The headline was impossible to ignore: The Economy and the Church—Can the Church Rebound? The Atlanta Small Business Examiner article contrasts the economy’s negative impact on giving with one church’s experience.
A pastor at First Assembly of God in Griffin, Georgia, believes every church can rebound from the economy. Pastor Kenneth Peek says their church hasn’t been negatively affected by the economy—membership and giving have both increased. His advice for churches: Teach about the importance of tithing and check out the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) website.
In her Church Tech Today blog titled 5 Ways to Increase Giving Consistency, Lauren Hunter says another key is to create more giving channels. “It is a proven fact that online giving enables donors to have more control over their giving and they typically give more as a result,” Hunter writes.
Brian Kluth (Maximum Generosity) agrees. He’s cited in a Leadership Journal article (winter 2011 issue) titled “Sign Church Up for EFT” that leads off by saying that “if your church isn’t using electronic funds transfers for contributions, now is the time to sign up.” Kluth’s reasons are compelling:
- Fewer people use checks these days. Ask any 26-year-old to write a check and see the look you get.
- As many as 25% of church attendees are absent on any given weekend.
- Another 15% never see an offering plate passed, because they are working in other ministries.
How about your church? Has opening up more channels to give helped you rebound from the economy?
(If you’re wondering about options for setting up online giving, consult your ECCU ministry development officer.)
It’s August. You’re in the middle of delivering your Sunday message, and suddenly the hum of the air conditioner ceases. You know it can’t be good. The air conditioner has failed. After your church makes this needed repair, will you have enough cash reserves?
Tomorrow from 12 to 1 p.m. I have the privilege of presenting at a “Cash Reserves and Liquidity” webinar sponsored by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Joining me to discuss this important topic are Jeremy Moser, chief financial officer for Mariners Church in Irvine, CA, and Jon Roberts, director of finance and facilities at Mission Hills Church in Littleton, CO.
This webinar is intended to show churches and other ministries why maintaining adequate cash reserves is critical to their ongoing success. In just one hour, it will provide a model for determining how much reserve your ministry needs. You’ll also gain perspective, hear some challenges to building reserves, and learn best practices from two churches that are actively seeking to maintain adequate reserves.
It’s not too late to sign up! To learn more and to register, visit ECFA’s web page.
“One measure for whether or not you’re rested enough—besides falling asleep in board meetings—is to ask yourself this: How much do I care about the things I care about? When we lose concern for people, …for friendship, …when we cease to laugh when our children laugh, …or weep when our spouses weep…—when we stop caring about the things we care about—that’s a signal we’re too busy. We have let ourselves be consumed by the things that feed the ego but starve the soul.” – Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God
What is it about rest that makes some of us resist it? To push it aside, find any reason not to succumb to it, like a four-year-old asking for his third glass of water at bedtime while eyelids droop low.
We fight the need for rest, yet Sabbath is a biblical mandate. God set aside an entire day to cease from our busyness, reflect on His goodness and take stock of all He’s allowed us to accomplish. We can practice Sabbath as a day, and as an attitude. In it we find rest for our body and rest for our souls.
At ECCU, we try to be intentional about rest—right in the middle of our work. For us, that means caring for employees’ physical and spiritual well-being even in the midst of our busy work life. We do this with weekly chapel services, and the opportunity for staff to participate in a day-long refresher called Soul Care. Twice a year for the past four years, Steve Macchia and Rick Anderson of Leadership Transformations facilitate this day of reflective Bible reading, journaling, worship, and prayer for our staff.
Work is busy. Life is busy. But we can—and should—be intentional about rest. Does your ministry take time to rest, to refocus, to ensure you still care about the things you care about? Leave a comment and give our readers more ideas for how to embrace rest in the work of ministry.
After taking a look at some of the challenges of multi-site church planting, and then the benefits of a multi-site over a megachurch, it’s time we get down to brass tacks on the subject. So, what exactly does it mean to be a multi-site church? What are the major differences—besides multiple locations—between a multi-site and other churches?
Multi-site expert Jackie Vance, from Harbor Church in San Diego, talked with me about the defining characteristics of a multi-site church and how they uniquely operate.
First, she said that some aspects of multi-site church plants remain centralized and shared between each site, such as:
- One elder board or ruling body is typically in authority over all the plants.
- There is one membership roll for the entire church, one federal ID number, and one insurance policy.
- While each site has a separate budget, all are consolidated within the same accounting database.
- Human resources matters are all handled at the centralized level.
- Each site has the same mission and values.
- Some services are joint, especially on holidays and other special occasions.
- Typically, mercy ministries are shared across the church plants. For Harbor, their ministry to provide safe housing for victims of sex trafficking—Generate Hope—is church-wide.
- Harbor’s model also allows for 10 percent of each site’s offerings to go to the church plant center in support of church-wide projects, ministries, and activities.
Side note here: A church planting center is responsible for recruiting and hiring, coaching the planters, and leading the church planting movement.
Then, of course, there are elements that are decentralized and specific to each site:
- Ministry team leaders are decentralized, with their own strategies and tactics.
- Each site has its own directory, ministry teams (and how they’re mobilized), Sunday-morning operations, volunteers, staff, etc…
- Each site is contextualized for its community (why Sunday mornings look different between the plants). They each have something uniquely “them” with the overall theme of preaching the gospel.
Do you have other questions about the specifics of multi-site church planting? We’re happy to provide you with answers or put you in touch with the experts.