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Helping Leaders Become Better Stewards

JUNE/JULY 2013 2013 August/September

LIVE ROUNDTABLES

FINANCING, FUNDRAISING & COMPENSATION/BENEFITS | 22 RISK MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES & CHALLENGES | 36

CHURCH ACCESSIBILITY HEARING & SOUND | 14

MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE “OUTSIDE THE BOX” IDEAS | 26

Sutton Turner Leading by serving | 8


AUG/Sept 2013

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th e c e inte rview By Rez Gopez-Sindac

For the first 35 years of his life, Sutton Turner worshiped many things — toys, money, cars, career, real estate. But in 2005, this successful entrepreneur and Harvard Business School-educated CEO realized that despite his material possessions, he was dead on the inside. He needed God to revive his life. Turner now serves as the executive pastor and one of three executive elders of what he says is a “fast-growing and financially poor church” — Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He shares some of the “crazy” things God is doing at the church, his passion for mentoring first-generation Christian leaders like himself, and why people see him as a “Joseph” to Mars Hill.

fe atures

Accessibility: Part 1 26 14 Church Hearing & Sound

Church management software (ChMS) — “outside the box”

An assistive listening system engages members with hearing loss, keeps parents in the loop in the event of a quick exit, and even breaks down language barriers.

To obtain unique perspectives on your church’s health and engagement, you’ve got to view church management software data a little differently.

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

Responsible Financial 22 Stewardship

36

New normal realities: a live roundtable

42

Making the case for design-build

New normal realities: a live roundtable

depa rtmen t s Editor’s Notes......................7 Financial Solutions......... 11

Church financing, fundraising & compensation/benefits (part 1) Our expert panelists outline the pre- and post-recession climates in their areas of expertise, as well as the struggling economy’s effects on church leaders’ and staff members’ compensation and benefits.

By Dan Mikes

Human Resources..............13 By Michael Sankary

Risk management priorities & challenges (part 1) Church Executive and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and its Religious Practice leader, Peter Persuitti, recently hosted an in-depth roundtable discussion to deep dive on church leaders’ top-of-mind risk management and insurance concerns.

When architecture and construction experts describe the design-build process, the word “collaborative” comes up a lot. That’s for a reason.

Technology Solutions....34 By Kelly Meeneghan

Marketplace.......................50

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

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4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, AZ  85016 | 800.541.2670

Publisher/Editor in Chief Steve Kane, ext. 205 steve@churchexecutive.com Editor Rez Gopez-Sindac Phone: 512-337-7988

rgopez-sindac@churchexecutive.com Managing Editor RaeAnn Slaybaugh, ext. 204 rslaybaugh@churchexecutive.com Editor Emeritus Ronald E. Keener Director of Sales Sali Williams, ext. 209 swilliams@churchexecutive.com Account Executive Alexandra Garcia, ext. 219 agarcia@churchexecutive.com Production Director Valerie Valtierra, ext. 203 valerie@churchexecutive.com Senior Art Director Renée Hawkins, ext. 207 rhawkins@churchexecutive.com Editorial Advisory Panel Stephen Briggs Associate Pastor of Administration First Baptist Church | Hendersonville, NC Denise Craig Chief Financial Officer Abba’s House | Hixson, TN David Kennedy CEO HDSound.us / San Marcos, CA Mike Klockenbrink Chief of Staff Lakeside Church | Folsom, CA Dan Mikes Executive Vice President Bank of the West | San Ramon, CA John C. Mrazek III Executive Pastor Pathways Church | Denver, CO Sam S. Rainer III Senior Pastor First Baptist Church | Murray, KY Mark Simmons Business Manager Christ Community Church | Milpitas, CA Eric Spacek Senior Manager GuideOne Insurance | West Des Moines, IA

Volume 12, No. 7

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Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra Accountant Fred Valdez Church Executive (Copyright 2013), Volume 12, Issue 7. Church Executive is published monthly by Power Trade Media LLC, a subsidiary of Friendship Publications Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST) included, all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). Reprints: All articles in Church Executive are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 265-7600 ext. 203. ™

Copyright 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.

6 | Church executive | 08-09/2013


Editor’s notes

What do we do with

Jordan Ashley Photography

That’s the question Dr. Aubrey Malphurs throws at pastors who get upset when he talks about Luke’s “theology of numbers.” Malphurs is a senior professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, and founder of The Malphurs Group, a consulting services ministry. Luke, of course, was the writer of the Gospel according to Luke and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. In Acts 2, it seemed numbers were important enough that someone had kept count of how many in the crowd became believers. As Luke explicitly recorded, “… about three thousand were added to their number that day.” By the end of Acts 2, we read that people were being saved daily. And, in Acts 4, Luke let us know that the number of new believers “grew to about five thousand.” Perhaps we can all agree that numbers — all numbers — matter in church. Malphurs says each number represents a “breathing, living person.” I think it’s when we equate numbers with success or failure that church growth becomes a competitive race. Then, it’s easy to see why some church leaders would be consumed by numbers, while others might downplay their importance by arguing it’s the quality of people — not the quantity — that counts. What’s a healthy way to view numbers? Tim Winters, executive pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, CA, says his church tracks numbers “to give us more of a warning of potential things coming down the pike.” It always feels strange, he adds, when the first thing people ask is the size of a church. “I wanted to say we are 10,000, but what really matters is X, Y, and Z!” To Gateway Church (gatewaypeople.com), numbers matter because they measure both effectiveness and ineffectiveness, says Lawrence Swicegood,

Luke? executive director for media. “Statistical data allows the church leadership to make educated decisions on things like: when to add services, how better to reach the community, what ministries need to be added and what programs no longer have the desired impact.” For example: One of Gateway’s campuses was nearing capacity; so, the leadership did a demographic study to find out where the attendees lived. The data showed that more than 60 percent came from communities southwest of the campus location. Based on these numbers, Gateway nixed the idea of building additional space. Instead, it purchased a building six miles southwest of the campus. As a result, Swicegood says more than 2,200 new people were added to Gateway Church at these two campuses in the past 11 months alone. At Westover Hills Assembly of God in San Antonio, TX, numbers help leadership develop what it calls a “Pipeline” through which the church addresses three areas of growth: assimilation of newcomers, discipleship of new believers, and development of new ministry leaders. The goal, says executive pastor Joel Botello, is to help the church grow spiritually and numerically. “It’s wonderful to see people grow in their spiritual journey, but none of this is accomplished without intentional effort and accurate tracking.” Likewise, tracking weekly worship attendance, giving, volunteer engagement and monthly ministries is important to Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, TN. Scott Milholland, chief operating officer, says the goal this year is to see a 10 percent growth in those areas. Growth doesn’t always have to be a huge number, Malphurs reminds us. He maintains though that a healthy church — in general — should be growing. “Numbers are important in terms of strategies,” he concludes, “to know if something is going wrong or something is going right.” So, if I may ask you: What do you do with your numbers?

Talk to me: Email: rgopez-sindac@churchexecutive.com Facebook: ChurchExecutiveMagazine Twitter: @churchexecutive

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 7


the ce interview

sutton turner Executive Pastor and Executive Elder | Mars Hill Church | Seattle, WA

By Rez Gopez-Sindac

For the first 35 years of his life, Sutton Turner worshiped many things — toys, money, cars, career, real estate. But, in 2005, this successful entrepreneur and Harvard Business School-educated CEO realized that despite his material possessions, he was dead on the inside. He needed God to revive his life.

8 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

Turner found a fresh start at a Texas megachurch where he served as executive pastor until 2008. “God transformed my heart, my marriage and my relationships with my kids,” he says. After a brief stint as a church executive, Turner went to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to be the founding CEO of what is now a megabillion-dollar real estate management company. In 2011, Turner returned to America — and to his ministry calling. He now serves as the executive pastor and one of three executive elders of what he says is a “fast-growing and financially poor church” — Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He oversees the church’s central operations and business functions, including finance, property, technology, media, communications, publishing and recording. He also mentors all the executive pastors across Mars Hill’s 14 locations. Turner shares with Church Executive some of the “crazy” things God is doing at Mars Hill, his passion for mentoring first-generation Christian leaders like himself, and why he’s like a “Joseph” to Mars Hill. What excites you about the ministry of Mars Hill Church? Jesus is doing some crazy things. He has called Mars Hill specifically to plant churches in cities. Our church demographics are quite young — between 24 and 34 years old — and most of them are men. We plant churches in urban areas where, in most cases, no new church plants have happened for a long time and where there are old, vacant churches because the congregations have not flourished. Most of these areas are very liberal and diverse, with a big population of artists and creative people. In urban areas, it’s almost impossible to buy a building that has more than 400 seats and use it as a church due to zoning and parking requirements. But, many of the old churches in the cities are historical landmarks and already zoned to be used as a church. We want to go into the hearts of these cities. We’re in the heart of Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Everett, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re seeking to purchase a building in downtown Olympia, Washington’s state capital. We believe God has called us to the cities to preach the Gospel to young men. Why reach out to young men in the cities? Today, for the first time in history, there’s a majority of kids growing up in homes without fathers. There’s a cultural decline of men leading, caring, serving and providing for their families and loving their wives. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and to serve their family. We try to hit that message every single weekend. We’d like to reduce the number of children who are raised without dads. We’d like to see moms and dads raise their families together. What are some of the things that you do differently at Mars Hill?


QUICK FACTS Mars Hill Church Year established: 1996 Campuses: 14 Annual budget: $30 million Staff: 129 Lead pastor: Mark Driscoll Affiliation/denomination: Non-denominational

Because we’re in urban cultures in the Northwest, where Christianity has never been strong, most of the people who come to our churches weren’t raised in Christian homes. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a very, very low population of evangelical Christians — around 8 percent. Seattle used to be the least-churched city in America, so we understand what it’s like to present the Gospel to an urban, non-Christian context. Our services last up to two hours. We go through the books of the Bible verse by verse. The sermon is long — usually more than an hour — but for some crazy reason, Jesus is using it and saving people. Last year, we baptized 1,200 people, and every year for the last three years, we’ve seen an 8 percent to 12 percent growth in terms of new Christians who are added to our church. In the cities, there aren’t many families; instead, you have lots of single people. Mars Hill is a poor church that’s growing very fast. Our churches are filled with young urbanites who might be sacrificially giving, but the stage of life they’re in means that their giving struggles to keep up with their growth. In response, we do things differently, like buying old buildings and restoring them. We don’t have a whole lot of events in our churches because we can’t afford them. We focus on our Sunday services, weekly community and redemption groups, and leadership development. That’s really it, because that’s all we can financially support. How, then, are you able to buy old buildings and make them usable again? It’s very difficult. Many old buildings can be purchased cheaply because the market is depressed. But, they require a lot of maintenance. We don’t have many people who can give large amounts of money. We have some churches with people who have matured and who give more generously. We have some faithful members who want to see more disciples made and churches planted. We also have a growing number of non-member givers from outside of our churches who give online and support the mission of Jesus. They get excited about us going into urban areas, and they want to be a part of that. We try to focus on increasing the number of givers more than the amounts they give. It will take a lot of people giving a little bit to get the work done. What are your main responsibilities as executive pastor? I’m one of Mars Hill’s three executive elders — or what we call “first among equals.” The other two are Pastor Mark Driscoll, our preaching and key visionary pastor, and Pastor Dave Bruskas, who’s really the pastor to our 14 campus pastors. As the executive pastor, I oversee the operations of the church. We run all of the finances, HR, real estate, com>> 08-09/2013 | Church executive | 9


the ce interview munications, and so on. We put together the weekend sermons, which this year will reach 15 million downloads. We have a publishing company producing four to seven books per year, along with the Christian leadership blog, TheResurgence.com. We do everything as much as we can so the guys in our local churches are just focused on ministry. All of our 14 locations have a lead pastor and an executive pastor. I recruit and train each one of those executive pastors. I’m on video-call with them every week, mentoring them and helping them deal with problems. As the executive pastor, my role is to complement the lead pastor and try to model that relationship to all our 14 executive pastors. Pastor Mark is an incredible communicator, but he doesn’t like doing spreadsheets, putting budgets together, doing meetings, recruiting new employees, putting together policies and procedures, updating the bylaws. These are the things that I do.

10 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

You’ve been likened to Joseph (Old Testament Bible character). What parallels do you see between his story and yours as they relate to your role at Mars Hill? Like Joseph who served in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, I was in charge of a company in the Middle East owned by a royal family. Like Joseph, I served and worked with people who didn’t worship my God. I was the only Christian there, and I dealt with some spiritual attacks and hardships. One of the companies I led was worth $38 billion in real estate. I was responsible for big budgets, and I did a lot of recruiting. Most of the companies I ran before I came to Mars Hill were very fast-growing and fast-moving. I believe God has equipped me with business skills and prepared me to help Mars Hill Church during this time. Mars Hill is one of the fastest-growing churches in America, and as it continues to expand, we’ll face many attacks and difficulties. So, I’m focused on developing future

executive pastors who aren’t coming to church to make financial profits; they’re coming to serve. I know there’s an army of business guys out there whom God is calling to serve the local church and in the second-in-command role. I’m focused on finding those men and mentoring them. I’m looking for men who love Jesus, who love the church, and who love their lead pastor — in that order. It’s a job that requires sacrifices and is hammered by many attacks and hardships; but, if you’re called, it’s one of the most rewarding opportunities you could ever have. How do you see your role evolving in the coming years? I’d like to spend the next 20 years developing young men who are called into ministry. I’d like to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus. For a long time, Mars Hill was a very young hipster church. Now, Pastor Mark, Pastor Dave and I are a bit older: We’re a bit wiser, and by God’s grace, we might be a little more effective.


FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS

The church finance climate By Dan Mikes

As the economy has gradually improved over the past few years, we have seen improvement in the financial health of religious institutions in terms of contributions, net cash flow and cash reserves. However, there are still a few lingering effects of the economic meltdown, including weakness in new church construction and depressed real estate values that might make it difficult for a congregation to secure financing. As one of the largest lenders to the religious community nationwide, we base these observations on financial statements we receive annually from hundreds of our existing customers, as well as the hundreds of loan applications we receive each year from other religious congregations. It should also be noted that these observations for the pool of referenced customers and loan applicants is primarily comprised of the top 20 percent of congregations by attendance size and, consequently, might not be representative of all religious congregations in general.

Clearly, many congregations saw a decline in giving during the great recession. However, much of what was touted as an overall decline in total giving was a function of a drop in new construction, and a corresponding decline in related capital pledge campaign revenues. We reviewed financial statements prepared by Certified Public Accountants as provided by several hundred loan customers. It is important to note that we reviewed the tithes and offerings (T&Os) line item only. We excluded building fund revenue, as historically this revenue line item is the result of non-recurring pledge campaigns launched to raise funds for new construction projects. Clearly, revenue reported at the “building fund” line is not always the result of a pledge campaign, but this was one way in which we could quickly analyze the data to make a useful general observation regarding recurring giving levels. Interestingly, from this view, there was only one year of decline. From 2008 to 2009, on average, these congregations saw a decline in T&Os of 1 percent. From 2009 to 2010, the number increased 1 percent. And, from 2010 to 2011, the increase was 4 percent. The 2012 data is still being compiled and reviewed. In spite of stability and improvement in general T&Os in recent years, based on our data, we determined new church construction activity remains depressed. Many congregations put building projects on hold due to an unwillingness to solicit pledge commitments and incur additional debt during a recession or a slow recovery. For example, over the past three years (2010-2012), our construction lending has comprised 24 percent of total loans to religious institutions. Over the years, the number was 47 percent. If 24 percent sounds surprisingly high, don’t forget the pool of referenced data is comprised of congregations in the top 20 percent of the market in terms of congregational size. The larger congregations have tended toward a higher level of physical plant expansion during this megachurch era. The surprising stability of T&Os indicates that congregations who did not build and incur debt based on upward projections of growth trends or a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality likely did not default on their debts during the downturn. In fact, we have always conservatively used historic net cash flow in our debt underwriting, where we have experienced a very low rate of delinquency foreclosures. At the worst part of the downturn, we reported less than 2 percent of borrowers paying 30 days or more past the due date. This is in stark contrast to numerous other religious institutions lenders who experienced much higher delinquency rates, resulting in a spike in foreclosures nationwide. The most damaging and lingering effect of the downturn arises from the aforementioned spike in foreclosures. In the aggregate, many “experienced” religious lenders who had bad experiences have left this market segment. Fortunately for borrowers, this has not resulted in a lack of competition, as the void has seemingly been quickly Continued on page 29

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 11


FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS filled by new lenders. The side effect, however, is a notable decline in suitors for borrowers seeking a consultative, experienced partner who can add value to a process often managed by business administrators and leadership teams with little religious physical plant expansion experience. A consequence of the spike in foreclosures and other distressed sales has been the impact on the real estate valuations of religious facilities. Lenders are often required to limit their loan offers to a maximum loan-to-value ratio — typically 75 percent. In determining valuations, appraisers must cite the recent sales prices of other religious facilities within the region or state. When the typical loan matures each five years, the lender must require a new appraisal. In certain regions, valuations today are coming in as much as 50 percent below prior valuations. There have been — and will continue to be — numerous instances where good congregations who have never over-borrowed and have managed their financial affairs prudently cannot acquire competing financing offers due to a low appraisal value. They end up stuck with their existing lender. In many cases, the out-of-guideline loan-to-value results in an uncomfortable relationship with the lender. Further, the high loan-tovalue might result in an unfavorable risk classification within that bank, necessitating a higher loan loss reserve and a higher cost-of-capital assignment for that loan. Bottom

line, those captive borrowers are stuck paying a higherthan-market rate. The damage to these congregations is the result of both the economic downturn and overly aggressive religious lenders and lending practices that put too many borrowers into too much debt during the 2000s. For now, these congregations will need to be patient. Valuations are rising gradually; so, in the future, they may have options to secure more competitive financing. The good news is that congregations have weathered the worst of the downturn, and contributions and cash reserves have bounced back. There are numerous lenders in the market competing for opportunities to serve religious institutions. Many congregations have taken advantage of historically low interest rates to better position their liabilities for future growth. Our data indicates that, year-to-date, there has been a slight uptick in construction activity. All signs point to continued gradual improvement in nationwide church lending. Dan Mikes is executive vice president and national manager of the religious institution division of Bank of the West in San Ramon, CA. He has 23 years of experience in lending to religious institutions. Data cited is from Bank of the West’s experience in lending to religious institutions.

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12 | Church executive | 08-09/2013


HUMAN RESOURCES

Health care reform

compliance guide

Is your church prepared to meet the new requirements? Employers — including churches — need to start taking an active role in planning for the future of their employee benefit plans with regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Three regulatory agencies are responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Act: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), United States Department of Labor (DOL), and United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Making sure your church satisfies the provisions under all three will take careful planning. What is your church doing to make sure it’s in compliance? Currently, your church should know, among other things: if the church is grandfathered, or not; if it has distributed all the required materials and notices; and, if it made all required changes regarding limits, dependent coverage, preexisting conditions and so on. Moving forward, your church should be considering: if it’s subject to “pay or play” penalties; if so, who must be offered coverage; and, if its coverage is considered “affordable.”

2013 and beyond Does your church have access to actuarial tools to help it model the financial implications of different health plan options as it moves forward? Highlighted below are the major changes, effective late 2012 through 2014:

2013 Summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) — Insurance companies and group health plans must provide participants with a concise (four-page, double-sided) document detailing, in plain language, consistent information about health plan benefits and coverage. The deadline for providing the SBC to participants and beneficiaries is the first open-enrollment period that begins on or after Sept. 23, 2012. W-2 reporting — Starting with the 2012 tax year, employers are required to report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored group health coverage on employees’ W-2 Forms. In general, the amount reported should include both the portion paid by the employer and by the employee. The cost must be reported beginning with the 2012 W-2 Forms. $2,500 FSA annual limit — Starting with plan years beginning on or after Jan.1, 2013, an employee’s annual pre-tax salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account (FSA) must be limited to $2,500. Preventive care for women — For plan years beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012, non-grandfathered health plans must cover specific preventive care services for women, without cost-sharing requirements. For calendar-year plans, they must comply starting Jan. 1, 2013. Additional Medicare tax for high-income earners — Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, employers must withhold addi-

|

By Michael Sankary

tional amounts on employees who earn more than $200,000 (and more than $250,000 for married filing jointly). Specifically, an additional 0.9-percent Medicare Hospital Insurance tax goes will be applied. Exchange notices — final regulations still pending.

2014 Annual limits on essential health benefits — Must be phased out by 2014. Pre-existing conditions — Must be phased out by 2014. Waiting periods — For plan years starting on or after Jan. 1, 2014, an employer can no longer implement a waiting period longer than 90 days. Nondiscrimination for fully insured plans — Nongrandfathered, fully insured groups may not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals. (Compliance isn’t required until final regulations have been issued.) Wellness programs — Employers offering wellness programs can offer rewards of up to 30 percent (potentially increasing to 50 percent for tobacco-related programs) of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards. Employer mandate — Starting Jan. 1, 2014, employers with at least 50 full-time employees are required to offer “affordable” minimum essential coverage to all full-time employees and must self-report their compliance to the Treasury. Employers that don’t comply, and whose employees receive a premium credit or cost-sharing subsidy, will be subject to the following penalties, calculated monthly: If the employer doesn’t offer the required coverage to all its full-time employees, the penalty is $2,000 x the number of full-time employees the employer has (in excess of 30). If the employer does offer the required coverage to all its full-time employees, but the coverage isn’t “affordable” (more than 9.5 percent of his/her wages for self-only coverage), or doesn’t cover enough cost of certain benefits, the penalty is the lesser of: (a) $3,000 x the number of full-time employees who receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing coverage through the Exchanges; or (b) $2,000 x the number of full-time employees the employer has (in excess of 30).

What to expect As of press time, many provisions had received final guidance. In fact, more than 700 pages of regulations had been issued! This guidance, in conjunction with the regulations above — due for implementation over the next several months — will require employers to assess their current situation and prepare for these deadlines as they loom nearer. Michael Sankary is employee benefits producer at Fort Worth, TX-based Higginbotham, one of the country’s largest independent insurance brokers.

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 13


Having the right assistive listening system available to worshippers engages members with hearing loss, keeps parents of young children in the loop in the event of a quick exit, and even breaks down language barriers.

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

I At the heart of Minneapolis’ Grace Church is a 4,200-seat worship center. To ensure congregants who have difficulty hearing are fully engaged in the message, tech director Troy Hillstrom uses the Williams Sound Personal PA® FM base station transmitter (PPA T35) and 25 PPA Select (PPA R37) FM body-pack receivers. Hillstrom and the rest of the tech staff a can easily choose between Voice, Music or Hearing Assistance in the Application Preset menu.

14 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

If you look at the statistics, it’s clear that hearing loss is a challenge that faces people of all age groups. According to the Hearing Health Foundation and Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), an astonishing one in five Americans has hearing loss in at least one ear. Among children, about 30 per 1,000 have hearing loss. At age 65, this figure reaches one out of three. And, surprisingly, about 60 percent of deployed military service men and women have noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus and other hearing injuries. Odds are good, then, that your congregation includes quite a few members with hearing loss. As Richard McKinley, a manager at Contacta, Inc., points out, quite a few worshippers with hearing aids — as many as half or more — simply stop


Sanctuary signage — bearing this helpful symbol — is key to ensuring members with T-coil-enabled hearing aids can experience the worship service alongside everyone else. (Image courtesy of Siemens Hearing Instruments)

attending if they can’t hear the sermon. “A church wouldn’t keep wheelchair users from attending worship services, but there are 15 times as many hearing aid wearers who don’t have access,” he asserts. So, to ensure the Word is accessible to everyone, an assistive listening system is well worth the investment. When it comes to accommodating worshippers with hearing loss, it’s largely a ministry — not necessarily a mandate — in America’s churches. Clint Koch, sales director at Ultra Stereo Labs, Inc. (USL), explains why: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all public gathering spaces to have an assistive listening system. “But, all churches are exempt,” he points out. However, Mike Griffitt, a Listen-certified hearing loop trainer for Listen Technologies, says there are exceptions to this rule. “You need to address the ‘AHJ,’ or Authority Having Jurisdiction,” he explains. “For example, in the State of California, they state that churches must provide assistive listening systems in churches. They also state — and I’m paraphrasing, here — that when you provide an assistive listening system, it must offer 100-percent coverage of the facility, as you can’t discriminate against a person with a disability and tell them where they must be seated to take advantage of the system.” Beyond whatever mandates might apply to churches, Tim Ridgway, vice president of marketing at Califone International, Inc., says an aging population — coupled with a greater variety of languages used in today’s houses of worship — has placed increased demands on houses of worship to accommodate all members. “And, because the population is an aging population, it is more likely to require hearing assistance. Also, seniors are a lot more mobile these days,” cautions Ted Clegg, owner of ALDS Hearing & Voice Amplification Products. “So if they can’t hear the sermon, they’ll probably just go to another church.” Or, as Listen Technologies’ Mike Griffitt points out, they might choose to stop going to church altogether. “They can be frustrated by not feeling connected, as it’s difficult to hear the sermon message with clarity,” he says. Yet, aging members aren’t the only group that should be hitting church leaders’ accessibility radar. “The latest statistics show that GenX and Millennials are an emerging hearing aid market,” points out Chas Kuratko, vice president of business management for Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc. “Returning veterans are another emerging market, as they suffer Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) often. “Given all this — and the fact that people tend to go

to church more regularly as they get older — assistive listening is bound to grow in the house of worship space,” Kuratko adds. Listen Technologies’ Mike Griffitt agrees, saying his company is concerned about the younger generation’s constant listening to MP3 players — with ear buds or headphones — for extended periods, at unsafe levels. “We also see this demographic attending concerts with large-scale PA systems that are often contributing to noise-induced hearing loss,” he adds. “The total number of people across all age groups with hearing loss will, unfortunately, continue to grow.” Even so, Janet Beckman, vice president of marketing for Williams Sound, says most churches don’t offer assistive listening systems in their sanctuaries — often, because the members who actually need them don’t >>

Siemens--miniTek

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 15


church accessibility “With our FM systems, we also have remote press the issue. speakers,” Beckman says. “The remote speaker allows As evidence, she cites a recent survey asking church a group of people to listen to an FM broadcast in a cry leaders if they accommodate deaf or hard-of-hearing room, nursery, office area, or any location where a remote members. “Fifty-six percent said they don’t,” she says. “I speaker is needed and wiring is difficult.” think that’s because most members feel OK about vision Infrared, or IR, systems. Infrared (IR) systems are loss. If they have to get glasses, it’s not a big deal. But, another assistive listening option for areas of the church hearing loss still bears a stigma.” where privacy is at a premium. USL’s Clint Koch agrees. “To identify its assistive lis“IR systems are like ‘invisible light’,” explains Andrew tening needs, a church can ‘survey’ the congregation and Kornstein, house-of-worship market development manager find out how many people use the devices,” he suggests. for Sennheiser. “They’re secure. Unlike FM systems, the “The only problem is that a lot of people don’t like to selfsignal doesn’t go through walls. So, these types of sysidentify as having hearing loss.” tems are particularly popular in government installations.” “Also, I think that a loud PA system is mistaken for Hearing loops. Although they’ve been widely used in an adequate assistive listening solution too often,” says Europe’s public spaces since the 1960s, hearing loops are ALDS’ Ted Clegg. an assistive listening option that’s just starting to gaining Contacta’s Richard McKinley agrees, citing a test popularity in the U.S. church market. Contacta Inc.’s Richconducted in a 1,750-seat sanctuary as evidence. “They ard McKinley is familiar with all conducted a quick test the reasons why. with their new, very highHis own business is quality sound system, Church Executive focused purely on hearing and those with hearing assistive listening loops. He contends that they’re aids comprehended less more discrete and accessible than 15 percent of the e-Books are available! — two important traits when words,” he says. “With If your church is committed to accommodating all ministering to church mema hearing loop installed, members during worship, be sure to visit our website — bers who might be sensitive that percentage rose to churchexecutive.com/ebooks — for our no-cost, about their own hearing loss. more than 95 percent.” assistive listening e-Books. Hearing loops work with users’ Obviously, then, You’ll get an in-depth (yet plain English) look at the hearing aids; nothing needs to the first step towards array of technologies available, as well as implementabe worn around the neck or embracing assistive listion strategies and plenty of other how-to information over the head. “Also, hearing tening systems in worto get you started. aids are tuned for one’s hearship spaces is to explain ing loss,” McKinley points out. what’s on the market. Most commonly, he explains, hearing loop wires are hidden in walls, ceilings or floors, or under carpet. “And, in Types of assistive listening systems most cases, there’s no maintenance, headphones or other FM systems. As Beckman points out, Williams devices to clean,” McKinley adds. “Users just touch a butSound’s founder actually created the first AM listening ton on their hearing aids, and they get good, clean sound.” system for a woman in his church. The technology has Listen Technologies’ Mike Griffitt says it’s simpler since evolved from AM to FM. So, houses of worship are to install a hearing loop system in a new facility versus a familiar market. retrofitting an existing space. “It’s easier to lay down the “An FM listening system works like a small radio staflat copper tape for the series of loops in a phased array tion,” she says. “An FM transmitter, directly connected to pattern before the carpet and pews get installed,” he the sound system used in a house of worship, broadcasts says. “If it’s a brand-new facility, you can sometimes use radio signals on preset frequencies — frequencies that a ‘burial-grade wire’ and place it in the concrete pouring the FCC has determined and restricted for use by assistive of the floor.” listening and language interpretation systems. These sigHowever, he points out, hearing loops can be installed nals are then received by individual ‘radios’ — body-pack into existing facilities. “It just takes some planning and receivers tuned to the specific frequency in use.” Sevencoordination.” teen channels are earmarked by the Federal CommunicaOnce a loop is up and running, worshippers with heartions Commission (FCC) for assistive listening, to which ing loss simply switch on their telecoil- (T-coil-) equipped Williams Sound’s FM receivers are pre-tuned, or are user hearing aids when they enter the sanctuary. And, the sigselectable with easy access to all 17 channels. nal is attuned to their hearing loss. If a church uses its FM system beyond assistive listenGriffitt says hearing loop popularity is being driven ing — for language interpretation, for example [more on by individuals who have T-Coil-equipped hearing aids. that later] — it can use of several of those frequencies. 16 | Church executive | 08-09/2013


“They’ve purchased this type of hearing aid technology, and they want to ensure that the places they frequent — churches, businesses, theatres and so on — have systems that are compatible with this technology. They want to have a great experience.” When Griffitt says “a great experience,” he’s referring to a person’s ability to feel that they connect with what’s being said or presented. “They want to have the ability to easily hear ‘intelligible speech’ and feel a part of the overall experience,” he says. “I’ve always said that out of any venue that could potentially have an assistive listening system, you’d think that there would be an emphasis by church leadership to ensure that everyone is able to hear the Word in their congregations.” If a hearing loop sounds like a good option for your sanctuary, Contacta’s Richard McKinley points out that multiple loops will likely be necessary, especially in large worship spaces with 1,000 or more seats. “It’d be tough to generalize how many hearing loops would be needed in a sanctuary that size — maybe eight or 10,” he says. “But, seating design and building construction could warrant more loops.” And, by installing small loops and using a professional design, a church can avoid any chance of magnetic interference with instruments or video.

“If anyone proposed a ‘one big loop’ solution, I’d urge a church to run and hide,” McKinley advises. “In many cases, where installs have been done with large perimeter loops, the only place users can get good reception is way off in the wings or a couple of the outside seats, which defeats the purpose of universal accessibility throughout the seating area. To give you an idea, only about 15 percent of my church projects have only one loop installed.”

A word about T-coils For many church leaders, the term “T-coil” — as mentioned above — probably isn’t familiar, unless he or she wears a hearing aid. But, it’s an essential component of a worshipper’s ability to use several types of assistive listening systems. T-coils aren’t just for hearing loop users, as ALDS’ Ted Clegg points out. “If a person’s hearing aid has a T-coil in it, the user can take advantage of just about any assistive listening system — by way of using a neck loop plugged into an FM or IR receiver, for example. Contacta Inc.’s Richard McKinley points out that all neck loops and ear hooks need to be medically cleaned and tested before being handed out to users. >>

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church accessibility

Siemens’ Chas Kuratko says 90 to 95 percent of his company’s hearing aids now come equipped with T-coils, or are designed to accommodate them as an option.

Even more options When considering ease of use, the world’s first network-controlled assistive listening products — made by Williams Sound — are particularly house-ofworship-friendly. “Today, A/V and IT have converged, especially in new builds,” explains Beckman. “The infrastructure is typically a network now, which means every A/V element can be run off of a laptop or tablet.” Using a suite of Williams Sound’s network-controlled technology, a 9-to-5 A/V pastor could leave his second-incommand in charge of an evening performing arts event at the church. “If that secondary A/V minister runs into audio problems or RF issues, he could call the lead A/V pastor and have him or her troubleshoot it from home via laptop or tablet,” Beckman says. “Adjusting the system is really simple. Setup can be completed by one guy standing in the sanctuary, using a laptop or tablet.”

18 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 08-09/2013

Doug Gould, of WorshipMD.com, is a training consultant for Williams Sound products in today’s church market. “He commented that, ‘Megachurches will love this.’” Another noteworthy assistive listening innovation is the UPC28C emitter panel from Ultra Stereo Labs, Inc., which puts out three channels, enabling a church to broadcast in multiple languages. “The panel enables listening assistive, narrative descriptive and closed-captioning,” Clint Koch explains. “The closed-captioning device sits in the cup holder. It’s designed for single users. If you’re one or two seats to the left or right, you won’t be able to see them. That’s by design — they’re supposed to be discrete.” Koch points out that the three functionalities inherent to the emitter panel aren’t offered as stand-alone options for a reason. “It doesn’t make sense for us, from a cost and manufacturing perspective, to remove any one of those functionalities from the unit,” he says. USL is also developing eyeglasses with built-in closedcaptioning capability. For a worshipper with hearing loss, another innovative assistive listening option is a personal, 1-to-1 communica-


tion-enabled system. Siemens’ Chas Kuratko knows quite a bit about these applications. “As an audiologist, I’ve examined assistive listening from both sides of the aisle,” he explains. “Siemens’ expertise is in the business of hearing aids and miniTek [personal assistive listening] systems, not in wide-area application systems.” Califone also offers some outside-the-box options for accommodating worshippers with hearing loss: two different wireless technologies. Both are popular in the education marketplace, but are also well suited to church sanctuaries. The first application is a 10-person assistive listening system (WS-series) designed with tour guides in mind. This system has up a transmission range of up to 300 feet. “The transmitter has separate microphone and line inputs,” Tim Ridgway explains. “The receiver has dual headphone jacks, so two listeners can listen at the same time.” Additionally, the receiver is the first of its kind to include a switch that limits the volume to 85 decibels for users who don’t have hearing impairments, according to Ridgway. In this system, the transmitter and receiver are each the size of a deck of playing cards. They can be worn on a belt or around the neck. An expandable option, it’s available as a standard 10-person setup and includes all the

necessary headphones and chargers, plus carrying case. “This particular assistive listening system would meet the needs of a large sanctuary need,” Tim Ridgway points out. “It builds in the flexibility to grow.” The second system he recommends for house-ofworship applications uses wireless headphones and radio frequencies. A desktop transmitter (about the size of a VHS cassette) plugs into the audio source and has a separate microphone input. The receivers are built into individuals sets of headphones, with a 100-foot range. There’s no limit to the number of headphones which can be added. “Unlike systems that are used in smaller rooms for educational purposes, these two systems have longer ranges from the transmitter to the receiver, Ridgway points out. For added versatility, both systems can be used as stand-alone units and connected with an existing PA system. (NOTE: Califone has graciously offered two assistive listening systems — valued at $350 and $2,400 — to readers. See the ad on page 18 for giveaway details. Entries are due by September 30, 2013.)

Overcoming language hurdles One added benefit of an assistive listening system >>

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 19


church accessibility

Williams Sound Personal PA® FM base station transmitter (PPA T35) and 25 PPA Select (PPA R37) FM body-pack receivers

she says. “These systems enable simultaneous language is its language interpretation functions. Sennheiser’s Andrew interpretation using up to eight channels, without sound Kornstein regards this functionality — particularly in worship degradation.” environments — as a major emerging market. To encourage non-English-speaking worshippers “People have figured out they can start a brand-new to attend services, ministry, and reach a brandBeckman encourages new demographic, with just churches to market the a few thousand dollars,” “I think … most members feel OK about availability of language he explains. “Fundraising vision loss. If they have to get glasses, it’s interpretation technolfor these new ministries ogy in several ways — in is common. We’ve seen not a big deal. But, hearing loss still bears their sanctuary, on their churches host special initiaa stigma.” signage, in bulletins and tives to fund language transnewsletters, on signs in the bookstore and café, and via lation systems.” word-of-mouth. “A church could even host seminars and Kornstein cites Sennheiser’s systems as a good option workshops on how to use the technology,” she suggests. for churches. “Anyone can use them,” he says. “You just need In fact, Beckman and her team are so committed to a translator.” ensuring language interpretation and hearing assistance And he’s not alone in extolling the virtues of language offerings are spotlighted that the necessary signage comes interpretation technologies in worship settings. Williams standard with a Williams Sound FM system. Sound’s Beckman cites Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN, “So, when a church buys a system from us, they which uses portable body packs to translate to the Hispanic have everything they need to spread the word about its youth group during worship. (See sidebar, Williams Sound availability.” CE brings hearing assistance to 4,200-seat Grace Church, on page 19 for details.)“It’s part of their Latino ministry,”

20 | Church executive | 08-09/2013


The cost of

accessibility An audiologist shares tried-and-true fundraisers from churches that wanted — and got — hearing loop systems.

By Linda S. Remensnyder, Au.D., CCC-A, Doctor of Audiology

Assistive listening systems are worth their weight in gold in terms of ensuring members’ accessibility and engagement in the worship service. Even so, these systems typically cost thousands of dollars. However, I know of four different ways church clients have rallied together to raise the necessary funds. Fortunately, these churches don’t usually have to strike out on their own when it comes to raising money for a hearing loop. Most doctors of audiology who endorse looping generally put on educational seminars for their patients, acquainting them with the technology. The presentation is always in a looped environment, so listeners can perceive for themselves the incredible enhancement in audibility. In fact, I recently co-led a presentation for Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) members in a looped library auditorium. Rabbis, priests and ministers were invited. Once patients hear the difference for themselves, some pay for the [church hearing loop] installation as part of their tithe.

3 success stories St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (Round Lake, IL) — St. Joseph’s sold brass pew tags bearing the names of congregation members who donated to the loop effort. The church is in a relatively poor area of suburban Chicago and has many Hispanic members — some of whom don’t speak English as their primary language. At least one of the daily Masses is conducted in Spanish. Additionally, many laborers among the parishioners didn’t have the personal resources to fund the loop. Instead, they actively participated by donating their expertise and brawn to remove the pews and pull up the flooring for the hearing loop installation. Partial private funding — As the founder and owner of a private practice in audiology, established in 1980, I knew my patients needed hearing loop technology for enhanced audibility in their respective places of worship. Time and again, I asked them to sit in the front pews, with the pulpit directly in front of them, so their vision could help them interpret what they heard. (Lip reading, facial expressions and gestures all help one “hear.”) My patients refused, for a variety of reasons — bladder problems that required quick departure; the need for wheelchair access; and the desire to sit with friends, or in areas where they were the designated ushers (a common practice in Roman

Catholic churches). The unassailable fact was that they wanted to sit in certain places because they’d always done so — and they weren’t about to move now. So, I paid for the loop drivers in several churches as a gift to my long-term patients, and to leave a legacy that would outlive my practice ownership. The churches were responsible for loop installation, which constitutes the far greater expense. This posture of their need to “buy in” makes them take ownership for the decision to loop. When teaching two loop marketing courses for audiologists from throughout the United States, I encouraged attendees to donate the loop drivers. I also paid for the loop driver at some local library auditoriums. The donations were targeted to my patient community, or sometimes to my personal community — senior citizen gathering rooms, City Hall and so on. Memorial fund raising — When my licensed hearing aid dispenser’s father passed away about a year ago, the family requested that all donations be earmarked for a hearing loop. Gifts were encouraged with a simple message: “In lieu of flowers, and in fond memory of the deceased, please make your donations to the hearing loop — St. Martha’s Church in Morton Grove.” My hearing aid dispenser’s dad had hearing loss prior to passing. Her mom also has hearing loss, as do five of her siblings. And, her daughter has a Cochlear Implant. By ensuring a hearing loop was installed in the church, any hearing-impaired family member who accompanies the widowed grandmother to a church service can hear the entire service and liturgy. What a legacy for the family!

A history of listening To say I’m passionate about hearing loop technology is putting it mildly. Both Juliette Sterkens, Au.D. — HLAA National Hearing Loop Advocate — and I received the American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) Presidential Award for our efforts on looping. As one of my patients (a minister’s daughter) once said, “It’s just not right that, at the twilight of one’s life, they’re deprived of spiritual sustenance.” CE Linda S. Remensnyder, Au.D., CCC-A, Doctor of Audiology, is founder and executive vice president of Hearing Associates, Inc. in Gurnee, IL.

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r e s p on s i b le financial S t ewa r d s h i p

C H U R C H F I N A N C I N G , F U N D R A I S I N G & C O M P E N S AT I O N / B E N E F I T S ( PA R T 1 ) By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

Realities of the

New Normal RISK MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES Our Roundtable Panel • James R. Cook, National Outreach Manager, MMBB Financial Services • Steve Hron, Senior Vice President, Ziegler • Bill McMillan, Executive Vice President, RSI Stewardship • Joel Mikell, President, RSI Stewardship • Dan Mikes, Executive Vice President, Bank of the West • William Scrivens, Reserve Specialist, Miller Dodson Associates, Inc. • Paul Weers, Senior Benefit Consultant, MMBB Financial Services

On July 12, 2013 — at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) annual conference — Church Executive hosted a live roundtable on a timely topic: “new normal” challenges and solutions in the areas of financing, compensation/benefits and capital campaigns. Several high-level executives representing each sector came together to share their observations. The highlights and takeaways of this insightful discussion will be published as a two-part series in this issue of CE, as well as in our October/November 2013 issue. Here, the panelists outline the pre- and post-recession climates in their areas of expertise. In the second installment, they’ll drill down on strategies church leaders can employ to overcome the unique obstacles presented by the new normal economy. 22| |Church Churchexecutive executive| |08-09/2013 08-09/2013 22

How do the lending climates for religious institutions compare pre- and post-recession? Dan Mikes: Everyone knows real estate values declined during the downturn. But, to a greater extent, the adverse impact we’re feeling now is a function of the 300-plus foreclosures and stress sales church & Cthat Hhappened A L L EasNoverleveraged G E S ( PA R Tborrow1) ers couldn’t pay their debts on time. An appraiser must cite comparable sales in the marketplace as part of the process for valuing the real estate. Financing offers are typically subject to a loan-to-valuation ratio of 75 percent. In certain states with a lot of foreclosures, some churches are coming in with appraisal valuations at half of what they were five years ago, when they took out the loan. The result is the church does not qualify for competing offers. This is really unfortunate because even churches that were fiscally prudent and did not overleverage themselves are subject to higher interest rates because they can’t shop around. But, as far as credit criteria — at least in our shop — nothing’s been broken, so nothing’s been fixed. We’re not doing anything different than we were, pre-recession. During the 2000s, we walked away from a lot of opportunities. We were saying, “Pastor, your borrowing capacity is $10 million. You should design your project backward to that number.” We were told, “Well, you’re not giving us the statement of faith that the credit union or the big bank is giving us; they are offering $12 million or $12.5 million.” So, from my perspective, it’s not about the downturn. We have made approximately $3 billion in loans to churches, yet we have never had to foreclose on any of those churches. With $1.3 billion in outstanding church loans at the worst part of the downturn,


our 30-day delinquency rate was only 2 percent. Steve Hron: Property values have been one of the biggest challenges since 2008 for churches, as well. Good loans are still getting done just like they were pre-recession; but, property valuations just aren’t always there. It’s requiring churches to put more cash into projects, which was challenging for some ministries during the recent recession. In tough times, if you have some cash reserves to fall back on, you have more runway time to adapt, to change ministry focus, to do some things differently or direct that cash into a project or renovation. For example, in our database of existing clients, the median of cash reserves is about 60 days. The 25-percent quartile has about 30 days’ of cash reserves. So, having a rainy day fund is easy for us to recommend, but sometimes not as easy for churches to execute. Another challenge for churches is that industry lenders have been forced to tweak some of the metrics. In 2006 and 2007, some lenders were loaning four, five and even six times a church’s gross support and revenue. (They aren’t around anymore, so that issue has kind of taken care of itself.) Coming out of this recession, lenders are focused

William Scrivens: The lenders that deal with our core business are seeing a much stronger emphasis on cash reserves. They’re asking, “How much money do you have set aside to take care of the assets you already own and are responsible for — before we start giving you extra money for whatever you want to do into the future?” Even HUD is changing its regulations. Before this recession, an individual got the loan. Now, HUD is look at whole communities to ensure capital assets are adequately funded. There’s some spillover there into the church world. Lenders are saying, “You want to build this new complex, but the front of your building is falling off because you haven’t taken care of it for 30 years. That makes you a higher risk.” A conservative approach was mentioned earlier — where a church has adequate reserves and is practicing stewardship by maintaining what it owns. Then, if it wants to expand, maybe a loan is appropriate. I think there’s a drift away from evangelizing an immediate need to build toward an acknowledgement of the responsibility to care for what they already have. I think the whole country learned, to a degree, that you can’t just borrow, borrow, borrow; you have to be

Paul Weers (left) and James R. Cook (right) (MMBB Financial Services)

Left to right: William Scrivens (Miller Dodson Associates, Inc.); Steve Hron (Ziegler); Dan Mikes (Bank of the West)

on more normalized leveraged metrics — maybe three, three-and-a-half or four times maximum gross support and revenue. Lastly, like Bank of the West, we like to take the conservative approach. If a church is considering a building project, a property acquisition or otherwise, we ask, ‘What kind of cash flow is available to pay for the proposed loan?’ We’re all about looking over the dashboard at the growth of the church. But, if we can look at the church’s financial statements now, and validate that the cash flow is there to service the debt, that’s a good, conservative approach.

more conservative. And, churches have a moral responsibility to actually lead in that sense, in how they manage their facilities. Steve Hron: Again, declining property values are requiring churches to bring more cash into the financing equation. Where do they get more cash? Well, maybe from a capital campaign. But, when is the right time to do one? How to they approach that? If a church isn’t accessing more cash through a capital campaign, then it’s through savings or the general fund. There just hasn’t been much ability [in the past >> 08-09/2013 || Church Church executive executive || 23 23 08-09/2013


r e s p on s i b le financial S t ewa r d s h i p

several years] to pack a savings line item in the general fund when giving is maybe flat or modestly up. A pastor once told me, “Steve, the new ‘up’, year-to year, is to break even. Just to be flat on giving.” That church just wanted to hold its own in the 2008-2012 environment. What effects has the struggling economy had on the compensation and benefits church leaders are able to offer their staff members? James R. Cook: Early in the recession, I was actually surprised at how little impact the economy was having on some of our larger church clients. That didn’t last long. What we’re seeing, broadly, in churches right now is the stagnation of wages. We did a quick study coming into this roundtable, and we’re just not seeing huge wage increases in churches.

Dan Mikes: We just looked at data across our several-hundred-church customer base, and from 2009 to 2010, we saw a 1-percent decline in general offerings. The next year, it was up 1 percent. One year later, it was up 4 percent. So, yes, some churches did cut salaries and benefits in the downturn. These were common line items to cut in an effort to manage cash flow. Queuing off [Hron’s] comment earlier — and he’s so right — the cash reserves, in the meantime, fell to the floor. Churches are very sensitive to their employees and were slow to make hard business decisions during the recession. But, you have to make them; otherwise, they can have lasting impact on your church’s credit rating. That’s secondary to the viability of your organization, the remaining employees you’d like to keep in secure positions, and the outreach and ministry they’re going to provide.

Left to right: Dan Mikes (Bank of the West) — foreground; Bill McMillan and Joel Mikell (RSI); Steve Hron (Ziegler) — foreground; Paul Weers and James R. Cook (MMBB Financial Services)

The exception is some of the larger churches that are really growing. If their cash flow is solid and giving is good, we’re not seeing stagnation. In fact, in those cases, we’re seeing some very large increases. But overall, there’s a considerable stagnation in our marketplace. From a benefits perspective, that means we are seeing a lot more routine reevaluations of the benefit packages churches are offering — in two- and three-year RFP cycles where they are evaluating what they are offering and shopping with cost as a key consideration. Paul Weers: As [Hron] said a moment ago, and echoed by [Cook], there’s a flat line when it comes to compensation and benefits. We’re not seeing a lot of increases. In churches, if there’s a desire to provide benefits, it’s not based upon financial decisions, but more a gesture of love and concern — a commitment to provide something for the pastor. Affording him or her something from the church is looked upon a little differently than financial data for a building program, for example.

24 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

Although hiring is back, this scenario underscores the importance of having a qualified business administrator to handle those tough decisions. Once you get to about 500 in attendance, you should be able to afford — and really should hire — a qualified business administrator. Have senior pastors’ and executive pastors’ compensation and benefits been similarly affected? James R. Cook: For most churches, there’s a real recognition that if those people are struggling, the whole ministry suffers. Among some of the larger churches we’ve worked with, putting together personnel budgets for the next year — even if cash flow has been down — top staff have maintained solid compensation and benefits. At that level, I haven’t seen any benefits or compensation cuts that weren’t voluntary. I can think of a several instances in which these top-tier folks have said to their boards, “Thanks very much for that 2- or 3-percent increase. But, if you don’t give that to us, the funds can be allocated to the raise pool, and other people down the line


who are struggling a little more in this economy can get a more substantial raise.” How does the capital campaign climate for religious institutions compare pre- and post-recession? Joel Mikell: In 2000, when Bill and I came to RSI, we couldn’t hire consultants hire fast enough. There was so much low-hanging fruit. While that’s not the case anymore, the good news is that the capital campaign never went away — it just changed. As churches changed, as the economy changed, the way we do capital campaigns has changed significantly. Actually, what we’re seeing at RSI is an uptick in churches doing capital campaigns. Our consultant group is maxed out. So, churches aren’t hesitant commit to a campaign based on any obstacles; they’re just doing their due diligence. That means churches are choosing the right partner first. Then, they’re asking, “Should we do a feasibility study? An audit? Should we just do some pre-campaign work?” And they’re more attuned, I think, to articulating the vision needed to accomplish the great commission and make disciples. Bill McMillan: The “capital campaign-in-a-box,” one-size-fits-all model doesn’t apply anymore. Three-year campaigns, two-year campaigns, blending of capital into annual budgeting — everything you can think of is on the table now. It used to be that a church could hire a consultant who could just “do the process” and follow the dots. Not anymore; consultants need to be able to listen, strategize and think outside the dots. So, there’s a lot more discussion on the front end of a campaign. Now, we might have a year of conversations, strategy and planning before we ever do anything — if we do anything. Joel Mikell: I agree; we’re seeing a lot more pre-campaign assessment. I don’t just mean analyzing giving trends, but also digging deeper into how a church communicates. How does social media factor in? What are they doing with major donors? Today, churches do more due diligence on the front end. Bill McMillan: Interestingly, in the last three years, we’ve seen more sevenfigure gifts in church capital campaigns, or in giving to church ministry, than we’ve seen in the past 10 years. At a church with a $500,000 budget in Houston, we saw two $1 million pledges in a two-year campaign. The largest gift they’d received before that was $150,000 — and those donors were church members then, too. We’ve also seen a $16-million gift to pay off debt for a church outside of a capital campaign. We’re seeing the major donors — we call them “financial leaders” — really come alive. Meanwhile, the middle tier of giving is shrinking. William Scrivens: Related to this conversation, an administrator stopped by my booth yesterday and we talked for a while. She had 10 buildings, all in very poor condition. She said she had a lot of pressure to launch a capital campaign to build a new facility, but she’s told everyone she won’t pursue that until they get a handle on what they already have. She told me, “If I spent $500,000 a year for the next 10 years, I might be able to bring everything back up to snuff.” CE Editor’s Note: Look for part 2 of this roundtable round-up in our October/ November 2013 issue.

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 25


Church Management software (chMS)

“outside the box” To obtain unique perspectives on health and member engagement, you’ve got to view church management software data a little differently.

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

By and large, church leaders are using their church management software (ChMS) to track some common data areas: attendance, revenue, giving, baptisms and other benchmark commitments. But, rarely do they mobilize this information into action items. Doing so requires adopting a more holistic view of ChMS data. In this article, ChMS experts offer ways in which this same commonly tracked data can be viewed differently, or combined, to paint a unique picture of church health, member engagement — even ministry needs.

Giving/donations data — and benevolence, too Tracking generosity — donations, capital campaign pledges and weekly giving — is standard practice among most ChMS-using churches. Jeff Campbell, general manager at PowerChurch Software, says keeping such records is necessary for producing donor receipts. However, giving data can also reveal waning relationships between members and the church, which often take form in altered giving patterns. “Tracking donor trends among regular givers helps identify their faith walk progression,” says Steve Caton, a leadership team member at Church Community Builder (CCB). “If any changes 26 | Church executive | 08-09/2013


Ramping up your reach Beyond the built-in ChMS functionalities discussed above, a few high-tech tools can expand your software’s capabilities in a mobile direction. One Call Now What it is: A simple, but powerful, church communication service that makes it easy for pastors, administrators and other leaders to send important voice, text, email and social media messages. It also enables church leaders to receive prompt feedback from members. How it works: The service is easy integrated with most ChMS. It’s accessible via computer, phone and One Call Now’s mobile app for church leaders. How churches are using it: One Call Now allows ministry leaders to monitor and create reports of what messages are being received, and who’s getting them. This way, they can adjust their messages and channels to better serve the entire ministry. One Call Now can be mobilized for sending both routine and emergency, or time-sensitive, notifications — announcements about severe weather, event cancellations or postponements, a change of venue, or other news that has to get to staff, volunteers, families and other members right away. “Our churches also use the service for day-to-day ministry communication, prayer chains, stewardship, outreach and dozens of other uses,” explains marketing representative Amanda Jackson. How it fosters member engagement: One Call Now

in their patterns of giving occur — up or down — there’s usually a reason why. If it’s down, that member might have lost a job. “I hardly ever see churches try to identify stories and possible ministry opportunities this way,” he adds. “But, they could.” To get a clearer picture of the state of generosity, Boyd Pelley, co-founder and president of Churchteams, recommends breaking down giving data into weekly snapshots: specifically, online giving (percent given online compared to other methods); giving based on group involvement; and giving based on membership type. He says doing so is a

allows each member to receive their messages in whichever channel they prefer. Also, each member has the ability to commit these messages directly to their calendars with just a tap of a finger ensuring that important dates and events aren’t overlooked. “It also allows the messages to be shared instantly on social media with friends and family, to extend the invitation beyond immediate church members,” Jackson points out. My Call Now What it is: This service takes One Call Now a step further, giving recipients — church members and others in the community — a powerful mobile tool for managing all their One Call Now contacts and messages. How it works: This free app that lets users simply tap to add entries to calendars or pass along messages to others. “It also makes it easy for church members to update their contact information in the church, freeing up staff time and reducing the number of messages sent to wrong numbers or email addresses,” Jackson points out. How churches are using it to their advantage: “Every church is concerned about the engagement of its members, from encouraging and then managing volunteers to extending the mission of the church to its wider community,” Jackson acknowledges. “My Call Now is a convenient, fast way of increasing this engagement — especially among people already using One Call Now for business, school, sports, clubs and other groups.” CE

good way to identify first-time givers and changes in giving consistency. The pastor can then send quarterly emails, with.pdf statements attached, to thank givers and update them on the vision of the church. To facilitate such a process, Elexio integrates with QuickBooks. “It will perform split contributions, individual giving data and so on,” explains Sales and Marketing Director John Connell. This functionality also lets church leaders quickly determine what percentage of church members are giving, he adds. “That data can drive sermon topics and small-group content related to giving or tithing, as well as herald the need for a financial ministry — on debt reduction, for example.” Continued on page 29 08-09/2013 | Church executive | 27


Attendance-trackinG

goes high-tech

Can ChMS help you get an accurate Sunday headcount? Yes — but it takes some next-generation thinking (and tools).

F

For large churches, getting an accurate headcount on Sunday can be tricky. “While a physical headcount is great and provides valuable data on how many people may have been in attendance at any given event or worship service, it doesn’t tell the story of who attended,” asserts Katie Moon, marketing manager for Fellowship One. “So, the question is, ‘How do we know who was here?’ One way to know is by tracking giving data. “If someone writes a check or places a giving envelope in the offering on Sunday, when you enter that data into FellowshipOne, it can be set up to mark attendance for the invididual(s) or the entire household,” she explains. Mark Peterson, marketing director at Carlsbad, CAbased Web Church Connect (WCC), emphasizes the necessity of effective new-visitor follow-up by way of attendancetracking. “Often, new visitors aren’t as well-tracked as they could be,” he asserts. “And even if they are tracked, what then? Is systematic follow-up happening?” To this end, many ChMS programs — including WCC — enable church leaders to program automated emails and texts to go out with within X amount of days of a new visitor’s visit. “In fact, you can set up a complete automated campaign for welcoming new visitors, including ‘alerts’ that go out to staff or ministry leaders if a new visitor or member isn’t followed up with within that specified time period,” Peterson says.

Intermediate strategies Of course, the challenge — particularly in a large church — is the manpower such follow-up requires. So, an easier, more accurate (and let’s face it, more automated) approach is a welcome alternative. The good news is, high-tech solutions are available. WCC’s Mark Peterson says some of his ChMS clients have had attendance-taking success using their child check-in systems. “It’s a non-intrusive way to track adult attendees, if they’ve checked in the kids.” Jeff Campbell, general manager at PowerChurch Software, agrees with Pelley and Peterson. “The primary focus of the software is child security,” he notes. “But, it’s

28 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

easily configurable to only record attendance data, but also gather information from the events calendar, activities and small groups, and then connect the people involved in those events.” The “catch,” of course, is that using ChMS-enabled child check-in functionalities only gauges the attendance data of members and families with children. FellowshipOne’s Katie Moon acknowledges that her company’s ChMS program features check-in functionalities that are mostly used for children’s and youth ministries. “But, several churches take check-in a step further and encourage everyone to stop by a kiosk and let us know you’re here by checking in as they walk in the door,” she says. Fellowship One check-in works as self-serve (with barcode scanners), as well as assisted (name/personal information look-up.) It can also be kiosk-based (as mentioned), or hooked up to laptops or computers with touch screens. WCC’s Mark Peterson has also observed large-church clients facilitating mass check-in, mostly on dedicated tablets or kiosks in the lobby and sanctuary. WCC offers a “live check-in system” program which lets members sign in using their name or a bar code. The same functionality can be used for events, conferences at the church, and so on. While Shelby Systems’ Mark White agrees that the simplest way to track individual attendance is via the check-in functionality, he has some advice. “Churches think it takes too long and is invasive,” he warns. “If you do check-in, it has to be quick and simple; otherwise, it’s a tough sell. Generally, the members who are most comfortable using check-in systems are of the younger generations.”

The advanced class In pursuit of the ideal individual-attendance-tracking solution, even higher-tech solutions are on the horizon. Best of all, they promise to be intrusive-free. For example, Churchteams’ Boyd Pelley knows of at least one large church that uses QR Codes — even posted on its facilities — to direct people online for bulletin-type information. This data helps measure individual attendance. Pelley’s company is also watching to see how the near-field communication (NFC) features on many phones are adopted in coming years. NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together, or by bringing them into close proximity — usually no more than a few inches. “Right now, NFC is being used as an option to pay for things using your phone, but it could be a source to help with attendance-taking,” he explains. CE — RaeAnn Slaybaugh


Continued from page 29

On the implementation side, other underused (but built-in) ChMS giving functionalities include mobile giving. “Although it takes a while to be adopted, mobile giving gives members a lot of flexibility,” explains Mark White, director of business development at Shelby Systems. “Although our software enables it, only about 5 percent of our clients are currently using text-based giving.” ChMS capabilities are also useful on the other side of the coin: benevolence. “In a church, this generally refers to the money provided to members, attendees and others to meet financial needs such as bills, food and expenses,” explains Katie Moon, marketing manager for Fellowship Technologies, makers of Fellowship One. “Some churches choose to track who requests financial assistance and how much they receive.”

a small group, it’s likely they’ll leave the church next,” warns Mark Peterson, marketing director at Web Church Connect (WCC). “So, it’s best to heed the warning signs.” Whereas Peterson says most churches are reactive about such data, alerts can be set up within WCC to text or email anyone who falls below a certain attendance percentage, or once they’ve missed two or three consecutive meetings. Elexio’s John Connell echoes the importance of taking action on troubling small group data. “Some forward-think-

Small groups data

ing churches are using ChMS to assign responsibility for small groups, but rarely are they following up on what that data indicates,” he says. “It’s not just about attendance; it’s about involvement.” To ensure the right small group fits for members from the get-go, the database side of Elexio has Spiritual >>

Small groups data is commonly tracked using ChMS. However, this data can be a lot more telling than many users realize. On a basic level, it can identify if someone has missed a few events or classes in a row. “If someone drops out of

Event Management Systems

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 29


Gifts/ Heart /Abilities/ Personalit y/ Experience (S.H.A.P.E.) methodology baked in. Similarly, Shelby Systems’ software can pair up members with ministries using personality test results — Myers-Briggs, DISC, S.H.A.P.E. and PLACE. For facilitating small group engagement and operations in the long term, Elexio’s online portal lets leaders take attendance, as well as email and distribute materials. Reports can be derived from that activity. “In fact, our database was written by a small groups pastor,” Connell says. “So, there’s lots of small groups functionality built-in.” To this same end, Shelby Systems enables mobile attendancetaking. That way, small group leaders don’t have to take role and then enter the data manually, later. “It’s very easy for laypeople to learn, and it even offers reminders,” says White. “It’s accessible in the cloud using any Internet browser.”

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Volunteers data CCB’s Steve Caton says he typically sees ChMS users focus on rosters rather than attendance data. “They tend to know who’s signed up, but they don’t do a great job of tracking who actually showed up,” he explains. “In both cases, of course, the latter data is more telling.” Shelby Systems’ Mark White echoes this concern. His company’s ChMS is designed to ensure more comprehensive tracking. “Small group data tracked in metrics can show there are X number of people in certain groups, plus average attendance in each, and display all this info in graph form,” he explains. “As an example, a parking lot greeter might be listed as a ministry volunteer, but how often is he actually showing up for his shift? This functionality can tell you that.” Another important area of volunteer data tracking is requirements, as Katie Moon, marketing manager for Fellowship One, points out. “For

Church Community Builder

instance, to serve in the kids’ ministry, volunteers might be required to attend a specific training, undergo a background check, or be CPRcertified,” she says. “Or, a volunteer might need to have commercial driver’s license, or CDL, to take part in the transportation ministry.” The program even lets users limit volunteer job assignments based on whether or not certain requirements are met.


more tracking of event attendance,” he says. “That means not only taking attendance, but following up with attendees.” To that end, CCB facilitates a robust tracking-and-follow-up plan. “There’s tremendous value in tracking events on the back end,” he explains. “Otherwise, you’re doing events for events’ sake. And I think most church leaders would agree that’s not the motivation.”

Combining data for a bigger picture Even beyond viewing individual data sets more holistically, this same information can be combined in unique ways to paint even more detailed pictures. At the top of many church leaders’ lists, of course, is the ability to identify the most engaged members. To do this, CCB’s Steve Caton suggests a combination of giving, >>

Scheduling/event registration data Built-in ChMS features such as event calendars, room and equipment scheduling can really improve efficiency in a church office. As one example, PowerChurch lets users access a calendar of events for their activities and groups via Google Calendar. “They can also receive e-mail notifications of upcoming tasks and events,” says Jeff Campbell. And, Elexio interfaces with Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to drive foot traffic to events. Jessica Houston, an account executive at Denver-based Event Management Systems (EMS), concurs that event registration is native to many ChMS programs. “But, some systems are moving away from the notion that they need to be the one-stop-shop for church software, and focusing instead on their expertise,” she says. “Integrating with systems like EMS — including EMS Master Calendar, which lets users subscribe to events and get related reminders — offers extensive use reports to improve stewardship over space and resources.” Currently, more than 1,800 churches use EMS to manage their rooms, resources and events despite their ChMS having built-in room scheduling features. Additionally, churches that rent their space can use specialized room and resource management software (such as EMS) to track revenue. Tracking post-event data is another extremely useful ChMS function, as CCB’s Steve Caton explains. “It’d be great to see churches do

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 31


serving and attendance data, cross-referenced with event and program attendance. To achieve the same goal, WCC’s Mark Peterson recommends combining small group and/or Sunday attendance data with giving statistics. “At my own 1,500-member church, we use volunteer team data, small group attendance, and giving to identify these members,” he adds. Cross-referencing data can even identify ministry needs — and effectiveness. “For example, if you crossreference attendance data for your Financial Peace University participants, and look at their giving patterns before and after completing the course, you can tell a lot about how effective that ministry was,” explains CCB’s Steve Caton. Some ChMS programs offer built-in reporting functionalities. Fellowship One, for example, integrates with Church Metrics (https://churchmetrics.com/) and Church Health Metrics (http:churchhealthmetrics.org), which “take data and reports and help pastors make better decisions based on their churches’ health,” explains Katie Moon. Beyond this, the program offers an F1 APIs, or application programming interface. “Through APIs, vendors can seamlessly connect to one another to form a mash-up of applications,” the company’s website states. “Ultimately,

32 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

this increases the value to the end user far beyond what one vendor can do alone.” Google and Facebook are good examples of APIs. Fellowship One has “built bridges” to integrate through its API with GivingKiosk (for touch screen kiosks, online and mobile giving), iMinistries Church CMS (for church websites), Protect My Ministry (for background checks), and several others.

Why the lag in adoption? While the experts agree that ChMS-driven data tracking is an underused tool in many church leaders’ arsenal, they’re divided on what’s fueling the hesitation. “Whether a church is using our product or anyone else’s, it often becomes a glorified rolodex,” says Elexio’s John Connell. “Church leaders are afraid no one will get onboard with data tracking.” Other factors are at play, as well, according to PowerChurch’s Jeff Campbell. For one, many church end users simply aren’t aware of their sophisticated software programs’ full capabilities. “So, they may continue to maintain the disconnected spreadsheets or spiral-bound notebooks that have been used for years, even while wishing there was a better way,” Campbell concludes. CE


TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

Meet growing demands with web apps By Kelly Meeneghan Getting your church online is the first step to increasing its overall visibility and reputation — the first of many. Research by international web host 1&1 Internet shows 74 percent of Americans assume a company is successful if its website is feature-rich. Although your church isn’t a company, one overall web presence goal is the same: to communicate positive, up-to-date information to the “target audience.” To achieve this objective, consider incorporating these top five web apps: 1) YouTube. YouTube lets users upload original videos and instantly share them with the world. Church leaders can showcase service and sermon excerpts, giving seekers an inside look at the worship experience. Another YouTube opportunity is to offer introductions to church staff members. Creating video biographies or Q&A’s helps potential and new members better understand your church’s ideals. They’ll want to make sure they’re a good

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match for their own. Simple web apps can offer these videos on your church website, too. Prominent placement offers optimal availability without deterring site visitors. 2) Artful.ly. Throughout the year, there will be times when members can’t attend a worship service. Even so, they might wish to make their weekly gift. So, consider a web app that will let them: Artful.ly. Artful.ly allows members to safely make donations directly through your website, without being redirected to a third-party vendor. It’s convenient and hassle-free for church leaders; using the app, they can keep congregants’ contact information in one location. Artful.ly also tracks individual donation records in a safe, secure location. 3) Blogger. Church leaders are influential members of their communities. It’s extremely beneficial for them to be able to share their ideas frequently, to a wide audience. Blogger lets them extend their voices outside the church building. Anything from a hectic work schedule to a child’s soccer game can get in the way of regularly attending church. Blog posts — which further discuss elements of missed services — help members maintain a strong connection. Blogger is a great resource for facilitating two-way communication between the congregation and the pastor. It lets members express their opinions through comments, as well as propose future sermon topics. 4) CalendarWiz. From educational classes, to community events, to weddings, churches are often “all booked up.” Church members — and other community groups that might want to use the facilities — use CalendarWiz to determine availability and avoid overbooking. Website visitors can also see what has happened in past weeks at the church, plus scope out future events. Using CalendarWiz, church leaders can invite attendees to upcoming events, and members can stay organized and informed using the layout of their choice. 5) Get Satisfaction. Now more than ever, clear and regular communication is key for any church leader. Maintaining a consistent stream of interaction with members is expected. By integrating the Get Satisfaction web app, members can ask questions, report problems, share ideas and give praise.

No small investment Taking your church’s website to the next level is necessary to increase membership and trust levels. Web apps foster communication and convenience through one, centralized location. Kelly Meeneghan is a manager at 1&1 Internet, Inc. (www.1and1.com) with U.S. headquarters in Chesterbrook, PA.


R I S K M A N A G E M E N T P R I O R I T I E S & C H A L L E N G E S ( PA R T 1 ) sponsored by

Our Roundtable Panel • (Co-moderator) Peter Persuitti, Managing Director, Global Religious Practice, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services • Dana Crowl, Senior Area Vice President — Program Manager, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services • Stephen Drachler, PR and Crisis Communications Professional, Drachler and Associates • Rod Flanders, Director — Agency Division, Church Mutual • Pat Moreland, Vice President — Marketing, Church Mutual • Eric Spacek, JD, ARM, Risk Management & Loss Control Senior Manager, GuideOne Insurance • Cheryl Tamasitis, AVP, Commercial Lines Underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies • Karl Williams, Business Development Specialist, GuideOne Insurance • Shawn Yingling, President, Glatfelter Religious Practice

Last month in Charlotte, NC, Church Executive and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and its Religious Practice leader, Peter Persuitti, hosted an in-depth roundtable discussion on the “new normal” priorities and challenges facing church leaders. It took place at the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) annual conference. Several high-level executives representing the most recognizable names in church risk management and insurance were on hand to share their insights. The highlights of this conversation will be published in two parts. In this issue, we’ll deep dive on church leaders’ top-of-mind concerns. In our October/ November 2013 issue, the panelists will offer strategies for overcoming these new-normal challenges. What areas of risk are keeping your church-based clients awake at night right now? Eric Spacek: People-related risks. As a former church business administrator, that was always my concern — particularly in the child care area. When children come to church, we’re standing in the place of their parents. We need to be sure children are properly protected. So, screening and protection against predators is critical. 36 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

We had an opportunity to ask this question last night at a meeting of Southern Baptist business administrators. Their responses were along the same lines: predators. The business administrators also raised the issue of benevolence requests — people walking in off the street. They have concerns regarding the safety of church staff in those instances. Pat Moreland: At churches with schools or camps, I’d add bullying to the list. Sexual molestation is another big concern, as is the selection and supervision of staff. And, if you look at risk from a volume perspective, what we see today — as a result of strapped church budgets — is maintenance that needs to be done, but isn’t, and volunteers doing work they aren’t always qualified to do. We have to help our churches and other customers try to look at things from an outsider’s perspective. Rod Flanders: Cyber risk is an exposure which most churches have, yet not all realize it. If a church is collecting money and saving financial information, that data can be stolen. So, churches are becoming more aware of their


Left to right: Rod Flanders (Church Mutual); Philip C. Bushnell (Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services); Pat Moreland (Church Mutual); Eric Spacek (GuideOne Insurance) — foreground; Karl Williams (GuideOne Insurance); Dana Crowl (Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services); Shawn Yingling (Glatfelter Religious Practice) — foreground; Cheryl Tamasitis (Philadelphia Insurance Companies)

exposures and the need to employ adequate controls to protect the information they capture and store. Also, a lot of small and midsize churches are starting to understand the exposures they face related to the people leading the church. These people have the fiduciary responsibilities, or they’re on the board of directors. Large churches have understood these risks for many years, and the types of folks who sit on the boards of these institutions are usually aware of their obligations and the responsibilities they have assumed. In smaller institutions, though, that hasn’t always been the case. I think it’s important that we continue to make them aware of their exposures in this area. Shawn Yingling: Churches face many challenges when managing their exposure to loss. Protecting their buildings, their staff members and their congregation is important. What is also important in this day and age is managing the actual costs that a church incurs versus its budgeted costs. I hear this very frequently from churches and religious organizations of all sizes. A church sets an annual budget and allocates funds to meet anticipated expenses. However, as the church moves through the year, the actual expenses incurred many times stray from what has been planned for and allocated. That certainly causes stress within the organization and is cause for keeping church leaders awake at night. Stephen Drachler: In terms of minimizing or negating risk, I think it’s important for church leaders to communicate in ways that help attendees >>

08-09/2013 | Church executive | 37


C H UR CH FI N A N CI N G , F UN DR A I S I N G & C OMPE N S AT I O N/ B E NE F I TS ( PA RT 1)

RISK M AN AGEMEN T P RI O RI TI E S & C H A L L E NG E S ( PA R T 1 )

feel comfortable at the church. These people should understand that the church has taken all the appropriate steps to keep their children safe, to protect the staff and so on, because a church is a sanctuary. When you make folks comfortable, I think they’re subconsciously more alert — first of all, because you talk about it; secondly, because if (God forbid) something does happen, it’s recognized as an anomaly versus absolute negligence. Peter Persuitti: Over the past several years, what do you all think has been foremost on church leaders’ minds, beyond their people and some of the facility/property issues we’ve discussed?

Cheryl Tamasitis: Security. I can’t tell you how many calls we get about that every day. The gun laws are changing, so customers are asking, “Can we allow people to carry concealed weapons on our campus? What do you recommend?” It’s complicated, because attitudes regarding gun laws vary by region. For example, there was a situation in New Jersey where a minor posted a Facebook photo of himself holding the rifle he’d gotten for his 13th birthday. He was suspended from school, and ATF was at his house. That same photo — if the 13-year-old lived somewhere else — might’ve gotten 10,000 “likes.” So, we’re really trying to get our arms

around the security issue. Another pressing issue is leasing buildings. How does a church keep its beautiful sanctuary in place when only 100 people are showing up on Sunday? It might make sense to lease or rent the space to make extra money. But, many churches don’t have the wherewithal to ask for certificates of insurance, to have somebody from the church onsite to lock up afterwards, and so on. Peter Persuitti: Dana, do you have anything to add from a ministry perspective? Dana Crowl: I think there are lots of emerging issues. But, there are also concerns that are consis-

An employee benefits/HR perspective Sitting in on the roundtable discussion was Philip C. Bushnell, area executive vice president and managing director of the religious and nonprofit practice group at Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services. For his part, Bushnell contends that many of the questions posed are equally applicable to the employee benefits and human resources aspects of his company’s offerings. What areas of risk are keeping your church-based clients awake at night right now? Philip C. Bushnell: The continually rising cost of health insurance, coupled with the increasing burden of compliance with state and federal regulations, is becoming nearly impossible to manage. The Affordable Care Act

38 | Church executive | 08-09/2013

has added new layers of compliance that might require some churches to revamp their benefit plan design, eligibility provisions, payroll and recordkeeping systems. Organizations that employ 50 or more full-time equivalents are forced to make the decision between offering qualified health plans and paying significant penalties. At the same time, increases in technology, use, required benefit enhancements and fees related to health care reform are causing the cost of health insurance to rise. What keeps me awake is cost and compliance. Have certain recent national events — mass shootings, bombings and so on — impacted church leaders’ risk management priority lists?

Philip C. Bushnell: The types of events referenced above can have an impact on our employee assistance programs and create potential problems with absenteeism and/or presenteeism. However, the recent national events that have a greater impact on our employees and their employee benefits programs are legislative actions, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the preventive benefits provisions of the ACA — such as the HHS contraceptive mandates — and the recent Supreme Court decision on DOMA. CE Editor’s note: Part 2 of Bushnell’s benefits-and HR-centric responses to the roundtable questions will appear in our Oct/Nov 2013 issue.


Left to right: Shawn Yingling (Glatfelter Religious Practice); Eric Spacek (GuideOne Insurance); Stephen Drachler (Drachler and Associates)

Co-moderator Peter Persuitti (Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services)

tently present. For instance, so many of the churches I talk to don’t understand why they can’t have 15-passenger vans. They hear this from all of us at the table, but they really don’t understand the reasons why transportation is such an issue. I think this confusion is coming back to the forefront because church leaders want

Left to right: Pat Moreland (Church Mutual); Karl Williams (GuideOne Insurance); Dana Crowl (Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services); Cheryl Tamasitis (Philadelphia Insurance Companies); Peter Persuitti (Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services)

to reach outside of their churches to minister and bring people in. As a whole, I feel that we haven’t done the best job of explaining what the exposure is regarding 15-passenger vans, and why there’s an issue. We could do that by talking about some of the past losses. I think we really need to continue to focus on these risks, and not lose track of the

transportation issue — how numbers of people can be killed at one time. My daughter is on a missions trip within the U.S. right now. They took a big bus to New York. Thinking about that, you wonder, Did they take all the right precautions? Pat Moreland: We’ve actually done a lot in the way of educating >>

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08-09/2013 | Church executive | 39


C H UR CH FI N A N CI N G , F UN DR A I S I N G & C OMPE N S AT I O N/ B E NE F I TS ( PA RT 1)

RISK M AN AGEMEN T P RI O RI TI E S & C H A L L E NG E S ( PA R T 1 )

churches on the risks associated with operating 15-passenger vans. We issued an alert on these vehicles even before the federal government did, and we’ve frequently communicated to our customers the measures they need to take to make their vans safer. We still insure tens of thousands of 15-passenger vans. We’ve produced two videos on the topic, and we offer a booklet and driver checklists to help our churches operate them safely. Would we love for churches to get rid of them altogether? Yes, absolutely. But, we’ve got to cover them if we’re in the church market. So, we’ve chosen to try to make their operation safer. Peter Persuitti: It’s amazing to me that church planning committees spend so much time going over the financials. Those are important, obviously, to the church’s viability; but, why aren’t they dedicating the same focus and time to risk management? Why aren’t they making it a “standing item” on their agenda? Cheryl Tamasitis: I think it’s because nobody really wants to take ownership of it. They have to be diligent about risk management and take it seriously, not just talk about it. Have recent national events — mass shootings, bombings and so on — impacted church leaders’ risk management priority lists? Karl Williams: Yes. Sandy Hook and other shootings have been instrumental in putting the protection of kids at the top of many churches’ priority lists. And, few years ago, a shooter came in to the midst of a Baptist church in Dallas. That definitely brought the gun issue to the forefront, there. So, yes, all the issues related to shootings are high on the list. But, sometimes the urgent risks come up very quickly, and the important, more common risks get put on the back burner. It’s easy to say that all risk issues should be on the front burner in a church, but is that realistic? To piggyback a little bit on what [Moreland] just said, one avenue we’ve taken is to provide risk management education to our customers. Beyond just insuring churches, we’ve been focusing on coming alongside them with our risk management expertise. I think that’s important in this market — that churches know there’s somebody out there with the right knowledge, and who’s accessible to them. They can get that from us online, or we can go out there personally to help them along. Persuitti: How do we know that that information and assistance we’re providing churches is impacting their priorities? Are there ways to measure that?

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Eric Spacek: It’s really anecdotal. For us, we can tell by following up with conversations to hear about the steps they’re implementing. For me, the foundational piece in this whole discussion is that risk management and safety is ministry. We tend to think of the business side of the church and the ministry side of the church as separate things. Our approach is really to supply “the missing ministry.” Shawn Yingling: When a church goes about implementing risk control measures, I think there needs to be a buy-in from top management levels. The church needs to really want to do it and see it as benefitting their organization, not just the insurance company. Often, risk management is viewed as one-sided and only benefitting the insurer, so there can be reluctance on a church’s part to implementing a risk control program. But, once there is buy-in from the religious organization, and the potential impact for both parties can be seen, it’s a better playing field and the results become more apparent. Peter Persuitti: I’ll direct my next question to Steve [Drachler]. We’re all so influenced and impacted by the media, especially church board members. And ours is such a litigious society. I’m just wondering how board members move from watching CNN as observers, to really starting to ask some liability questions at trustee meetings. Am I really covered as a board member? I’m giving up my time and talent, and now — all of a sudden — I’m being approached to buy personal excess liability insurance, personally? We’re all circling around this directors-and-officers coverage issue: Am I personally putting my family and assets at risk? Stephen Drachler: Getting away from business jargon is important. Directors and officers need to begin looking at what they do — at work, at home and at play — from a theological perspective. My work is a ministry, with a clear theological foundation. When I go to a congregation, I don’t just talk about what I do; I talk about how it relates to our theological basis, our own polity, and the church’s polity. Peter Persuitti: It’s great that you say that. With church boards, I’m seeing many “half-timers” who are making move from their corporate success to wanting to bring significance to their work and are now running or leading some of our faith-based institutions. I think it’s very exciting, impressive and promising. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh Editor’s Note: Look for part 2 of this roundtable round-up in our October/November 2013 issue.


Pastor-Friendly

User-friendly worship lighting When assembling your worship lighting setup, one critical (but often overlooked) step is to match its complexity with users’ skill level.

O

By Chris Pease

One of the most common mistakes we see churches make is not matching their equipment’s complexity with users’ technical skills. If your church is blessed with a budget that allows you to hire staff, you shouldn’t have this problem. If you’re very blessed and have a dedicated volunteer who’s knowledgeable and competent, you’re also lucky enough not to have this problem. However, the majority of churches rely on volunteer members of the church to serve in technical positions and operate the audio, video and lighting systems. To find the proper balance, these churches need to consider their choices in equipment based on the results they want to achieve and the volunteers’ technical expertise. It doesn’t serve anyone to have an expensive lighting console with all the latest bells and whistles if it’s too complicated for them to operate. Conversely, if there are 24 moving heads in your lighting system, you can’t expect to operate that setup from a simple lighting console. The best way to achieve the desired balance between results and technical expertise is to make sure there’s a clear vision of what’s expected from your lighting system. If you just need to control the lighting levels during your worship service, then that can be achieved using a standard, two-scene preset lighting console. If your church hosts musical events or a lot of dramatic presentations, then consider a lighting console that provides a cue list. That way, your scenes or looks can be activated by simply pushing the “go” button to move from lighting scene to lighting scene. In this instance, the console can be programmed in advance by a knowledgeable user, and operated by a novice with a script that indicates when the lighting cue should change. If your lighting system uses LED fixtures, the console should have the ability to soft-patch or to electronically assign a fader to any DMX address. This feature allows you to patch around any unwanted features your fixture might

Lightronics’ TL5024 lighting console is simple to operate and features 24 channels with multiple scene banks, soft patch, scene cue list and userprogrammable chases.

offer, or to control your fixtures using the minimum number of faders to stretch how much your console can handle. It’s also important when using DMX-based LED fixtures that your console provides you with information regarding the exact DMX value being sent to fixture, to ensure proper uniform color mixing. In the past 10 years, manufacturers have been shipping remote device management (RDM)-ready products. RDM is a protocol that piggybacks with the standard DMX protocol. DMX alone is a unidirectional protocol, which means the data flows in only one direction. With RDM, data can be sent in a bidirectional manner so the DMX devices can report back to the lighting controller. The lighting console can send a query to the fixture — What is your DMX address?, for example — and the fixture can respond back. This is known as a “set command.” A set command can be sent from the console to a DMX device, such as Set your DMX address to 001. The device will reset its DMX address and confirm the change to the lighting console. While this feature allows the user to modify and monitor the system as never before, it doesn’t make much sense to have it at your disposal if it’s not used, or if your DMX devices aren’t RDM-enabled. These examples are just a few of the ways churches can avoid the pitfalls of too much technology versus too little training. Another good idea is to ensure A/V staff and volunteers attend technical seminars and take advantage of training sessions offered by manufacturers. This will keep them at the top of their game — and your congregation will see and hear the difference. CE Chris Pease is sales and marketing manager at Lightronics Light Control Solutions in Virginia Beach, VA.

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When architecture and construction experts describe the design-build process, the word “collaborative” comes up a lot. That’s for a reason.

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

Photos courtesy of Live Design Group

W

Top and bottom: At First Hattiesburg in Hattiesburg, MS, Birmingham, AL-based Live Design Group got creative with space to help turn a former storage area into a worship annex called North Venue. Featuring state-of-the-art lighting, sound and projection — and its own live house band — attendees have responded exceptionally well to a second space in which to worship.

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When architecture and construction experts describe the design-build delivery process, the word “collaborative” comes up a lot. That’s for a reason. Essentially, a design-build project begins with identifying the owner’s budget. Next, architects and engineers work with the owner to develop a design that meets its overall needs, but with an eye on the construction budget. Richard Harrison, chairman & CEO at Rhino Construction Group (Milan, TN) — a member of National Association of Design Builders (NACDB) — says his company has only built one non-design-build church project in the past 10 years. “Although the church considers it a success, there are serious deficiencies in flow, materials and AVL (audio,


video & lighting) systems,” he explains. “Our expertise wasn’t utilized during design, and those changes were too expensive to make after the fact.” Ernest Pullen, marketing manager at CDH Partners in Marietta, GA, says his firm uses an incentive-based “integrated project delivery” approach to design-build. All team members (owner, constructor and design professional) are vested in the project at its earliest inception. “This approach creates a sense of ownership and pride,” Pullen says. “IPD provides cost predictability, risk management and technical integration. In the end, we believe that IPD leads to a natural evolution toward a better design project initiative.”

Design-build’s unique benefits Church construction and design experts are quick to spotlight some of the major selling points of design-build. It avoids delays. “With design-build, the contractor and architect are responsible for the construction drawings,” explains Brad Lechtenberger, principal at DamanLechtenberger, PC and an architect for Churches by Daniels. Both companies are based in Tulsa, OK. “So, when

mistakes or omissions are discovered in the drawings, the team is responsible to work together to solve the problem, without causing delays.” David Fink, Churches by Daniels’ preconstruction manager, echoes the value of being able to identify costs early — and adjust accordingly. “Design-build’s open-book policy fosters a team mentality for design and construction throughout the project,” he says. “Evaluation of alternative designs, materials and methods are made, and constructability and value engineering are continuous.” Robby Hayes, operations manager at Birmingham, AL-based Brasfield & Gorrie, cautions against what he says is an inherent mind-set in the design-bid-build process — one which dictates the contractor who submits the lowest bid on the completed set of documents produced by the design team is the “best choice” for the project. “Rarely does the lowest bid submitted at the beginning of the project remain as the same price at the completion of the project,” he says. “Having a competitive price is important, but the other qualities that a contractor must have to work successfully in a design-assist role — preconstruction expertise, ability to work collaboratively, and the ability >>

What is design-build? | The traditional approach to building — design-bid-build — can leave you to make important decisions on your own. You’re responsible for finding an architect to draw your project, and a contractor to build it. Then, you must ensure that they communicate and work together within your budget and vision. Design-build is different; it’s a one-stop-shop for all your design and construction needs. You have one contract that adheres to your budget. In a guaranteed lump sum contract, the design-builder guarantees to deliver the project at the specified price. They will look over drawings and plans throughout the entire process to make sure there are no mistakes in the building, and that everything falls within your budget.

Examining the differences When evaluating building options, it’s important to understand the nuances between design-bidbuild and design-build. Let’s start with the pros of design-bid-build. First, design-bid-build is well understood by owners, architects and contractors. It allows for competitive bidding among both subcontractors and general contractors and provides

By David Batten

the lowest price for a given set of documents. The cons begin with the fact that design-bid-build allows no input from contractors during the design phase, and it might not represent the best value for the owner. Often, bids come in over budget due to change orders, and it takes more time for a thorough bidding phase. Additionally, it can be difficult to identify long lead items, causing scheduling delays and making “fast-track” construction difficult (if not impossible). Finally, a design-bidbuild approach can lead to an adversarial relationship between the design team and the contractor. Design-build pros include having the design-builder as the single source of responsibility. The owner will determine the design and cost at an early stage, after which the design team — working together with the builder — can provide a creative solution to any problem. Design-build takes less time from inception to completion because the bidding phase is reduced and major design revisions are made early. The designer and builder are on same team, eliminating adversarial relationships and facilitating fast-track construction. Further, design-build allows for early and frequent input by the

contractor regarding budget, and it can identify long lead items early to avoid scheduling delays. The drawbacks of design-build are that it doesn’t guarantee lowest cost based upon a given set of documents. And, an owner might perceive there are no checks and balances in place.

What design-build looks like There are three main phases of a design-build project: 1) preliminary design/build services (three to four months); construction documents (three to eight months); and construction (seven to 10 months). After you hire a design-builder, you will begin making crucial decisions about your facility. Money is saved in the preliminary design/build services (planning) phase, not in the construction phase. Items addressed in this phase are: needs assessment, master planning, preliminary design, and then budget estimate. CE David Batten is president of National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB) in Arlington, TX.

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The work of Tulsa, OK-based Churches by Daniels, Word of Life Church in Flowood, MS, is a great example of the versatility of design enabled by a design-build approach.

Photos courtesy of Churches by Daniels Construction

to identify and resolve constructability issues as the design is developed — far outweigh the ability to have the absolute lowest price.” Once a guaranteed maximum price, or GMP, is determined in the design-build approach, the builder will develop periodic cost estimates reflecting the anticipated project cost throughout the construction document preparation process. “This allows modifications to be made to the design, if necessary, to maintain the desired project budget,” explains David Strickland, principal at CDH Partners. “It also helps avoid ‘surprises’ when the final GMP (guaranteed maximum price) is submitted.” It offers single-source responsibility. Churches by Daniels’ David Fink says his church clients appreciate the

singular-responsibility aspect. “It establishes risk-averse, turn-key source responsibility,” he explains. “Plus, the owner isn’t required — during design and construction — to coordinate or arbitrate between separate contracts or resolve budget and schedule conflicts.

Designing for ministry Design-build is also flexible enough to deliver on a church’s vision of a space designed with ministry in mind. To this end, experts say certain types of church facilities have been particularly popular in recent years. Multipurpose. Rhino Construction Group’s Richard Harrison says his firm has designed foyers that transform into banquet halls for meals, showers or other events, as Continued on page 49

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Beyond new-build Financing implications might dictate whether an existing facility is your best expansion option.

Weekend attendance is nearly three times the seating capacity of your church’s auditorium, and new people keep coming. Someone in the congregation suggests a solution: Buy and reconfigure the newly built automobile dealership down the road, which is for sale because the business went bankrupt. Is this a crazy idea or God’s provision? Presented with this exact opportunity, a Texas church discovered one good reason why it might make more sense to buy an existing facility: When it’s time to begin raising funds, you don’t have to rely solely on an architect’s drawings to help people catch the vision. Instead, they can walk through the beautiful new building,

which can be purchased for a fraction of what it would cost to buy vacant property and build new. There are plenty of other reasons why a vacant restaurant, office building or other commercial facility might be the best expansion option. Pastor Brian Kluth, founder of Maximum Generosity, offers these: Availability. The downturn in commercial real estate has left countless buildings sitting empty, many of them appropriate for churches — and with ample parking. Affordability. While new construction costs have escalated, the price of many existing facilities has dropped. One church paid $500,000 for a racquetball club listed at $2.2 million. Quicker occupancy. It can take up

By Jac La Tour

to seven years to go from purchasing land to having your first worship service in a new facility. Existing facilities can often be renovated in 12 months or less. Less neighborhood opposition. Eager for a community controversy? Just buy a piece of property and tell neighbors you plan to build a church that will attract hundreds of people. Purchase an existing facility, and it’s already part of the local landscape. Visibility. Attendance at one church that purchased a highly visible sporting goods store grew from 1,200 to 3,000 the first year.

Financing implications OK, let’s assume you’re convinced that an existing facility is a legitimate

All photos copyrighted and provided by CDH Partners

Top: A project by CDH Partners (Mariette, GA), Free Chapel Worship Center seats 3,500 and uses state-of-the-art simulcast technology to connect others throughout the church campus to the worship services. Right: Flat-screen monitors located within the café allow those who arrive early to preview the worship service while having refreshments with other church members. Word of Life Church in Flowood, MS, is a great example of the versatility of design enabled by a design-build approach.

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option. Is it that simple? Just find the right one and start renovating? Not quite. Your evaluation also needs to account for financing implications. You need to understand a commercial lender’s perspective on this kind of project. The good news is that financing is available for repurposed commercial facilities. From a lender’s perspective, there are some important considerations. Engage your lender early. You’ll want to know any of the lender’s requirements for the new facility. You’ll also want to know the loan size for which your church qualifies. The final loan will be determined as a percentage of the value of the completed property. It’s important to manage project costs so you don’t “over build” beyond what the lender will advance. Will the church become a landlord? One upside of buying commercial property with tenants is that the rent they pay can help your church qualify for a larger loan. However, that rental income might also require your church to pay additional taxes. Consider engaging an experienced attorney and/or CPA to walk you through the implications of rental income. Do you have detailed plans? Most lenders will want your plans to describe how the property will be converted for church use. If these modifications require cash, you’ll need to have those funds available before the loan is funded. This might mean doing the project in phases, which could limit the number of interested lenders. And, lenders will also want you to engage a design/ build team or architect experienced with similar projects. Identify municipal zoning and compliance costs. Your team must know the cost and timing implications of municipality requirements before approaching potential lenders. What if the municipality requires surety bonds? These bonds provide back-up funding to cover additional costs, but churches typically don’t have the credit history required to obtain surety bonds. Consequently, your church would need some sort of security, such as cash or a letter of credit from your lender. When you approach a project like this, your lender will be an integral partner in the process, so you’ll want to engage them early and often.

How to choose the ideal property Here are Pastor Kluth’s top four characteristics of the ideal property: 1) Highly visible, accessible location 2) Ceilings 18 feet or higher for sanctuary and or gymnasium space 3) Hundreds of existing, potential or surrounding parking spaces 4) Sale price between 25 percent and 90 percent below what it would cost to build today

This list should get you started. But, before you go too far into the process, connect with potential lenders. Identify the one that can help you end up with a facility that enables your church to more effectively live out its mission in the community. CE Jac La Tour is part of the Strategic Services Team at Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) in Brea, CA.

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Photos courtesy of Brasfield & Gorrie

The Edgar M. Arendall Children’s Building at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church addition in Homewood, AL, is the work of Brasfield & Gorrie (Birmingham, AL). The 13-month project includes 45,000 square feet of gathering and education space for youth of all ages, as well as a basement and three floors above it connected to the existing 50-year-old educational building. All stages of this process required precise planning by the project team.

How to divide and conquer (your space) Not all expansion needs are the same. For some churches, maximizing the space they have is the most sensible option. To this end, Rich Maas, vice president of Lake Zurich, IL-based Screenflex, acknowledges that well-built room dividers require an investment. He also points out they give more versatility and are not nearly as expensive as breaking ground and building new. “We’re really good at knowing how to maximize space,” Maas adds. “We’re architects.” And, like architects, Maas and his team emphasize that there’s no one-size-fits-all room divider; the ideal height, length and finish will vary by the space. “Lots of churches outgrow their sanctuaries and repurpose them as multipurpose spaces,” he offers, by way of example. “They often take out the pews and use these facilities as multipurpose. Many of these spaces come complete with exceptionally high, sloped ceilings — not, as one might assume, a significant issue when considering portable room dividers.” When asked how tall room dividers can conceivable be, Maas replies: “In a room with high ceilings, a 6-foot or 6-foot-8-inch divider is plenty high — and, typically easy to store. Some customers want to go taller, but we say, ‘Save yourself some money.’ Fact is, if the ceiling is really high, a divider that’s a foot or two taller won’t make that much difference in trapping sound.”

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Realistically, Maas contends that an 8-foot divider is a high as any church would need. “Eight feet accommodates tall people just fine,” he says. Or, if the space has 8-foot ceilings, a 7-foot-4-inch-high unit is a great choice. “That allows eight inches for lighting, ventilation and so on,” Maas says. “And, it’s quite high enough that people feel like they’re in their own dedicated rooms.” He explains the troubled physics of choosing a super-tall, customdesigned room divider: It requires a bigger base. A divider beyond the largest standard-size model offered by Screenflex — 8 feet high x 24 feet wide — would require a larger end frame (the support at the end of the divider) than the standard 29-inch one. “Doorways are only so wide and tall,” he explains. “So, getting extratall dividers in and out of a space, or storage, can become a challenge.”

Consider your surroundings Most of the dividers Maas offers are fabric-covered, but that doesn’t mean they’re ideal for every space. “In a food service area, food mess dictates a different kind of covering,” he explains. “Vinyl is a good option there.” Aside from churches, hospitality is a big market for Screenflex. “They like variety,” Maas says. “We offer eight to 10 different vinyl colors and about 25 different colors of fabric.” CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh


Continued from page 44

well as gymnasiums that transform into classrooms in minutes — or even into worship spaces. “Even dedicated worship auditoriums are increasingly being designed as transformational for multiple uses — something that was considered taboo just a few years ago,” he adds. Fellowship. Churches by Daniels’ Brad Lechtenberger has seen increased interest in Monday-throughSunday fellowship spaces. “More and more churches are requesting coffee shops and cafés,” he says. “Members want a place to meet, in a casual manner, before and after service, but also during the week.” Children and youth. Lechtenberger has also added plenty of indoor and outdoor playgrounds in churches lately. “Churches need to give the children a destination during church services, as well as throughout the week.” For youth and young adults, many churches are building separate spaces, tucked away from the main facility. “That way, youth have a place to call their own, where they can develop their own identity,” he explains. Education. According to Brasfield & Gorrie’s Robby Hayes, education facilities have been a priority for churches over the past three to five years. Related to this, he says security has been “the single biggest and most consistently discussed design issue” in churches. “With good reasons, they’re focused on imploring smart security measures to ensure that their members — particularly the children — are safe in their church home.” Expansion/upgrade. In tough economic times, church leaders look to make the most of what they have — including their facilities. “Designbuild can be employed to find solutions to challenging sites, or unusual building circumstances and requirements,” says Chad Charon, vice president of project development for PBS Church Visioning Group, another NACDB member. CDH Partners’ David Strickland has some advice for churches considering design-build for an adaptive reuse project. “A thorough assessment of the

space and the utility needs required should be made by the design-builder first — power, HVAC, water and sewer,” he says. “Project leaders need to ask, ‘Will special lighting or equipment be needed by the ministry? And, will that require a power source greater than what’s available?” Worship. For the first time since the recent recession, Brasfield & Gorrie will be building two new sanctuar-

ies/worship center projects in 2014. “One will be a more traditional facility with 1,200 seats,” Hayes says. “The other will be a more contemporary facility and will have close to 2,200 seats.” The firm is also working with two more churches which plan to build sanctuaries in 2015. CE

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MarketPlace

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Church Executive Digital Edition Aug/Sept 2013