HELPING LEADERS BECOME BETTER STEWARDS
JUNE/JULY 2013 DECEMBER
DECEMBER 2013 THE
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By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
2013 DEPA RTMEN T S
NEWS UPDATE..........................7 EDITOR’S NOTES......................8
By Robert Erven Brown
By Peter A. Persuitti
By Ken Stewart
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS....20 By Kelly Meeneghan
By Ken Stewart
Teenagers are highly social. Here’s how your church can draw them together in a truly engaging virtual space.
RISK MANAGEMENT.............15 RISK MANAGEMENT............. 17
MAKING TEENS FEEL AT HOME — AT CHURCH
22 20 23 24
THE METHOD BEHIND THE MAGIC
26 Continuing education
BUSINESS TRAINING FOR PASTORS IS GAINING GROUND By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
By Camron Ware
Environmental projection (EP) is a breathtaking, exciting — and cost-effective — way to “paint a picture” this Christmas season.
TRULY ENGAGING YOUTH SPACES
ON THEIR LEVEL
Billy Goff, CEO of Dallas-based Goff Companies, shares the 5 elements his firm’s most successful children’s spaces projects all have in common.
SECURE, BY DESIGN
At Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, children’s check-in technology is a well-established concept.
Lynn Munson has earned a reputation as an effective “business pastor.” Here, she talks about where the worlds of ministry and management intersect.
COMBATTING COMMON ACOUSTIC HURDLES
The congregation can’t heed The Word if it can’t hear The Word! By Eric Smith
By Paulla Shetterly
When done right, these areas motivate, encourage, teach — and even inspire kids to draw their parents to church.
A HEAD FOR BUSINESS
AUDITORIUM ACOUSTICS, REVISITED
These sacred spaces present a host of acoustical challenges, depending on their layout and design. By Nick Colleran
IS THE MUSIC TOO LOUD?
The right sound-isolation products let you mic each instrument individually, and control their sound remotely. By Larry Schedler
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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. 8
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CHURCH EXECUTIVE ANNOUNCES RISK MANAGEMENT/LEGAL BLOGGER PHOENIX — Church Executive magazine is proud to announce the addition of a dedicated risk management/legal blogger: Attorney Robert Erven Brown, Esq. A Yale graduate, Brown received his J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1974. As coordinator of the Nonprofit Practice Group of Ridenour Hienton & Lewis, PLLC in Phoenix, he has created a Campus Preservation Planning© initiative — a comprehensive program designed to manage the wide array of risks facing non-profit organizations. This program to protect churches’ critical assets against underinsured, uninsured or unjust claims — while improving risk management and stewardship — has been successfully implemented across the country. Robert Erven Brown is an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona. He and his nonprofit practice group work with nonprofits and churches helping them manage key operations connected with their missions, visions and
causes. As permitted by local Rules of Ethics, they collaborate with attorneys who are licensed in states other than Arizona.
His book — Legal Realities: Silent Threats to Ministries — is available for download online: http:// campuspreservationplanning.com/ download-ebook. A recipient of numerous honors, achievements and recognitions, Brown is an adjunct professor and legal advisor to the board of directors at Phoenix Seminary. He
has served as a trustee and legal advisor to the board of directors of Christian Education Legacy Fund; as a stewardship committee member at Paradise Valley Community Church (Paradise Valley, Ariz.); and as a board member and legal advisor to Scottsdale Christian Academy (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Brown says his goals for the blog are three-fold. “First, we’re engaged in a cultural battle which pits an increasingly hostile litigation system against our churches’ ability to worship freely and to openly share our faith in pursuit of the Great Commission,” he begins. “Next, we hope to assist in creating a proactive risk management culture which protects our youth, protects our members, and preserves the use of our church campuses for worship for generations to come. Finally, we aim to provide governance resources for our church boards and administrators to lighten their load and to allow them to be more effective in serving the Kingdom.”
“Hear the Word” assistive listening system (ALS) giveaway winners announced Califone [califone.com] and the Church Executive staff congratulate the Rev. Kim Allen, pastor at Little West Fork Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN — recipient of a first-prize Califone assistive listening system (value: $2,400). This 10-person system is equipped with everything the church will need to ensure worshippers with hearing loss can hear the Word. “Because we’re predominately a military congregation — from our young service members to a 91-year-old veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam — we serve a multitude of hearing-impaired members,” Allen states. “We’d love
to be able to provide a listening device that would give to these men and women who stood in the gaps, and who served so we can come in freedom to worship whenever we choose.” Receiving the second-place prize — a $350 Califone assistive listening system — is Pastor Daniel Hazelton of Pryor Nazarene Church in Pryor, OK. “Those that have difficulty hearing in my church are older people, and some with disabilities,” Hazelton explains. “I see several people straining to hear each week. As I talk to those who are hard-of-hearing, I find they’re
missing key details that are shared — and sometimes completely misunderstood the communication from the pulpit. “The gospel is a message we want all to hear,” he adds. “Why make it any harder?” In the future, Hazelton says he hopes to use the church’s new ALS to offer Spanish-language translation, as well.
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Jordan Ashley Photography
Welcome to Church Executive’s second annual Good Steward Awards! As your trusted resource for church management ideas, best practices and strategies, we’re grateful for the privilege of celebrating with you your hopes and victories as you seek to faithfully steward God’s resources and serve your congregations more effectively. In listening to your stewardship stories and chronicling them over the past 13 years, we are left with an indelible truth: Stewardship is an act of worship — personally and corporately. As Christ followers, how we manage what God has entrusted to our care speaks volumes about the condition of our hearts. And, when you’re serving on the front lines of ministry, your view of stewardship can likewise influence how people in your church manage their own affairs. What a responsibility! When church leaders are good caretakers of the resources available to their respective ministries, they’re essentially creating what Mark Simmons, business manager at Christ Community Church (CCC), calls an “accountable culture” — responsible, transparent, above reproach. (Read about CCC and the rest of this year’s Good Steward recipients starting on page 9.) Stewardship, of course, means so much more than tithing, capital campaigns or budgeting. It’s such a touchy subject, which might explain why so many churchgoers know only bits and pieces about it. That’s why we can appreciate the efforts of senior pastors, stewardship pastors and Christian networks across the country to teach the “whole counsel of God” pertaining to stewardship. One example is the comprehensive
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three-point exposition of Chris Goulard, stewardship pastor at Saddleback Church: 1) God owns it all. 2) We are all stewards. 3) We have a responsibility to manage it for His glory. In this light, we’re honored to present to you this year’s good and faithful stewards. Nominated by peers, these are churches that continue to advance God’s kingdom by applying biblical stewardship principles. Collectively, they represent a bigger stewardship spectrum — from financial accountability, to risk management, to staffing, to innovative outreach. One church’s ministry to people with special needs (page 11) is especially inspiring. Lastly, on behalf of the Church Executive staff, I’d like to take this opportunity to greet you all a very Merry Christmas. Peace and joy to you in this season of remembering our Savior’s birth.
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Trinity Fellowship (Amarillo, TX)
First Baptist Church of Orlando (Orlando, FL)
Jimmy Scroggins (First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach)
MULTI-SITE STAFF MANAGEMENT: First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL) Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY) INNOVATIVE OUTREACH: First Mount Zion Baptist Church (Dumfries, VA) First Congregational Church of Rockport (Rockport, MA)
10 10 10 11
CHILDREN’S/YOUTH SPACES: Oklahoma Youth Camp (Sparks, OK) FOOD SERVICE: First Baptist Church of Orlando (Orlando, FL)
SPECIAL NEEDS: Grace Church (Eden Prairie, MN)
GIVING SOLUTIONS: Shore Fellowship (Egg Harbor Twp, NJ)
Safety & Security
RISK MANAGEMENT: Trinity Fellowship (Amarillo, TX)
FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY/FUNDRAISING: Christ Community Church (Milipitas, CA)
COST SAVINGS: Hope Church (Cordova, TN)
FINANCIAL EDUCATION/MINISTRY: Asbury United Methodist Church (Madison, AL)
WANT THE WHOLE STORY?
Every digital edition of Church Executive in 2014 will feature an in-depth Q&A with a 2013 “Good Steward” Award winner. Sign up at churchexecutive. com to receive each issue automatically by email, or visit http://churchexecutive.com/digital-edition.
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First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL)
Staff Management (Multi-site) First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL)
First Baptist Church is devoted to launching new works and venues — including five “neighborhood churches.” Among these are Family Church Haitian American (FCHA) and Family Church Español (FCE). Both share physical space with the mother church in West Palm Beach and are led by bi-vocational pastors. “They reach demographics that reflect our downtown community,” says Lead Pastor Jimmy Scroggins. Scroggins says the vision is to plant at least 100 neighborhood churches throughout South Florida. To this end, the church has a residency program in place to train bi-vocational church planters and send them out to South Florida communities to reach the people who live and work near them. “We believe that churches planting churches tailored to the local community — but [which are] supported by the larger body — is the most effective was to reach the 6.6 million people [in this region] who currently do not attend church,” he explains.
Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY) In the past five years, Grace Fellowship has launched three multisite campuses — a very ambitious expansion effort. The first location, at Half Moon, was established in 2008 inside a former SAAB dealership. In 2011, church leaders decided to press on with this expansion model. “We had three years of viable data to draw upon — in particular, attendance and giving — as well as experience, and the personal stories of lives changed,” recalls Bill Minchin, pastor of business administration. So, a campaign was launched to plant two more locations in Saratoga and Greenbush. Both are due for completion in 2014. Minchin urges pastors considering multi-site expansion to be flexible and open-minded when it comes to facilities. True to form, 10 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 12/2013
FCHA worship leader Winner Olmann (left), First Baptist worship leader Christian Ramos (center), and FCE worship leader Angel Arce lead a combined campus worship celebration.
the two new multi-site locations will be housed in a renovated office building and a former fitness facility. Additionally, Minchin recommends bringing lead staff onboard early, if possible. The lead pastor at Half Moon was on staff 13 months in advance. “He could work closely with me to develop the campus and be totally immersed in our culture,” Minchin points out. The church also brought on Half Moon’s paid support staff three months before the facility launch. “It was a significant financial investment, but it has proven worth it,” Minchin says.
Innovative Outreach First Mount Zion Baptist Church (Dumfries, VA) In 2009, First Mount Zion Pastor Dr. Luke E. Torian began working closely with the Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, director of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Philadelphia). Their goal was to develop a Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry at the church. Today, seven more congregations have joined the effort, expanding its reach beyond well the local community to parts of Northern Virginia. Additionally, First Mount Zion provides cancer awareness to Latinos in the community by way of an interpreter and Spanish-language publications and materials. The ministry team includes a medical oncologist/advisor and nurse oncologist. Meetings are held on the fourth Saturday of each month, with an average attendance between 35 to 50 cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers. Education is provided, and Pastor Torian delivers words of encouragement to the group. Ministry members also participate in community outreach. “It’s very encouraging to see that individuals and their families — who’re undergoing challenges themselves — are willing to help others in need,” says ministry spokesperson and church member Sheila Coverson.
First Congregational Church of Rockport (Rockport, MA) To ensure families in need have a safe, warm place to sleep, First Congregational created four separate bedrooms within the church. In 2009, church leaders were approached by the Family Promise organization, which was facing a lack of emergency beds for homeless families. Today, the church’s bedrooms house up to 14 people at a time. The program is called Family Promise North Shore Boston. On Sunday mornings, after worship services, the four bedrooms are set up — two in a Sunday school classroom and an adjoining nursery, and two in the fellowship. All are separated by Screenflex portable dividers. Breakfast and dinner are provided. Families stay for one week and then move on to another host church in the network. “Our church sees families at least four weeks per year,” says Outreach Committee Chair James Reed. He says the church is gratified by the knowledge that it’s doing what it’s called to do. “The community sees we’re a church that uses our faith to do good works for all,” he says. “That may have benefits on Sunday mornings, when the doors open for worship.”
Children’s / Youth Spaces Oklahoma Youth Camp (Sparks, OK)
An Assemblies of God facility, this youth camp has 16 modern cabins — each spanning 6,000 square feet — with four large bunk rooms surrounding a central commons area. Each cabin houses 64 campers and staff. A large dining hall with a modern kitchen can feed 1,000 campers. Outdoors, the camp has five basketball, sand volleyball and “high-five football” courts. Its ponds offer fishing, swimming, paddle boats and the “blob” water feature — a large, air-filled inflatable rubber tube floating on the water. Campers can jump onto it from a 20-foot tower. “This camp was needed because the church dropout rate among young people is highest just after high school graduation, and second highest during junior high school,” says Shannon Smallwood, assistant marketing director at Churches by Daniels Construction (Broken Arrow, OK), the project builder.
(Below) “The facility is way beyond our expectations,” Minchin says of the former SAAB dealership his Half Moon campus calls home. “It’s 16,000 square feet and beautifully appointed.”
Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY)
First Baptist Church of Orlando (Orlando, FL) Last year, the food service ministry at FBC Orlando — including a 4,000-square-foot kitchen and 25,000 square feet of dining space, along with a full-service café and meetings/small event spaces — served more than 250,000 meals and generated more than $1.6 million in self-sustaining revenue. While some churches prefer only to charge the food cost to the ministry and cover labor and other expenses from the main budget, Hospitality Director Marcus White takes a different approach. “With our church and the size of our food service ministry (and our potential for even more growth), our goal is to cover all expenses for the entire ministry, including equipment, facilities and administrative costs, and the rest of the overhead — all from the revenue gained from hosting events,” he says. “Each year, we get a little closer to that goal by slightly raising our prices and increasing our services and events.” Most important, many guests at these events are coming to the campus for the first time. “Then, they consider coming to church on Sundays,” White says. “That makes the food service ministry another doorway into the life of our church.”
Grace Church (Eden Prairie, MN) Grace Church models a standard for accessibility in its outreach to individuals with special needs. For weekly worship, Tech Director Troy Hillstrom uses a Williams Sound assistive listening system consisting of a base station transmitter and personal receivers for listeners. He says it’s a necessity — not only for those with hearing loss, but also for language access/translation in the 4,200-seat worship center. “In a large space, clarity is a huge issue,” Hillstrom explains. “We make a conscious effort to provide the message to all listeners.” For language translation in the youth ministry, he uses portable body pack transmitters and headset and lapel mics. In the Hispanic youth ministry, personal receivers are used. Even overseas missionaries benefit from assistive listening technology, using it for language translation. “[Hillstrom] mentioned that when they hand out the receivers in the worship center, people are usually shocked to have something available to help them. They’re happy and they come back,” adds Janet Beckman, vice president of marketing for Williams Sound. “One gentleman keeps his receiver because he uses it every week. When [Hillstrom] glances over to see him using it, he’s smiling and he’s engaged. That’s the payoff.” >>
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Shore Fellowship (Egg Harbor Twp, NJ) In the past five years, Shore Fellowship has been forced to close six times due to weather — potentially devastating, financially. “We learned that the only way to develop consistent giving, and remain financially stable during snow- or storm-related closings, was to ask the church to embrace online giving,” explains Executive Administrator T.K. Dennis. After Hurricane Sandy struck, for example, the church raised $100,000 for community recovery, mostly electronically. Throughout the year, several strategies incite members to embrace electronic giving — and giving in general. “We send out quarterly ‘celebratory reports’ that offer a look at what God is doing in the lives of his people,” he explains. “A big part of this is always describing the
ways people can give. The option we push most is giving online through Elexio Pulse.” Additionally, weekend worship services end with a brief teaching on the importance of giving. “At times, we even walk the church through our giving process from the stage.” It appears to be working: Dennis says he always sees “a ton of faces planted in their smart phones” on Sundays — and not because they’re avoiding the collection baskets. “If they’re anything like me, they don’t carry any cash anyway,” he points out. “So, without a credit card giving option, they’re not only unable to give, but they’re unable to participate in an important part of worship.”
Asbury United Medthodist
SAFETY & SECURITY
Risk Management Trinity Fellowship (Amarillo, TX)
Trinity has 125 volunteers on its usher/sentinel ministry that assist in services and events. It also has 12 armed Special Response Team members, four Emergency Response Team members, and two medics. To help prevent burnout among the usher/sentinel ministry team members, half work even months; the other half work odd months. The team covers one service on Saturday evenings and two on Sunday mornings, as well as many outreach events — which are large-scale, given a membership body of 12,000. “All usher/sentinel volunteers come through our church’s ‘Growth Track’ — four one-hour classes held on four Sundays every month,”
explains Larry Miles, pastor of ministry administration. “Then, they undergo a background check and a sit-down interview with me.” Veteran ushers/sentinels can volunteer for the special response or emergency response teams, or as medics. All these roles require a one-year probation period, including extensive training with weapons. Volunteers also must complete a weapons qualification course. After that, they qualify with their weapons twice a year and train with them on a monthly basis. Miles adds that Trinity hasn’t suffered any incidents of gun-related violence since its usher/sentinel ministry began in 1996.
Financial Transparency / Fundraising Christ Community Church (Milipitas, CA) In the area of Finance, Christ Community Church (CCC) received one of the highest ratings ever recorded on the Transforming Church Index, or TCI — a national survey developed and administered by Fairfax, VA-based TAG Consulting to gauge congregants’ view of how well the church communicates and manages its finances. According to CCC Business Manager Mark Simmons, Bank of the West and the accounting firms of LMGW and Seeba & Associates have also audited and expounded on the outstanding work of this church. Additionally, this church has done 11 consecutive capital
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CCC’s current capital campaign brochure
campaigns, with each driving results between 93 percent and 103 percent of the pledge amounts, regardless of the state of the economy. “It’s all about creating trust and an accountable culture,” Simmons says. “We get kudos from [Bank of the West and the two accounting firms] on the foresight and commitment we’ve shown to best practices; our follow-through to every recommendation they’ve made (which is documented in the annual reports); and the multiple instances in which we’ve discovered potential deficiencies, and proactively solved them.”
12 Shore Fellowship
Cost Savings Hope Church (Cordova, TN) In 2009, Scott Milholland was hired by Hope Church to oversee all staff, ministries, operations, business and financial stewardship. Prior to joining the church staff, he spent 25 years in the various vice president and CFO positions across the country. Since joining the staff, annual giving has increased 27 percent over three years, from $11 million to more than $14 million; debt has been reduced from $21 million to $9 million; and an annual surplus of $2 to $3 million has been generated. Milholland also recruited, built and led a “faithful, wise, prudent”
finance committee led by Accounting Director Dana Shankle, Stewardship Director Art Fogartie, and three elders and three members with financial/stewardship skills. “It’s an ongoing process of prayer, and shepherding and screening potential candidates during the year,” he explains. “Now that I’ve been here four years, I know a lot of people and have seen them grow in their faith and leadership in the church, and I can see God working in them for a role on our committee now or later down the road.”
Financial Education / Ministry Asbury United Methodist Church (Madison, AL)
In 2009, Asbury launched a church-wide focus on financial repentance that included sermons, story-telling and educational environments. Not only did 970 people (with about 2,000 in weekend attendance at the time) enroll in a 13-week program, Momentum — a Dave Ramsey workshop designed to cultivate a culture of generosity — many of those spiritual adventures continue to this day. Besides healing marriages, lowering stress and strengthening families, Asbury’s church family was paying off debt and creating emergency funds. “We started in 2008 by putting our entire staff and most of our lay leaders through Financial Peace University,” explains Jon Bridges,
executive director at the church. “Then, in October and November that year, we advertised to the whole church our stewardship promotion that would start in January 2009.” After that, a sermon was delivered to introduce the entire effort, followed by 13 weeks of classes. The children’s ministry developed ageappropriate classes called “Financial Fun” that mirrored the topics the adults were learning each week. “Every age group was engaged!” Bridges says. “And, since then, we’ve continued to offer FPU and the new Legacy Journey classes year-round.” CE
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Making teens feel at home — at
Teenagers are highly social. Here’s how your church can draw them together in a truly engaging virtual space. When you think “youth space,” it’s natural to conjure up images of the physical place where the church youth group gathers — a building, classroom or gymnasium on the campus. And the physical space is important; there’s no real substitute for face-to-face connection. A space that draws teens in and helps them feel at home is essential for nurturing their relationships. But, the majority of teens also inhabit cyberspace. Their online world is just as important to them as their physical world. So, how can your church provide an online space that’s just as engaging as the youth building at the church? Give them their own brand. It’s easier than ever for a church to create a web space that appeals to their tweens and teens, incorporating video and audio that engages them and invites them to connect. Don’t just re-post the sermon series; post YouTube segments that you’ve used in your weekly gatherings. Post music videos from bands that have a positive message, in a genre that relates to your environment. Use a variety of tools — content management systems (CMS) webpages by Elexio [elexio.com], for instance — that allow you to create a unique look and feel that’s your own through separate themes, colors, navigation, calendar and media options. Mirror the physical space. Nothing kills the chances of a teen returning to a youth group like seeing a website that shows state-ofthe-art equipment, staging and stock imagery, only to find out that the room is a closet in a circa-1920 traditional church building. If your web pages have a certain look and feel, ensure they’re mirrored in your physical environment. Bring the room’s colors, equipment and environment to the online space. Nurture communication — texting, blogging, and even giving. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 93 percent of teens are online; 78 percent have cell phones; and 47 percent
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BY KEN STEWART
own smartphones. Most teens (12-17) will interact far more often online than they will face-to-face in their church’s youth building. And, they’re talking mostly to each other. In a 2012 Pew Research Center study, 63 percent of teens said they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives — some of them sending more than 100 texts a day. That makes texting a primary way for church youth leaders to stay connected with their teens. What better time to reinforce good stewardship than when a teen gets his or her first job? What more relevant mechanism than mobile giving? Establish a fund that speaks to the hearts of your teens. Today’s youth will give to causes that are meaningful to them, where they can see direct impact of contributions. Talk about this often, model it in your staff, and celebrate the successes and impact that God has made through their contributions. Young people have their own language, interests and struggles. Embrace this in a stand-alone blog or media gallery that allows them to express what’s important to them. Encourage them to contribute blog posts, photographs, videos and other forms of expression that allow them to tell their story online, in the context of their peers and caring adult leaders. Remember: Today’s youth will be engaged in social channels. Why not make your church website an outlet that encourages healthy engagement, cultivates creative expression, and becomes a catalyst for disciple-making. CE Ken Stewart has spent 31 years in pastoral ministry in Dallas and in his home state of Pennsylvania. He trained for the ministry at Lancaster Bible College & Graduate School, Dallas Theological Seminary, and in life. Stewart works as a freelance writer and editor and plays guitar on the worship team at his church.
RISK MANAGEMENT on church property. • A skateboarding competition is held in the church’s parking lot. This area of the law is called “premises liability.” In legal jargon, it’s the legal damages liability to one who’s negligently injured on the property imposed on those who “control” the use of real estate, such as the owner or the tenant of real property. Churches are held to virtually the same legal standard of care as their for-profit cousins who own land where the public is allowed to hang out. Nonprofit and for-profit owners have the same legal duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the people who enter the property from dangerous conditions. Churches are routinely held liable for negligently injuring people on their premises. Since a church can be held liable for damages caused by negligence on its premises, what degree of care must it practice? Key questions: • If a shopping mall provides armed security, should a church do the same? • If a public school eliminates the use of merry-gorounds because they “present a physical safety hazard to preschool-age children,” must the church remove its merry-go-round?
The airborne bounce house BY ROBERT ERVEN BROWN Recently, a church elder recently told me a story. A rented “bounce house” for a 5-year-old’s birthday party seemed harmless enough, until a sudden wind gust propelled the bounce house — and two helpless kids trapped inside — more than 100 feet through the air before crashing into an adjoining building. The children survived with minor to serious injuries. But, the number and the severity of the injuries could easily have been much worse. This chilling tale reminded his fellow elders of the need for close supervision of all proposed activities on church property. The church faces potential liability for damages caused by injuries that occur on its campus. Examples include: • An enthusiastic youth pastor’s plan to rent a bounce house to create some spiritual energy at a youth event. • A family using the church for a private party brings along “airsoft pellet guns” for the game. • Sparklers are used, or a fireworks display is hosted,
Every property owner has a duty to (a) keep its premises free of known dangerous conditions, and (b) protect people from foreseeable harm. In many jurisdictions, determining whether or not a church has a duty depends on the status of a person entering the land. The level of care imposed by the law depends on how and why the person happens to be on the property. The law states that a church owes a duty to every person who enters its premises, but the nature of this duty can vary depending on the legal status, ranging from a very low level of care for a trespasser to a very high level for those who qualify as invitees. Generally, people entering the church property are: • Trespassers — Those who enter the land without permission. A church is expected to refrain from injuring the trespasser by willful misconduct, and to avoid creating an attractive nuisance, such as an unfenced, dangerous, open irrigation ditch which “attracts” young children. • Licensees — Individuals who enter with permission, but not for church purposes — an incidental pedestrian, for example. Churches are expected to warn these people of hidden dangers of which the church has knowledge or has reason to know. • Invitees — People who are invited on the property. This includes almost everyone who comes on the campus during the hours when the church is open. For these individuals, the church’s highest duty is to use reasonable care to protect the invitee from dangers which the church knows (or should know) and to warn of unsafe conditions. >>
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RISK MANAGEMENT Robert Erven Brown
Before a bounce house goes airborne … Before an accident happens, it’s critical to examine how your church will answer the questions from the plaintiff’s attorney about the injuries any invitees might sustain. These include: Is there a written policy governing what type of events may be conducted on your campus? What written information does your
staff routinely obtain from those who sponsor events on your campus? Who’s responsible to check the information on the request form for those using the campus to see if it complies with your policy governing events on the campus? Is there a check-and-balance review to evaluate the risks involved in your youth pastor’s enthusiastic events? What steps does your staff routinely
take to insure that events are properly supervised? Who in your organization will be responsible, for example, to check the anchors on the bounce house? Will activities on your campus (fall festival activities, for example) create potential dangers due to poor supervision? Do you have a “risk management” culture within your church staff? Is it part of your board culture? What are the limits of your general liability insurance policy? Do you require a valid insurance certificate naming the church as an insured when you allow others to use your campus? Church leaders and staff should assume that churches generally aren’t excused from civil liability — and definitely not in matters involving premises liability. Hopefully, the church’s insurance policy limits are sufficient to cover the damages caused by the proverbial airborne bounce house. But really, as shepherds of a flock, and as stewards of Kingdom resources, don’t we all have a spiritual — and legal — duty to foster a management culture which stresses risk management? Robert Erven Brown is an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona. He and his nonprofit practice group work with nonprofits and churches, helping them manage key operations connected with their missions, visions and causes. As permitted by local Rules of Ethics, they collaborate with attorneys who are licensed in states other than Arizona. He is the author of Legal Realities: Silent Threats to Ministries, which describes his Campus Preservation Planning© initiative — a comprehensive program designed to manage the wide array of risks facing non-profit organizations. [silentthreats.com] This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. “From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.” Simply reading this material this does not create an attorney/client relationship with Brown, as this article is general legal information, not legal advice. A formal attorney/client relationship will not be established until a conflict check is completed and an engagement letter has been signed by both the attorney and the client. No “informal” legal advice will be provided by telephone. Simply sending an e-mail to Brown will not create an attorney/client relationship.
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RISK MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE
BY PETER A. PERSUITTI
In today’s busy world, many church leaders aren’t taking proactive steps to plan for a catastrophic event. “When a fire, water or windstorm event occurs, we often find the church community isn’t prepared,” says Steve Boyer, who leads Gallagher Bassett Services’ Claims Operations-Property Practice. “As a result, there endures a long, drawn-out claims adjustment and repair process that didn’t have to happen.” For his part, Peter Gudaitis, President, National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN), says his group encourages an All-Hazards Risk Assessment process to all churches. He says taking such precautions can get facilities back to their pre-loss condition much sooner. “Long before a crisis, I always suggest ministries reach out for the free advice all around them — from police, fire and emergency management agencies,” Gudaitis adds. “Plus, we have tons of free resources on our website.” It’s also important to have professional partners that understand your ministries. “Unfortunately, some agents don’t comprehend
ONCE A LOSS OCCURS, HERE ARE THE INITIAL STEPS THAT SHOULD BE FOLLOWED: • Immediately contact insurance company. • Contact appropriate vendors to mitigate damages and to protect property from further damage. • Keep track of all volunteers providing assistance and note the days/ hours worked. • Retain all bills/estimates/invoices. • Once the building(s) have been “dried in,” do not proceed with permanent repairs until adivsed to do so by your insurance representative. • For any permanent repairs that must be immediately completed, please photograph the damages prior to starting those repairs. • For any equipment, etc., that is removed prior to the insurance inspection, photo graph those items. If possible, retain them in a protected area.
• Compile a list of vendors to contact for emergency services immediately following a loss: n Roofer n Electrician n Plumber n Board-up company n Restoration contractor • If they exist, keep a copy of all of the insured’s architect drawings in storage, off-premises. • Compile and continue to update the list of all owned/leased contents. • Retain copies of all leases and other agreements in storage, off-premises. • Retain copies of all financials, off-premises. • Identify one person to be the contact person for the insurance company. • Identify other properties on premises or in the surrounding area that could be used if your facility become unusable.
the complexity,” cautions Ampy Jimenez, a broker and member of the Gallagher Religious Practice in Miami. “In these cases, they’ll suggest coverages through a program they represent — ‘off-the-shelf’ options — versus the more >>
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RISK MANAGEMENT Peter A. Persuitti
comprehensive coverages (terms & conditions) a church Balance is the bottom line might need. We’re constantly finding duplicity and gaps Ultimately, a church needs to balance the free in coverages.” resources available with relevant experts to validate Additionally, Jimenez planning. “There’s no getting points out that some around the fact that there will churches need multiple be some costs associated excess carriers, given with this proactive approach,” “Long before a crisis, I always their size. In such cases, Gudaitis explains. suggest ministries reach out for it’s important that carWith the right risk managethe free advice all around them — riers offer the same ment education and training, from police, fire and emergency limits, deductibles and churches can evolve to a mindmanagement agencies,” wording. “If there is no set that understands a crisis — Peter Gudaitis consistency, there will be isn’t an “if” proposition, but a gaps in coverage.” “when.” Knowledge is power A church’s agent when it comes to protecting also needs to make sure the church’s assets, as well as the excess carriers drop fulfilling the important fiduciary down when an aggregate is exhausted. “Having a comand stewardship obligations churches have to society. mon coordinating adjuster on the policies might also Peter A. Persuitti is managing director, important, Jimenez suggests. Religious Practice, at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Chicago. [ajg.com/religious]
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Convenience. For the donor, online giving is comparable to the ease of 1-Click ordering from Amazon.com. For your church staff, it means automatic recording of contributions to the donor’s account record in your database, which cuts down on manual entry. Consistency. Online giving is shown to help church members give more frequently and consistently by removing hurdles to giving. Automatically recurring contributions allow members to take a vacation without unintentionally delaying their contributions while they’re away. Members can also simply open the smartphone app and donate a specific amount to the fund(s) of their choice. Immediacy. Online giving allows a church to immediately receive and distribute disaster-relief contributions from its community, for example. Taking a page from charitable organizations around the world, this is the most effective way to get a community engaged in recovery and restoration efforts.
Online giving 101 BY KEN STEWART
What do Hurricane Sandy, Colorado wildfires and summer vacations have in common? All will disrupt the life of a church through their impact on attendance. Such events can drastically affect the financial stability of any congregation that experiences them. And, while natural disasters are uncommon, vacations and other seasonal events affect just about every church’s finances. One of the best ways to lend stability and consistency to a church’s financial status is to set up online giving, which enables members to give by credit card or an e-checking process, such as Automatic Clearing House (ACH). With online giving, information is relayed through an online portal on your website, on your church-specific smartphone app, or at giving-designated kiosks located on your church campus. When it comes to stabilizing the church’s financial picture, online giving offers several advantages:
Flexibility. A platform-agnostic giving option allows members to access their accounts and give from their laptops, smartphones or tablets, at the moment they think of it. Visibility. Giving levels can serve as one barometer of a church’s spiritual health. As an example, Elexio’s Fusion church management software [Elexio.com] automatically records giving, and online data gives leaders ready access to patterns and trends in their church’s giving. Reporting provides the visuals necessary to gauge weekly, monthly and annual trends. Of course, teaching on stewardship shouldn’t be reserved for one or two sermons a year, or for when disaster strikes. Generous giving should be taught frequently in services, classes and small groups. Giving is a byproduct of spiritual growth. Just like prayer, worship, Bible reading and sharing Christ, giving is a discipline that’s practiced by maturing Christians. Online giving provides a simple way for church members to express their stewardship. Ken Stewart has spent 31 years in pastoral ministry in Dallas and in his home state of Pennsylvania. He trained for the ministry at Lancaster Bible College & Graduate School, Dallas Theological Seminary, and in life. Stewart works as a freelance writer and editor and plays guitar on the worship team at his church.
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The top 3 website flaws BY KELLY MEENEGHAN
As a decision-maker in your church, having full control over the website is critical. Website visitors place a large reliance on a positive online experience. More than anything, they want optimal reliability, functionality and attractiveness. To this end, our company recently conducted research among more than 1,300 U.S. consumers to gauge their experiences and attitudes when encountering websites with flaws. The results show that 68 percent feel critical towards a slow or unreliable website. Worse, those feelings are transferred onto the organizations those websites represent. Specifically, our research identified the three most common website errors: slow-running websites (65 percent); web addresses that lead nowhere (34 percent); and online orders not processed (32 percent). Flaw No. 1: Slow-running websites — With little patience for waiting, many web visitors abandon a site
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within seconds if the homepage doesn’t load promptly — an inconvenience experienced regularly by most Americans. To prevent this from happening, evaluate the demand placed on the site’s homepage. Though eye-catching and interesting, excessive Flash animation doesn’t lend itself to optimal homepage functionality. If the animation is unnecessary for the homepage, eliminate it entirely. Otherwise, limiting Flash to only one file significantly boosts the homepage’s loading time. If you wish to display videos of significant messages or community events, consider starting a YouTube page for the church. Here, you can post as many videos as you’d like, as well as provide links to them from your website. By directing visitors to this popular video platform, you can offer personal and valuable content while maintaining optimal website performance. Flaw No. 2: Web addresses that lead nowhere — Linking to external resources throughout your church website can improve the quality of information offered to visitors. It also gains credibility with search engines. However, since you don’t control over the external sites to which you link, they can be taken down — unannounced — and direct visitors to empty or irrelevant pages. Defeating the purpose of providing quality external information, this flaw is experienced by more than one-third of Americans. So, ensure relevance and functionality by regularly checking the external links on your church’s site. Flaw No. 3: Online orders not processed — Churches that accept donations via websites know that e-commerce functionality is a great way to let congregants contribute financially and become more involved in the church’s mission. Embracing this functionality, however, comes with understanding the risks related to accepting monetary donations online. Our research found that 23 percent of participants experienced an error during an online order process, resulting in a failed action. Working with reputable and reliable companies (PayPal, for instance) can help eliminate this risk.
Get it right the first time Whether an exchange happens in person, on the phone, or online, most people make a judgment within the first few seconds. Nearly impossible to reverse or redo, the first impression is often the determining factor in whether or not a relationship will continue. By avoiding these three most common website flaws, your church will create a great first impression for members and visitors alike — potentially leading to growth. Kelly Meeneghan is a manager at 1&1 Internet, Inc. [1and1.com] with U.S. headquarters in Chesterbrook, PA.
THE METHOD BEHIND THE
Environmental projection (EP) is an breathtaking, exciting — and cost-effective way — to “paint a picture” this Christmas season.
Environmental projection, or EP, in all its glory at First United Methodist in Mansfield, TX.
BY CAMRON WARE
In church media circles, environmental projection, or EP, has proven to be one of the most dynamic, cost-effective ways to enhance a worship space. It uses projection technology to “paint” imagery onto the existing walls of a church. The Christmas season presents a beautiful opportunity to show the congregation what environmental projection can mean during worship. Imagine: You walk into your sanctuary on Christmas Eve night, with soft instruments playing via the sound system. As you find your seat and pause, you notice that, slowly, from the top of the room, white flutters of snow start gently falling around you. As the projected snow grows heavier and heavier, the sound of the choir builds from the stage platform, and you hear people all around you gasp with delight as it’s “snowing” inside your church building. Painting a picture, indeed!
Know your tools (and your team) When I first started doing EP at my church, it was out of a desire to fill our EP can also be used outdoors, as blank, white walls with texture, color demonstrated here at First Baptist Church Coppell (Coppell, TX). and emotion. I wanted to surround the congregation with a focused, thematic purpose that originated from the worship element. The heart of EP ties back to the ancient cathedrals and churches that used stained glass, mosaics, tapestries — and even the architecture itself — to convey the truth, love and beauty of God and His creation. So, how do we best use EP to do all that, today? Practically speaking, it all starts with the worship element.
When designing EP for a worship service, it’s important to remember that it’s only one piece of the visual “puzzle.” EP must match your lighting and main screens to create a focused and themed environment. Start by matching the color, theme, texture and tempo of the worship element. It’s also important to have relationships and communicate with your worship team and pastors. That way, the person designing the visual aspects of the service knows what to expect and how to best plan for the worship service. Imagine the possibilities! You could project subtle stars across your entire worship space while the congregation sings “Silent Night” during a Christmas Eve service. It’s a powerful and breathtaking way to foster a mood similar to the one on that momentous Christmas night so long ago. And frankly, I don’t know of a better way (other than taking your service outdoors) to create that kind of environment. I’ve found that using imagery with texture and high color-depth show up best and create the most engaging feel across a room, without being a distraction. In my own church’s sanctuary, I could use the same image across all three of our projectors because of the way our room is laid out. Your sanctuary might be different, so it’s important to realize that some content might work better than others. It’s critical that you test your imagery on your walls before using EP during a worship service. When you understand that EP isn’t a screen to be watched — that it’s more like digital wallpaper — you can start thinking outside the four-walls “box” and start painting onto your worship space’s canvas. CE Camron Ware is the founder of Visual Worshiper [VisualWorshiper.com], a design group specializing in lighting and projection design for churches and events, with a passion for creating engaging environments. Ware travels as often as four times a week to guide churches through the Environmental Projection (EP) process. 12/2013 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 21
When done right, these areas motivate, encourage, teach — and even inspire kids to draw their parents to church. While youth and children’s spaces in the church are designed to motivate, encourage and teach principles that last a lifetime, they also need to be fun environments where kids can be kids — and be inspired to invite others to join them. When a designer has a heart for this type of work, he or she will seek to create places that capture the imagination of the children and the youth who use them. In fact, this needs to be a primary goal. During the master planning process, a plan can change many times. But, one thing that needs to remain constant is the designer’s commitment to the church’s mission. Be very deliberate with this. Then, when a vision for a particular youth ministry begins to take shape, the vision for the space will also become clear. When this target goal is reached, children and youth who use these spaces will become very engaged, and so will their parents — many times, in ways that are completely surprising. Attendance goes up. Volunteer involvement increases. The church grows. Excitement builds as parents watch their kids in these interactive spaces, having fun with others and enjoying every moment. One of the greatest rewards for any designer or architect is to stand back and watch clients walk into their finished building for the first time, especially when you can
BY PAULLA SHETTERLY
watch kids using the facility. When the end user is happy and loves what you’ve done, then you realize that you’ve probably made an important contribution to the life of that church — and, particularly, to the youth group. Another primary goal of every designer is to connect with children and youth in ways that are familiar to that age group. This means designing areas that are flexible and uniquely “theirs.” These are places where the youth feel they belong and not just areas that have been randomly set aside for their use. Instead, the spaces have been structurally created for them, and they know it.
What success looks like Stand-outs projects — whether for older and younger youth — are designed to be age-appropriate, interactive, engaging and timeless. All this means they’re flexible and can be easily adapted or changed for special events and future growth. “KidsTown” at Perimeter Church in Duluth, GA (opposite page), was created to contain a colorful city street with storefront bay windows. The area is action-packed and contains moveable windows; carpeted areas for street plays; a large, flexible 300-seat auditorium with black-light carpeting and paint; and unique features such as a stained concert floor with manhole covers. The kids love it. Continued on page 24
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“BibleLand” at Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta
ON THEIR LEVEL Billy Goff, CEO of Dallas-based Goff Companies, shares the 5 elements his firm’s most successful children’s spaces projects all have in common.
1) Security. This is the first and foremost priority. We like to design spaces with one way in and one way out, aside from emergency exits. The focus is on having one check-in area, which is often gated, and/or a pair of entry doors. 2) Leadership style. These days, children’s ministry leaders are active teaching pastors. We believe that the way you grow a church is through kids. Visionary leaders know that leading children requires much more than just filling a space. 3) Theming. Theming used to be a rarity, but it quickly moved into 2D spaces with murals, for example. Next, 3D became a big trend — with elements such as rollercoasters or cars emerging out of the walls, for instance. Now, we’re moving away from those trends. We believe you can have a really creative children’s space without spending a ton of money. Using lots of paint colors is one cost-effective way to make a children’s space unique and engaging. (We’ve used upwards of 50 different colors in one space!) Also, you can install way-finding carpets, with different-colored “paths” running to age-appropriate spaces. This makes it easier for kids — and their parents — to know where they belong. Or, you could opt for round windows versus traditional square ones, as well as unique doors and cabinets with high-gloss laminate finishes. All these efforts just allocate the money you’re already going to spend in unique ways that create high-energy spaces for kids. 4) Child-size worship. These days, dedicated assembly spaces for children’s worship is a growing trend. These areas usually have their own unique A/V setups and some breakout spaces around the perimeter. Parents want their kids engaged, not just looked after. Keeping them interested is more difficult today; but, if you design children’s spaces effectively, kids are apt to bring their parents to church, not the other way around. 5) Kid-friendly A/V. The idea with A/V setups in children’s spaces is to support interactive teaching. A/V elements need to support drama presentations, videos and more. Even toddlers react well to technology in these areas. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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“KidsTown” at Perimeter Church in Duluth, GA Continued from page 22
Perimeter Church’s youth area, “The Bricks,” includes a café, rock climbing wall, and even stained concrete flooring for a funky look. Glitter was added to the floor sealer to create a flashy effect that reflects light and creates a youthful mood. Glass garage doors — framed in a contemporary metal finish — were installed to divide colorful spaces and game rooms. When raised, these doors open the space up for additional seating during group events. Unique detailing and vivid artwork is often a part of creating a theme environment. At Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta, for example, colorful murals became living examples of what the children were learning each Sunday. Connecting with youth and children in ways that are familiar makes it easier to teach them the vital lessons of life. This method also provides interaction and growth. When a designer is effective with this approach, clients often return, asking for even more work to be done. This is when our mission becomes very satisfying and compelling. CE As an associate principal with CDH Partners, Inc. [http://cdhpartners.com/], Paulla Shetterly is an award-winning designer with an extensive background in interior design. She is known for her intuitive ability to create themed youth spaces, along with other designs that are well-planned for space and quality.
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SECURE, BY DESIGN
At Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX (above right), children’s check-in technology isn’t a new concept. In factbefore approaching Robert Fredella, CEO of Fort Worth, TX-based SUNPRO Custom Creations, the church already had more than a dozen of the company’s (aptly named) Prestonwood models up and running. “But, they were building a new children’s wing and wanted to put in kiosk s which took up a smaller footprint, yet offered style, media and could accommodate increased traffic flow,” Fredella says. “The goal was to have fewer physical units, but that still accommodated a robust children’s check-in.” The church ultimately decided to install “Ruje” kiosks, in large part due to their double-sided design which lets two families to check in simultaneously. “Also, I’m sure, because it was less expensive than [to install these] than two of our single-sided models,” Fredella says. Additionally, because Prestonwood chose a lime-green motif for its new children’s wing, the thousands of laminate color choices available for both the body and trim of the unit were a plus. For added security, each kiosk also was designed with a large, lockable storage area in the back. All can be made portable with the addition of wheels and handles. Although compatibility with Fellowship Technologies church management software comes standard, the kiosks can be interfaced with any package. “We’re currently working with a church who wants the Ruje manufactured to be ADA-compliant,” Fredella adds. “It will have the same footprint, but with ADA access to the touchscreen and the label printer.” CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
Business training FOR PASTORS IS GAINING GROUND
BY RAEANN SLAYBAUGH
“A church isn’t a business. But, running one does require some business management techniques.” So says Chuck Zech, director of the Center for Church Management and Business Ethics at Villanova University in Philadelphia. And he should know: The church management master’s degree program he heads up is part of an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited (AACSB) business school. “We approach finance courses with a focus on the congregation, not Wall Street,” Zech explains. With pastors’ busy schedules in mind, all church management master’s degree courses are offered online. For non-master’s students, the university offers 12 different web seminars on 12 different business management functionalities, as well as two- and three-day targeted seminars. “Although these are primarily for pastors who don’t hold business management degrees, our participants often end up enrolling in the master’s program,” he says. Regardless of the training selected, all church management courses at the university have one thing in common — their application. “We ask all participants to apply the principles they gain to their own ministries by way of research papers,” says Zech. Another professional who knows firsthand how (and why) business management training for pastors has evolved is Julianne Cenac, associate vice president for professional and continuing education at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Regent’s Pastoral Leadership Institute (PLI) is “a big hit, and highly requested,” according to Cenac. “Its core curriculum is
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focused on individual leadership. It also builds conflict resolutions skills and team-building aptitudes.” In this program, a personal leadership assessment is conducted for each participant. Three or four additional sessions are then customized for that pastor, based on the results. Better yet, all training can be done online, on campus, or both. “For example, the opening PLI session could be attended onsite, but other courses may be live-streamed,” Cenac explains.
The need is real Cenac and Zech agree that pastors have shown increased interest in business management training in recent years, and for good reason. “The pastors who make it a big part of their training — personally and for their teams — are seeing church growth as a result,” Cenac says. “Plus, they tend to be better organized and have better thought-out strategies.” As an added incentive, business management training gives pastors the freedom to be vulnerable, which is a rare (and often welcome) opportunity. “When they opt in for skills development, pastors are really submitting themselves,” Cenac explains. “It’s a relief for many of them. In their roles, they’re so often called upon to ‘know everything.’” For his part, Zech says the unstable economy has spotlighted a need for better business management practices among pastors. “When churches are flush with funds, they don’t think about it as much,” he says. “But, in the absence of those funds,
they’re reading articles about embezzlement lawsuits. “A recovering economy breeds a heightened awareness of the need for stewardship,” he adds.
The most in-demand skills Zech says the most beneficial business management aptitudes a pastor can hone fall into two categories: financial and people skills. “They don’t need to be accountants, but they should know how to read a financial statement,” he advises. “They also need to develop their skills related to conflict resolution, collaboration and motivation.” Cenac recommends pastors investigate intensive, advanced leadership courses that go beyond feel-good payoffs. “Intensive personal leadership development is the idea.” She also recommends pastors seek training for technical aptitudes — especially in the areas of new media, marketing and social media. “It’s important to know how to link all those to strategic planning.” CE
A PROVEN TRACK RECORD When Pastor Lynn Munson joined Yorba Linda United Methodist Church (Yorba Linda, CA) in 2010, she faced declining membership and budgetary shortfalls. Since then, she and her staff have: Pledged to revive the affiliated preschool and renovate its aging facilities. This helped stem member loss and ramped up donations. Reorganized the budget, with an eye toward cutting expenses. This included switching the staff health care plan from a Methodist church option to a Kaiser Permanente small business plan, saving $15,000 a year. Embraced a struggling church, while keeping her own strong. When a nearby church stopped paying its mortgage, Munson arranged to absorb its members without taking on the church’s debt. That church was dissolved and its building put on the market. Yorba Linda UMC’s membership grew by 300. Source: Orange County Register
A HEAD FOR BUSINESS Lynn Munson has earned a reputation as an effective “business pastor.” Here, she talks about where the worlds of ministry and management intersect. As a child, Pastor Lynn Munson of Yorba Linda United Methodist Church (Yorba Linda, CA) spent her summers and holidays in her grandmother’s placement agency. “She was one of Lynn Munson the first female business owners in Chicago,” Munson recalls. “She was excellent in her field, and I wanted to be like her.” And so she did: At 21, Munson took on a position as an office manager, working with engineers — just like her grandmother. In college, she took management and accounting courses, and considered majoring in business. Meanwhile, she was extremely active in ministry leadership. In her 20’s, Munson was a Sunday school coordinator and women’s bible study group organizer. (“I have a way of ‘falling into’ leadership roles,” she laughs.) At 26, a women’s bible study member asked Munson a pivotal question: Had she ever thought about being a pastor? Munson hadn’t — but a light bulb went off that day. She approached her pastor with some questions about what to do next and received a lukewarm reception. So, she went looking for a mentoring pastor. She found one in the United Methodist Church. “The theology and openness of the church fit my own,” Munson says. The fit was so good, in fact, that the same pastor brought Munson on staff after she graduated with a master of divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology. In this role, she soon discovered a passion for ministering to 20-somethings. Munson launched her own ministry to this group within the church. “In doing so, half my salary became grant-driven,” she explains. “That meant writing business plans in preparation for ministry launch — something I hadn’t done before.” Fortunately, she received the three-year grant she was after; but, she needed to meet benchmarks to keep it. “All this made the business aspect of ministry more critical than in any other role I’d served,” she remembers. “It gave me an
intensity about management.” During your seminary training, how much business management training did you receive? Lynn Munson: Almost none. There was only one class I can remember; it was on the topic of church finance and administration. It felt really disconnected from what we really do as pastors. Where and how else did you hone your business management skills? LM: I worked in the business world, but God gave me the building blocks for pastorship. By the time I took on a pastor role, the business elements looked and felt familiar. Would you say there’s an increased need for senior pastors to hone their business management skills? LM: Definitely. The climate has changed so much that you absolutely must have them. In churches, we compete for people’s time and resources. People are compelled to give to congregations that are confident, and that inspire confidence in their members. That’s how our business skills help: instilling confidence. In your experience, what are some of the most valuable business management skills a senior pastor can develop? LM: Keep your eye on financial management. You must know what’s going on with the money. Also, I believe every pastor should write a business plan and have benchmarks and measurable goals in place — for themselves, for staff, and even for volunteers. When people get moved around in ministry, they’re ultimately happier. And, they do things they didn’t know they could. Focus on affirmation and encouragement skills. And, consider additional training. Continuing education is always a good idea. CE — Reporting by RaeAnn Slaybaugh
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PASTOR-FRIENDLY Even the best audio equipment money can buy won’t work optimally without first considering acoustics. Here, experts share their best tips for accommodating music, and for factoring in a sanctuary’s space when striving for acoustical soundness.
The congregation can’t heed The Word if it can’t hear The Word!
(Photo courtesy of Auralex Acoustics, Inc.)
Every sanctuary has its own set of acoustical challenges presented by two main factors: the type and format of musical accompaniment in the service, and the shape, construction and layout of the sanctuary itself. These challenges range from poor speech intelligibility during standard verbal communication, to uncontrolled sound energy during praise band performances. In large sanctuaries, high levels of reverberation, or echoes, cause poor speech intelligibility. Echoes are caused by sound waves reflecting off reflective surfaces, and can cause speech and music to sound garbled and lyrics inaudible.
An acoustical installation at New Macedonia Baptist Church in Riverdale, GA
Reflected sound is inherently inaccurate sound. Why? Because it will inherently differ in arrival time, compared to the original sound. And, it will never have exactly the same frequency content as the original sound. Reflected sound that arrives within the
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critical, very short period after the original, direct sound is detrimental and must be dealt with if we’re to hear accurately in our rooms. This includes both lateral and vertical reflections, despite some people’s contentions. Proper acoustical treatment gives you a clean initial time delay (known as the ITD — the period between the direct sound and the beginning of the reflected sound) by especially controlling early reflections that come from the nearest room boundaries. Without proper acoustics, you’re not giving your ear/brain mechanism the time it needs to latch onto the original, direct sound. Even though your ear/brain mechanism can “learn” an improperly treated or untreated room over time, it will always have to siphon off its processing abilities (CPU cycles, if you will) to process the poor acoustics. This degrades one’s focus and will be a detriment to a proper listening experience. Many houses of worship have difficulty controlling reflected sound. While there are many specific causes of unwanted reflected sound, it can be controlled through the absorption and diffusion of this sound energy. The solution to your acoustical problems may require one or both. Absorption of sound waves can be accomplished through common room features, such as curtains, carpet — even the congregation. Adding padding to pews or seating is a good way to provide an accurate acoustic environment. And, because
BY ERIC SMITH
a well-padded seat provides roughly the same absorption as a person, that environment is maintained regardless of whether it’s a packed house or a small rehearsal. Diffusion is provided by anything that breaks up a flat surface and directs sound waves in different directions. The placement of wall décor (window trim and statuettes, for example) are sometimes enough to provide adequate diffusion, depending on the style of worship. While common room features might help control acoustic anomalies, acoustic panels are usually needed to properly treat a house of worship. To this end, our company offers fabriccovered fiberglass panels in virtually unlimited sizes, thicknesses and finished appearances. This type of absorber “dries out” a room by absorbing and trapping sound energy in its specialized fiberglass core, improving overall intelligibility by eliminating the echoes that could muddy speech or music. Control the sound in your house of worship so the message is clear! Proper intelligibility and balance keep worshipers in the pews and allow them to absorb more of the important messages you’re conveying. CE Eric Smith is the founder and president of Auralex [auralex.com] in Indianapolis.
acoustics, revisited These sacred spaces present a host of acoustical challenges, depending on their layout and design.
Shallow versus deep spaces If your auditorium hasn’t been built yet, you can build a room that’s more conducive to intelligibility, with close to a three-to-one ratio of depth to width. If you’ve seen and heard a good-sounding room, it can be copied, if not necessarily scaled. By definition, scaling a room to a smaller size produces shorter wavelengths between walls and a different set of reinforcing and canceling frequencies. If the balcony is lowered, it creates an “acoustic shadow” below, requiring delayed sound reinforcement. Any artificial delay should always be at a lower volume and slightly later in arrival time to keep attention focused toward the natural sound source. (Like a well-designed subwoofer, it should only be obvious when it’s turned off.) With the balcony lowered, sound may now bounce off its face, which is now in the path of the primary speaker array.
The value of speed bumps If you already have a shallow room — or one that’s circular or nearcircular, such as an octagon or hexagon — acoustic soundness is more of a challenge. In some large dome venues, sound can be heard racing around the perimeter. This “race” can be slowed by installing acoustical speed bumps, such as hollow, half-round broadband absorbers. They are also effective on balcony facings to abate slap-back to the stage. If you have a dome-shaped sanctuary, ceiling clouds might be appropriate to reduce focus. The dome was an effective sound reinforcement technique and can be found in early 20th-century venues for acoustical performances.
Spread the sound around Diffusion used to be built into rooms; now, acoustical devices can “fix” an existing space. For large spaces, diffusers — of the poly-cylindrical, barrelshaped variety, for example, which also serve double-duty as bass traps — might be best for redistributing energy throughout the room and extending low-frequency absorption of fabric-covered, sound-absorbing wall panels. Without them, intelligibility might improve. But, an uncomfortable “boom” in the bottom range could remain.
(Photo courtesy of Acoustics First Corporation/The National Theater)
It has been said that whenever someone invents a better mousetrap, a better mouse isn’t far behind. To that end, this author has noticed that whenever something is “common knowledge,” some uncommon problems soon follow. Case in point: It’s well-known that an auditorium works best when it’s deep rather than wide. This allows the room sound to develop and envelope the audience while using the reflectivity of the side walls to engulf them with sound. With the walls far apart and the rear wall closer, two things happen: Sound returns from the back wall at higher intensity — and usually out of sync with the music — while overlapping the spoken word. When the reverend repeats, it reinforces his message with added emphasis, while any room repeats usually overlap and obscure the message.
BY NICK COLLERAN
The National Theater balcony face provides a good example of half-round, acoustical speed bumps placed along a concave, curved surface.
Sound judgment Two significant points influencing amplified sound are centered on the ability to hear the sound accurately. First, a reflective, flat surface behind the mixing position will color the sound and falsely influence decisions on equalization, and so on. The phenomena can be corrected by adding binary-array wall diffusors behind the mixing position. Second, placement of the sound mixing console below the balcony (or otherwise distant from the listening audience) can lead to excess listening levels in more remote areas of the sanctuary. If the mix area must be obscured, a visit to these areas by the audio minister during the performance should be routine. An acoustic performance area that’s over-amplified to the point of having the balcony shake is now a common scenario. CE Nick Colleran is former president of Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) and Virginia Productions Services Association (VPSA), a former recording artist and recording engineer. Today, he is a principal at Acoustics First Corporation [acousticsfirst.com] in Richmond, VA.
12/2013 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 29
IS THE MUSIC TOO Your worship musicians are enthusiastic to express their love and praise through music; but, many sanctuaries are too small to accommodate their loud drum kits and electric guitars. In these spaces, hard, flat surrounding surfaces often cause indirect reflected sound to be distorted or focused into “hot spots.” When this happens, the congregation can get overwhelmed by the harsh loudness. On the other hand, trying to control your musicians’ exuberance can make them feel frustrated. So, how do you keep the musicians excited and engaged — while still making sure the experience is positive and uplifting to those in the pews? You might think, If only the drums were quieter, everyone else could turn down their volume. Someone suggests a drum shield — a set
MiniMega with light gray SORBER baffles at Clearview Baptist Church in Midland, TX
(Photo courtesy of ClearSonic Mfg., Inc.)
ACO U S T I C S
BY LARRY SCHEDLER
of clear acrylic panels positioned in front of and around the drums to reflect sound back and away from the audience, and out of the other stage microphones. Remember that this reflected sound has to go somewhere. In some cases, the drum shield will divert it back into heavy drapes or wall-mounted baffles that absorb the sound. If so, problem solved! But, if there’s a hard wall behind the drums, that sound will be reflected right back out toward the audience. This causes an even bigger issue, because now the sound is slightly delayed from the original sound. That offending sound must be muffled. Someone suggests a wallmounted acoustic baffle. It’s important to remember that, since sound radiates outward in all directions, the further from the source, the more square footage that will require treatment. Also, if an acoustic baffle is attached to the wall, you’ll need to check building fire codes. Common “acoustic foam” is considerably less effective than compressed fiberglass baffles of comparable thickness. Baffles positioned close to the drums are the most acoustically efficient and cost-effective alternative. A hard ceiling above the drums will have the same soundreflecting problem. Plus, it’s expensive to acoustically treat. Many worship houses have both wall and ceiling issues to contend with. In these scenarios, a soundisolation enclosure is the perfect solution. Sometimes, electric amplifiers need attention, too. Your guitarist might demonstrate that the music just doesn’t sound right unless the amplifier is adjusted to a specific minimum loudness. If so, smaller reflective shields, baffles and enclosures are also available for amplifiers. CE
Larry Schedler is vice president of sales and marketing at ClearSonic Mfg., Inc. [ClearSonic.com] 30 | CHURCH EXECUTIVE | 12/2013