Q&A
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Ministry Evaluation Tool?

I'm looking for a "tool" to use to effectively evaluate various ministries in the church. Thoughts?

Church Admin & FinanceMinistry Coordination
Policy or Guidelines
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Requiring Background Checks for Volunteers

If your congregation is still wrestling with the question of whether or not to require background checks, here are a few guidelines to help you through the evaluation process.

Church Admin & Finance
Discussion Topic
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Organizational Changes HQ CRCNA

The changes involving Home Missions and World Mission are really significant (lots of time, effort, resources and money are being spent on this). Let's discuss these changes in one place on The Network.  

Church Admin & Finance
Q&A
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4 comments

Are There Examples/Samples for CRCNA Bylaws?

Our Bylaws are out of date and a mess. Are there examples, samples, or guides for CRCNA Bylaws (not articles of incorporation)?

Church Admin & Finance
Form or Template
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Screening with Criminal Record Check

This document is a sample of the screening policy at  a church for volunteers working with minors.

Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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Spouse Travel Policy

The following document explains the policy regarding Spouse Travel. Learn how to disclose financial material related to the travel purpose and who is eligible to accommodate you for business travel purposes.
Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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1 comment

Benevolence Fund Policy

The purpose of the Benevolence Fund Policy is to provide financial assistance to both church members and members of the community who are experiencing difficulties meeting essential life needs such as: food, shelter, clothing, health care or other financial needs. Click the document to learn more about the procedures of this policy.
Church Admin & Finance
Form or Template
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Children's Ministry Volunteer Packet

The Children's Ministry Volunteer Packet equips the volunteer with a better understanding of what is required of the ministry and what God teaches through His Word regarding children. Learn more about qualities, characteristics, and teachings that guide the volunteer through the Children's Ministry.
Church Admin & Finance
Lesson or Study
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Stewardship

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. - Psalm 24:1. Christian stewardship begins with a solid understanding that the property we call our own is not ours at all, but God’s.

Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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0 comments

Consecration Sunday Overview

The following document is an overview of Consecration Sunday. This includes information about its philosophy, goals, plans, time-frame, and more. Learn what must be done during the time-frame and what each committee member must do.
Church Admin & Finance
Form or Template
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Consecration Sunday Memo

This Consecration Sunday Memo informs the Council of the plans for Consecration Sunday. The plan presented to the council includes four goals for Consecration Sunday. Learn more about what these four goals are and what is disclosed within the Memo.
Church Admin & Finance
Website
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Barnabas Foundation and Churches

The Barnabas foundation approaches their work with Stewardship and God's love. The Barnabas foundation provides you with information, support, and materials for participating churches. Learn about Benefits and Services, Testimonials, Church Conferences and Events, and more!
Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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Offering Procedure

The Offering Procedures give detailed instructions as to what, who, and where the offering should go. Learn more about who takes the collection during each service, where the offering should be placed after each service, and where the offering should be placed and its final destination.
Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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Count Procedure 2

The Counting Procedures 2 is a continuation of Counting Procedures 1 . The Counting Team assists the Assistant Treasurer in accurately and confidentially counting the funds received from the congregation. The team records giving on a weekly basis. The team consists of five members approved by the Finance Team.
Church Admin & Finance
Policy or Guidelines
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Count Procedure 1

The Counting Procedures discloses the responsibilities and general duties of the counting team and volunteers. The Counting Team assists the Assistant Treasurer in accurately and confidentially counting the funds received from the congregation. The team records giving on a weekly basis. The team consists of five members approved by the Finance Team.
Church Admin & Finance
Software or Application
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Usher Scheduling Software

This Access VBA software was written to create usher schedules for our church. It works on any computer that has Microsoft Access 2007 or later installed on it.

Church Admin & FinanceWorship
Policy or Guidelines
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Social Media Policy Sample

This policy covers published media information disclosing confidential material, this information should comply with legal and law policies..

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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0 rating
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Youth Education

The Education Team will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight of Our Church’s Children and Youth Ministries.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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Stewardship Mandate

The Stewardship Team will be responsible for leading an intentional process for providing management of God’s resources for God’s purposes.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
56 views
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0 rating
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Small Groups

God gives his people special gifts to train others in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, until we are all working efficiently and gracefully together in response to God's call to be fully alive like Christ.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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0 rating
0 comments

Personnel Team Mandate

The Personnel Team represents and assists the Administration Team in meeting its oversight responsibility with respect to the human resource functions of the church.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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0 rating
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Members in Ministry

Learn how members in action find opportunities to serve the church and community in ways that fit their SHAPE.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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0 rating
0 comments

Library Mandate

The Library Committee will encourage spiritual growth, develop the congregations competence, and captivate the importance of doctrinal standards.

Church Admin & Finance
Mandate
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0 rating
1 comment

Finance Team Mandate

The Finance Team will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight of the finances of the church.

Church Admin & Finance

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I use MailChimp to send out information to our church friends, as well as Outlook for those folks who aren't interested in opting in to MailChimp.  MailChimp is free on a basic level, and we have found it useful. It allows for some creativity in addition to plain text message.

Thanks Worship Ministries and Bryan for the good advice.

Bryan, what do you do to "be as interactive as possible"?

Hey Mark, great question. Church Juice is starting to do regular webinars on a monthly basis. Today is going to be our second one yet, so we're still learning and evaluating software, effectiveness, etc. So far, we've used join.me, which is pretty basic, easy-to-use, and cost-effective software.

We have already found that finding the length is important, so that you keep people engaged and don't lose them, but long enough to feel like the webinar is valuable and worth their time investment. For us, the sweet spot seems to be about 40 minutes, including time for questions and answers. Another piece to that is to be as interactive as possible, which helps keep people engaged.

We've done webinars using the Zoom conferencing.  We've found Zoom to be quite reliable and easy to work with. One of the best pieces of advice I have is to do a practice webinar at least one day before. This allows you to work with the technology, test power point or other presentation if it's being used, and check for things like lighting in the room, background, sound, etc.

We use gmail to send messages.  Having about 125 addresses, we first had problems with hotmail accounts, then all of a sudden gmail sent the messages back generally because we tried and send too many emails at once.  Now we use the google distribution service which after some tweaking works pretty well.  Members first have to accept the invitation to join the distribution list, then a message is moderated, that is checked for appropriateness before approving it to be sent.  Where members have trouble joining, you can force the approval.  A google email address is only needed for the manager who maintains and operates the system. A nice feature is that the person who originates the email is the one who receives the replies, not the manager who approves the message.

We find that asking members to do various things to be sure emails are accepted does not work very well.  Social media is being used almost more than email and so things need to be as simple as possible. We have a policy that emails for activities and matters pertaining to members are accepted, but matters from third parties are denied. We have Sunday bulletins for such information. I guess each church would decide what type of messages to accept or not.

If you want a tool that evaluates the entire church, (not just a ministry) I think Natural Church Development by Christian Swartz is a great tool.  It identifies your churches strengths compared to thousands of other churches.   I would also order his book and read it.   After reading the book, it is very easy to administer the test and interpret the results.  And it is not expensive.   The theory is that healthy things grow.  It is not a measure of church growth but rather church health. 

 

I was going to suggest the Building Blocks of Faith also. It depends what your reason and/or objective is for evaluating your ministries. Once you are clear about that, then you can look for a tool to evaluate them.

This article from the Harvard Business Review (Dec. 27, 2017) makes the same case for the value of work force diversity: The Case for Improving Work for People with Disabilities Goes Way Beyond Compliance. "As Chieko Asakawa walks around IBM’s campus, she explores new ways of getting from point A to point B. She recognizes the faces of colleagues approaching her and greets them. She reads snack labels and decides whether to eat them. Although she is blind, Asakawa doesn’t need a human or canine companion to complete these tasks. She’s helped invent a smartphone app that, as she explained in a recent TED talk, 'understands our surrounding world and whispers to me in voice or sends a vibration to my fingers. Eventually, I’ll be able to find a classroom on campus, enjoy window shopping, or find a nice restaurant while walking along a street.'"

Thank you for taking the time to respond Walt!

To evaluate a ministry, Jay, I would design four, perhaps five, diagnostic questions, assemble the stakeholders, and through a well-thought out circle exercise work the questions.

Thanks Karen.  So much good information at FFM.  Those are the big questions we need to be asking.  I'll drill down into the info a little further. Thx 

Thanks Walt.  I appreciate your response.  I'm not really thinking about evaluating people - but evaluating programs.  I know sometimes it's hard to separate the two but that's what we'd like to do.  How can we gauge the effectiveness of a program?  Maybe it's not a reasonable approach?

Which ministry evaluation tool to use depends on the kind of ministry to be evaluated. If the ministry is led by a paid staff, the tool to use will be different than one managed by volunteers. Staff evaluations must have necessary checks-and-balances built into the a Council-approved process that is mutually transparent; that is, it holds both the evaluator and the one evaluated accountable for their respective roles in the process. A volunteer-managed ministry evaluation is simpler, Council led, and essentially requires the design of right diagnostic questions.

Hi Jay, 

Have you explored the Building Blocks of Faith as a ministry evaluation tool? It was developed by Bob and Laura Keeley in 2014 and ministry leaders who use it have found it to be very helpful. 

It begins with the premise that our identities as people of faith of all ages are shaped by building on the framework of four themes: Belonging, Understanding/Knowing God's story, Having Hope, Being Called and Equipped.  The four themes (blocks) form a tool which can be used not only to evaluate every ministry within a church but which can be used with every age level.  

Click here to read the excellent article in which the blocks are described. (Be sure to check out the great chart on page 12!) Faith Formation Ministries (FFM) has also developed a Building Blocks Toolkit. It's filled with related resources as well as ideas from CRC's which have used the tool in their contexts. You can access it here.  

If you have any questions feel free to contact FFM. They'd love to help!

Thank you so much for your help.
 

That document had exactly the information we needed.

 

CW

I don't believe there is a "boiler plate policy" that can be applied. 

The following online entry might provide some assistance. 

https://www.dakotasumc.org/media/files/FIN_ADMIN/CHURCH_TREAS/FLSA_Guida...

 

You can also contact our Human Resources Office if you have specific questions 616-224-0770

 

 

Short Answer:  Try a bulk email merge which uses your list of recipients, your email in Microsoft Word, the Mailings (email merge) feature in Microsoft Word, and Outlook to send messages *one-at-a-time*.  Here's a link with some information to get you started.  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Use-mail-merge-to-send-bulk-ema...

However, I like elements of responses from Jim (12/22/2017) and Dean (12/26/2017) both.  Here's something I am going to try in the New Year.

I have the same goal as you,

0.  to get out email reliably to all my congregants. 

In addition, i have a couple of goals which you may or may not agree with so bear with me for a second.

1.  Any congregant should be able to contact all other congregants via "the email list" without having to go through the office.

2.  Congregants should be able to add or remove themselves from the "the email list"

Our church was using a gmail account ("not using Outlook") that Jim suggests with an address book and putting a bunch of email addresses on the "To:" or "CC:" line, but I think that is falling out of favor.  That solution wasn't guaranteed to reach everyone, and I don't know when or how it started, but I think over time the whitelisting (that Dean mentioned) was happening.

What I am trying in 2018 is setting up the church as a G-Suite (Google) and setting up a mailing list of congregants as a Google Group.  The benefit is that I think we can get to #1 and #2 goals above by having a Private Group where past messages are archived.  Feel free to contact me if you want updates.

The problem is likely on the receiving end and not what app you're using to send—but what you use to send is going to be part of the solution. Internet Service Providers (ISP) or your member's own email clients will block what they interpret as spam. You can educate your users to approve (or whitelist) the email coming from your email address or you could use a more trustworthy address from which to send. Email services like Mailchimp work hard to maintain good relationships with ISPs so email sent from their servers get through. You'll also want to craft your subject lines with care so your members know what's coming their way is legitimate and not something they should mark as spam. As well, if  your list is smaller than 2,000, Mailchimp services are free. 

Change from outlook to something else

Thank you for sharing this! I'm intrigued and will be giving this a listen. 

West Michigan Church Security Network is an excellent resource. Their website is WMCSN.org.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.  Helpful!!

 

We're in the state of Washington.  Thanks for the info - very good information!

I don't know where your church is located, but if it is in Canada, you should consider the following article:

http://www.classishamilton.ca/files/ClassisHamilton/7_things_charities_s...

I hope this helps somewhat even if your church is located in the USA.

Safe Church Ministry provides resources regarding background checks. And your local safe church team member can also provide assistance. 

HI Jeff. I serve as the director of communications and marketing for the CRCNA.  I think a short video overview of the denomination's history is a great idea.  I'm not sure I have it in my budget this year, but I'll definitely add it to my "idea file" to see what I can pull together as time and funds allow. Thanks for making the suggestion. 

 

Edward,

Here is something that I think would be a great investment for our denomination, a short video walkthrough of our denomination's history and current ministry. Maybe there is one out there but I haven't run across it.  I tend to do a four or five session class, based upon CS Lewis' image of a house with a foyer and hallways, representing different traditions of the church. I've tried to do it in such a way that we can jump in whereever the person might be in their relationship with Christ. So the first session is Going through the Door, which is essentially a presentation of the gospel using different images.  The next session is about what the biblical contours of the church are and how our church lives into them, with an element that talks about what biblically it means to be a member of a church.  The third session is about the specific "hallway" of the Reformed faith.  Here we talk about the history of the reformation, some of theological emphases of the reformation, and things of that nature.  We also talk about the history of the CRC.  Somewhere around here I also show a video about infant baptism and make this a topic of discussion as well.  In the last session we look at the specific room off the hall that is our own church--our history, vision, values and mission, and some of the ways that we are structured and operate.  In these last sessions I also bring aboard an elder and a deacon to talk about some specifics related to their offices as well.

My question relates to the church council and the Pastor.  We are very new/green in this matter....who is responsible to who as far as decision making?  pastor to council? or council to Pastor?  We never have a treasurer report, Pastor tells treasurer where money goes....all funds were co-mingled in one account (which is been dealt with now)....any guidelines for making reports of the financials and minutes of the meetings??  and should this info be readily to the congregation>??  Right now there is a lot of frustration because nobody knows what is the responsibilities of individuals and council as a whole.

Designing Worship Together by Howard Vanderwell, has some different forms that you can tweek, etc. to fit your context.  

CICW also has some articles on evaluating worship for different reasons: https://worship.calvin.edu/search/?q=evaluation

 

Hi Jim,

Following are a few standard definitions:

Raffle: a lottery in which the prize is won by one of numerous persons buying chances.

Gamble: to play a game for money or property; to bet on an uncertain outcome; to stake something on a contingency.

To the extent that raffles seem to fall squarely within a standard dictionary definition of gambling, the CRCNA position on gambling seems apropos:

Pastors and church councils are urged to expose all destructive influences on people's lives that seek to trivialize or render irrelevant the providence of God. They must also caution against the impact of materialism, take decisive action to combat the evil of gambling, and minister compassionately to persons addicted to or victimized by lotteries.

That statement and some synodical history can be found here: https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/position-statements/gambling

Thanks!!  Every church in town does raffles....wondered what CRC position is...

I can't help you on the church's position, but I would suggest a legal caution.  Depending on your state, a raffle may constitute gambling, which may be disallowed or require a permit (again, depending on the state's laws).

As a practical matter, a small, one-time grocery raffle may never come to the attention of anyone having the responsibility of doing anything about it, but if repeated enough, or if the event was "big enough" or publicized enough, it might.

Thanks for that feedback! Yes, we have updated the header of this article to indicate that this insurance program is only for US churches. I apologize for the confusion. 

Would it help in these types of posts that this insurance program applies only to churches in the USA?

Hi Ken, 

Sheri has now shared sample bylaws in MS Word format.

Thanks!

It looks like both the US and Canada "Letter of Call" samples are now available in a Word format here

posted in: Letter of Call

Hi Ken, thanks for this. I checked with Sheri and these Bylaws are not available in Word format but she is checking with some other churches to see if they have Bylaws that we could turn into a sample that would be available in Word. Stay tuned!  

Our church uses Servant Keeper for our church database/directory and to calculate online giving. It's good for generating reports and keeping track of a lot of stuff, like dates, allergies, membership status, and whatnot.

One question you may want to ask is whether this is something one person is going to use on one computer or if this is something multiple people are going to need to access at different locations. Most church database software programs have local (one computer) or cloud versions or their software that come at different price points.

Do you know what exactly you're trying to do or keep track of with the software?

I was the Ministry Coordinator at CrossRoads when this was developed, and while I don't remember specifics of the results, I thought it was a great tool that ended up providing really helpful feedback. I'm glad to see that it's being shared for others.

Sheri, thanks for all the helpful posts that you've provided on various CRC web pages. I'm a member of a Michigan CRC congregation. We're in the process of creating both Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Under Synod Resources it appears that we can get a running start by filling out the fields in the Michigan Articles of Incorporation Filing Form pdf file, and then append the Attachment to the Articles of Incorporation Filing Form MS-Word document, which can be modified by anyone having MS-Word on their PC (very helpful!).  So I think we have a clear path ahead for Articles of Incorporation.  But what about Bylaws?  The sample on the CRC website is quite long; we've seen another actual set of Bylaws that is both sides of one sheet of paper (three paragraphs).  Is the CRC sample available in MS-Word format?  That would help a lot!  Thanks.

The Dispatch CRC in Kansas has a Foundation Scholarship for those attending Christian higher education. Contact the pastor there for more information.

I've posted the Offer Letters for Non-Ordained Church Staff for anyone who is interested. Thanks!

Joel - I have some samples of offer letters which are often used when hiring non-ordained church staff.  You are welcome to connect with me at jkallemeyn@crcna.org and I'll send them your way.

Whenever the question "may we do this" is asked, it really needs to be accompanied by saying also, "as far as _____________ is concerned."

By my view, there are a number of possible problems with doing this, but none of those possibilities are actually a problem.  For example, it could perhaps be a problem with the IRS (from several angles), but I think it clearly is not.  And it could be a problem with the workers compensation insurer, but I think that unlikely as well.  Etc.

Last but not least on the least is whether this would be OK with the congregation (a political question really), but I expect it would be.  (They could be asked/informed).

So bottom line: I can't imagine how this would be other than permissible, and beyond that, appropriate.

Victoria,

I see no problem with this arrangement. The purpose of the church is to promote prayer and for Christian ministries to meet and serve the neighbourhood would appear to fall within the purpose of promoting the Christian religion.

Just got a question from someone wondering if the membership transfer form can also be used for CRC to RCA transfers. Any advice? Thanks!

posted in: Membership Transfer

The question about the longevity of digital records is very real for archivists.  First there is the question of ongoing software changes, after several new generations of softwares, files generally became unreadable.  This problem now is being resolved, but another question is longevity of digital media.  It seems to be accepted that digital files can be stored for about 10 years without degradation, although it may be longer, there is no way to know until the time passes. Copies can of course be made, but with each copy a little bit of the original is lost.  Related to this is that all digital systems rely on mechanical devices, which can physically fail, so backups are necessary.  

In short, paper-based records will last much longer than digital files. But many files now only exist in digital format, so we have to deal with storing digital files, indexing them, and accessing them.  I would not recommend converting existing paper records to digital as a means for preservation.

Hi Kathy!

We distribute a monthly serving calendar and on the back of it we have a list of those who have a birthday that month, as well as the couples that are celebrating a wedding anniversary. We indicate if it is a milestone number with a happy face next to the date and a note under the list that says ":-) = "Special" Birthdays (1, 5, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100+)" And then the highlighted anniversaries are 1, 10, 25, 50, 75+

Hope that helps!

Very interesting an important work. Recently, in dealing with some old historical records, an archivist told me that there may some doubt about whether digital records could be kept 500 years. No one seemed to know. The Dead Sea scrolls lasted some 2500 years (I think) and are still kept in a "safe place". 

Is this something we need to be concerned about?   Just wondering!

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