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church management

· Designated gifts--Establish a policy to make sure that contributions received for a specific purpose are used in the way they were intended. · Offerings--Two unrelated people should count your offerings, and these teams should rotate whenever possible. · Reconciliation--Someone should make sure the bank statements are reconciled each month and confirm the accuracy of financial statements. · Separation of duties--The people who cut the checks and handle the money should never have decisionmaking authority for purchases made in your church. They should implement systems adopted by the leadership team, create helpful financial reports, and monitor the financial condition of the ministry. Unfortunately, there are too many churches where the church treasurer is the person who's actually controlling what's happening or not happening in the ministry because he or she controls the purse strings. Let me add one side note here. As your church grows, you and other senior staff leaders will begin to delegate financial functions to others in the organization. Even as that happens, the senior staff leaders must still keep abreast of and be involved in these critical ministry decisions. Even though you may not have the skills or passion to be an expert in financial matters, you can't completely abrogate this responsibility. Ultimately, the integrity of the entire ministry is in your hands. If something blows up, people are going to look straight to the top--the buck stops in the pulpit. Make every effort to put financial controls, reporting, and regular communications in place so there's no hint of financial impropriety in your church. Even the perception that something is wrong can derail a healthy ministry.

Adapted from Simply Strategic Stuff: Help for Leaders Drowning in the Details of Running a Church by Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan (Group).


Successful CapitalCampaign Strategies

EvERy yEAR countless millions of dollars are raised by churches in capital campaigns to purchase land, build and expand facilities, pay off debt, and fund new ministries. Because so much is at stake, companies specializing in capital campaigns have emerged to lead churches through the fundraising process. Rev! invited three executives of the largest stewardship service agencies to respond to questions pertinent to pastors and church leaders. They include Pat Graham, president of the Church Division of Cargill Associates; John Hull, president of INJOy Stewardship Services; and Doug Turner, president of RSI Stewardship Group. And just for fun we decided to throw in a fourth voice--Stan Toler, a senior pastor and founder of vibrant Group, who's helped develop various low-fee programs for churches. Their responses to a broad range of questions begin here and continue unabridged at's Extras.

When should a church consider getting help from a consultant or stewardship service? TURNER: There are several indicators

that suggest a church is ready for a capital campaign: Ideas for ministry are frequently postponed because facilities aren't adequate; the church has forgone large events or fellowship opportunities because there's no large multipurpose space for the church to gather; the long-range plan is outdated and doesn't represent a vision for spiritual growth that stretches the members.

HULL: The urgency of a particular project is the driver for any timeline. If the urgency exists and the need is at least equal to the church's annual budget, the next question the church should ask is "When do we wish to see dollars coming in for this project?" When that date is determined, stewardship companies should be engaged a minimum of six to nine months prior to that time.

GRAHAM: With the cost of projects

moving into the stratosphere, church leaders would be well served to engage the services of a stewardshipconsulting firm prior to contacting






Rev! sept/oct 2007

church management

an architect. A seasoned firm that offers a process through which the church can cast its vision, test its vision, and then fund its vision can save the church a lot of money and headaches. into a campaign because they succumb to fear or a desire to "just get it over with." Conversely, on rare occasions, churches have a timeline that makes it very difficult to sustain the momentum. In those cases, the workers are tired before the campaign concludes, and it limps to the finish line...It just goes to show that timing is everything. churches doing campaigns for bold ministry initiatives without any brickand-mortar components. Churches built out a lot of campuses in the '90s, and now many are rethinking how to use their resources.

Under what conditions would you discourage a church from conducting a campaign? TOLER: At least two things must be

in place before a capital stewardship campaign is launched: One, the church must have a vision for the project under consideration. And two, the congregation should have a strong sense of unity for the project.

TOLER: It's a new day for the church,

including its fundraising. For example, Gen X and postmodern churches will want a different approach than that of a more traditional church. Gen Xers and postmoderns will generally resist what seems to them as "strong-arming."

What advice would you give a church that needs to raise money for debt reduction? TOLER: People get used to mortgages

on their homes and financing for their automobiles, so they're usually not very excited about reducing the church's indebtedness. It can be done, however. It will take both a vibrant vision for the future of the church and a complete

GRAHAM: What are the Boomers

going to do with their money? Most churches have relied on loyalty for the past 60-plus years, and now a large group of nonconformists will begin to retire. The church is losing its influence

GRAHAM: A church whose project

would require more than two threeyear capital campaigns to fund should reconsider the scope of the project. The climate in the pew at the present time is demanding that the church be a good corporate steward.

What are the most common errors of churches that don't reach their financial goals? GRAHAM: Churches that don't want

to talk about money as a spiritual issue are prone to fall short of their financial goals, as are churches that can't make a compelling case for why the project is needed.

People get used to mortgages on their homes and financing for their automobiles, so they're usually not very excited about reducing the church's indebtedness. --Stan Toler

explanation of what the church could achieve without that indebtedness. in helping shape our society. If this trend continues to develop, the church will see its financial resources dry up and move toward other outlets of philanthropy.

TURNER: A campaign can still be a

motivating spiritual journey that will refocus the church on the future. A debt campaign will provide a platform to communicate the ministry opportunities lost with resources tied up in debt.

HULL: Everything rises and falls on

leadership. As ministries are growing at an exponential rate, the need to expand the leadership base will be a necessity in sustaining a church's growth, thus maximizing and maintaining their momentum. Capital campaigns will need to integrate leadership and stewardship education tracks, which will allow sustainable ministry paradigms after the traditional three-year giving periods.

HULL: The biggest mistake churches

make in not reaching their goals is a lack of understanding of what their true financial capacity is as a church. Therefore, incorrect goals are established, which set the church up for failure.

HULL: Every dollar that goes to debt

is a dollar that does not go to ministry. Therefore, if the vision for ministry that will take place with the freed-up resources is compelling, the response of the people can be better than expected.

TOLER: At least 50 percent of the

people in the congregation should be involved. Other factors may include prayer vigils, banquets--with assistance from the capital stewardship company, personal contact teams, and so forth. When those additional components aren't in place, the chances for success begin to dwindle.

What cultural trends do you see that may be affecting capital fundraising in the coming years? TURNER: Churches will be doing campaigns for multi-site initiatives, as well as bold missional initiatives--we have

go to

and click on Extras for additional questions and answers from our stewardship-campaign experts.

TURNER: Churches sometimes rush


Rev! sept/oct 2007


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