by Jac La Tour

As the final quarter of the fiscal year for many ministries rolls around, a recent post by church planter/professor/blogger Tim Spivey on his New Vintage Leadership blog is well worth reading.

Two Things You Must Have Before Asking People to Give offers a simple formula that Spivey learned early in his ministry. He says this formula “keeps me from asking for money to meet budget. Of course we have to meet it, but the budget is an inanimate object. Pull it apart. Personify it. Show them how life change happens through the budget. If you can’t, your budget needs to be overhauled.”

On the heels of two recent ECCU budgeting webinars (now available as free recordings), I resonate with Spivey’s words. He’s advocating that we align money with mission and monitor to be sure our ministries stay on mission.

Check out Spivey’s blog post to learn his formula, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you think.

by Mark Jones

In a study by Grey Matter Research, 43% of those who visit a church’s website do so to find the times of the services. Other common reasons include what activities are offered (29%), map or directions to the church (28%), watch a streaming video (26%), and listen to a streaming audio (26%).


by Jac La Tour

This is the second in our series of email interviews with presenters for the upcoming 2012 Financial Forum for Ministries.

John Butler is an attorney and tax counsel for CapinCrouse LLP. He will speak at each of the three 2012 California forums about recent Internal Revenue Service, congressional, and court benefits; ministers’ payroll and unrelated business income; as well as health care compliance issues. Here are John’s responses to my questions. [read more]

by Mark Jones

During a recent ECCU budgeting webinar for ministries with up to $2 million in revenues, we asked attendees which accounting package they used. Two thirds said QuickBooks.                                                                                            

It has been my experience that many QuickBooks users don’t fully utilize its functionality. If this is true of you, here are several tips that may prove helpful as you go through the budgeting process. [read more]

by Mark G. Holbrook

When people ask me, “What leaders have made the biggest impact in your life?” ECCU’s founding director, Dr. George Vouga, is always at the top of my list. His friendship, constant encouragement, mentoring, and life example of vision and faithfulness have inspired and challenged me over my entire career. His deep love for his wife Agnes was a powerful example of what it means to “love your wife even as Christ loves the church.”

Dr. Vouga entered into eternity with our Lord on Saturday, September 15, after 102 short years on this earth. George shared with me on more than one occasion the almost comical way ECCU came into existence: Back in 1964, when George was general director of the Conservative Baptist Association of Southern California, he was initially opposed to starting a credit union. He told his close friend, Dr. I. Cedric Peterson (pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Whittier and fellow Dallas Seminary classmate) that the Association had too many obligations on its plate and there wasn’t room for another major initiative. So Dr. Peterson proceeded to tell George that he would be at his office every week to pray that the Lord would change his mind. After some time, and week after week of Dr. Peterson praying earnestly on his knees in Dr.Vouga’s office, George freely admitted that the Lord did indeed change his mind—and heart. ECCU was launched in October of 1964—48 years ago. George became a champion for the credit union and his passionate support never waivered. I thank the Lord for George’s obedience and humble leadership at a time his rational mind was telling him “no way.” [read more]