gifts of leadership and teaching. Strikes a balance between character and competence. A campus pastor is a person of integrity and displays self-leadership, strong decision-making and judgment. Is adept at dealing with ambiguity. Even if the strategy is fuzzy and part of the information is missing, a campus pastor can still act. Exhibits high learning agility – the ability to take in new data, redefine the goal and hit a moving target. Influences appropriately the leaders who are above, around and below. Sets healthy boundaries and understands how to establish a pace that includes rhythms of rest. A campus pastor is a cultural architect who builds culture through teamwork. Develops a robust funding plan through the various ministry systems and annual seasons of a church, including discipling donors. Is organizationally savvy, collaborative and has pastoral leadership. Takes advantage of leadership training and opportunities to exchange best practices with other church leaders.

especially a multisite location,” says Bieschke. What does it take to lead a multisite? “A campus pastor needs a kaleidoscopic variety of skills – from team building and strategic planning to experimentation and development,” says Bieschke. “It takes acrobatic flexibility. An adaptability gene that someone either has or doesn’t.” With more than 24,000 in attendance each weekend (including all the campuses), Promiseland children’s ministry no longer meets in washrooms, but with Chicago’s regional site, theaters are still a part of Willow Creek’s DNA. CE Susan DeLay is in Communications Services at Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL. []

The café at Willow Creek’s Chicago campus invites people to hang around and fellowship.

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to fail?

A lack of succession planning will hinder an organization from moving forward.

By Samuel R. Chand

Words enter our vocabulary at a variety of junctures. For example, the economic recession has popularized words like “bailout” and “stimulus.” The one that keeps catching my attention is “too big to fail.” A book and movie by the same title have tried to describe how certain enterprises are so big and interconnected that the failure of one organization will have disastrous implications for others. The Crystal Cathedral’s bankruptcy and subsequent sale, along with very public disputes among family members in leadership, should be a clear sign that no one is too big to fail. Transition by attrition In my book Planning Your Succession co-authored with Dr. Dale Bronner, we postulate that succession is not about filling leadership vacancies;

it’s about creating an organization’s future. Creating your organizational legacy is either by design or default. Estimates have it that in the next six to eight years, more than one-third of American churches will experience pastoral transition not by transition, but by attrition. That means almost 125,000 pastors who are leading churches today will not be pastoring anymore. Cumulatively, this phenomenon could be classified as “too big to fail.” We’re navigating uncharted territory without a good map – only a compass. Consider the following facts: • One recent study – which benchmarked public and private companies with more than 1,000 employees – found that 46 percent have no systematic process for succession planning. And 78 percent reported that they find it very difficult to find qualified candi-

dates for leadership positions. • Fifty-eight percent of small-business owners cite inadequate succession planning as the biggest threat that they’re facing. • Thirty percent of family-owned businesses are not considering their succession planning needs. • Only 1 percent of the 18 million family-owned businesses in the U.S. are expected to be family-run into a third generation. • Seventy-five percent of nonprofit organizations have no executive succession plan; more than 60 percent reported that they had no plan to plan. Succession planning Succession planning creates a leadership culture within the organization. A good succession plan ensures that your wisdom and knowledge as a leader transcend the current >>

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generation. It’s a great tragedy for a leader to be without a successor. Perhaps the biggest reason for avoiding succession planning may be that it forces us to face our own mortality. To think that we are bigger than our church or that our welfare supersedes the sustainability of our church is a common factor in all imploding organizations. However this is a longterm issue. This cultural toxicity did not begin now – it has long and tangled historical roots. Most of us planning leadership transitions aren’t thinking about how differently the world will be for those coming after us. Rather than looking for someone with the same DNA, we have to determine what direction the organization will be taking in the long term and look for someone who can chart the course. From this we can create a preferred profile of the person needed. Successors typically fall into two categories – those representing continuity, and those representing change.

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Succession planning is about building the organization’s future. Advancing an organization’s competitive advantage and effectiveness is all about selecting and developing successors. Every leader has a responsibility to develop those who can move the organization forward. A new beginning Walking away is no easy task – the hardest thing is figuring out how to let go. Even when you’re no longer a pastor, there are talents and gifts that remain part of your nature and your essence. Making a transition can free us to consider our dreams. It’s important to establish and maintain strong boundaries after your departure. Here are some common denominators in imploding organizations: • Hubris – thinking they can’t be replaced. • Staying too long. • Interfering after “leaving.” • Not preparing the runway. The

larger the plane or organization the longer the runway needed for successful transition. • Not understanding the difference between change and transition. Change is when another leader assumes the steering wheel, but transition is all the emotional, relational, organizational, legal and other issues that surround change. • Not seeking external professional counsel via consultants who are not emotionally attached to the persons involved. • Not creating a healthy culture and becoming the sustainers of toxicity. Creating a healthy culture assures healthy transitions. • Family succession transitions are harder than non-family transitions. That is why only 1 percent of the 18 million family-owned businesses in the U.S. are expected to be family-run into a third generation. CE Dr. Samuel R. Chand is president of Samuel R. Chand Consulting, Stockbridge, GA. (


finance. We reconciled and printed the budgets monthly and distributed the reports into staff mailboxes. These infrequent budget updates meant that at times, people overspent their budgets because they didn’t have the latest data. In other cases, staff members delayed spending on critical projects. In 2008, we began to look for a new solution for our core financials. We evaluated several traditional software applications including Blackbaud, Microsoft Dynamics and Sage MIP, but ultimately, we were impressed by Intacct’s cloud financial management system. We were excited about the prospect of having a more modern and flexible financial system that didn’t require us to install or manage any technology ourselves. At the time, we didn’t have IT staff, so eliminating the need to purchase hardware, install software, and maintain the software updates was quite appealing. We considered going with a hosted solution, but this only partially solved the IT issue and didn’t offer us the contemporary applications and cost savings.

Financial visibility

Moving to the cloud By Aaron Goin and Josh Whitehead Cloud computing has taken the business world by storm. So why not churches, too? At Faith Promise Church, we have embraced cloud-based applications and by doing so we save money and effort, allowing us to accomplish our mission more easily. Faith Promise Church is a nondenominational, multicampus church in Knoxville, TN, with an average weekly attendance of 4,200 people. We had been using an on-premises accounting system, but as the church increased staff and members, we found ourselves doing more and more manual work. We couldn’t keep up with purchase order (PO) requests. It was a tedious process of shuffling paper forms back and forth between individuals for approvals, and then back to the finance department where employees entered the data into the accounting system. POs alone was becoming too much to handle. Another problem entailed budget reporting to our various ministries, which required more manual effort from

Now that we have our financial and operational systems in the cloud, it is remarkably easier to run our church. Being able to access information and reports on our members, facilities, donations and budgets at any time, from anywhere, and using any device has really helped us be more productive. Managing POs occurs with a few mouse clicks. The process is entirely electronic – which means that employees log into Intacct via the Web to submit their own PO requests, after which the request is routed, approved and updated in the accounting and budget modules within a few minutes using automated workflows that we define. Previously, that process took a week with all the paper shuffling. This also helps us better achieve our ministry goals as some purchases are time-sensitive, such as equipment and technical supplies required to launch new campuses. Reconciliation reports, which used to take 15 minutes or longer to create every time are now created once and then refreshed in the future instantly. Reporting, for any employee with approved access, is now instantaneous. A user can pull up a dashboard view to see the latest budget, historical spending and pending POs. We’re no longer playing guessing games when we plan our spending, since we’re always working from the latest information. We can also see financials for the church as a whole and then drill down into financials for each campus, such as to analyze performance by donation levels or across various funds. As a nonprofit, this level of real-time financial visibility is critical not only to our longevity, but also our ability to serve our members and communities. >>

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TeCHnoloGY SolUTionS Doing more with less Moving to the cloud has given us confidence that as we grow, our systems will easily scale up without incurring extra overhead. Switching to Intacct has eliminated the need for finance to hire an additional full-time employee, an estimated annual savings of at least $50,000. Finance has also slashed the percentage of time spent entering data from 40 percent to 5 percent. When the church adds

a new campus, updating the financial system is simple. All the account information transfers to the new entity and we don’t have to manually enter data or create a new organizational structure from scratch. Aaron Goin and Josh Whitehead serve as CFO and executive pastor, respectively, at Faith Promise Church, Knoxville, TN. (

Av INTEGRATION UNITES FIRST UNITED SOUND tems in hundreds of churches. “When things went sour after the installation, as they always did, the designer pointed the finger at the installer and the installer pointed the finger at the designer,” Svenson adds. “Unfortunately, the church was always left holding the bag.” After 27 years of trying to get First United’s business, Svenson finally got to fix the church’s AV problems by unifying the sound systems in all its five venues (sanctuary, chapel, lounge, social hall, and a small space for mis-

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First United Methodist Church of San Diego is the largest Methodist church in southern California and occupies one of the most architecturally splendid campuses in the area. Over many decades, First United has struggled with sound reinforcement systems for its multiple venues. “Either they cobbled a fix together with spit wads and glue or they separately hired a system designer and a system installer,” says Paul Svenson of Sound Casework Inc. Svenson has designed and installed audiovisual sys-

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cellaneous events) under a common, easy-to-use, foolproof paradigm centered on the Symetrix Jupiter 8 signal processor and the Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote. After the overhaul, Svenson says all five spaces now have the same system, enabling volunteers to work comfortably and competently in any of the five venues. “The church officials and the volunteers at First United are in love with the new systems. It’s been a long time coming,” he says.

B o o K M A r KS