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Accounting Church Management

2010 Giving is due by December 31st.

PASTORS AND CHURCH TREASURERS,

Remind your congregation that all gifts for 2010 must be received by December 31st to be reported on 2010 giving totals.  December 26th is the last Sunday of the year.  Remember to send out reminders to your congregation.

Categories
Accounting Church Management

Your Virtual Back Office

I saw a commercial last night for a business software program (which will remain nameless) that says it’s like having a ‘virtual back office.’  I was instantly intrigued because, after all, that is a catch phrase we have been using.  After watching the commercial, I realized that yes, it is like having a ‘virtual back office’ with just one problem; You still have to do ALL the work!

This fired me up to spread the concept we have created with even more fervency.  Much like that software, we also provide a ‘virtual back office.’  However, our concept has one vast difference.  We are a virtual back office.  When you partner with us, you are not relying on yourself to input info into the software correctly.  With our concept, you input the information, and our experts take care of making sure the info is handled correctly.  You just sit back, and know that your books are correct, and reports are readily available when you need them.

You are good at what you do.  We are good at what we do.  Let us handle the business so you can focus on your business, ministering to your church.

Categories
Church Management Communication Time Management

Video Teleconferencing for Cheap

We needed a good way to stay in contact with our clients, especially those that were hours away.  I spent a lot of time looking for good solutions for video teleconferencing but failed to find any that provided what we needed, at a cost that was feasible, until now.

We have started using Skype here in our offices to conference call with clients.  It provides the communication medium we need, with a price that fits any budget….FREE!  I purchased a $99 HD webcam from Tiger Direct.com and have been very pleased with the results.  We can now communicate with our clients that are hours away from us, without having the time and cost associated with driving.

There is still a learning curve for some people to see how to use it, but that will be overcome soon.

If you are looking for a great way to stay in contact, this is a great option.

Categories
Church Management Church Planting General Leadership

Franchise Model for Church Plants

I own a Medicine Shoppe pharmacy.  Med Shoppe’s are franchises and in the years I have owned the store, I have come to see the many great aspects of the franchise model as well as the bad.  For the past few weeks, I have been working through in my mind how to take the franchise model and utilize it for church plants.

Now I am not naive enough to say that this is the end all solution or the next big trend.  I am also not saying that it is a perfect example, but rather an idea to think about as we work to grow churches and spread new plants across the state, nation and world.

I do realize there are some blatant obstacles right up front.  Because plants are designed to reach ‘indigenous people groups’  there is not a perfect box that we can fit everyone into.  There is no magic model that we can take everyone and try to force them into.  This is evidently clear as we see churches in other parts of the world.  Our Americanized church looks quite different from their church, and vice versa.

What then can we learn from the franchise model that will help our church planting efforts?

1. A franchise model is easy to duplicate.

While each church will have its own character and culture, there are a few things that we can take from a franchise model and duplicate across an operation.  By putting a process in place and duplicating that process, we can insure that new churches are being planted that will have a greater chance of success.  This process is not intended to create a box and make everyone try to fit, but rather, a system that allows for planning, development, launch and growth in a systematic way that has been time tested and proven to produce the intended results.

2. A franchise model offers planters a greater economy of scale.

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I hear the term franchise is the golden arches.  It would be difficult to find someone that has not heard about the company.  If you look at their sign, it often brags about their accomplishments, ‘over 1 billion served’.  As you drive down the road and see one red sign with golden arches disappear into your rear-view mirror, you will quickly see the next red and yellow sign down the road touting the same accomplishment.

What is it about the franchise model that makes it so appealing?  Three words – Economies of Scale. By utilizing a franchise system, the company is able to reduce their costs of distribution so low, they can provide their product at a price so low, and still make a profit.  How then can we apply this concept to church planting?

By using a franchise system, where we have an easily duplicated model, we can bring the costs of operations down to where the financial burden on a planter is greatly reduced.  I am sure most planters will find this news very appealing as they are seeking out sources of support.

3. A franchise model offers the ability to share resources.

A great aspect of a franchise model is the ability to share resources across the system.  Often, the cost of these resources will put them out of reach for an independent organization.  By deploying a franchise system, the cost or resources can be spread across the organization enabling the resources to be available in ways that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive.

One huge resource that could be available from theChurchBusinessGuys.com (Shamless Plug!).  Our resources are designed to help churches by taking care of the administrative tasks of the organization.  Everything from bookkeeping and web design to answering the phone, we have systems designed to help.  Our system was designed to be easily duplicated while flexible enough to meet the needs of individual churches.

As you can see, there are many advantages in utilizing this model for church planting.  I welcome your comments, thoughts or experiences to help us refine this concept.

Categories
Church Management Leadership

Team Leadership for your church

I recently completed reading “The Power of Team Leadership” by Charles Barna.  While the premise at first seemed simple and I questioned how a complete book could be written about something that appeared obvious, I was amazed at the detail and analysis provided.  Mr. Barna took great time in providing a very compelling presentation of shifting from committee, business meeting driven churches to a purposed team driven ministry.

As I sat and read the first 10-15 pages, I had to resist the temptation to jump up with fist pumping in the air.  His reasoning for shifting to Team Leadership were exactly the same reasons why our company exists.  Our modern culture has put so much emphasis in the size and attendance of churches that our pastors have been given a huge burden.  While at times unknowingly, there is an assumption that in some way a pastor that is not preaching to thousands, writing books, or traveling the national speaking circuit is a sub-standard pastor.  Not only do pastors have an insurmountable task to begin with, our culture is setting an assumed standard that is all but unnattainable except in instances of anomolies.

How then can pastors effectively grow their church and reach people?

Categories
Church Management

Do you Expect Your Pastor to be Superman?

I am reading a book by Charles Barna, ‘The Power of Team Leadership’.  Just a few pages into the book detailed exactly why our company exists.  In the book, Mr. Barna is stating the case that our (churches) have set the standard required of their leader so high that successfully accomplishing it would be unnattainable.  He states that we are all expecting our pastors to be able to do everything, and be responsible for everything.  It doesn’t take long to see where the break point is going to be in this situation.  No wonder 80% of pastors state they have felt burnt out and needed to take a break from ministry.  Barna re-itterates his point my stating that Jesus choose 12 men to spread the message of Christianity, also stating that if He had depended on one person, we may not have Christianity today.

Why do we put such high expectations on our pastors and leaders?

Categories
Accounting Church Management General Priorities Time Management

Maintaining Balance Part 3 – Your Church

Let’s face it.  In many cases our modern churches have become much more than just a gathering place to worship.  We have added daycare, schools, coffee shops, bookstores, free wi-fi, etc., etc., etc.  Now there is nothing inherently bad with these things, and for the most part they are great tools for reaching new people and providing Christ centered education for our children.  However, who is responsible for keeping these things operational and when do we get back to the church being a group of believers assembled together to worship God?

Today, I’d like to focus on maintaining balance in Your Church.  The statistics are staggering:

  • Pastors have the second highest divorce rate of any other profession.
  • 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
  • 45% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
  • 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.

And the most Staggering Statistic:

Categories
Church Management Priorities Time Management

Maintaining Balance Part 2 – What are Your Priorities…

I have always been in awe when reading stories of business owners, executives and other leaders that talk about only getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night. I am in awe as I wake up dreary from my 8 hour nightly nap. How are they able to function on such little sleep? And, the more important question, what are they doing with the 20+ waking hours they have at their disposal?

One commodity which levels the playing field for every man, woman, boy and girl no matter what race, religion, creed, color, class or…you name it… is that we are all given 24 hours in a day equally. How we choose to use that time is what separates each of us.

How do you use the time you’ve been allotted?

I realized a few months ago that I was spending a lot of time on activities, processes and work that really didn’t offer me profitable, tangiable and relevant results. I sure looked busy, and was very involved, but when it came time to account for the time I was not producing results.

Categories
Church Management General Time Management Web

Maintaining Balance Part 1 – Your Church Website

I am hoping to present a multi-part series this week about balance. One consistent trend we are finding when meeting with pastors is that most, if not all, are responsible for wearing many hats at their church. The days of the pastor only being the spiritual leader of the church have passed. Modern pastors are now responsible for much more.

With a large, growing number of clients, we have had many experiences both good and bad. I’d like to start today with your church’s web presence. Our society now communicates online. The average age of Facebook users is 38 and Google receives billions of search queries per day. It doesn’t take long to see that your presence on the web can be a crucial component to communicating your message.