Church Executive Digital Magazine, December 2012

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deCeMBeR 2012 FE ATU RES GOOD STEWARD AWARDS . . . . . . . . . . . 11 By The Editors

GrEEN n the Catholic Community of St. thomas More, Chapel hill, NC n idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, FL n Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, tx SoLAr n Cornerstone Fellowship, Livermore, CA FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT n Christ Community Church, St. Charles, iL n North Coast Calvary Chapel, Carlsbad, CA n First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, FL n Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville, LA


WorSHIP ArTS n Gateway Church, Southlake, tx n Austin Stone Community Church, Austin tx CoNSTrUCTIoN n Gateway Church, Southlake, tx n Word of Life, Flowood, MS


TrANSPorTATIoN n Whitesburg Baptist Church, huntsville, AL n Fairhaven Church, Centerville, Oh

PERSPECTIVES ON 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Church Executive’s editorial Advisory Panel looks at the year ahead from the perspectives of their work and interests.

DAN MIKES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 MARK SIMMONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 DENISE CRAIG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 STEVE BRIGGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 ERIC SPACEK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 SAM S. RAINER III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 JOHN C. MRAZEK III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 MIKE KLOCKENBRINK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

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DE PARTM ENTS RON KEENER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Church Executive (Copyright 2012), Volume 11, Issue 12. 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.

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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.

4 | ChurCh exeCutive | 12/2012

helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.

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









4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Az 85016 | 602.265.7600

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 Sali Williams ext. 209 Account Executives Melissa romo ext. 219 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

executive Pastor Pathways Church | Denver, CO

Sam S. rainer iii

Senior Pastor Stevens Street Baptist Church | Cookeville, tN

Mark Simmons

Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA

eric Spacek

Senior Manager GuideOne insurance | West Des Moines, iA

volume 11, No. 12


4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Az 85016 | 602.265.7600

vice President operations valerie valtierra Accountant Fred valdez

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Just what constitutes church membership? A new study from Grey Matter Research, Phoenix, AZ, shows widespread confusion and ignorance regarding official membership in churches and other local places of worship. The research was conducted among 441 American adults who attend a local church or place of worship once a month or more. The study asked people whether their place of worship offers “any kind of official membership in the organization or not.” Among all worship-goers, 48 percent say such official membership is offered, 33 percent believe it is not, and 19 percent are not sure. Among people who say official membership is available to them, 78 percent claim to be members, while 21 percent

attend but are not members, 1 percent are unsure, and 52 percent are unaware of any official membership offered by their place of worship.

attend, but have never become members, and 1 percent are unsure of their own status. This means a total of 37 percent of all regular worship-goers in the U.S. believe they are official members of the place of worship they attend, 10 percent believe they

Size tied to membership Ron Sellers of Grey Matter Research noted that many denominations continue to measure their size according to official membership, which may not paint an accurate picture of what’s actually happening in the pews. “Under half of all Americans who attend religious services believe they can officially join their church or place of worship,” Sellers noted. “Even when we look just at the largest Protestant denominations that offer membership, about a third who attend are unaware membership is even an option, and about four out of 10

people attending those churches claim not to be members. The question has to be asked – how relevant are membership statistics as a measure of denominational size or reach in today’s world?” Sellers also suggested that many religious groups apparently aren’t doing enough to make membership relevant to people, or to communicate how it is relevant. “Denominational and local church websites often talk about the benefits or importance of membership, but apparently many people just aren’t seeing it as a necessary step in their own spiritual life. Religious groups need to understand why this is, and what can be communicated to people to help explain the relevance of membership.”

Survey: Slow economy continues to weigh on pastors Pastors say the economy continues to have a negative impact on their churches despite stabilized giving, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. The survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors asked respondents “how is the economy impacting your church?” Almost two-thirds (64 percent) responded negatively, with 56 percent indicating somewhat negatively and 8 percent very negatively. One quarter of the pastors surveyed said “the economy has had no impact on my church,” while 9 percent indicated a positive impact on their churches. “Pastor views on the economy

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are similar to many economic outlook surveys,” says Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “We weren’t surprised the current perspective of economic impact on churches is predominantly negative.” However, there is some good

news. LifeWay Research found that while the sluggish economic recovery has translated into flat or reduced giving for many churches, the trend continues of fewer churches reporting declines in giving. “Many people refer to the ‘new normal’ of tighter consumer spending, but it appears there has been no adjustment in economic expectations,” says McConnell. “Pastors and Americans in general are still disappointed when they experience a lack of consistent or increasing growth.” Carol Pipes, LifeWay Communications Team editorial manager.

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roN kEENEr

tHe Good StewaRd read about a few of the many congregations who are doing standout work in one of five categories of church work — of stewarding their time and resources to extend the kingdom.

“Once the lead or senior pastor and his team understand the vision God has given for the church, they must be able to state it briefly in a memorable way. Just a few words are ideal.” Steve Briggs shares that advice elsewhere in this issue as associate pastor of administration at First Baptist Church, hendersonville, NC, a congregation of 3,500 people. Steve is also a member of Church Executive’s editorial panel. Churches with a vision, and the ability to state and demonstrate it often, are churches most likely to thrive, i’ve noticed. Church Executive has a vision too as a business magazine for larger and mega churches. We state it every month on the front cover: HELPING LEADERS BECOME BETTER STEWARDS. it is in the tagline above our nameplate. You might even say we are a stewardship magazine as much as a business magazine. helping pastors and executive pastors and business administrators steward resources, and providing good editorial content to help in that, is what we are about.

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in doing so each month, we see outstanding examples of churches who demonstrate strong skills and wisdom in furthering their sophistication and stewardship in carrying out the business side of the congregation. they are, what we might call, good stewards. it might be a church that has put sustainability principles into the construction of its campus, saving money that will be used for ministry. Or a church that has brought originality and good design to the construction of a new worship center. it could be leading the congregation in strong generosity education or helping families become debt-free. the church might be using innovative ways to stage, light, and present the message each Sunday. Or transport youth and kids to the church each week in helping them build their Christian life and journey. this December issue is about the Good Steward among churches— those best practices and outstanding examples within five categories of management and leadership. (the buyers’ guide that has appeared in the past in the December issue will now be found only on our website.) in carrying out the content for this issue, the editors have chosen to focus on five categories, acknowledging that there are many more that will be used in subsequent years. Within the areas of Green, Construction, Financial Management, transportation, and Worship Arts, we have chosen churches to highlight that stand out in our years of following

best practices. And we will be doing this year after year. the categories may change but each year in the December issue we will have honorees to share with our readers. if your church is doing outstanding work in one of the five categories, or if you are a company who would want to nominate a church with which you have worked, we want to hear from you. the Good Steward. it is what we all strive for. Let’s share our good work with each other.

Got a question or comment? email

Inside: Green

page 12

Financial Management

page 18

Worship Arts

page 20


page 22


page 23


water demands

Flamingos (above) on the campus of Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, FL. (Top right), Pi単on Hills Community Church, Farmington, NM. Bottom right, Mike Buster, executive pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX, with energy efficient light bulbs now used on their campus.

The Catholic Community of St. Thomas More, Chapel Hill, NC When St. Thomas More expanded with new construction of a gymnasium, arts and music building, and a 29,000-square-foot parish center housing a social hall, meeting rooms and offices, the congregation’s skillful and detailed analysis, weighing overall costs versus benefits, ultimately led to the implementation of sensible and effective sustainable construction options. The most substantial measures involved the overall approach to storm water management and water usage, specifically where savings were achieved in both systems. Installed to service the new parish center is a 15,000-gallon rain-harvesting cistern system. Harvested storm water is treated and re-used within the building for non-potable applications, namely the restroom fixtures. While the cost of the system is substantial when viewed alone, including additional piping required to deliver the non-potable water to restrooms, its implementation was extremely cost-effective. Other water reduction measures included water-efficient fixtures in all new buildings and plant selections requiring no irrigation. The only irrigation required was for the new athletic field; however, the sustainable feature of tapping the Chapel Hill’s reclaimed water service was implemented for this irrigation, benefitting the environment while incurring less cost over the life of the field through reduced reclaim water rates. Another notable sustainable analysis took place with respect to LED lighting. Energy calculations and potential cost savings in future years were weighed against the initial premium cost of the implementation of LED lighting. Detailed reviews by St. Thomas More reached a responsible and effective conclusion. Life-cycle savings for exterior wall pack light fixtures (at egress paths, for example) would be realized quickly enough to warrant their incorporation. Unfortunately, costs to incorporate LED fixtures throughout interior applications simply proved to be prohibitive when evaluated in the same manner. These initiatives exhibit St. Thomas More’s pragmatic approach and stewardship of church funds while striving to implement innovative sustainable and cost-saving features. [Source: Emily Choate, Choate Construction Co.] >>

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More Good Stewards

Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, FL Energy efficiency was key in the planning of the new campus of Idlewild Baptist Church that opened in 2005. In the design phase and selection of equipment of the 440,000-square-feet facility, energy-influenced decisions were made in such matters as tinted windows and a light-colored roof to reduce solar heat load. Energy Star-qualified appliances were chosen, including washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers. Money was spent on the better and higher-efficiency water fixtures, chillers and lighting fixtures. A complete building automation system enables control of the HVAC, and occupancy sensors were installed in most rooms to control the electrical loads. Further investment was made to permit and drill a well to use for both landscape irrigation and a chiller water tower. Since they were first installed, chiller flows and data from the automated system were monitored and analyzed, and systems were reprogrammed in pursuit of continuous improvement based on observed data. The church began an ongoing maintenance program with Siemens Building Technologies to maintain and optimize the automation system, which controls lighting and HVAC devices throughout the facility.

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Green n Lakewood Church, Houston, TX n First Methodist Church, Orlando, FL n Pi単on Hills Community Church, Farmington, NM n Cross Church, Springdale, AR n Saddleback Church (youth center), Lake Forest, CA

St. Thomas More courtyard, Chapel Hill, NC.

Solar n First Presbyterian Church, Elko, NV n Central Baptist Church, Wayne, PA

First Methodist Church, Orlando, FL.

Idlewild’s technology investments include the capability for remote, wireless laptop monitoring and operator control of HVAC system adjustments in real time during high usage events such as Sunday services. This gives building managers the ability to check remotely on building status or verify reported conditions. Entering into a long-term gas purchase agreement has reduced the volatility risk and stabilized future monthly and annual natural gas costs. Portfolio Manager, a free online tool from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, has become Idlewild’s formal benchmarking tool and a way to explore new opportunities for efficiency. Three Southern Baptist churches have received the Energy Star Award: Prestonwood Baptist, Plano, TX; First Baptist Church, Springdale, AR; and Idlewild. The church reports that it is maintaining its costs, which means the energy management steps taken are effective. Management is considering for future savings replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights. The savings in utility costs is not great enough to offset the conversion costs. The conversion cost on utilities is still too high compared to the savings; yet the costs to convert are coming down. At the same time the church is considering additional utility savings through a patented Siemens program called Demand Flow. The upfront cost/investment is holding up this

decision and the need for Siemens to be more demonstrative of the actual savings/reduction in utility costs. [Source: Ken Smith, minister of administration, and facilities manager Robert Wilson]

Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX Consider the possibility of saving enough dollars in energy and utility costs over the course of a year that would enable your church to start a second campus. That’s what Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX, did with an energy conservation program they initiated in 2007. The congregation started its North Campus in Prosper, TX, with the monies it saved in energy costs. The church was able to fund all of the new campus operation with the energy savings from the Plano campus. The church has more than 15,000 people in attendance each week and 1.3 million square feet under roof and has realized cost savings of approximately $6.4 million since it began the program in 2007. Prestonwood worked with Energy Education Inc. of Dallas Cenergistic and hired an energy manager who works with training staff and communicating the conservation plan and monitoring results. [Source: Mike Buster, executive pastor] >>

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Cornerstone Fellowship, Livermore, CA The energy conservation at Cornerstone Fellowship began with recycling, recognizing that as a small church in its early years, resource-consumption was of little consequence. But as the church’s number grew so did its sense of responsibility to lead in the Livermore community. Recycling of waste materials led to collecting and filtering run-off water and that led to the installation of solar panels on the church’s roof. The church teamed with Solar City, a leading installer

of rooftop solar panels. With the panels the church began producing 43 percent of the electrical power being used on the main campus. Since installing the 1,232-panel system in 2008, the church has produced nearly $240,000 worth of electricity and offset 2,085,260 pounds of CO2. The church has been able to redirect the money it would have spent on energy and put it towards ministry in the community.

Generosity in action

Stewardship in tough times

Christ Community Church, St. Charles, IL

North Coast Calvary Chapel, Carlsbad, CA

In early 2012, Christ Community Church (CCC) learned about the plight of Sudan’s Nuba people through Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian organization. The Nuba people are primarily farmers who have been forced to flee from the Nuba Mountains because they are being attacked by their own government. Food is becoming scarce, and there is a risk of famine as these people have not been able to farm their fields. Christ Community Church felt a burden to help. Because CCC has had a relatively healthy level of giving and has maintained its expenses, it was able to immediately give $80,000 from its surplus to Samaritan’s Purse. But CCC didn’t stop there. The leaders felt it would be great if the church could give a little bit more, so they decided to share the need with the congregation and challenge everyone to give a special offering over two weekends. To encourage generous giving, the church offered to match every dollar that would be given. After a couple of weeks, CCC received $90,000 in special offerings from the congregation, which the church doubled. At this point, the donated funds totaled $260,000. However, even after the church had shut the campaign down, it still received another $8,000 from the congregation – raising the total donated funds to $268,000. Mark Ahrenholz, chief financial officer, says the church was able to react quickly to a need because of the generous support of the congregation throughout the year, “allowing us to have some reserve available for something like this.” Ahrenholz says the 28-day devotional booklet on generosity by Gordon MacDonald was a big factor for inspiring church members to take their giving to the next level. At a time when the economy was down, Ahrenholz says the Holy Spirit was at work in the hearts of so many people to make sacrifices and increase their giving.

[Source: Steve Madsen, senior pastor]

North Coast Calvary Chapel moved to its new campus in 2008, at the onset of the recession. The church felt and still feels the impact of the financial crisis. Many members lost their jobs and had to go elsewhere to find work and affordable housing. This affected church giving and, consequently, the building campaign. To alleviate the situation, North Coast Calvary Chapel did the following: • Froze all salaries for three years, from 2009 to 2011. • Initiated a special giving fund for members who could

[Source: Mark Ahrenholz, chief financial officer]

Christ Community Church raised $268,000 to help provide food for some of Sudan’s Nuba people.

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afford to give over and above their tithes, so that no employees would be terminated due to the recession. • Refinanced its long-term debt as rates continued to decline. Twenty-five percent of church members who tithe supported the special fund, allowing North Coast Calvary to operate without any layoffs during the difficult times. North Coast Calvary doesn’t use any consultants for fundraising or financial management. What it has is a rigid financial control process under the oversight of a finance committee composed of accomplished business leaders in the community who also are church members. An audit sub-committee provides internal auditing of financial controls. Giving reports are provided weekly and detailed financial reports are provided monthly. An independent audit is performed annually. Today, phase one of the building project is complete. For the next phase, all the design work has been completed, and half of the funds required to begin construction have been raised.

encouraged and increased support for the financial practices of the church. Most individuals find it difficult to support or find great excitement in something that they do not fully understand. When FBC communicates its budget to the congregation, it does not try to show off the vast, complex understanding of the numbers. It uses common language and examples to communicate the information. The process is transparent. Every

month the church reports its finances to a committee of church-nominated financial laypeople. They serve as advisors. At any time, a church member may meet with someone in our financial department to view and discuss finances. The numbers are audited annually, and the church is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. These efforts have produced a great level of trust among congregants in the way it handles its gifts to God. Because >>

[Source: Art Braun, controller and system administrator]

Financially transparent First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, FL Four years ago, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach was faced with too many expenditures and too little revenue. Unfortunately, this conundrum is faced by many churches. To resolve this challenge, the church made the decision to do less with less and become highly efficient stewards of its resources. The operating budget was reduced through a variety of ways, including personnel reduction, closing down buildings, and decreasing programmatic expectations. Many tough, necessary decisions were made to ensure that it operated within its means. Four years later, FBC is experiencing the fruit of those decisions. The church is more financially sound and is a better steward of God’s resources. A simplifying of the budget and a transparent process has greatly 12/2012 | Church executive | 17

congregants understand and trust the presentation of finances, they are more excited to financially participate in the local church. [Source:Art Rainer, administrative pastor]

Open disclosure Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville, LA In 1995, Philip Robertson was a fresh graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when he became the pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church (PBC). Year after year, under his leadership, the church has either met or exceeded its annual budget. The church has consistently run a fiscally

More than ‘cool’ Gateway Church, Southlake, TX “I just need someone popular, cool or paid to operate the technical gear! I need new or cool tech gear! This will create or fix my worship atmosphere problem.” In visiting churches, many times I have heard these statements, says David Leuschner, executive director of technical arts at Gateway Church. “They strike me as odd if interesting,” he says. After working and managing technical areas for more than 20 years, I have come to realize that we never say, “We need a good preacher, Christian or not a Christian, anyone will do; they just need to be a good communicator. They don’t even need to go here, let’s just pay them to teach us on the weekends.” We never grab people off the street, put them on the platform and say, “Sing, go for it.” We don’t do that for these areas. In these areas we look for people who are committed to the church, invested, believe, ready to serve, willing and helpful. Yet, for some reason, in technical areas, we think popular, cool or paid sec-

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conservative financial path. Robertson believes in building trust among his congregation by openly communicating the church’s financial goals – weekly through the bulletin, and annually when the budget is presented. Each staff member is asked to share in writing their annual budget plans and how these plans will help PBC reach its community and surrounding region. PBC uses a financial management platform through ACS Technologies, which allows key leaders to have access to important integrated information. Since 1995, the church has benefited from the stewardship expertise of Cargill Associates and The Gage Group. In 2009, inspired by Sagemont Church in Houston, TX, PBC adopted a “building without borrowing” mindset. Since then, PBC has done several million dollars’ worth of renovations, construction and capital improvements. [Source: Dawson Bailey, associate pastor]

ular engineers will fix everything. I have seen larger churches fall into the trap of buying newer, cooler gear in hopes that coolness or polish will create a worship atmosphere. How does Gateway Church use its technical areas to create a great environment of worship? Is it a polished look with experienced secular engineers and awesomely cool and expensive gear? “Out of the clutter, find simplicity,”

Albert Einstein said. Inside the clutter of the secular world trying to tell us how, why, when and what will create a great environment of worship, there is a simple answer. People. Yes, it is all about people. People are the reason why Gateway’s technical areas help facilitate a great worship environment. Be sure to

More Good Stewards WORSHIP ARTS n Southeast Christian Church Louisville, KY

Worship service at Gateway Church, Southlake, TX.

think of your tech areas as a ministry department and not a service department. This will help you remember to spiritually and technically invest in your people. Look for great people with helpful and willing hearts, then teach them and grow them. Don’t just look for or pay for someone who has a great resume for sound, lights or video. Go beyond that. You must train your people on how to worship God through their sound consoles, lighting boards or video gear. Invest in your tech areas the same way you invest in those who are on the platform. Teach your techs how to scripturally lay the foundation of worship which allows the Lord to move in your services. We need our tech teams to be fully invested in the DNA of the church while understanding that their God-given technical talents are fulfilling the Great Commission. Technicians who have this concept will help allow for awesome worship atmospheres and they will do it with very minimal tech gear. The timing, accuracy, quality and efficiency of tech will excel. It’s not about how much tech gear or cool stuff you have, it’s about taking what you have been given and using it to worship the Lord.

were primarily used orally to teach and encourage. Today we use cameras to continue this tradition. The Austin Stone Community Church has created a ministry called The Story Team to use essays, photos and films to tell stories about the ways God is at work in the church, the city and around the world. The effect has been powerful. When people see a story unfolding in front of their eyes, there is a tangible impact that lasts much longer and runs much deeper than if they simply listen to a pastor explain a sermon.

Austin Stone’s Story Team creates documentaries about normal people facing various challenges in their walk with Christ, and the team’s task is to tell the story that the Lord is weaving in their lives. Filmmaking is a powerful tool that can breathe life into the local and global body — not to become more insulated or flashy, but as a way to motivate, mobilize, reconcile, redeem and renew the dark places in our hearts and in our world. [Source: Jeremy Rodgers, film production manager] >>

[Source: David Leuschner, executive director of technical arts]

Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, TX Stories have always been a part of the church. In the time of Jesus, stories

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all about people GATEWAy CHUrCH, SoUTHLAkE, TX

Gateway Church’s new Southlake, TX facility. Insert, Word of Life, Flowood, MS, worship center.

Gateway Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America, celebrated the opening of its newest campus in Southlake, tx in late 2010. From a humble beginning 10 years earlier, the church has exploded to a weekly attendance approaching 20,000, including the main campus in Southlake and three other campuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. the Southlake campus was developed on a 180-acre site, with a Phase One of 212,000 square feet, including a 4,000-seat sanctuary, children’s ministry spaces, community commons and some 2,000 parking spaces. Centered around several natural ponds on the site, Phase One is part of a master plan concept which will allow the church to eventually expand up to 1.2 million square feet. Gateway’s ministry vision of “we are all about people” was not only expressed in the design of the campus, but in the process of design and construction. the church encouraged and modeled a spirit of collaboration within the entire building team. Monthly the church hosted breakfasts for the architectural and construction teams to allow for relationship building. Church members were also provided a place on the construction site where they could come, see and pray over the project on a 24/7 basis. that collaborative attitude become a key part of the project delivery process. examples of this included the architects (Beck Group) making their BiM model freely accessible to the contractor (Balfour Beatty) for coordination and construction of the complex building. A digital “paperless” process was also implemented during construction, which created quicker delivery, less waste and reduced cost. Gateway Church’s encouragement of an atmosphere of collaboration, rather than confrontation, between all the design and construction team members, created a hugely successful project for everyone involved, and provided a great example of Christians living out their faith. [Source:Tom Greenwood, AIA, Beck Group, Dallas, TX]

Family carries on WorD oF LIFE, FLoWooD, MS

MoRe Good StewaRdS conStruction n First Baptist Church, Lyons, GA (new children’s wing)

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the land for the new building of nondenominational Word of Life was purchased more than 10 years ago during the tenure of founding pastor ronnie Sims. With his passing, his son Joel was just a senior in high school. the church was shaken and the family was devastated by the loss. For a season Joel’s mother led the church, but eventually Joel became senior pastor. under Pastor Joel’s leadership the church has had enormous growth. the grand opening for the new building was held 10 years to the day after his father’s passing. More than 2,400 attended the first Sunday service, more than 450 of them were first-time visitors! Word of Life has experienced growth and an increased attendance of 40 percent within the first two months at the new facility. they now hold

three Sunday morning services and one on Wednesday evening. With numerous entrances to the 876-seat sanctuary, guests are sure to find their favorite seat. Stateof-the-art sound and lighting greets each guest, with worship songs providing a great atmosphere. From the special lighting to the various props on stage and the wide screen that covers the width of the sanctuary, one gets a sense of being in concert venue. Nestled by huge trees on three sides and visible to the main highway only, this building, with its earth tone colors and beautiful landscaping, invites the passer-by to come take a closer look.

Worth the effort Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL Decetria Akole was only four years old and living in the projects in southwest Huntsville, AL, when she started coming to Whitesburg Baptist Church. No, her parents did not take her to church; she and many other kids in the neighborhood learned about the love of God riding in one of Whitesburg Church’s buses and attending Sunday school. “Many of these ‘bus kids’ now have meaningful church relationships and are leading their own children to be people of faith,” says executive pastor Terry Herald. In fact, Akole, now 26, and a recent college graduate, works as an administrative assistant at The Place, Whitesburg’s satellite campus and base for – you guess it – the church’s bus ministry. Prior to this role, Akole taught Sunday school for first-graders for two years. For more than 30 years, Whitesburg has had a history of evangelism and ministry impact on the community through its bus ministry. The church owns more than 15 vehicles that transport up to 250 children and adults from their homes to the church every week. Each year, says Herald, Whitesburg baptizes 40 to 50 people at The Place. “Of those, 20 to 40 ride our buses,” he adds. Whitesburg’s used buses are maintained by a full-time bus mechanic who makes sure all the vehicles are in proper working order for the church’s various ministries. He also helps anyone in the church who wants to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Sadly, the bus ministry is a dying program, at least based on Herald’s observations as a veteran of this special outreach for more than 35 years. He says many churches that used to be very active in bus ministry no longer do so. >> [Source: Terry Herald, executive pastor]

[Source:Connie Fahler,]

12/2012 | Church executive | 21

Church on wheels Fairhaven Church, Centerville, OH Fairhaven Church owns a 2007 Ford/ Glaval Titan 44-passenger bus and two 12-passenger vans. The vans are used to transport small groups and to shuttle staff and volunteers during worship services. The bus is used for numeorus trips each year, such as water rafting and ski trips for the youth ministries, trips to a local farm for

More Good Stewards Doug Piatt (in blue shirt), building operations director at Fairhaven Church, and some church staff stand in front of their 44-passenger bus.

TRANSPORTATION n The Rock Church and World Outreach Center, San Bernardino, CA n New Venture Christian Fellowship, Oceanside, CA n First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN

apple cider and hayrides for the senior citizens, out-of-state trips for conferences and seminars, ministry retreats, and transporting low-income families to the zoo and area museums. The bus ministry played a huge role during the Christmas season a few years ago when more than 400 homeless men and women from the Dayton inner city area were brought to the church. They took part in the worship services and were served an awesome meal while being loved and ministered to by the church family. They were transported back to the shelters with a backpack stuffed with essentials and gifts for each one of them. Fairhaven continues to work with the homeless through various ministries and partnerships. In addition to meeting in-house ministry needs, Fairhaven’s bus is also used within the community through collaboration and partnerships with other churches and organizations. For example, the bus transports neighboring church leaders and volunteers who partner with Fairhaven in the National Circle Campaign. “Circles” is an organization with a vision to end poverty through leadership training and relationship building. The bus is also used for inner city tours to help community church leaders understand the challenges of inner city ministry and develop the most effective approach to reaching the impoverished. A local African American Community Center also uses Fairhaven’s bus for special events. CE [Source: Doug Piatt, building operations director]

22 | Church executive | 12/2012

Church Executive’s Editorial Advisory Panel looks at the year ahead from the perspectives of their work and interests.

Dan Mikes

Dan Mikes is executive vice president and national manager of the religious institution division of Bank of the West, San Ramon, CA.

Economic turnaround for churches From a financial perspective the last four years have certainly been challenging for churches. However, looking at the data gathered across our church customer base, we have noticed a slow but distinct turnaround.

For example, the general tithes and offerings (T&Os) collected by our customers as reported on statements prepared by certified public accountants increased 4 percent between 2010 and 2011. While 33 percent of those churches saw a 5.9 percent average decline in T&Os, the remaining 64 percent realized a 9.2 percent increase. Geographic and demographic factors were certainly in play. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see the 4 percent increase after T&Os declined 1 percent between 2008 and 2009, and then increased 1 percent between 2009 and 2010. We should note that we only analyzed the T&Os line. The next most substantial revenue line for churches is typically the building fund. Often, gifts designated for the building fund are the result of a capital pledge campaign orchestrated in conjunction with a building phase, and therefore may be nonrecurring. Many churches have put building projects on hold due to an unwillingness to solicit pledge com-

mitments and incur debt during a recession and slow recovery. For example, over the past three years (2010-12) our construction lending comprised only 24 percent of our total church lending. Over the three preceding years, the number was 47 percent. We have yet to see this trend turn around and we expect it will be a couple of years before we return to pre-recession construction levels. Meanwhile, churches hoping to position themselves for physical plant expansion and related borrowings will need to diligently manage the expense side of their operations, stabilize their net cash flow and re-establish their operating reserves. Many churches were slow to make tough expenditure reduction decisions during the downturn, allowing cash reserves to dwindle to uncomfortably low levels. >>

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Mark Simmons is business manager at Christ Community Church, Milpitas, CA.

Nurturing a spirit of generosity I’m often asked by small business owners whether it is possible to grow their business given current market conditions. I ask them, “What is your market share?” Rarely is the answer greater than 25 percent. “So then,” I say, “what you are telling me is that there are more than enough customers, you just aren’t winning enough of them.” The same is true with the kingdom of God. It’s easy to blame the market. But the truth is we live in a sea of lost humanity. We “are the salt of the Earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness” what needs to be done? We “are the light of the world. But if the light is hidden, what good is it?” What is the solution? Is it to blame the market? No, Jesus said, “Go.” Our Savior said, “Let your light shine before others – our communities, where we live, where we work – that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Similarly, many churches are worried about the economic outlook, and to be sure there is plenty to worry about! In

some parts of our country unemployment is well over 20 percent. Nationally, household income is said to be down more than $5,000, while prices rise, especially in housing, groceries and gasoline. Whether we are talking about businesses, churches or families, most are one pay cycle away from disaster. The time to act is now. I have observed that churches with healthy, well-discipled members tend to do better in hard economic times. Our church has, for many years, developed and nurtured a spirit of generosity in all things. But we were challenged about five years ago to do more in the area of finances – particularly as it relates to equipping our families. We now have classes that cover every life stage – 13 in all. We leverage the resources of several Christian organizations that specialize in this area. We’ve retired many millions in consumer debt, taught and provided counseling and other support to help our families get on solid, biblical ground. The benefits to our families are tremendous – and the church has benefitted too.

denise craig

Denise Craig, CCA, is chief financial officer of Abba’s House, Hixson, TN.

Staying at the top of your game Church business administration is a uniquely challenging, yet wonderfully rewarding career and calling. Most 26 | Church executive | 12/2012

church administrators come to the field as a second or sometimes third career. The positive side of that is they bring experience to the table. It may be experience in business or a completely different field. Any experience working with diverse people in real-life situations, making stewardship decisions concerning resources – both financial and human – are invaluable when it comes to church administration. To do this job well, the goal must be to achieve excellence and balance between tasks and relationships. To gain the knowledge necessary to perform the tasks required of an administrator well, I studied and sat for the Certified Church Administration certification program of the National Association of Church Business Administration. The program allows you an opportunity to network with other administrators and to learn from other professionals who have been doing this for years. Relationships are an important part of the job. I find that you must genuinely love people and lead them to become better at what they do while encouraging them to become more like Jesus. Because our world is moving so quickly, largely due to rapid advances in technology, knowledge becomes stale in no time. Church administrators should commit to life-long learning. All churches, whether large or small, are facing challenges in the days ahead. I think one of the challenges specifically for the megachurch is to ensure things still feel personal, even in the large church environment. Getting people connected to a smaller group within the church and helping them understand the corporate vision and how it applies to their daily lives is critical. Some people think that church is not “business.” Actually, it is. We are in the people business. We are in the business of multiplying the disciples of Christ here on this earth. We are in the business of knowing and adhering to the laws of our land. We are in the business of being good managers of all the resources God has placed before us. We are in the business of glorifying God in everything we do, because in him we live, move and have our being. This is God’s business, and I’m glad to be a part of it.


Steve Briggs is associate pastor of administration at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC.

Vision is more caught than taught Three words come to mind when it comes to making vision come alive and making it happen in a local church – communication, communication and communication! If that sounds like overkill to you then that is maybe one reason your church is missing it when it comes to making your vision come alive in the hearts and souls of the congregation. Once the lead or senior pastor and his team understand the vision God has given for the church, they must be able to state it briefly in a memorable way. Just a few words are ideal. At our congregation we use one word – Transformation. How are we transformed? By connecting, growing and sharing. Our logo, our signage, our letterhead, our website, our ministries all communicate this simple-tounderstand vision. Christ’s plan for his disciples is to be transformed into his image. The preaching pastors must communicate the vision constantly from the pulpit. All publications – your website, your church’s logo, your use of social media – must keep it before the people. Tell stories in the pulpit and in your publications that relay real life examples of the vision being lived out. Make sure every area of your church, from children’s ministry to senior adults to recreation to your small group or Sunday school, conveys the same vision. Everyone must be on the same page. The senior leadership and staff of the church bear the responsibility to make sure all ministries under their guidance stay on the same page. Finally and of utmost importance, the senior pastor, the ministry staff and key volunteer leadership must model the vision in their daily lives. Someone has said, “Christianity is more caught than taught.” Same with vision: it is more caught than taught! >>

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who works closely with the executive pastor or senior pastor on addressing the range of risks that churches face can be a positive way of incorporating elements of ERM into the church environment. As far as liability risks, I expect the protection of children from abuse by adults and by other minors will continue to be a focal point in the coming years. The Penn State situation placed a renewed emphasis on the importance of having a plan in place to report suspected child abuse to the appropriate authorities. Many of the liability risks that face churches are not new, such as slips and falls and injuries on the playground. However, some newer risks have emerged including those associated with extreme activities or ministries, such as skate parks, bungee sports and zorbing, the threat of an armed person on premises, and employment and board-related claims. One factor that presents both a liability risk and a risk to the property is the issue of declining membership in many churches. As the number of attending members shrink, funds become tighter, and churches can begin to struggle to maintain their facility. Sometimes shortcuts necessitated by budget constraints can lead to property damage, such as unrepaired roofs or leaks, leading to further damage or injuries on the premises either due to volunteers attempting to perform work that should be left to professionals or to the property’s overall deteriorating condition.

SAM S. RAINER III Eric Spacek is senior manager of risk management and loss control, GuideOne Insurance, West Des Moines, IA.

Financial and reputational risks Risk management is evolving in the business world as the enterprise risk management (ERM) concept takes hold and a number of companies have elevated the position of chief risk officer (CRO) to the senior level. ERM looks beyond traditional operational risks to address risks from all sources across the enterprise, including financial risk and reputational risk. Considering that a fair number of churches don’t do traditional risk management particularly well (i.e., it remains unusual to have a volunteer or staff member dedicated to risk management), expanding ERM into the religious community may be a challenge. Still, it is important for churches to consider how their potential actions, inactions and decisions can present a risk to the ministry from a reputational or community standpoint. Having a board-level liaison

28 | Church executive | 12/2012

Sam S. Rainer III is president of Rainer Research and senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church, Cookeville, TN.

When big is better Looking ahead some three to five years I see these things increasing in importance in the church: homegrown leaders, expectations of accessibility, and “big.” More homegrown leaders. It’s not a new trend. In fact, church researchers have called for local equipping of leaders for a long time. In our globalized society, however, it is becoming even more important. Today everyone has access to the same information at the same time. Podcasts, blogs and sermon videos are ubiquitous. The best teachers and preachers in the world now broadcast messages for free. Anyone can listen and benefit from excellent teaching – simply take your pick from several great leaders. The problem is applying this teaching to a variety of individual contexts. What is needed are local leaders who understand unique cultural nuances of small towns, neighborhoods and enclaves of larger metropolitan cities. Many churches will benefit by training and equipping local, homegrown leaders who have specific, lifelong knowledge of their context. Top church leaders will do better in most cases to train up people from within the church rather than hiring from the outside. Increased expectations of accessibility. As social media matures (and potentially peaks), followers will expect to connect to leaders through technology. In general, accessible leaders will be viewed more positively than inaccessible leaders. Being perceived as accessible is accomplished easily and quickly by remaining relatively active in social media. While not every direct message on Twitter demands a response, regular interaction with followers through social media helps a leader be viewed as more approachable when face-to-face interactions occur. Church leaders should take advantage of these easy tools to communicate with their congregations. Big becomes more popular. While a few may decry the constant focus on larger churches, the reality is the biggest churches are getting bigger at faster rates than churches of other sizes. Many small churches are certainly doing good kingdom work, and the desire by some to highlight this work is noble. In the next five years, however, the self-generating gravitational pull of the largest churches will grow. In short, the big will continue to get bigger and more popular. Within a five-year window, the growth of multisite megachurches will continue to accelerate. The long-term prospects of this growth are debatable, but big will remain popular for the mid-term.

john mrazek

John C. Mrazek III is executive pastor of Pathways Church, Denver, CO.

Building a ‘MILLENNIAL-FOCUSED’ church It is already happening in corporate America and now it is creeping into our churches as well! Boomers are not leaving their leadership positions in either place and their continued influence is hampering the ability of Gen-Xers and millennials to create church environments that meet their needs. That is why my congregation, Pathways Church, is committed to creating opportunities for millennials to experience grace and redemption in their type of nontraditional church venue. More churches might do the same. What does a truly millennial-focused church look like? We believe it is a place that is saturated in community, raw uncensored truth, and missional impact that is very personal. Every generation is naturally drawn towards authentic community within their context. We find that millennials desire community as they do breathing and demand it in every area of their lives. Small groups are just the beginning at Pathways because every event or project starts with ensuring community is the primary focus. Secondly, we do our best to leverage technology and personal stories to present truth in as many formats as possible. Sometimes situations really suck and that is the only authentic way to say it! Finally, traditional strategies are not helping us “own” the one-mile radius around our church. Our people really want to interact personally with the homeless and crave missional events that make that possible. Pathways Church has many local ministry partnerships that put our people on the frontlines of caring and presenting the love of Christ in very tactile way. Millennials are the future of the church and our society. We can’t wait another five or 10 years to begin listening and changing our churches to serve them. It has to happen now or our churches will continue to fade and become irrelevant to a generation that is rapidly running out of godly truth sources and accessible grace. >>

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Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA.

CrEATING A MoUNTAIN To CLIMB i came into my church job from an industrial supply company. And for others who come to church administration from the secular workplace, there are some characteristics that are common to both. First and foremost, one must be a leader, a listener

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30 | ChurCh exeCutive | 12/2012

and team builder. the ability to recognize leaders and collaborate will be key to one’s success. What i recognize today is that while most business executives have one or two specific skill sets, the majority are much more generalists. One must have the ability to put together teams of skilled individuals for the task at hand. this person must also have an appetite to be a learner. everything you do is a process. the question is do you have a process for that? What are your key processes that you measure your success by? At a minimum, you should have a process developed for these areas. Bring your teams together to develop a process. this way you have buy in, eliminate a majority of your potential mistakes and increase your probability for success. When it comes to innovative and forward-looking directions, this goes back to having an appetite to learn and innovate. One must be in touch with technology. i don’t mean


they need to be a geek or gadget guru. they must have the desire to explore new tools and technology that are available to them. Consistently ask the question, how can we do this better? this is a time to play, experiment, and ask the question, “What if? Let’s face it, social media is here to stay. So how do we adopt, adapt and make the most of it? today people want to make a difference; they don’t want to just go to church. So how do we create online community opportunities? how can the church go viral within its community? the church must create a mountain to climb. Why is it when asked the question “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” we have incredible ideas or risks that we would take. So what if you do fail, it’s better than not trying at all. For this next year, think big, dream big, go big, or stay home. CE

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