HELPING LEADERS BECOME BETTER STEWARDS
finAnciAl stewArDship: GOvernanCe | 12 POWer OF COnSiStent
BrAND IMAgINg: SenD a MeSSaGe | 24 SPeCiaL SeCtiOn:
ADVOCATE FOr ThE COMMuNITY
FEBruArY 2013 FE ATU RES RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP: GOVERNANCE 12 By Dan Busby
a ﬁve-part series opens: Misuse of church funds a huge governing issue
POLICY GOVERNANCE: ADOPT OR ADAPT? 18 By Don Green
the well-regarded Carver governance model can work for churches.
the Ce interv ieW
By Ronald E. Keener Colette rice was a civil servant for the federal government for 27 years before becoming executive pastor at Mt. ennon Baptist Church. “Over the span of my career i have amassed skills and developed competencies in the areas of personnel management, budget and ﬁnance, procurement, and leadership development – all of which have prepared me to serve in my current capacity,” she says.
THE POWER OF CONSISTENT BRAND IMAGERY 24 By Brandon Cox
By offering multiple giving options, churches take the hassle out of giving and pave the way for members to exercise greater generosity.
BRANDING YOUR CHURCH 26 By Bill Foster
how to create a visual image that succinctly articulates your mission and message.
MAKE FACEBOOK WORK FOR YOUR CHURCH 28 Deborah Hertle
a failure is in designing for the convenience of the organization and not for the person using it.
SPECIAL SECTION: AUDIO
12 DE PARTM ENTS 5 RON
By Dan James
Faith comes by hearing – but what if they can’t hear you?
Church Executive (Copyright 2013), Volume 12, Issue 2. 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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THE CASE OF INTELLIGIBILITY 20
By Heather Robinson
Copyright 2013 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.
31 Marketplace helping Leaders Become Better Stewards.
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prACTICINg purITY Are pastoral affairs on the increase or is it the media and internet that makes it seem so? it’s not a new problem for clergy.
“the rev. travis Smith paced First Baptist Church’s sanctuary [in Stover, MO], decorated for the holidays with poinsettias and a Christmas tree. he addressed his congregation about forgiveness. ‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,’ he read from the Gospel of Matthew.” the subtext of this account (from religion news Service) is that Smith had been arrested in October on sexual abuse and statutory rape charges, which follow similar allegations from 2010. the rnS report says that “forgiveness from his congregation has become critical to his survival as its pastor. it is this group of about 100 souls – not a bishop, nor a disciplinary committee nor national church leaders – who will decide Smith’s future in the Southern Baptist Convention,” unlike other denominations. Judgment was swifter at First Baptist Church of hammond, in, back in august when senior pastor Jack Schaap admitted to adultery with a teenage girl of his church. Schaap had led the 15,000-member church for 11 years, and told police that he
was not aware it was against the law to take an underage youth across state lines. “People are very pleased at how fast our deacon board acted in the dismissal of our former pastor,” Christian Post reported a church spokesman saying. then in December, pastor isaac hunter of Summit Church in Orlando, FL, with 5,000 worshippers, resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a former staff member. his father, Joel, is pastor of a megachurch in Longwood, FL, and is a spiritual advisor to President Obama. One can imagine the ugliness of all these events to the families, the churches, the community, and the individuals accused or confessing. are there more pastoral affairs today, or are we just hearing about them more, questions blogger todd rhoades. “Makes me think that it could be that we’re just hearing more about pastoral affairs these days because of the instantaneous nature of our culture, the media and the internet in particular,” rhoades wrote in november. “i think many times when we see a pastor fall, we somehow tie it to our screwed up culture, to the size of his church, or to an over-bloated ego that caused an attitude of entitlement in the man who has fallen. Many times this may be the case. But i don’t think this is, by far, a new problem for pastors and churches.” Saddleback’s rick Warren recently said, “Sometimes i feel attracted to women who are not my wife. i don’t act on it. Just because i have a feeling doesn’t make it right.”
in last april’s issue of this magazine we carried an interview with edward Mrkvicka Jr., the author of a book on adultery, in which he observes that clergy are not exempt from temptation, and that “because of counseling obligations, the lure of adultery to clergy, if anything, may very well exceed the norm” and that counseling for the pastor “too often leads to their sin becoming our sin.” as for forgiveness, where we started this piece? Mrkvicka shares that “forgiveness is too often used and abused by sinners to relieve the pressure of knowing they are in willful spiritual rebellion. they tell themselves their sin will be washed away, no matter what they do. that is treating the blood of Christ as a common thing, and God will have none of it.” Pastors deal with temptation as all of us do. a quote from comedy writer John Dryden puts it best: “Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.” But, unhappily, there seems to be some truth in what english literary critic robert Orben once wrote, “Most people would like to be delivered from temptation, but would like it to keep in touch.” Got a question or comment? email ron@Churchexecutive.com
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COMMISSION SUGGESTS WAYS TO KEEP CLOSER EYE ON LAVISH MINISTRIES A special commission created by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has called for clearer IRS guidance and greater involvement among donors to address “outliers” among congregations and other nonprofits that are not being financially accountable. Its 91-page report was a response to a request for recommendations from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, after he concluded a three-year investigation into alleged lavish spending by six prominent broadcast ministries in 2011. Among the dozens of suggestions of the interfaith commission: • Compensation for leaders of nonprofits should be “reasonable,” and nonprofits should
make such information available to donors who request it. • The Internal Revenue Service should clarify forms related to the income tax exclusion for clergy housing — which is being challenged in court by atheists who consider it unconstitutional. • The IRS should not create a specific advisory committee for religious organizations, but should allow the religious community to give input as it creates more guidance on tax law. • The tax agency should give more advice about “love offerings” — monetary gifts sometimes given to clergy outside of regular congregational offerings — to avoid the “mistaken impression that there is 100 percent cor-
relation between deductibility by the giver and taxability to the receiver.” • The IRS should modify forms to permit organizations, such as operators of shelters from domestic violence, to redact sensitive information from public disclosure if it would put people at risk. In an introduction to the report, commission president Michael Batts said a comparatively small number of organizations are involved in “egregious financial misconduct” and “excessive legislation” is not necessary to address them. “We cannot allow the behavior of a few outliers in the religious and nonprofit sector to threaten the freedoms of those who are not the problem — those who are
doing the good work,” says Batts, a former ECFA chairman. Grassley, in a statement, said the new report demonstrates the challenge of trying to prevent abuse without harming “aboveboard organizations.” He encouraged both donors and the IRS to heed the commission’s recommendations, but noted that Congress could extend the review if it addresses comprehensive tax reform. The commission plans to release a report in 2013 with recommendations about political expression of churches and other charities. —Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
THIEVES COME TO CHURCH — FOR THE COPPER WIRING Soaring metal prices have led to such a high demand for copper that thieves are stealing anything containing this metal. Church air conditioning units have become a frequent target. Catalytic converters, which contain platinum and other precious metals, are being taken from vehicles stored in parking lots, say risk management people at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. Thieves have been taking anything containing copper in order to turn a quick profit. Air conditioning units, gutters, electrical wiring, pipes — all are ripe for picking. Even rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are being vandalized, the company says. One report shared that an
Alabama church had its air conditioning units stolen twice in 10 days. Each time the thieves got about $300 worth of copper and the church had to pay more than $3,000 for replacements. A church in Detroit spent more than $50,000 to replace HVAC units damaged by copper thieves. Churches are putting in video cameras to help nab the thieves, or prevent them from preying on the church in the first place. Another safeguard is known as CopperWatcher in Bedford, TX. [www. copperwatcher.com] Bob Frederick of the firm says their product is now sold in more than 225 wholesale locations nationwide. “Copper theft prevention is more than a security cage, watch-
dog or other type of warning device,” Frederick says. CopperWatcher monitors refrigerant pressure, voltage and all communication wires, communicates with all security alarm systems and can be monitored by an existing alarm service, he says. Other deterrents include motion sensor lights, surveillance equipment, burglar alarm systems, and taper resistant hardware to make a thief think twice about stealing copper. Additional approaches use PVC piping as an overlay to convince thieves there’s no copper to steal.
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the ce interview
A. colette rice e x e c u t i v e P a s t o r | M t . e n n o n B a p t i s t C h u rc h | C l i n t o n , M D
Colette rice was a civil servant for the federal government for 27 years before becoming executive pastor of Mt. ennon Baptist Church. “Over the span of my career i have amassed skills and developed competencies in the areas of personnel management, budget and finance, procurement, and leadership development – all of which have prepared me to serve in my current capacity,” she says.
by ronAlD e. Keener
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She was on a career development track focused on administration and leadership development, all of which prepared her for leading the staff of her church, which has an attendance of 7,500. “i eventually progressed to serve in multiple management-level positions and ultimately retired as the deputy executive officer of administration for the executive Office of immigration review, Board of immigration appeals,” she says. who was instrumental in your becoming ordained? Our senior pastor, Delman Coates, hired me to serve the position as assistant to the pastor in March 2007 and swiftly put things in place to prepare me for ordination. On november 7 last year, i was one of two women ordained to the Gospel ministry, which marked a monumental moment representing the first female clergy to be ordained in the history of the church. how were you received in that historic move? as an african-american female indoctrinated in the Baptist faith, my gifts and callings were met with the backlash of a tradition that held to the belief that God did not call women to preach. Let it suffice to say that while the journey was paved with tears, my strength was cultivated through the struggle. i learned during that season of immense adversity that if you remain humble, faithful, available and teachable, you need but only rest on God’s promise stated in i thess. 5:24 “the one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this!” the church was founded in 1981 and you have been in the congregation since 1987. Any observations about seeing a church grow to 7,500 in those years? the main thing i would offer is how essential it is for the church to strive to remain relevant in the lives of believers. Several important observations are (1) Love is foundational, (2) Critique, assessment and evaluation of ministry impact and effectiveness is critical, (3) Change is inevitable, and (4) With God, nothing is impossible. what was the learning process in the 27 years of your government work that prepared you for the executive pastor position? the process is primarily one of studying the environment, adapting best practices from past experiences (and leaving behind those things that were not portable to this arena), and most importantly, learning the heart of my pastor and embracing and embodying the vision the organization chart indicates that you have 12 direct reports and 14 indirect reports. what super-
visory or management approach do you use to maintain oversight of so many people and functions? My primary management style is management by coaching and developing. While it can be quite time-consuming, it is very rewarding. i gain a lot of pleasure from taking a vision that our pastor casts and guiding the creativity, strategic planning and implementation processes to see the vision through to fruition. what is the church’s activity now in social justice and community issues? in 2012 the Pastor Coates was the leading clergy advocate in the state of Maryland for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples [that passed in Maryland on the november 6 ballot]. he and many others regarded this as a social justice issue, and his advocacy this social justice issue has been widely acknowledged as being responsible for the legislation’s successful passing. We have taken a very active role in addressing the foreclosure crisis, which has greatly impacted those in our community, by hosting several foreclosure workshops that resulted in a number of our members (and those in the surrounding community) avoiding home foreclosure. in addition, we rallied for health care reform, supported legislation to end the death penalty in Maryland, and conducted hiv/aiDS testing and hosted awareness sessions on a yearly basis. We have forums and town hall meetings on a range of community and policy issues, including most recently our hosting a series of education roundtables to bring together members and the community to strategically think through how to impact public education in our county. what are the goals for next year; what is new on the horizon? While building expansion seems inevitable, we are currently seeking to maximize our existing space. We are in the midst of a sanctuary expansion project, which will provide for additional seating to accommodate the growth. 2013 has been designated as “the year of impact.” We will start out with a two-part training series on “the Missional Church” as we seek to develop our local and foreign missions strategy. Are small group ministries a part of your church’s outreach and growth? yes. We encourage assimilation and growth through active involvement within the ministries of the church. to assist with this process, we have training sessions to help members identify their gifts. We also host ministry open house sessions periodically to familiarize members with the various opportunities to serve. you have on your website Mebc connect where members need accounts for access to their church record. how does that work? MeBC Connect enables our members to log on to their member profile, update information, register for events, activities and ministry opportunities, and track training and ministry participation. Our data management system is aCS technologies and we try to maximize the use of all of its features. is there a visioning process or planning cycle for the church with its leaders and elders? the pastor leads our visioning process in consultation with staff and ministry leaders. We also have a Leadership institute held bi-annually to impart the vision to ministry leaders and their teams and provide them with direction and guidance in moving forward. i attended a black church one sunday and i never felt more loved >>
02/2013 | ChurCh exeCutive | 9
the ce interview and welcomed as I did then. Does worship in a black church differ from that of white churches? I really can’t say because I don’t get out much :-) I just know that there is something special about Sunday morning when the saints gather together for worship to express love and adoration for this awesome God we serve. I can only hope that others anticipate every opportunity and enjoy themselves as much as I do. I must say that at Mt. Ennon, we strive to create unparalleled worship experiences that people will not soon forget. www.MtEnnon.org
MT. ENNON Church ADVOCATES FOR DECENCY IN VIDEOs The Enough is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment started after Pastor Delman Coates and several hundred members of our church reached a point of outrage with the corporate sponsorship of misogynistic lyrics and lyrics that portrayed Black and Latino men as pimps and thugs. This was not an issue of censorship; the programs in question were not in compliance with the guidelines for advertising standards but were sponsored by Fortune 500 companies that targeted children and youth with adult content that was graphic and inappropriate for the targeted audience. The campaign achieved national attention for the media advocacy work of our local church resulting in three out of four of BET music video programs being cancelled. We received national support from entertainers, businesses, civil rights groups and women’s advocacy groups alike, all who shared our concern and echoed the desire to see change. Through the campaign’s weekly rallies in D.C. and New York for eight months, a media study was conducted in partnership with the Parents Television Council called “Rap on Rap” that analyses the lyrical content on BET and MTV music programs. We held a press conference at the National Press Club to announce the results of that study and to initiate our advertiser accountability phase of the campaign. Pastor Coates was an invited speaker at two Federal Communication Commission hearings on media consolidation. The success of the campaign resulted in the appointment of Pastor Coates to the board of the Parents Television Council, a national organization that focuses on decency in television. We continue this media advocacy through the council. In other work, we rallied in support of President Obama’s Health Care Reform Plan. Also, Pastor Coates has met with elected officials at the state and county level to oppose the expansion of gaming in our community and frequently writes opinion editorials on a range of issues. We also provide opportunities for members to contact Congressional representatives to express their views on various pieces of legislation.
— Colette Rice
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H0213CE 02/2013 | Church executive | 11
responsible finAnciAl stewArDship
governAnce A ﬁve-part series opens with articles on governance and ﬁnancial issues it’s sad to say there is no shortage of stories about church leaders misusing the funds entrusted to them by donors and parishioners. as Dan Busby, eCFa president, writes, “We expect to hear about the inappropriate use of finances in the secular world – big business and government. But – poor stewardship of God’s resources in the church by Christians? Surely that is an oxymoron.” yet, based on news and public records, any contradiction seems lost. it is in this light that Church Executive is running a fivepart series on responsible financial stewardship beginning with this installment on church governance. Our goal for this series is to help inform, inspire and challenge church leaders as they commit to exercise greater financial
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transparency and faithful stewardship of the privileges and resources that God has entrusted them. Join us as we gather financial and leadership experts, watch groups and advocates to bring to light issues, challenges and solutions pertaining to: part 1: church governance – february part 2: establishing financial controls – April part 3: risk management – June part 4: Managing charitable gifts – August part 5: financial transparency – october
Misuse of church funds a huge governing issue By Dan Busby
for accountability starts with the senior pastor and other Church governance comes in many different forms. church leaders, clergy and lay, demonstrating a heart for Some church governance styles are more hierarchical, accountability. Then, it will permeate the staff. Without a some place more responsibility on church staff, and, in heart for financial accountability, it will be impossible to some, the congregation has significant authority. Whatoffset such a deficiency. ever the church governance style, all congregations have Financial accountability often goes awry when the the responsibility to steward resources appropriately. senior pastor of a church is above accountability. Peter We expect to hear about the inappropriate use of understood leadership accountability in the early church finances in the secular world — big business and governas he called his fellow “shepherds of God’s flock” to be ment. But, poor stewardship of God’s resources in the accountable to one another and to God (1 Peter 5:1–4). church by Christians? Surely that is an oxymoron. A willingness to be And yet, media reports all diligent. Caution: Hard too regularly relate to inappropriwork required! This is ate stewardship of funds at one Financial impropriety occurs when what the sign might read church after another. It’s a slip of leaders lose sight of the ultimate before a church engages integrity here and a case of fraud owner of everything. in financial accountability. there. Sometimes the issues are It’s hard work to be finansmall; other times, the issues cially accountable — it shake a congregation to its core, requires discipline. causing worshipers to look for Is it exciting to document expenses under an accountanother church. Either way, the issues are not a positive able expense reimbursement plan? No. It’s hard work. witness for our Lord and Savior! Does it require discipline to be sure all taxable elements of These problems occur in churches large and small. payments to staff are properly reported to the government Even our theology does not insulate us. You see, financial at year end? Absolutely! But this hard work is required if impropriety is an equal opportunity problem! we are to be financially accountable for the use of God’s How do these tragic financial events occur in the resources that have been provided to the church. church? Financial impropriety occurs when leaders lose An acceptance of policies and procesight of the ultimate owner of everything. When we truly dures. Part of the price of financial accountability is understand that the funds belong to God, we provide speadopting and following policies and procedures with cial care for the funds with the attitude of a steward-manrespect to handling God’s money. My friend, Brian Kluth, ager, not of an owner. As a steward-manager, we welcome with Maximum Generosity, says “before God supplied accountability for the way we use the assets God entrusts resources for any ministry, the plans were written down.” to us. “Now it is required that those who have been given When Moses built the tabernacle in the desert, he had a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2). to write down detailed plans that God gave him (Exodus In the parable Luke relates in Chapter 16, the manager 30–33). Then, the funds came in as the people gave gladly was required to give an account of his management, and (Exodus 34–36). the master chastised the manager for not being trustworDavid wrote a plan for the temple, and there was thy with someone else’s property. a huge offering from the people toward fulfilling those Taking the high road of financial accountability requires plans (1 Chronicles 29). The Apostle Paul wrote a letter church governance that demonstrates: to churches concerning who they were helping. He made A heart for financial accountability. A it clear what he was going to do with the money, and >> heart to model the handing of God’s resources. A heart
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responsible financial Stewardship
New compensation-setting standard (including related-party transaction guidance) ECFA has announced the addition of new policies for setting compensation for top leaders of its member organizations. These practices become effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing ECFA-accredited churches and Christian nonprofit organizations time to implement the changes. Beginning Jan. 1, Standard 6 will state: “Every organization shall set compensation of its top leader and address related-party transactions in a manner that demonstrates integrity and propriety in conformity with ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions.” Organizations with higher paid leaders (defined as total compensation of $150,000) will be required to per-
form minimum due diligence to ensure reasonable total compensation, while all organizations are encouraged to adopt the practices. “The new standard takes compensation-setting practices for ECFA- member organizations to a higher level,” says Dan Busby, ECFA president. The new due diligence standards do not place a cap on compensation. When the top leader’s compensation reaches the $150,000 threshold, the new compensation-setting practices are required. For more information go to: http://www.ecfa.org/ Content/ECFA-Issues-New-Standard-for-CompensationSetting-Practices
then he did what he said he was going to do. Regardless of church governance style, where do financial integrity issues most often arise? Here are just a few common issues: Improper handling of restricted gifts. Most churches accept donor-restricted gifts. These gifts may relate to a capital campaign for a building project, funds given specifically for missions, for benevolence, or some other purpose. These restricted gifts create specific responsibilities for the church including: Communication with donors. Communication between the church and donors must be clear as to the donors’ intentions and that the purpose of the gifts are to benefit the church. Tracking system. The church must provide an accounting system that tracks both restricted donations and expenses — starting with the fundamental principle of honoring the donor’s restrictions. Setting the compensation of the senior pastor. The formal approval of the senior pastor’s compensation by the full board and contemporaneous documentation of the compensation package — including fringe benefits and the reporting of all taxable compensation elements for tax purposes — are the fundamental issues for churches (see sidebar for ECFA’s new compensation-setting standard). The higher the compensation of the senior pastor, the more important it is to use reliable comparability data in setting compensation. Transactions involving conflicts of interest. Churches are frequently involved in transactions with related parties. For example, the church purchases casualty insurance from a firm owned by a church board member. Or, web development services are provided by a pastor’s spouse.
The proper handling of related-party transactions starts with a sound conflicts-of-interest policy. Significant transactions between a church and “insiders” should be subject to certain safeguards to ensure the transaction is in the best interest of the church (see sidebar for ECFA’s new standard which includes related-party transaction guidance). This is our day to demonstrate financial accountability in the church. Surely God will be glorified if churches always strive for the high road of financial accountability. “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of men.” (2 Corinthians 8:20–21). CE
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Dan Busby is president, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) [www.ecfa.org], Winchester, VA, and a nationally recognized author and speaker and a member of the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations.
responsible financial Stewardship
Adapt or adopt?
The well-regarded Carver governance model can work for churches. By Don Green Policy governance was created by John Carver in the devoted his life to improving board governance: “There was 1970s and is described in his book, Boards that Make a no model for governance.” By model he means “a collection of principles and Difference, first published in 1990. After observing our University’s governing board transition to a policy governing concepts that make sense as a whole.” Thus, he defines board several years ago, I have been an advocate of adapt- policy governance as “an integrated set of concepts and ing John Carver’s model of policy governance for churches principles that describes the job of any governing board. It outlines the manner in which boards can be successand other Christian organizations. I also know from experience in consulting with churches ful in their servant-leadership role, as well as in their and Christian leaders that governance structures and deci- all-important relationship with management” (see www. sion-making systems are especially slow to change. But left carvergovernance.com). The goal of this governance model is to empower the unchanged, these factors often become a hindrance rather board or governing group than a help in accomplishing to focus on the “big picture” the church’s mission. What is vision of the organization needed, especially in larger, and to empower the admingrowing congregations is a The goal of this governance model istration to focus on carrymore comprehensive, consisis to empower the board to focus ing out the vision through tent, holistic process for the on the “big picture” vision. appropriate and acceptable governing group. means within the limitations In this approach the board set by the board. By applyor a leadership team of elders and senior staff appropriately oversees the church’s fulfill- ing the Carver model, a board is better able to distinguish ment of mission toward its vision while empowering the between governance and administration through the use of ministry staff to lead and manage the details of ministry. four different kinds of policies: (1) ends (or vision) policies; The primary purpose of this leadership team is to see that (2) executive limitations policies; (3) board-executive relathe church or Christian organization achieves what God tionship policies; and (4) board process policies. Some churches and ministry-based organizations have desires and avoids what is unacceptable. The model often modified this four-part model into a three-pronged approach adopted is some form of policy governance. based on John Kaiser’s book, Winning on Purpose: How to Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission. Kaiser John Carver model Policy governance was created by John Carver in the calls this approach “The Accountable Leadership” strat1970s and is described in his book, Boards that Make egy. Within this ministry-modified model, boards develop a Difference. In the foreword to The Policy Governance policies — or, as Kaiser calls them, “guiding principles” Fieldbook, edited by Caroline Oliver, Carver tells why, after — that address three key issues: (1) defining responsibility years of serving on boards and with boards as a CEO, he (comparable to vision/ends policies); (2) delegating >>
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responsible financial Stewardship
authority (comparable to limitations policies); and (3) determining accountability (comparable to some board process policies and to relationship policies). Whichever model one chooses, it is readily apparent that boards of churches and Christian organizations would benefit from a clearer definition of the board’s role, its responsibilities, and its relationship with the director, president or pastor. In deciding whether policy governance should be adopted or adapted as the model of governance in churches, there are some important issues to address.
function collectively as a group “to guide God’s flock,” “guard God’s family,” and “govern God’s people,” as Rick Thompson suggests in E3: Effective Empowering Elders.
Faithful and fruitful
Many of the good elements of policy making can be incorporated, but not at the expense of other critical functions that must be carried out for a congregation to be faithful and fruitful. Elders and ministers dare not minimize the importance of fulfilling such vital tasks as shepherding, equipping, and mentoring, nor overlook the obvious need for spiritual leadership. From this writer’s perspective, Biblical worldview First of all, any discussion of governance for God’s church boards and often elders are too involved in managpeople should begin with a biblical worldview, which means ing or micromanaging the ministries of the church while seeing the task from the Creator’s view (as revealed in no one is effectively leading the overall ministry of the creation) and Christ’s view (as revealed in redemption), church. The critical need in many churches is for clearly differentiated roles for elders not merely Carver’s view who govern, ministers who (as reflected in the Fall). In lead, and ministry staff and Carver’s model, the board THOSE WHO HAVE teams who manage the holds itself accountable for ADOPTED – OR ADAPTED – POLICY GOVERNANCE ministries. its performance and holds As churches adapt the chief executive accountpolicy governance in some able to approved policies. • Eastview Christian Church, Normal, IL expression of elder govIn Scripture, the first line • Richwoods Christian Church, Peoria, IL ernance, it is my prayer of accountability for all lead• Indian Creek Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN that they would develop a ers is to God, which may be • Traders Point Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN healthy leadership team missing in Carver. For Chriscomprised of elders and the tian leaders, mutual account• Chillicothe Christian Church, Chillicothe, IL senior minister, whose colability flows naturally out of • National Association of Church Business Administration lective responsibility is to living in a reconciled rela• Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln, IL govern the church through tionship with God and others necessary and appropriate in an authentic, accountable, policies or guiding princovenant community. John ciples. Kaiser’s “accountable leaderWhen a leadership team fulfills this vital role, the minship” approach to applying governance in the church is consistent with God’s original intent for governance that is istry staff and entire congregation will benefit from their defining responsibility, delegating authority within boundar“safe and effective.” Second, applying policy governance in a church con- ies, and determining accountability. And, ultimately, Christ text requires rethinking the issues, processes, attitudes, will be served and his kingdom will be advanced. CE and behaviors of those who lead and govern. There are Dr. Don Green is director and professor of practical reasons for the concepts and principles of leadership at Lincoln (IL) Christian University policy governance to be adapted without adopting all of the [www.lincolnchristian.edu]. Adapted from an article last year for ChristianStandard.com assumptions. God’s intention was not to create a board of directors and a corporate CEO, but, rather, a community of mutually accountable servant leaders who work together in fulfillment of their distinct roles by allowing for diversity in equality and unity. Third, through a careful study of Scriptures, leaders should frame the discussion biblically so the elders can
18 | Church executive | 02/2013
speciAl section auDiO
The case for
faith comes by hearing – but what if they can’t hear you? By Dan JaMeS
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the most important criteria for a church sound reinforcement system are that it is loud enough and that it is intelligible. When your congregation is straining to understand what is being said – even unconsciously – it interferes with learning and one’s ability to ponder your sermon. your congregation also becomes fatigued, which can lead to frustration and disinterest.
Designing a sound system that is loud enough is pretty straightforward, but designing a system that is intelligible requires implementation of several principles, along with proper operation. intelligibility is a principle that is often not understood, and thus overlooked. Make sure your sound engineer understands intelligibility and will implement all the criteria required. there is a complete and more technical commentary on intelligibility on www.clearsoundcorp.com that your operator and sound engineer can review.
hArDEST TO COrrECT room environment with its acoustics, the location of the presenter, and the presenter are criteria affecting intelligibility, whether there is a sound reinforcement system or not. if there is sound reinforcement, the system components – including microphone choice and placement, speaker choice and implementation, and audio processors such as mixers, equalizers and compressor limiters – all affect intelligibility. the correct lighting, setting, appropriate lectern and presentation aids will help you, the presenter, be comfortable and confident. you are best understood if the people can see you well. Body language, especially facial expressions, is a part of the whole in communication. room acoustics affect intelligibility more than most things, yet the one hardest to correct. When the sound that is being reinforced bounces off walls, floors and ceilings, the initial sound ends up traveling at different distances reaching people’s ears at different time intervals destroying intelligibility. So what will work? • • •
Avoid hard reflective surfaces (including empty pews) and odd- or round-shaped rooms. Rooms that are rectangular in shape, where the presentation is on the short-width end, work well. The thicker the carpet the more sound it will absorb. Walls and ceilings that are broken up architecturally or have acoustic absorption panels will help reduce the reverberant sound, making the room more intelligible.
INTEllIgIBIlITY ISSuES Few microphones are designed specifically for intelligibility. Look for a microphone that is designed specifically for intelligible speech. it limits the frequency response to just the vocal range and does not boost intelligibility-busting frequencies so the voice sounds natural and intelligible. the microphone should be placed close enough so the voice can be reinforced adequately without producing feedback, yet far enough away so that mouth noises, “P” popping and bass boost are not a problem. this is usually about 6 inches with the microphone aimed directly at the mouth. an adequate pop filter will also help. We had some intelligibility issues in a church where the microphone was emphasizing the bass and high frequencies. When the pastor was speaking, it sounded muffled because of too much bass, and it was distracting to hear the mouth noises. the congregation was frustrated because the volume seemed plenty loud, but the people often could not understand what was being said. there were also issues with the connection, which made the microphone pop once in a while. >>
02/2013 | ChurCh exeCutive | 21
SPECIAL SECTION AUDIO We replaced the microphone with an Intelligibility MI-90 gooseneck microphone and a locking connector, and for years now the congregation can easily understand what is said without the distraction of the mouth noises. Often, the problem was that the operator was boosting the bass and treble on the mixer. Educating the operator took care of most of the problem, but the microphone replacement made speech intelligibility even better. With the microphone eliminating the problem frequencies, it ensured that even if later someone changed the frequencies on the mixer, he or she cannot boost frequencies that are not there.
will be using the sound reinforcement for music also. If so, make sure the frequency response is extended, but still maintains a flat response. Speakers like the Clear Sound Corp. “Intelligibility Series” are a good choice for this. Now with an intelligible speaker system, ensure the speakers are placed so that the projected sound covers only the congregation and not onto walls, floors, ceilings or open vacant areas.
The easiest to fix and the most common intelligibility buster are the equalizer knobs on the mixer. Any sound below 80 hertz is not in the vocal range and will interfere with intelligibility. Engage the high-pass filter if available and THE LURE OF THE SIZZLE turn down the low-frequency knob without making the voice We are so used to hearing ourselves with the bass sound too thin and unnatural. Consonances are in the midand treble boosted on the sound system that when it is frequency range and are the key to intelligibility. Boosting corrected, we think the sound seems thin and we wonthe mid-frequencies a little provides an edge to intelligibilder where the sizzle is. Remember, it is more important ity. Attenuate the high frequency to avoid too much sibithat people understand what you are saying than for the lance. Too much “sss” in the sound to be bigger than life. letter “s” and mouth noises Be patient and soon your are distracting. congregation will get used to If you are only reinforcit, and then realize how natuWe are so used to the bass and ing voice, the main system ral and personal the system treble being boosted on the sound equalizer can be equalized sounds, and how pleasant it system, that it seems thin and we specifically for the voice, but is to be able to understand wonder where the sizzle is. if you are reinforcing music every word. also, equalize the system to I have seen this same a flat response. Then the mixer can be used to individually problem with televised services. Most televisions will not equalize the instruments, singers and speakers. reproduce the accented bass unless they are equipped Effects such as reverb, delay, etc. can destroy intelwith a surround sound system – but almost all TVs will ligibility and should never be used for the spoken word; reproduce the mouth noises, which are annoying. I was however, a compressor limiter can be used to improve able to talk to a seasoned engineer at one of the largest intelligibility by keeping the volume at the correct level. international televised services about how the services Imagine offering an environment that will enable the were not as intelligible as they could be, because on TVs congregation to effortlessly understand every word that with surround sound systems the bass was interfering is said, allowing them to ponder and learn without being with intelligibility, and the mouth noises were so loud they fatigued. CE not only affected the intelligibility, they were annoying. They have not corrected the situation; I assume because Dan James is the CEO of Audio Systems Group, they are so used to hearing the accented bass and sizzle Chicago, IL, manufacturer of Clear Sound of the “big production.” products and the patented Summit Lecterns. [www.audiosystemsgroup.com]
CHOOSING A SPEAKER SYSTEM In choosing a speaker system look for one that provides intelligibility by providing sufficient sound pressure levels (so it is loud enough), low distortion (so the sound is clear), control of the projected sound (so echo is reduced), and a flat frequency response (so frequencies that improve intelligibility are not missing, and frequencies that reduce intelligibility are not increased). A distributed ceiling system is often a good choice. Many times you
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Using digital signage By Heather Robinson
As churches across the nation continue to embrace new technologies, Bobby Dennis sought to keep The Heights Baptist Church ahead of the curve. Dennis, technical director at the Richardson, TX, megachurch wanted to embrace not just technology, but the sort of thing that would impress, inform and entertain the congregation. Dennis wanted a way to disseminate information – to share the week’s happenings, promote local events and support members of the congregation as they made a difference in the parish. What the Heights church needed was a way to do it so people would take notice. Like many churches, The Heights determined the most appropriate way to do so would be through digital signage, a technology Dennis says has been working its way into houses of worship over the past few years. “Today’s congregants are increasingly aware of and surrounded by technology used to create excitement and demand their attention – they now expect it,” says Dennis.
“Digital signage is actually a natural extension of technological support – the ability to deliver content in a presentation format that is visually striking, coupled with the ease of keeping the content current, increases the effectiveness of delivering information to the end-user,” says Dennis. Churches are continuously improving the way they deliver messages, incorporating live presentations, prerecorded videos, concert-grade sound systems, even lighting effects to immerse congregants in the worship experience. For The Heights and its thousands of members, digital signage pulls that technology-enhanced worship into the rest of the facility’s services, like youth ministries, music programs and community outreach. Dennis sought to upgrade The Heights’ use of low-tech posters, printed flyers and handouts to easy-to-create, appealing and up-todate content on digital signage. The church also needed to make sure each department would be able to use the new technology to support their efforts, so he needed something that could be updated locally and simply. The church is using LG’s EzSign TV, a turnkey solution he chose primarily for its “ease of use, allowing each department to be self-sustaining.” After installing the first EzSign in the children’s area, he and the administrative assistant downloaded the software provided online and were freely creating signboards within a half hour. Each department would now be able to promote upcoming events, share campus-wide news and post photos and videos from recent activities themselves. In only a few months, the display has already become an integral part of the children’s ministry. “The display has proved an invaluable tool when new prospects visit the children’s area in our church,” says Dennis. Useful not only for its ability to attract attention, the new displays are also helping Dennis and his team to support parish programming. “The display is exciting, and with new content changes weekly, everyone who walks past the area becomes aware of the exciting things happening in the children’s program. It has enhanced program support — we’re getting more volunteers.” The Heights Church has since made plans to incorporate the devices throughout all departments. Dennis wanted to share not just information, but photos, slide shows, promotions and video content – a tall order when budget is a concern. Because the software has been so easy to update, The Heights has been able to reduce costs for producing paper posters and flyers, but he says, “The most important gain is the efficiency, effectiveness and outcome” of the upgrade to digital signage. “Digital signage is a better way.” Heather Robinson is with LG-One, Chicago, IL. [www.lg.com/us]
02/2013 | Church executive | 23
The power of consistent
brAnD iMAgery everywhere we communicate, we convey emotion and send a message about our identity.
By BranDOn COx a brand is not a logo, and a logo is not a brand. Phil Cooke, in his great book Branding Faith says, â€œa brand is the story people tell about a person, product, or organization.â€? Logos and other forms of visual imagery simply help us to create an emotional trigger that prompts people to associate our story with our name. Or as i like to put it, visual branding helps us to frame our story well. One of the most common mistakes church leaders make is to jump into the visual design process in search of the nicest looking persona without considering whether the final look really represents our organizational culture or not. everywhere we communicate, online or in print, we convey emotion and send a message about our identity. Warm colors and soft textures convey one feeling, while earth tones communicate a different feeling. Cool, clean imagery communicates order, while grungy, dirty textures give a sense of chaos. One style isnâ€™t necessarily better or worse than another, but our approach to aesthetics needs to reflect who we are.
Intentional design When we designed the logo for Grace hills Church, we were rather intentional, even though the logo is simple. We used a diamond shape, subtly connecting us with our roots as a purpose driven church (a movement in which a baseball diamond is often used to illustrate progressive maturity). and we use bright greens to connect us with the idea of freshness and growth. Our hope is that when people see our logo, their minds recall a story about a place where people can really discover a new, fresh start in life.
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Before you hit the drawing board or hire your next graphic designer, do some organizational soul searching and answer some important questions about your identity, such as: • What are three phrases with which we would like people to describe our church? • What single iconic image comes to mind as our primary leader describes us? And remember, it doesn’t have to be a dove, a cross or a globe. • What kind of emotion do we believe people need to feel as they encounter us for the first time, and what kind of color palette conveys that emotion?
arches. Target’s coupon mailers have the same clean feel and the same red dot and the same spotted dog as the front of their building and their website. You can’t always control the story that is told about you. Public relations professionals know this all too well. But you can be intentional about framing the story well by keeping your branding strong, consistent and true to your real organizational identity. CE
Brandon Cox is lead pastor at Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas and also serves as editor and community facilitator for Pastors. com and Rick Warren’s Pastor’s Toolbox newsletter. He is writing his first book, Rewired, to help churches communicate the Gospel in a rapidly changing age.
• What imagery do we need to eliminate from our current branding to avoid distracting people from our core identity? • How can we present a unique picture of ourselves that differ entiates us from other churches in our vicinity? Once you’ve gone through a thorough review process, dreaming together and articulating your organizational story, it’s time to design. Whether you handle this process in-house or with help from a firm or freelancer, you must keep your story as the priority over aesthetics consistently. The designer’s responsibility is not to write the story, but to tell it accurately and passionately.
Being consistent It’s intriguing how many organizations present one style in print and another on the web, while presenting a third version of their story with the decor of their building. Consider the brands you know well. The imagery of McDonald’s is consistent from their signage to their drink cups to their straw wrappers – golden
02/2013 | Church executive | 25
brAnDing YOur ChurCh how to create a visual image that succinctly articulates your mission and message.
By BiLL FOSter
as a believer, i must admit that “branding” and “church” are two words that still seem uncomfortable when put together. true believers never want to compromise their faith by commercializing its message. But as a design professional for 20 years, i’ve discovered that a respectful, distinctive branding platform can enhance, focus and ignite enthusiasm for the mission and message of a church. Lawndale Baptist Church (LBC) in Greensboro, nC, is a good example of how this can work. First, a brand is the image that others have about your business or organization. it is earned – for better or for worse. your brand is the handshake that your business or organization makes with your audience when no one is around to say how great he or she thinks it is. For this reason, your visual communication must be distinct, consistent and relevant.
Designing a fresh logo at Lawndale Baptist, senior pastor Dr. Joe Giaritelli recognized that it was time to replace the dated praying hands symbol (in traditional burgundy ink) with a more current logo and to begin refreshing how the church communicated with the community. We discussed that the decision makers in this process would be the senior staff instead of 26 | ChurCh exeCutive | 02/2013
the church body at large. i think this is a wise approach. More decision makers will cause the design firm to anticipate a longer process due to more rounds of revisions. this means the price estimate of your job will increase accordingly. additionally, getting feedback from a large committee or congregation is unmanageable, possibly contentious, and results in a muddled and compromised design. as for the final “fishermen” logo itself, many find its non-churchy feel and contemporary execution of the biblical metaphor friendly yet meaningful. For those who do not immediately discern its evangelistic reference, it’s a great conversation starter. Some nonmembers have made the comment that they are curious about visiting the church just from seeing the logo. the tagline, “the Journey: vision, teamwork, harvest,” was supplied by the pastor and is a fitting mission statement for the church and articulates the symbolism nicely.
Maintaining consistency With the LBC logo design established, we designed the print collateral such as stationery, office forms, church vehicles and others. these items should be designed, not merely excused by sticking the new logo on them. adding
a logo to an old graphic platform is sort of like wearing a new tie with an old suit – it makes both look out of place. your church should receive guidance from the design firm as to the proper usage and application of the logo so that support staff at your church can maintain consistency in how the logo is used, thereby establishing and reinforcing your identity. Chief among the promotional pieces in a branding campaign is obviously a website. the website at LBC was done as a separate phase of the campaign due to its size, expense and importance. if your church has a membership of more than a couple thousand, with numerous ministries and programs, anticipate a few months for the design, content building, editing, programming and testing before your site goes live. even after it is live, allow for a few weeks of fine-tuning plus the standard ongoing maintenance and updating. there were two competing schools of thought for the branding emphasis of the LBC home page: (1) an advertising approach (“Look at our events and programs”), or (2) a philosophical approach (“What brings you to our church?”). Both approaches can be executed effectively, but the chosen design simplified by white space and a single rotating image,
emphasizes the latter. as each photographic image of people’s various journeys is shown, the question, “how’s your journey?” is asked and then punctuated by the invitation, “…join us on the journey.” take time to decide what message you want to convey in that initial handshake the viewer makes with your church as it will most likely be on the web.
Does it work? One LBC member asked, “Do we have any assurance that these new materials will bring more people into the church?” this is not a bad question, but it’s slightly misdirected regarding what a good graphics platform actually does, which is to create confidence, credibility and familiarity in consumers (potential church attendees) – not make sales (members) outright. Judging from the growth and vigor at LBC, the brand seems to be doing its part. your members and the holy Spirit are there to do the rest. CE Bill Foster is the owner of HigherWerks Inc., a branding and design firm in Oak Ridge, NC (www.higherwerks.com) and is the author of Meet The Skeptic, an apologetics curriculum and ministry.
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facebook work for your church
A failure is in designing for the convenience of the organization and not for the person using it. By DeBOrah hertLe
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When my church first attempted to use Facebook to create a sense of community among our congregants, it failed! no one was using it except to post announcements. Our people were not interacting with one another, and the silence was awkward. as a church staff, we started to investigate how other churches were using Facebook to see what we could do differently. “your communication efforts should be designed around what is best for your audience. if they don’t read it, don’t find it easy, convenient and fits into how they want communication to them – you’ve failed,” advises Mark Simmons, business manager at Christ Community Church of Milpitas, Ca. “i see this as a common failure in communication. it is designed for the convenience and desires of the person or organization providing the information as opposed to being designed for the people you are trying to reach,” he adds. Our staff realized that we were using Facebook like the church webpage with a one-way preaching form of communication of “we’ll
RESOURCES YOU CAN USE Hootsuite.com, a tool to manage multiple multimedia pages.
Churchm.ag/facebook -pages-vs-groups explains the benefits of Pages versus Groups.
Internettoolbox forchurches.com. Insightful articles on managing your Facebook Page.
Newsle.com, follows Facebook friends or congregants in the news.
Socialmedia.policy tool.net, a tool for creating your social media policy.
Facebook for Pastors by Chris Forbes, a PDF booklet.
HowChurchMedia Works.com, tutorial on how to create your Facebook account.
UStream or LiveStream for streaming your services live. ustream.tv/ new; livestream.com
tell you what we want you to know.” Whereas social media uses the Web and mobile-based technologies to facilitate dialog between organizations, communities and individuals.
Groups vs Pages One difference we found was that some churches use Facebook’s Groups instead of Pages. “A Page is for organizations and businesses and is public and generally open to anyone on Facebook” whereas “a Group is a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests,” states Facebook’s Helps. A Group is personal with “friends” where a Page is a business one can “like.” Muldoon Community Assembly in Anchorage, AK, uses both Facebook Pages and Groups effectively. On their Facebook Page, one can learn more about the church through announcements, events and general information. Lead pastor Kent Redfearn uses a personal Facebook Group to maintain relationships with his large congregation. Redfearn honors members who serve, highlights guest speakers, celebrates events, shares prayer requests and includes members in his everyday life. He takes pictures with his cellphone during services, events or personal meetings to post on his Facebook Group. Whether one is a member, prospective member or friend, they will find his Facebook Group engaging. Bethel Church, Redding, CA, demonstrates impressive ways of communicating with a congregation through Facebook Pages using invitational and celebratory methods with lots of inspirational pictures. Jana-Marie Kroeker, member of the Bethel Media Team explains, “We have a select few staff members of Bethel Media that help manage the page, monitor postings by others and respond to Facebook messages.” Our church did not have a savvy media relations team.
What were we to do? We realized that in order to use this tool to build community, we needed to change our approach. Staff and members began regularly posting pictures, devotionals, Christian world news, missionary updates, church events, daily scriptures, prayer requests, personal needs or celebrations, and resources to get members interacting with each other. One staff member champions this resource, responds to requests and monitors the results with Hootsuite.
Reaching for the relational Invitations and communications then became relational. We encouraged ministry teams to start conversations about upcoming events. In order to get congregants interested in an upcoming barn dance, we started discussions about what we were going to wear along with humorous pictures on appropriate outfits. After the event, pictures and stories showed how much fun attendees had. On a recent medical mission trip to Haiti, the team posted daily videos, prayer requests and updates while members and family at home posted prayers, devotionals and words of encouragement. We invite speakers to post on Facebook and include links to books, websites or other information that may get members interested in attending and inviting others. Communicating with congregations is always challenging but now with social media we can build community with a larger network of people. It can be more successful in communicating to your congregation and connecting them with other members than any other form of communication. CE Deborah Hertle is director of Mobilization 4 Ministry at Grace Church of Fredericksburg, VA. [email@example.com, gcofonline.org]
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