Church Executive Magazine, May 2012

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MAY 2012



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Apply both faith and caution overseas — and take out kidnap and ransom insurance.


the Ce iNterv ieW

By Rez Gopez-Sindac

“A lot of the same attitudes that horses have, people have. Some horses want to rebel, and some horses want to submit. Some horses want to learn, and some horses won’t let anybody take care of them. they’ll try to hurt you. Some people just don’t want to serve God,” says randy Weaver, senior pastor of Lone Star Cowboy Church, Montgomery, tx.




By Anne E. Briggs and Timothy J. Black

how good stewardship means going green for one church.



idlewild is one of three Southern Baptist churches to receive the energy Star Award.

Know your target, put metrics in place, and push the envelope are just a few lessons.



incorporating a few environmental touches can help cut energy costs and promote sustainability.

Spaghetti stains are one factor deciding whether it’s chairs or pews in the worship center.


By Paul Lodholz

By David A. Price

By Michael Gorton

the church saw its utility bills cut in half, with the solar panels projected to pay for themselves by 2018.


DE PARTM ENTS 7 ron Keener 8 News update

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GROWING UP What makes one church grow and another stagnate? Some pastors just aren’t leaders, and some governing boards impede growth.

this is a tale of two churches that sit opposite each other on a road near my home. On the south side of the road is a Lutheran congregation of maybe 300 people. their website has attractive photos of Arizona scenes, no photos of congregants or the pastor. Nothing is said about its mission or history, but much is said about being Lutheran. there’s one Sunday service. Across that same road is a Baptist church of about 5,000 people that has been there 10 years. it merged last year with another church in another town 10 miles away, and became multi-site earlier with a venue 50 miles south in a growing community. they have a Saturday evening service and three more on Sunday. they don’t identify their denomination on the website. We see this scenario often as we drive around our communities. One could just as easily exchange the church labels. Old, established congregations that stay the same, changing little. Others are young, new, vibrant churches that draw in new people. What makes the difference between them? the descriptors above may give hints, but don’t really explain why one church stays small in numbers and the other reaches many more families and fills more needs. the other day i had the chance to spend valuable face time with Don Wilson, senior pastor of Christ’s Church of the valley in Peoria, AZ, a congregation of 17,000 and opening

a third venue in Scottsdale, AZ, in August. i asked him, what makes the difference? First, growth depends on leadership, he says, noting what John Maxwell has famously been quoted on that everything rises or falls on leadership. Wilson shares the view that about 5 percent of pastors have the leadership gift. Another thing holding back churches is their structure, he says. independent and charismatic churches grow, but if a church has to take everything to a vote of the congregation, it is not likely to thrive. too often, Wilson opines, the least spiritual people in that kind of church control the church and they have the view “we’ll outlast you.” he’s not speaking of “dictator models” for successful congregations, but of servant leadership and that churches tend to grow in direct relationship to their ability to endure pain, that is, criticism. A church is not a democracy, some say. More often than not a growing church may have members vote on receiving a new pastor and affirming the governing board, but little else. in the church of my youth the denomination went to boards of administration and eliminated the elder body (that they came to believe was meddling too much), and the denomination has been on a downward trend ever since. i was in two different eLCA churches when the denomination was revising the bylaws, and in one we eased out the senior pastor as board chairman and gave the role to a lay person. i have wondered since whether that was the smartest move for the vitality of that congregation, though

other factors were involved. there is no one biblical form of church government, but when it comes to leadership and mission and growth, some forms work better than others. this is explained well in two books: Elders and Leaders: God’s Plan for Leading the Church, by Gene A. Getz (Moody, 2003), the founder of many of the Fellowship churches in texas and elsewhere, and 40 Questions About Elders and Deacons, by Benjamin L. Merkle (Kregel, 2008). the holy Spirit may have the last word in a church’s rise or fall, but sometimes he can use a little help from the pew too.

Got a question or comment? email

05/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 7


Indiana church launches mobile app to connect and reach Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute, IN, has developed a mobile application to engage its members and empower them to share Christ’s message of hope to others. The mobile app, however, was created not only for those who attend MCC. “We’ve clearly communicated from our stage that if this app stays in our own pockets, then it’s a failure. It was designed to get the message out there,” says Scott Telle, associate pastor. “Our hope is that people will use it as a tool to open up conversations about their church, and ultimately the message of Jesus Christ,” he says. “I know one man more than 70 years old who uses an iPhone daily and is downloading our app.” With the MCC mobile app, smart phone users can: • Listen to and watch previous sermons • Share sermons by Twitter, Facebook or email • Read the Bible • Read MCC pastor blogs • Give from the phone or iPad • See current announcements • See a map to the church.

Study: Churches suffered from plummeting donations when the recession began in 2008. But in the past year, a majority of congregations experienced giving increases because of a better economy, higher attendance and more church teaching on giving. Trends in 2011 included higher budgets, which brought more church spending on staff salaries, missions, facilities and benevolence. Trends also included greater attention to fiscal transparency and board governance and a rise in electronic giving through technological tools, such as cell phone applications and automatic bank withdrawals. The fourth annual “State of the Plate” constituency survey of more than 1,360 congregations revealed that 51 percent of churches saw

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Dismissing concerns that the MCC mobile app might replace real community experience, Telle explains that the app allows people to engage with the church only so much because “it is not meant to build a secondary ‘virtual audience’ away from our campus.”

“It’s just another way for us to reach outside our current congregation,” Telle says. “We will continue leveraging technology as long as the culture uses it for communication.”

Giving finally rebounding for majority of churches

giving increase in 2011, up from 43 percent in 2010 and 36 percent in 2009. “Charities and churches were hit hard by the recession, but many are now beginning to see increased giving,” says Brian Kluth, founder of the State of the Plate research. “A better economy, more Bible teaching on finances and generosity and a growing number of online giving options are helping many churches rebound financially.” Giving increases were greatest among larger churches, with more than 70 percent of megachurches — 2,000 or more in weekend attendance — experiencing giving increases last year. Heartland states saw the biggest rebound, with nearly 55 percent of churches experiencing giving increases. For three of the last

four years, Pacific Coast churches continued to struggle financially. In 2011, 38 percent experienced giving declines. Among churches that saw giving increases, 50 percent attributed the rise to greater attendance. Forty-two percent said it was because people gave more after their church conducted financial/generosity teaching initiatives, such as sermons, classes and seminars or distributed devotionals about the subject. In conjunction with the State of the Plate, a second survey called the View from the Pew assesses churchgoers’ personal financial, debt and giving practices, and trends. Findings of this survey, which focuses on those who give 10 percent or more of their incomes, will be released at a later date.

ThE cE iNTErviEW


Senior Pastor | Lone Star Cowboy Church | Montgomery, tx

“A lot of the same attitudes that horses have, people have. Some horses want to rebel, and some horses want to submit. Some horses want to learn, and some horses they won’t let anybody take care of them. They’ll try to hurt you. Some people just don’t want to serve god,” says randy Weaver.


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randy Weaver walked into his office with a big smile and a brown bag. “i’m finishing lunch,” he announced unpretentiously. Forget about the stereotype cowboy persona: uncouth, violent, lawless. this mildmannered cowboy pastor has a genuine way of putting people at ease – one might say a skill he honed over many years of training horses and doing rodeos. Pastor randy and his wife of 23 years, Darla, have traveled the rodeo circuit participating in rodeos and doing church services at the rodeos for cowboys. “they live on the road and stay on the road, so what we did was take Jesus to them,” Weaver says. the couple also ministered as racetrack chaplains at Sam houston race Park in houston. Weaver says he and his wife feel responsible to people they know and understand, and that they always knew God had a place for them to land. that place is Lone Star Cowboy Church, which randy and Darla started in 2000 with the help of friends. Located in Montgomery city (population: 500 people) in Montgomery, texas, the church today is a place of worship for roughly 2,000 believers in Montgomery and surrounding cities, including even those from as far as houston and College Station. how do you further relate horses with people? We’re busy with people who want to seek after God. the ones who don’t want to seek him, we’ll just let God work on them. When they’re ready, we’ll get them. i’ve trained horses all my life, and it is so applicable to people. Part of discipleship is training people to follow Christ, to be a servant. A horse with a good attitude will wait until the master comes to get him and then he’ll submit to whatever the master has for him. Are cowboys the target group of your church? i’m always amused at questions like this. i’ve been to a lot of ministry meetings and conferences, and they always tell you that you have to have a target group. i don’t buy into that so much. Our target group is anybody who wants to seek after God. Our mission statement is to reach, teach and disciple the wise who will seek him. Whoever is out there, we want to reach them, we want to teach them and we want to disciple them. Just because we are a cowboy church doesn’t mean only cowboys come. We want anybody who is attracted to this type of ministry. Why do we need a cowboy church? We need a cowboy church because there are certain types of people who are not attracted to a conventional church. i can’t tell you how many people have come to our church that had not been in church in 10, 20, 30, or 50 years. they came and gave their hearts to the Lord.

they were baptized and began to become Christ followers. if we believe that God is a God of variety, why do we try to make churches look the same or have the same programs? ultimately what we are trying to do is to be obedient to a calling that is specific for us. i believe in innovative ways of reaching the lost. i believe excellence is non-negotiable for churches that want to be successful. But i don’t buy the idea of being culturally [relevant] like everybody thinks we ought to be. What is different about the way you do church – music, for example? i’m not a fan of trying to make everybody happy on the music side. i think part of worship is saying i’m going to honor the style of music that somebody else likes. We change it up, but we don’t change the songs for every service. We don’t say, “hey, if you don’t like this style of song, stick around ‘coz the next one will be different.” We sing a lot of worship songs that you hear on Christian radio stations, but we put a country flair to these songs. We ramp up some old gospel songs. We rock the house. in reaching the lost, you’ve got to go where they are in order to get them where they need to be in Christ. i believe churches are called to bridge gaps. every Sunday morning, we probably give out 60 dozen donuts, free coffee and free iced tea. When we were in a tent before we built our sanctuary, we gave out about five dozens to six dozens donuts every weekend. When we moved in the new sanctuary, some people said we can’t afford to be buying all these donuts and we sure don’t need to be taking them inside with all those brand-new chairs. i said wait, wait, wait. this worked in the tent, and it will work here. Let them bring their drinks and donuts in the church. if somebody messes up a chair, we’re going to clean it. if we can’t clean it, we’re going to buy a new chair. People are more important than chairs. God gave me a word early in the ministry. he said never sacrifice people for projects. how about your preaching style? is there a “cowboy” flavor to it? An advantage that i have is that i have >> 05/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 11

the ce interview animals. I have horses, cows and dogs. There are a lot of sermon illustrations that come from farm animals. We bring in those illustrations, as well as the illustrations of rodeos. I believe Jesus met people where they were by telling them earthly stories with a heavenly meaning, such as the parables. We really adopted that style in reaching people. We use stories

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about what people are going through. For example, my wife and I have tried to be transparent with our people about our own struggles in following Christ and in our marriage. I think people buy into God more when we’re honest and transparent. We baptize new believers every last Sunday of the month. We baptize them in a horse trough. Almost every

weekend, somebody gives their heart to the Lord. We invite them to come to the front. A lot of churches don’t do that anymore, and that’s fine, but it works for us. What events and activities attract people to your church? We have cowboy outreaches such as He Paid Your Fees, where we do roping, barrel racing and barbecue cookoffs. We give prize money, saddles and all kinds of awards at these competitions. The entry fee is they have to come to church. Other churches have softball leagues or basketball leagues. We have roping and bull rides and barrel racing – it’s different but the same. Another major event is the Rodeo Bible Camp for our kids. We invite world-champion cowboys – people who’ve been to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada – to share their testimonies about what God has done for them. So many of our kids today have a lot of issues related to drugs, alcohol, illicit relationships, abuse, and abortion. These guys and gals that we’ve invited give their testimonies about how God found them where they were and brought them out of those issues. One thing that’s different about our church is we have a rodeo arena. Nobody has an arena at their church. People in our church also open up their own arena for our camp. We haul off 40 to 70 horses a day to different places. It’s a great community affair. We also have an alternative to Halloween; we call it West Fest. We’ve seen hundreds of people give their hearts to the Lord at these outreach events. You and Darla co-pastor the church. How did you arrive at this decision and how is it working? The gifts that I don’t have, Darla has, and the gifts that Darla doesn’t have, I have. Many times we would rub against one another. Sometimes it’s a grind, because we don’t always agree. But I learned a long time ago that it’s not really about whether I agree with Darla or Darla agrees with

me. Our biggest challenge is to agree with God. I have a tremendous confidence that my wife has the ability to hear from God. In such times, I have to submit to her and come under her authority. Sometimes she has to submit to me because I get a word from God. Over the years we’ve learned how to submit to one another. But it’s something that we continue to work at because we’re still in the flesh. That’s part of what keeps us on our knees. We’re not ashamed to say that we need God’s intervention in our lives every moment, every day. Did your church welcome and support this leadership model from the beginning? Not so in the beginning. It’s hard for women to be in ministry. I believe in respect and honor, but not everybody believes that a woman should have authority as a pastor. It was a tough go at the beginning of the church. I take my hat off to my wife, because she persevered through those hard times. And she still has those challenges to a degree. But God has been faithful. He’s really blessed us, and that’s how we know we’re on track. Submitting to an individual who is called by God – whether it’s a man or a woman – is very close to the heart of God. A lot of women can hear from God better than men can – I don’t know why, but they do. What kind of leaders are effective in a cowboy church? They have to be authentic. If they pretend to be something that they’re not, the church is not the place for them – Hollywood is where they need to be. Whatever we do has to be real and authentic. Just because you own a hat or a pair of boots or a horse doesn’t make you a cowboy. We have pastors on staff who are not cowboys, but they don’t pretend to be cowboys. All we do is try to reach people by who we are. If Christ is in us, and we’re cowboys and that attracts people, then we use that to help them come to Christ. Let God use the background that He’s given you for the kingdom. I believe that will bring more success in any church.

Baptisms take place in a horse trough (above); roping competition at church’s outreach event, and co-pastors Darla and Randy Weaver dance a jig (below).

05/2012 | Church executive | 13

Missionary on the rise By David A. Jones

Apply both faith and caution overseas — and take out kidnap and ransom insurance.

As governments across the world wage war on drugs and black market trades, criminals are quietly advancing the front of another lucrative, illegal industry. Kidnapping, including extortion and detention, is now a global epidemic, growing 15 to 20 percent annually in hot spots such as Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil. In the last decade, kidnappers have expanded their sights beyond multinational corporate employees to missionaries dispatched from mission agencies, religious and higher education institutions and church groups. Mission-

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ary kidnappings around the globe now account for almost half of reported cases, a 100 percent increase over the last five years. The increase is a result of two factors: • Relief organizations are pulling out of dangerous regions where kidnappers sought many of their victims, thereby reducing income for criminal organizations and forcing them to target alternative income sources – missionaries. • Authorities in countries like Haiti, Ecuador and Egypt — which are major mission fields — are reportedly encouraging

the business of kidnapping. Why Missionaries are easy targets: • Obvious language barriers make missionaries more vulnerable, particularly when traveling without a translator or cultural liaison. • Short-term missionaries travel with 90-day visa turnarounds. Coupled with deliberately slow court proceedings – unlike the United States’ sixth amendment guaranteeing a speedy trial – time is limited for court testimony against kidnappers. As a result, it either reduces or removes criminal penalty that would otherwise discourage further kidnapping. • A lack of comprehensive risk management training on how to act and react on unfamiliar foreign soil makes missionaries, particularly short-term missionaries, prime targets. According to Citizens’ Action Against Crime (CAAC) and the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) in 2005, between 80 and 90 percent of kidnapping cases go unreported. The average ransom for reported cases is $62,071, but settlements often are between 10 and 20 percent of the original demand. If the ransom is small and late, kidnappers may be discouraged from kidnapping again. Most missionary-sending organizations have strict policies against ransom payments to discourage appearing as a bank for criminals. Organizations that do pay ransom as a business decision typically do so quietly. Some agencies’ stance on not paying ransom, like that of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), serving 70 countries, affords some protection to its members simply because militant groups know that ransoms will not be paid by the organization. This public knowledge is often enough to discourage kidnapping.

Minimize your risks Understanding the dominant religion of a country, its political climate (whether war-torn or controlled by an extremist group), and by being smart about conducting oneself is critical to safety and survival. Some tips: Travel with a group. Wear clothing local to the host country, removed of U.S. trademarks. Conceal all monetary transactions. Don’t give too much information. Keep conversations short and brief, unless with a trusted party or authority. Despite being extremely vigilant of their surroundings, missionaries still succumb to the hazards of foreign countries. Phil Snyder of Zeeland, MI, was abducted in Haiti during a mission trip for GLOW Ministries in 2005. Snyder planned to return to the U.S. with a Haitian child for eye surgery. Snyder, the child and his father were ambushed on a public road by kidnappers. They shot Snyder in the shoulder and abducted the party. The initial ransom was $300,000, but the kidnappers settled for a lesser undisclosed amount, returning Snyder to Michigan five days later.

Fortunately, it is rare that an abduction results in the death of the victim. In fact, most deaths related to abduction are due to an attempted rescue. Kidnappers in South and Central America tend to treat their religious hostages better, given the religious culture of the countries. The same holds true for Mexico where only 8 percent of kidnappings end in fatality, according to Clayton Consultants Inc. However, in Asia and the Middle East, death is far more likely for religious proponents.

Protect assets and provide relief Reliance on the local embassy, the FBI and the sending organization’s crisis team are often not enough. Kidnap ransom detention and extortion insurance (K&R insurance) can provide protection and relief to victims. The insurance not only reimburses the insured for the ransom amount, but also provides expert negotiating strategists, security consultants and interpreters, all of which may cost an average of $85,000 per incident, according to Lloyd’s of London. Additional risk management services offered are qualified counselors and medical rehabilitation facilities for when victims return stateside, as many have medical, cosmetic, psychiatric and dental impairments. The coverage also provides defense and indemnity to church and mission agencies from family or estate lawsuits. Finally, in addition to health, consultant and repatriation costs, the policy provides loss of income or receipts resulting from the incident. A K&R policy’s ransom amount limit is typically determined by the person or sending organization’s net worth, since the policy only reimburses ransom paid and will not front the ransom demand. In some cases, banks will provide loans if the church or mission agency is deemed credit worthy. The premium starts around $1,000 and is based on net worth of insured, location, profile and loss experience. Since the mere knowledge of an insurance policy is a lure for any militant group, it is imperative that the insurance policy be kept private. An insurance policy is no substitute for applying good judgment, listening to intuition, and staying abreast of all potential risks in the host country. Organizations can manage their risk best through the following: Research the political climate often. Understand the religious tolerance of the host country. Determine the need for an insurance policy to assist with expenses and expert services. Managing kidnapping risks is a continuous process. Missionaries should continually assess threats, vulnerabilities and consequences, and take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate risks. CE David A. Jones is vice president at Lockton Companies, a privately owned, independent insurance and risk management broker. []

05/2012 | Church executive | 15

What can churches learn from

hospitality field?

Know your target, put metrics in place, and push the envelope are just a few lessons. By Jeff Springer

Seven years ago after completing a 40-year career in the hotel business, I began a second career in ministry. Once an acquaintance asked me, “What can the hospitality business teach churches?” I didn’t have a quick answer at the time. After some thinking, however, here is my short answer: “A lot.” Here are a few, in more detail:

Define your niche The hospitality business is very clear about its product niche: budget, limited service, long-term stay, luxury. Ministry, on the other hand, is often broadly – and loosely – defined. Almost anything that says “We help others” can be seen as ministry. Ministries need to be clear and intentional about whom they are serving. In the hospitality business, a brand name like Marriott, for example, can stretch up a market niche to Ritz-Carlton and go down a market niche to Courtyard by Marriott. But the Marriott brand doesn’t help you as a budget hotel because the Marriott buyer is not looking for a budget hotel. In ministry we need the same understanding. We need to be clear about our mission, vision and values. We need

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clarity on our target market. A church leadership team should be asking, “Who are we really trying to reach?”

Measure results People in the hospitality business expect to be held accountable to “the bottom line.” There are daily reviews of sales, food cost and hotel occupancy. There are weekly inventory counts. There are monthly reviews of profits and losses, comparing numbers against the current budget and the previous year’s experience. Church leaders sometimes feel threatened when asked about the validity or success of their ministry. We take our ministry, as well as people’s reactions to it, too personally. We say (sometimes aloud, sometimes to ourselves), “You don’t have any right to ask me about my ministry effectiveness. I am working really hard.” Bill Parcells, the NFL coach, said, “You don’t get credit for trying hard.” I don’t believe that, but I also don’t believe that trying hard is the only issue to consider. Results are important. I believe in metrics for ministry, but not just to count the easy things such as bucks, bodies and buildings. We need to hold ourselves accountable to the metrics that

show what is really happening in our ministries. How do we measure life change, transformation and spiritual growth? These are hard questions, but I know from working with churches that they can be properly answered. We can put proper metrics in place.

Tap your potential In my early years in the hospitality business, I don’t think I was so quick to accept limitations. If there was a good idea or a good plan, I was quick to go after it. Yet in ministry, it seems we easily accept the thinking that “We can’t do that; we just don’t have the resources.” We easily accept being below our budget, when in reality we simply have not done the necessary fundraising work. We need to live within the boundaries that God places on us, but we also need to realize that those boundaries come from a big God and are not self-imposed.

Pick up the pace The pace of ministry is often slower and more purposeful than most corporate jobs. In many cases, ministry work is also lighter or at least less defined. Sometimes

this can result in laziness, procrastination, mediocrity and passivity. I find at times an attitude in ministry that says, “Tomorrow is OK. Next week will be just fine.” In ministry, it is also too easy to spiritualize work efforts and justify things by saying, “I am doing the Lord’s work.” The corporate world operates at a much faster pace, often motivated by the bottom line. It is easy to be out of balance in either direction. We ought not to be workaholics, and we ought not to be lazy. We serve the most important mission in the world: to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ into the nations. Some of us need to pick up the pace. My experience in the hospitality business was that we were running flat out most of the time for a purpose that was good, even important, but not as important as advancing God’s good news. Other lessons come to mind, such as concerning customer service, employee training, and the concept of hospitality. What might the hotel business tell the church about those? CE Jeff Springer, Miami, FL, is in the Church Discipleship Ministry, Florida Regional Director, for The Navigators. []

05/2012 | Church executive | 17



Sustainable by


How good stewardship means going green for one church. By Anne E. Briggs and Timothy J. Black

First United Methodist Church of Orlando, FL, has remained a significant presence in the city of Orlando since circuit riders ministered here in the 1840s. In 1962 the church’s current sanctuary was constructed in the heart of downtown Orlando. Nine years later a fellowship hall was built, and in 1988 a three-story building across the street was purchased and renovated for church offices, youth activities, some classrooms and a fellowship hall. The city of Orlando wanted to purchase this three-story building and parcel of land to make room for a new performing arts center. The church agreed and the sale allowed the church to preserve the iconic sanctuary and replace the rest of their buildings. A ministry and education building was planned to replace the less efficient older buildings. This new building was designed to house multiple ministries and Sunday school classes, as well as staff and administration offices. Design began in 2007 and construction was completed in the fall of 2011. Stewardship of construction funds was a strategic objective when the church began working with the design firm, CDH Partners. Sustainable design practices were employed throughout the project using the LEED certification program to guide the team.

Underground parking

The new chapel and the tower of the former church of First United Methodist Orlando. 18 | Church executive | 05/2012

Just one block from Orlando City Hall, the new 80,500-square-foot building has a footprint of 45,000 square feet in an area densely populated by both commercial and residential buildings. Within four years of completion of the building, a new commuter rail station is projected to open two


The church’s gathering place, nee the “fellowship hall.”

blocks from the church’s main entry. With the loss of some parking on the land sold to the city, and due to the dense urban nature of the site, the team elected to provide some parking below the new building. A decidedly contemporary building type was chosen, articulating the bold move the church was making. The expansive sun-filled windows serve as a signature feature of the contemporary structure that defines the new ministry center. These low e-glass windows reflect heat energy from the outside reducing summer cooling cost, and reflect heat from the inside reducing cold weather energy needs. Sunshades and exterior architectural detailing assist with the heating and cooling load. High efficiency water reduction fixtures reduced the ministry center’s projected use of potable water by 37.9 percent. Energy costs were reduced by almost 18 percent using an optimal number of high-efficiency lighting fixtures allied with natural light. The HVAC systems with premium efficiency fan motors modulate speed and energy consumption throughout the day. Variable speed pumps deliver chilled water to the air-handling units. New Energy Star appliances in the kitchen and the high-efficiency natural

gas hot water heaters provide significant savings in energy consumption. The church engaged TLC Engineering for Architecture to conduct fundamental commissioning of the building’s energy-related systems for LEED certification.

Recycled materials used The building structure utilizes recycled concrete and recycled steel. Interior finishes include bamboo instead of hardwood. Marmoleum, a nontoxic flooring material made from natural biodegradable raw materials, was used in the children’s area and secondary areas of the building. This flooring choice is well suited for the active children’s area because it is soft to walk on and its anti-static properties repel dust and dirt for easier maintenance and a hygienic environment. Low-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives, urea formaldehyde-free wood composite products, and lowVOC carpets were used. The church implemented a green cleaning program so that the congregation and staff are not exposed to noxious fumes and harmful chemicals found in some cleaning products. Innovation in Design Credits for the LEED certification includes signage displayed

throughout the facility that describes the sustainable aspects of the building. These signs are located in the public areas on the first and second floors of the ministry center. Creating a sustainable building comes with some extra costs in construction and design, but First United Methodist views this as a worthy stewardship issue of operational costs and care for God’s creation. For good results on a sustainable highperformance building, it is important to begin with the end in mind. Without doing so, valuable opportunities will be lost. It also requires a commitment and an experienced team, but the church agrees that it has been worth the effort. Using an Integrated Design Process is essential so that all of design team members are informed and on-board with the LEED and sustainable strategies for the project. CE

Anne E. Briggs, AIA, LEED AP, is a Green Committee member of First United Methodist Church, and Timothy J. Black, AIA, LEED AP, is an architect with CDH Partners Inc., Atlanta, GA. The church received an Award of Excellence in the 2011 Golden Brick Awards by the Downtown Orlando Partnership for the project.

05/2012 | Church executive | 19



Design + Equipment =

energy efficiency idlewild is one of three Southern Baptist churches to receive the Energy Star Award. BY KeN SMith

idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, FL, opened its 440,000-square-foot facility – after relocating twice in 12 years – in 2005 and has 10,000 members. From the start, energy was a major consideration for the facility and was therefore incorporated into the design phase and the selection of equipment. energy-influenced decisions included the choice of tinted windows and a light-colored roof to reduce solar heat load. energy Starqualified appliances were chosen and placed throughout the facility, including washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers. rather than select lower-cost but less-efficient items, higher-efficiency water fixtures, chillers and lighting fixtures were specified. the installation of a complete building automation system enabled 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, which is used for both landscape irrigation and a chiller water tower. “Building an energy-efficient facility is just the beginning,” says robert Wilson, facilities manager. “We began benchmarking our energy 20 | ChurCh exeCutive | 05/2012

use, comparing our facility to existing churches in operation at that time. initial energy budgets forecast that iBC would use similar amounts of energy to facilities in approximately the same climate zone.”

Curbing consumption Wilson, along with his predecessor, tony Pasley, began a program that was both attentive and aggressive to monitor and curb energy consumption. Quarterly meetings are held with utility providers to understand load profiles and usage. this data is used to set priorities and systematically work on areas to reduce consumption. A full mechanical maintenance contract was signed to cover chiller repair, but more importantly, to provide preventative maintenance for all three chillers. 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. iBC also began an ongoing maintenance program with Siemens Building technologies to maintain and optimize the automation system which


Grass is kept green when the church drilled a well to use for landscape irrigation.

controls lighting and hvAC devices throughout the facility. “We launched several initiatives to maximize the automation system, and we continue doing that,” Wilson says. “A Siemens technology specialist spends one day a week here to help us maintain a focus on energy reduction.” One major step was to upgrade the lighting system to increase zoning and the level of control. this gave iBC the ability to control each classroom and area of the building individually. With both integrated system control and a zone scheduling system, operators schedule individual rooms based on daily activities. then the scheduling system coordinates with the Siemens automation system to heat, cool, ventilate and light rooms according to the schedule. iBC’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 also 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.

Ongoing improvements “We’ve accomplished quite a bit,” says Wilson, “but we believe energy management requires ongoing improvements. We’re currently facing an electricity demand charge increase from $7 to $11 per kilowatt (kW). two of the biggest users are lighting and hvAC so we’re continuing to pursue enhancements to the sequence and control of the chillers and other equipment for heating and cooling.” >> 05/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 21



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. The 2006 calendar year was entered as the baseline and results showed a 15

percent reduction in 2008 electrical consumption. Portfolio Manager has also been used to run simulations such as comparisons to an average K-12 school. The monthly finance committee meetings include an agenda item for discussions of operations and energy

costs. Finally, both administrative and building management teams look for networking opportunities where they can share their knowledge with other congregations and learn what others are doing. This aggressive program has yielded an 18 percent energy reduction from calendar year 2006 to 2008. The first half of 2009 shows a 26 percent reduction compared to 2006. The implementation of enhanced control has resulted in improved occupant comfort and reduced costs. Tightened zoning allows each classroom to be controlled individually with minimal energy use. Vacancy sequencing permits humidity and temperature to be maintained within specified offset limits which supports fast recovery for occupancy mode. Idlewild Baptist estimates saving more than $25,600 annually in energy costs for the operation of their house of worship. The savings of more than 264,000 kWh and almost 3,600 therms of natural gas per year represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), the equivalent of the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 40 homes. “We will continue to pursue energy reduction by tweaking and closely monitoring the building automation system wherever we can without curtailing activities or programs,” Wilson says. Even though IBC has seen an increase in activity of events utilizing the facility more, they have continued to reduce the energy usage an additional average annually 5.5 percent since 2009, thus allowing the savings to be redirected to increased outreach and ministry programs. CE

Ken Smith is minister of administration at Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, FL. [www.Idlewild. org] Three Southern Baptist churches have received the Energy Star Award: Prestonwood Baptist, Plano, TX; First Baptist Church of Springdale, AR; and Idlewild.

22 | Church executive | 05/2012



Church undertakes bold

greening efforts

Incorporating a few environmental touches can help cut energy costs and promote sustainability.

By David A. Price

When Piñon Hills Community Church opened two years ago, the church incorporated five leading sustainability features — environmental touches that conserve water and electricity while limiting exposure to pollutants. A lot of this is using the right equipment, such as plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems and lighting. Environmental sustainability is an idea whose time has come. The manufacturing industry has been moving aggressively in this direction for some time. The products are out there. I see an opportunity for churches to educate the public by using these new materials and technologies. This higher standard is reflected in multiple ways at Piñon Hills church. Its insulated “cool roof” membrane helps reflect solar heating, which minimizes the heat-island effect and energy losses through the roof. The development of the buildings also has been minimized, with more than half the acreage dedicated to open space. Sustainability features for the church include: • More than 50 percent potable water savings through the use of high-efficiency plumbing. • More than 70 percent of building electricity is offset by renewable, energy-based green power, while energy efficiency in the concrete tilt-up building is 25 percent above codes. • All storm-water runoff is retained and filtered on-site using structural best management practices. • Compared to local zoning requirements, at least 50 per cent more dedicated, vegetated open space is available. • Environmentally preferable materials for inside spaces means less pollutant exposure for employees, children, members and visitors.

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Bicycle access To promote alternative forms of energy, the building has bicycle access and a parking lot with preferred spaces for fuel-efficient autos, such as hybrids or electric vehicles. Storm-water runoff is modulated and filtered through pervious landscaping and open spaces. More than 90 percent of the runoff from impervious areas are contained through a pair of infiltration basins and is filtered before on-site infiltration. These runoff plans emphasize the site’s water efficiency goals. Through native plantings and low-flow irrigation systems, the church realizes a potable water irrigation savings of 60 percent compared to baseline default water usage. The bathrooms utilize water-efficient plumbing fixtures, resulting in potable water savings of 50 percent. These features include ultra-lowflush urinals, low-flow water closets, low-flow lavatory faucets and low-flow showerheads. The buildings have an energy-efficient envelope and air conditioning and heating systems that are designed to be 25 percent more efficient than industry standards. Meanwhile, the interior lighting power density measures less than one watt per square foot. Additional lighting controls, such as nighttime timers, are used in non-critical areas. The worship center employs thematic lighting and audio-visual equipment, using as much Energy Star-eligible equipment as possible. Located in Farmington, NM, Piñon’s development encompases 53,000 square feet in two buildings — a worship center and administration/adult ministry/youth center.

Pi単on hills Community Church made use of environmentally friendly materials that are recycled, reclaimed and renewable.

Why sustainability? Such energy-sensitive touches are part of a master plan for churches to grow organically, within the realities of economic and operational constraints. the need to project a vision that stirs the hearts and minds of its members is paramount. it is a process that requires creativity, collective energy, teamwork, sharp-

Through their use of green technology and environmental awareness, Pi単on Hills has been able to minimize their impact on the environment surrounding their worship facility and save money in the process. ened management and organizational skills. to do it right, a church will have to step out of the box it sometimes inhabits. this includes maintaining a comprehensive vision with the development of church campuses. Often completed in phases, church campuses are usually subject to the pressures of program needs, scheduling demands and budget limitations. in such environments, expedient decision-making can lead to random juxtaposition of buildings and disconnected open space. But using open space and landscaping as afterthoughts damages their value. CE David A. Price is president of David A. Price Architects, Tustin, CA. []

05/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 25



Save by going


By Michael Gorton

The church saw its utility bills cut in half, with the solar panels projected to pay for themselves by 2018. Many churches across the country have begun to “go green” by installing solar energy systems to help clean up the environment and curb energy bills. Solar energy reduces the amount of fossil fuel used — the leading cause of climate change. This reduces air pollution and, as the use of solar energy increases, can have a positive impact on climate change. Solar panel systems are designed to reduce energy costs, depending upon space, sunlight exposure and energy usage. A number of churches that have installed solar panels have seen lower electricity bills, sometimes cut in half, with the system paying for itself in a matter of years. Five years ago First Presbyterian Church in Elko, NV, installed solar panels when the state of Nevada offered rebates to encourage solar energy. The initial cost of the installation was about $120,000; minus the $49,000 state rebate, the church only paid $71,000. After the installation, the church saw its utility bills cut in half, with the solar panels projected to pay for themselves by 2018.

Assessing solar needs Key questions to consider before installing a solar energy system include: Does your church receive enough exposure to the sun? This is a critical requirement for generating energy. Keep in mind that for solar panels to work, the entire panel must be exposed to sunlight. How much power does your church need? To determine this, simply add up the kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity

26 | Church executive | 05/2012

used on all electric bills for the past year. Electricity usage typically peaks in the summer months when the air conditioners run full blast. Electric bills in July and August are usually indicative of peak usage. Is solar the right choice for your church? Unlike so many issues these days, solar is not a politically sensitive choice. It’s about saving the congregation money and improving the environment and the world we live in. The reality is that the installation of solar almost always saves the installer money in the long term, reduces the use of fossil fuels and often helps make utility budgeting more predictable.

Different approaches Three main options to choose from when installing solar energy systems: Outright Purchase – this approach requires a high upfront cost. At the moment, solar still costs between $3 and $4 per watt. An average home would cost $20,000 to $30,000 to power. A megachurch could cost millions for a big installation. That said, this approach is an excellent option during a building campaign if the funding is available. The average return on investment used to be approximately 17 years, but this has been decreasing as panel prices fall precipitously. Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – this is another good option. A PPA means the church only pays for the generated electricity that it uses, leaving the maintenance and operations to the seller. Lease — this is similar to signing a PPA in that another

entity owns the solar system. the church makes a flat monthly payment regardless of the electricity produced or consumed. the advantage is that the electric bill is the same every month. All three options enable the church to provide environmental stewardship, have more predictable electric bills and frequently lower electric bills, as well. Another critical motivator for installing solar for many church leaders is that of financial stewardship. A good example of this is central Baptist church in Wayne, PA. the congregation installed 48 solar panel arrays on the church roof to produce 9.6 kW of electricity and will supply approximately 30 percent of the 40,000 kWh of electricity that the church uses per year. in addition, the church invested in wind energy by purchasing about 2,500 kWh per month in wind blocks of renewable energy credits, ensuring that clean energy sources contributed to the local power grid. if they achieve

their goal of reducing their total energy consumption by 7 percent, 100 percent of the electricity they consume will come from or support renewable energy. the congregation estimates that if their solar panels generate 11,600 kWh of electricity per year, they will save about $1,740 annually at current electric rates. in addition, the church will receive one credit for every 1,000 kWh generated, about 12 credits per year. they expect to sell each credit for $200, which is $2,400 per year for all 12 credits generated. At this rate, the congregation expects the solar system will pay for itself in only 4.8 years. the savings and revenue generated by the solar energy system can be used for community and mission work. CE Michael Gorton is chief executive officer and chairman of Principal Solar, Addison, TX. []

WINDOW FILM SAVES THE DAY Churches built before the 1980s may have perfectly good windows but may lack modern benefits. Come spring and summer, when the sun is unforgiving, UV exposure can cause hot spots and damage the windows. Instead of replacing structurally sound windows, a simple, yet cost-effective solution is to apply a thin layer of window film, which will help regulate the temperatures within the church, minimize cooling costs and make the environment more comfortable. Window films can also be retrofitted to windows that are affixed outside of stained glass windows for added protection and energy savings. The International Window Film Association offers a free booklet on today’s advanced window films. The booklet outlines how window films can be professionally installed to bring windows that are in good condition up to modern standards. Download the booklet at www. FilmBooklet. aspx. The site also provides listings of professionals who can conduct an energy savings audit and share window film options. — Darrell Smith, International Window Film Association []

05/2012 | ChurCh exeCutive | 27


Two parts of a whole

When business of the church is interrupted By Jennifer Carter Just three days after Easter Sunday in 2011, a colossal storm system tore across the country, spawning 359 tornadoes in 21 states. In addition to property destruction, churches faced business interruption on a massive scale – and many were unprepared to recover from it. Fortunately, there is an insurance product that could help mitigate a church’s financial loss due to an interruption in giving. “Churches are particularly vulnerable to business interruption because they depend so heavily on giving for income,” says Gaelen Cole, Property and Casualty Program manager for GuideStone Agency Services. “Even if the church’s property is properly insured, lost giving can make a loss’s impact that much more profound. Business interruption insurance is crucial, as it helps churches recoup losses while continuing to serve their communities in times of crisis.”

28 | Church executive | 05/2012

Comprehensive business interruption insurance includes two main components: (1) standard coverage for lost income and ongoing operational expenses and (2) extra expense coverage. To be able to file a business interruption claim, the church must first have had a covered cause of loss specified in the church’s property policy. “Churches need to review their policies thoroughly with a knowledgeable agent,” Cole says. “‘Named perils’ coverage only covers loss from a specified event, like fire or storms. ‘Special form’ or ‘all risk’ insures against all causes, but often with many exclusions. It’s important to know what’s covered.” Standard business interruption insurance includes lost income and ongoing expense coverage. Extra expense coverage is often optional, so churches must ask their agent to add it. Both are crucial to keeping ministry protected during times of interruption. Lost income and ongoing expense coverage protects just that: the revenue the church is likely to lose while the doors are closed, and the expenses the church incurs keeping even the most basic operations going. These might include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, payroll, health insurance premiums and the like. Extra expense coverage helps cover the additional expenses churches face while recovering and rebuilding. This includes things like the cost of renting an alternative meeting place or putting in another phone line. It can also mean the difference between a quick recovery and a lengthier one.

Know the specifics “Because budgets are often tight, churches are always looking for ways to keep premiums as affordable as possible,” Cole says. “Churches can be hurt by limits, deductibles or coinsurance that seemed like a good idea when they were trying to lower premiums. In the event of a claim, these decisions can cost them serious money.” Deductibles. Business interruption deductibles are measured in time rather than dollar amounts. The deductible is the amount of time that’s allowed to pass before the church’s coverage kicks in, usually 24-72 hours. In general, the longer the deductible, the lower the premium, making longer deductibles attractive to churches looking to control costs. However, deductibles can have huge and potentially unforeseen impacts in the event of a loss. “If possible, churches should have a 24-hour deductible. This helps them manage costs while providing protection for their most important operational days,” Cole says. Limits. Business interruption coverage has a limit that’s separate from other policy limits. Typically, >>

FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS the amount covered is based on the previous 12 months’ documented income and expenses. Because churches are rarely out of operation for 12 months, they will not need the full amount covered. “It’s critical to keep good records of income and expenses, and have backups in a secure place,” says Cole. Many church insurers offer a flat limit of $150,000 in coverage. For smaller churches with annual incomes below $500,000, this limit is generally adequate. Churches with annual incomes greater than $500,000 will need to consult with their agents to figure the right amount of coverage. Coinsurance penalties. For larger churches that need higher limits, coinsurance penalties may become an issue. Insurance companies require the church to carry a certain percentage of the potential total value of their loss, based on 12 months’ worth of documented income

30 | Church executive | 05/2012

and expenses. If the church does not carry that percentage, they will incur a coinsurance penalty, and only a portion of their total claims will be paid. “These things are complicated,” says Cole.

Protection is in the details “Under the umbrella of ‘business interruption coverage,’ there are a few more coverages churches should consider,” says Cole. “The two that are most common are utility interruption and equipment breakdown.” Utility interruption coverage reimburses a church for ongoing expenses and lost income resulting from a disruption in utilities – even if the church property itself isn’t damaged. Equipment breakdowns such as heating or air conditioning failure must first be covered by the church’s property policy. “If they have that coverage, the church should also specify that they’d like the resulting business inter-

ruption covered. Without it, their lost income and ongoing expenses aren’t covered.” “Aside from insufficient or the wrong kinds of cover-age, disorganization and poor record-keeping are two things that really hurt churches when it comes to getting claims paid,” Cole says. “Churches should focus on three main areas: (1) have a good relationship with their agent, (2) keep thorough and secure records, and (3) make sure everyone knows their role: who to contact for accounting, for property info, for disaster response, etc. Without all three, they are likely to run into trouble.” Jennifer Carter is a senior marketing communications editor for Dallas-based GuideStone Financial Resources. [] This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal, tax or other professional advice specific to you or your ministry.


How does that

sit with you?

Spaghetti stains are one factor deciding whether it’s chairs or pews in the worship center.

Pews were used in the sanctuary of St. John Lutheran Church and School, Cypress, TX.

By Paul Lodholz

As an architect who has focused for many years on projects related to worship facilities, I find that there are always a few issues that produce lively debates and a good deal of emotion for those involved in the decisionmaking process. Stained glass, statuary, ornament and art seem to be

32 | Church executive | 05/2012

obvious but, interestingly, pews and chairs can sometimes bring just as much passion. I work with committees for most of my projects, and it is interesting to observe how many hours can be spent on a topic as seemingly mundane as pews or chairs. As an illustration I will share two projects that selected chairs and one that chose pews.

Chairs were selected for Northeast Houston Baptist Church, Humble, TX.

Pews as art St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress, TX, completed a new sanctuary, and there was never a doubt that they would use pews, never. The decision was quite simple for

them, even though the new space would be used both for their traditional and contemporary services. It is often the more contemporary service setting that establishes a statement that “this is not your mother >>

05/2012 | Church executive | 33

and father’s church.” Contemporary worship goals often allow for freedom and flexibility and options for how seats can be arranged in relation to the singers, preaching and altar. The predominant emotion for the leadership and congregation of St. John was the establishing of their longawaited church home. This emotion trumped any thoughts of flexibility.

the opportunity to integrate the pews with the church’s architecture. The notion of furniture as art and an integral part of architecture and space are opportunities that can be developed by the use of pews. Rich woods, fabric style and color, and even the use of iconography are all part of the decisions surrounding pews. St. John’s committee chose to use exposed wood seat backs with an ergonomically designed cushion for the seat and back areas. The pews were designed in a traditional style with a fullend panel as opposed to the more contemporary cantileverend style. Curiously enough this was a very belabored decision and one of the very few that went against the thoughts of the architect, who felt that the cantilever end was more true to the overall sense of the design. St. John is delighted with their decision and I am sure the committee would encourage any congregation to decide as they have. Pews, only pews for their sanctuary, they wanted no part of chairs.

Chairs offer options

Clear Lake United Methodist Church, Clear Lake, TX, also chose chairs.

The nave, although developed with a gather around seating arrangement, a sloped floor and a significant chancel has very traditional pews. The style and character were seen to be a part of the overall aesthetic of the room. I find that when a church uses pews, one is given

34 | Church executive | 05/2012

Two other Texas churches, Northeast Houston Baptist Church in Humble and Clear Lake United Methodist Church in Clear Lake, both chose chairs instead of pews. The decision for each of these churches was self-evident from the beginning, but for different reasons. Clear Lake Methodist was building a room for multiple uses: for their contemporary worship service, as a fellowship hall, a conference center and a community performance room for country music and contemporary Christian concerts. Pews would simply have never worked for such diverse needs. The chair chosen was a more formal chair, with a bit of style, at least as far as the committee was concerned. They felt that versatility did not trump a desire to have something that would be appropriate for worship and for

a formal dinner. The only reason to make mention of their decision is that chair styles, quality, appearance, durability and cost pose many more potential options and therefore points of debate than pews. A big factor is the complexity of program. Spaghetti sauce is not usually found in a traditional nave but certainly is in a multi-use room. Chair carts are not needed for pews

The notion of furniture as art and an integral part of architecture and space often lends favor to the use of pews for many churches. that are bolted to the floor, but certainly are for the flexibility of expanding and contracting room settings. How many inches wide the chairs are, how high they stack, how easily they are moved are critical decisions that must be weighed along with fabric durability and yes, color. Like St. John, Clear Lake members are very pleased with their new room and how they can arrange their chairs to meet a wide range of needs. Northeast Houston Baptist also chose chairs for

their new worship center. The room, a black box-style auditorium, seats 800 and houses their progressive contemporary worship style. The pastor wanted a room that would provide many options for seating arrangements, but in any setting would be perceived as informal, inviting and friendly. Pews are simply not a part of this church’s culture at this time. It is interesting that in each of these cases, the choice to go with pew or chair was not a difficult one. All the fun in the process came after the initial decision was made in observing and guiding the group through the many decisions related to program need, architectural and aesthetic fit, and budgetary concern. Committees and architects must remember that the decision on seating is not one that will go unnoticed. In fact, it will be noticed for many, many years. Nothing makes a statement to a visitor like a stained, tattered chair or an old delaminated pew. CE

Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED AP is senior principal and studio leader of the Worship Place Studio and the Learning Place Studio at Ziegler Cooper Architects, Houston, TX. He is an elder at his church and a Bible class teacher. []

05/2012 | Church executive | 35


Minimize risks to maximize outreach BY eriC SPACeK in times of crisis and emergencies such as hurricanes, floods and power outages, many churches open their facilities to provide shelter to those in need. While such outreach clearly reflects care and compassion, church leaders should be aware of risks, especially if it involves overnight or extended accommodation. Some of these risks include an increased potential for fire, property damage, and liability for injuries to people.

Plan and collaborate Proper planning will go a long way toward managing an influx of people and preventing some serious problems. First, determine if your church is equipped to be a shelter. You’ll need to implement safety procedures, put rules into place, and train your staff how to handle emergencies.

36 | ChurCh exeCutive | 05/2012

One consideration for your church is to become a designated American red Cross shelter. Not only will that organization’s expertise help you establish a shelter, there also can be a measure of liability protection for your church. Confer with local authorities on their shelter requirements to make sure your facility meets their standards. For example, some require premises to have shower facilities. Check with the fire department to find out the maximum occupancy allowed and other safety precautions required for shelter operations. to prepare for situations such as a fire, make sure staff and volunteers are trained to help evacuate the grounds. ensure that exits are clearly marked and all access in and out of the building is unobstructed. Protect the people who take shelter in your church. Designate a supervisor to manage volunteers and ensure that key workers take turns to stay awake and monitor activities at all times. if necessary, hire security or offduty law enforcement personnel to screen for illegal substances, alcohol or weapons. For the safety of everyone on site, these should not be allowed on the premises. in addition, limit and secure access to all other areas of the building, and monitor each entrance and exit to the shelter.

Establish guidelines to maintain order, establish guidelines for everyone to follow and give people copies of those rules. those seeking emergency help from your church should adhere to your safety policies. establish shelter hours. For example, do not allow anyone to enter your premises after 10 p.m. require people to complete a guest registration form and to sign in and sign out daily. Prohibit the use of weapons, alcohol and drugs on the church’s premises. Many shelters do not permit animals or pets unless they are bona fide service animals for the disabled. Check which local authorities are responsible for supplying food, water and other emergency items. if it is the church’s responsibility, make sure you are able to obtain an adequate supply of goods and that staff will be available to distribute them. if preparing meals, make sure food is handled only by those certified in food safety. use sanitary methods in preparing, storing and serving food. Food is not the only area that requires close attention

in terms of sanitation. Bedding, restrooms, showers and garbage removal also should be handled carefully and appropriately. You may want to consider hiring additional janitorial staff for as long as the shelter is functional. even with all of these extra precautions in place, illnesses can still occur. You should have already discussed with your team how your church would respond when people contract a communicable disease or become seriously ill. Confer with your local health department on how to best handle this situation. Send people who require medical monitoring to the proper facility.

Maintain a safe facility Keeping your facility in proper working condition is always important, but it becomes imperative when you have increased traffic at your site. inspect and monitor interior and exterior walking surfaces to make sure they

D Ef i B r i l l ATo rS

are in good condition, adequately lit, and free of slip, trip and fall hazards. Consider the requirements of people with special needs, such as the elderly, or those with wheelchairs and walkers, and plan accordingly so you will be able to accommodate them. taking care of those in need during a crisis is oftentimes a natural extension of your ministry. however, it is crucial that you consider the risks that come along with opening your doors to the community. Make sure your leadership team is making every effort to minimize those risks.

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

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