Q&A

In our Council, we're looking at establishing minimum pass vote percentages for various issues. One that has caused some discussion is the vote by the congregationn on office bearers. Currently, Council prepares a list of candidates to present to the congregation. The congregation then votes on...

September 10, 2011 0 16 comments
Blog

Today you are paying bills for the church. You have the statement from an organization that shows seven orders but you only have four different invoices from members to back up the statement. Where are the other three?  Who ordered the material? Sunday School? Deacons? Youth Group? Missions? Coffee Break?

September 1, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

As we sat at a table in the Worship Center with the countdown to worship on the Power Point, I was excited to worship. The music was led well and then the message started with a You Tube video entitled God’s Pie.  Once again I was reminded that God uses money and possessions as a test of our faith and trust in Him alone.  

August 29, 2011 0 6 comments
Blog

What would your ministry budget look like if you were able to cut your energy use for your church building 10%? Many of us would like to accomplish additional ministry priorities but the church income from our members has not increased much the last couple years.  What if we could help our church this fall by participating in a task force that would review energy management and hopefully cut some energy use and costs?   

August 18, 2011 0 3 comments
Blog

Last week at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit Bill Hybels announced that Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, had to withdraw from speaking at the Summit. This was at least partly in response to a petition started to boycott Starbucks if he did not cancel.  The petition claimed that Willow Creek Community Church is anti-gay.  One of my friends who was at the conference was struck by how well Willow handled the situation. What was Bill's prayerful response?

August 15, 2011 0 3 comments
Blog

How do we best get local compensation data for church secretaries, administrative assistants, youth directors, custodians, Kids Hope directors, music directors, and a variety of other very important staff positions at our churches? 

August 8, 2011 0 10 comments
Blog

Canadian churches refer to PAR or "Pre-Authorized Remittance" as a way to give through an automatic monthly withdrawal from their bank account to their church.  In the US, I usually hear this called "Electronic Funds Transfer."   

August 1, 2011 0 7 comments
Blog

We've talked before about some churches who use PayPal as a method for people to give to church.  Usually the church sets up the account so the payer will pay the service fee.  Do you know anything about an entity built on PayPal called Pay It Square?   

July 25, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

Christianity Today recently posted a story of the hacking of computers and loss of $680,000 from St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines last month.  You likely don't have that much money in your church account, but are your bookkeepers and treasurers careful enough so that something like this doesn't happen to your church? 

July 18, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

Is the Alban Institute on your subscription list?  This week the post challenges us to think of new ways of organizing ourselves if we really are interested in change.  One idea is to think of the organization as a bowl instead of a pyramid.  Another idea is to think of the organizational chart with v's symbolizing openness rather than boxes.   

July 11, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

Some churches like to talk about volunteers serving the church. I would prefer to think of it as members serving the church. My pastor challenged me to think this way.

June 30, 2011 0 1 comments
Q&A

I am interested in sample forms to include in our church's constitution that outline our stand and refusal to perform same sex marriages.

I have searched several resources and have not been able to find any such sample form.

Is it neccesary to involve a lawyer to draw this up to have...

June 30, 2011 0 4 comments
Blog

The denominational employees recently completed their annual performance reviews. I don't know anyone who likes to complete evaluations although feedback is important. So I was struck by a recent Alban Institute article on Teams and Performance. The author suggests that we should be constantly reviewing organizational performance  

June 27, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

Two years ago your youth pastor asked if the church could cover her cell phone costs related to her church work.  You agreed that the youth pastor needed texting and a cell phone and covered the costs.  Now your Senior Pastor and Congregational Care Pastor use their cell phones a lot for church related work also.  Should the church have a cell phone policy?  How much do you cover on each of their cell phones? 

June 21, 2011 0 6 comments
Blog

The Alban Institute recently posted an article by Susan Beaumont on "Determining Ideal Board Size."  Susan recommends that the ideal size for our governing bodies should be down to five individuals to provide for the most effective problem solving. This made me think about the size of ministry teams like   

June 14, 2011 0 1 comments
Q&A

How do you organize your volunteers?

Does anyone know of good online volunteer management software available to churches?  Preferably free or low cost and  allows volunteers to assign themselves and others to task in the case of a switch.

June 3, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

As I flew home this weekend through a lightning storm and heard of tornado touchdowns, I was reminded that natural disasters don't just happen somewhere else. How can we be smart and be prepared?  How much preparation is enough?  If a tornado hit our church facility, what would have been done by leadership to prepare for such a disaster? 

June 2, 2011 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

Check out this job opening for a chief financial officer at Calvin Seminary.  Do you know someone (maybe yourself?) that may be interested in this position? 

May 24, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

Ministers' Pension Plan church assessments are likely to increase approximately 15%  starting July 1 if approved by synod.  I immediately thought of what this would do to a mid-year church budget. How is your church planning to handle this proposed increase mid-year? 

May 23, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

We all desire healthy communication but we often fall short of the goal. Sometimes we need a reminder of healthy communication habits.  In my folder of blog ideas, I have six tips for "How to Clean Up Bad Communication Habits."  These tips include the following ::

May 16, 2011 0 0 comments
Q&A

Are other Canadian CRC congregations and maybe also Canadian churches of other denominations facing the same issues as our congregation with regard to getting licence/permission to show DVDs or videos in church?

 

Most DVDs or videos that we purchase at stores are sold for viewing by...

May 13, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

US churches may qualify for a "health insurance credit" for 2010 if they file for the refund by May 15, 2011. The credit is up to 25% of the cost of qualifying health insurance premiums. This is defined as the premiums paid directly or reimbursed to church employees.

May 9, 2011 0 11 comments
Blog

On Sunday our members received a letter in their mailboxes from Pastor Paul.  It started with "I want to share with you a courageous leadership decision made by our Administrative Elders and Deacons and subsequently endorsed by the full Council. In spite of a budget that continues to show deficits, we decided to step out in faith and pay 100% of our pledges  

May 3, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

I was talking to a fellow member on Thursday afternoon in between one funeral and the Maundy Thursday dinner and we were struck by how the church had been the intense center of life that week for our church family.  

April 26, 2011 0 0 comments
Blog

The subject of "nominations" has recently surfaced in a forum on the Pastors network and was covered on the Church Administration network last spring.  A recent post on the Pastor Network is asking churches for more information on their process as he studies the nomination process in churches.

April 18, 2011 0 0 comments

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We had an intern a couple of years ago who did some research on church and denomination database issues. In her notes, I found reference to these packages, recommended by someone at the Center for Congregations in Indiana:
* ACS (www.acstechnologies.com)
* Logos (www.logoscms.com)
* Shelby (www.shelbyinc.com)

Through the years, I've also heard positive comments about Power Church Plus, as mentioned by a previous poster.

I have no personal experience with any of the above, however I did find a couple of sites that review church software:
* www.churchaccountingsoftwareguide.com
* www.digical.com/cgi-bin/htmlos.cgi/ccmag/index1.htm

HTH,
-- Sharon

I think there may be a review of CRC's and their software. I'll check on Monday with the person who may know and get back to you. We use access at my church also.

I apologize; I just found the "Green Church" tab on the right side of the homepage... Still, it would be good to have a home for design questions, financing questions, building committee questions, capital campaign questions, etc.

Buildings and facility operations are typically one of the top two budget line items for churches and I haven't found any mention so far of facility use, building design, or sustainable operations on the CRC network. It would seem to belong in the Administration section? Worship section?

A clever, efficient, resourseful, fitting, and meaningful building design will bless a church for generations. A bad building will impede ministry and hog resources for generations. I presented on church architecture amidst cultural change, and sustainability for church buildings at the Worship Symposium last month, and from the number of questions I received, these are very relevant issues - especially when they usually are accomplished with sacrificial giving.

Therefore, I'd like to see a topic created around church buildings.

Steve Fridsma, AIA, LEED
Progressive AE
Architect, Worship Environments Leader

-and-

Council Member
Monroe Community Church (CRC)
Grand Rapids, MI

Hi

I have been using PowerChurch Plus for 5 years and really like it. Not only does it keep track of the membership data, but it intigrates the contributions as well. I am also doing all the accounting on it, generating monthly reports that can be emailed directly to the board members.
Eva

Thanks for the note. I use Access to do the same, plus it allows me to pre-create reports and modify queries. My problem is that if I want to pass the job on to another person, they need to be an Access expert. If there is an off-the-shelf piece of software, more of that functionality is behind the scenes. There are a number of packages out there, but I am not familiar with them.

Hello, I have been employed at Emmanuel for 11 years. One of the best ideas I have heard, and which i am still implementing, is using Excel for membership tracking. It is a program which I can manipulate in many different ways just by having a column for every little bit of information. For example: one column for each of the following: last name, first name, middle name, birth date, birth month, birth year, baptized or baptized/professing, date of visit and name of elder who visited, and so forth.
Now I can sort by age for class lists, seniors, visitors, and/or baptized members. You add whatever category will work for your situation.

Found a great resource online for clergy tax stuff.
http://www.clergytaxnet.com/ It is an invaluable resource.

I'm a new pastor in our church. When I asked the treasurer about how she does the W-2 she said she only ever did 1099s. I said that was not right. We found this site which clearly puts the law straight on the issue and offers great services to clergy and church treasurers.

I should do mine earlier too! I think mine are actually simpler than they have been in the past so it should be easier too.

posted in: Do it Today

Good thoughts, Sheri. To take a page from design fields, "form follows function." If function (ministry) starts following form (organization), we have a problem.
~ Sharon Ellens

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