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Career Opportunities Church Finance Church Management Church Thoughts Leadership

Budget for Contingencies

After working with several churches recently I found an interesting trend that I wanted to share.  As we were preparing budgets for the upcoming year, we found that most of the churches initial draft contained most of the line items from the previous year with an adjustment for the upcoming year.

While this is exactly correct, we found an area that many churches were leaving out and not considering.

A friend of mine has added a line item to his budget each year which he uses as contingency.  He purposefully budgets for opportunities that may arise throughout the year.  By adding this money into the budget, he is better able to make decisions as ministry opportunities arise.  He is also able to side-step potential landmines if unexpected bills should appear.

For most committee driven churches, the very idea of a contingency budget line will send most finance committee chairs into a frenzy.  However, I’d contend that the lack of this line could be more detrimental to your flexibility for ministry.

Take a minute and review your budget this upcoming year.  Have you budgeted to allow God to move and bring opportunities your way?

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Church Management Leadership

Who Runs Your Church?

Pastor, Who runs your church?

Now I know the ‘churchy’ answer is God, and ultimately that is entirely correct. Without God at the head of our churches we are nothing more than a social club.

What I am asking here is who controls your church church.

I’ve met with far too many pastors who, while they may not admit it, are victims of a over-controlling secretary. Its not intentional, they just have personalities involved that dominate. They are the ones that tend to make the biggest contributions to the church. In many cases, rightfully so, they are putting in the leg work. However, how many times does their opinion, tastes or likes become the predominant culture of your church?

Instead of beating around the bush I’ll just come out and say it. How many times does your secretary plan an event, cater that event to what she wants, invite the input of circle of friends, and then everyone expects that event to be received from the overwhelming majority of the church…

** Disclaimer: I have met many God-fearing, loving secretaries that are humble servants to the church. I have, however, been around at least as many that are acting detrimental to their church. **

Pastor, here are some things to consider:

1. You are the pastor. You are the one called to lead the people of your church and grow. You are the spiritual guide of the church. Take Charge and Lead!

2. When secretaries become controlling it is often not their fault. Just like in a marriage relationship, when the woman doesn’t feel like her husband is a leader and protector, her natural instinct is to attempt to compensate. Take Charge and Lead!

3. The secretary is often over-looked as an ambassador for your church. The attitude and personality she (or he) presents is often the impression that people will get of your church. Take Charge and Lead!

4. Your staff is your team. Your staff is there to help you minister to the congregation. Share with them in victories and defeats. While you are their boss, you are also their pastor. Take Charge and Lead!

This could produce some heated discussions but I am interested to hear what others have to say on this topic.

Categories
Daily Thought General Leadership Priorities

Jumpstart 2012

It’s hard to believe, but 2011 is almost over.  As I say every year, it seems that 2011 just started a few months ago.  Time is definitely flying by.

Having a few days off for the Christmas Holiday was great. Not only did it allow me to slow down for a bit, but I also had some time to think and put together a game plan for preparing for the new year. I am taking this week to “Jumpstart 2012”. My week is going to be heavily scheduled on preparing myself for the new year.

[quote type=”center”]How are you preparing for 2012?[/quote]

For most of us, this week between Christmas and New Years is often slower, has less going on, and can be a great time to prepare our selves.

I sat down earlier in the month and started looking for goals I had set for 2011 and quickly realized I couldn’t find the document. I’m sure I have it down somewhere on my computer but this year I am trying something new.

I have made a list of personal and business goals for the new year. I used our company’s Google Apps account to prepare and save the document so it can be shared with others in our company. From that, I am going to develop a game plan for reaching those goals this year. That game plan is what I am going to use to FOCUS my daily efforts. Two of my goals revolve around attaining new clients. I am going to keep a running tally on my wall so that I can have a constant, daily reminder of that goal…

What are you doing to prepare yourself, your church or organization or your business for 2012?

Categories
Daily Thought Leadership Time Management

Spending time with family or Investing time with family?

Jon Acuff recently posted a very thought provoking blog post about the time we all spend with family. If you don’t follow Jon’s blog or on Facebook, I’d strongly encourage it. In the post, he uses an illustration that many of us believe that our physical presence is enough. In some way, we convince ourselves that as long as we are on the same couch, in the same room, even in the same house the somehow that is much better than being on the road. While that may be true, he presents the argument that you don’t need a plane ticket to be absent from your family.

[quote align=”center”]Pastor, are you investing time with your family?[/quote]

Categories
Church Management Leadership

In Tune With the Vision

I recently met with a pastor who was describing their church. I immediately drew an image in my mind that illustrated their operation. I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and describe. See Below:

The Senior Pastor, had a vision, told people about it, but really was doing nothing to articulate how to move towards the vision nor providing the leadership to move towards that vision. As a result, he had ministry leaders that were all well intentioned, but were in actuality working in vain because each was doing their own thing.

 

A better example would be this:

Categories
Church Management Daily Thought Leadership Outreach

Prefers Traditional Music…

I was perusing through a list of churches seeking pastors and saw a job description with those three words, “Prefers Traditional Music”.

I know the debate over traditional vs. contemporary worship will continue to divide this side of heaven. However, what does it say about the openness of your church by making that statement?

Categories
Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

1% Increase to Cooperative Program

While not all of our clients are Southern Baptist, we do have quite a few that are. Read the post below by Nate Adams, the Executive Director for the Illinois Baptist State Association. It’s amazing that a 1% increase in your church’s giving to the cooperative program would have a $100 mil. impact.

You can see Nate’s post Here or read below:

Categories
Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

5 Ways to Break Through Barriers to Church Growth

By Pat Pajak, associate executive director, IBSA Church Strengthening Team

Has your church growth leveled off or even started declining? Every church faces growth barriers at various times in its lifecycle. Most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500, and 1,000. By learning to identify and break through these barriers, you can keep your momentum and continue growing for God’s glory. What is keeping your church from growing? Healthy organisms grow. If you feel stagnation setting in, barriers are inhibiting your growth. Implement a plan to remove them.

Categories
Church Management Daily Thought Leadership Outreach

Pursuing Excellence

Yesterday a Godly leader shared a message at Bethel Baptist Church. Norris Price share a message on pursuing excellence and how God deserves nothing less than our pursuit of excellence.

He shared about how are nature is to accept good enough and settle for mediocrity because many times, excellence is hard.

He defined excellence as in 4 parts:

Caring more than people think is wise;

Risking more than people think is safe;

Dreaming more than people think is practical;

Expecting more than people think is possible;

For a church, he asked us to think about what we experienced today that bring us back to visit again. Not that we are trying to put on a production, but what about the church provided an experience that was worth coming back for. He then challenged us to give our best to make that happen. Many times, organizations are blamed when in reality it is a lack of excellence in the people. If you go to a business, and are not treated well, then that business is bad. In reality, however, that business may be great, but that person was bad.

The same thing happens in church. We visit, have a poor experience with a person or individual, and suddenly, that church is bad. Are you giving your best so that people experience excellence when they visit your church?

I’m interested in hearing what your church or organization is doing to pursue excellence.

Categories
Accounting Church Management Leadership

Church Accounting Internal Controls

I just received a link to a news article in the Gaston Gazette from a friend about a couple that embezzled $200,000 from their church.

[quote] Oh, that won’t happen to us, Mrs. Smith has been keeping our books for years and she is such a nice lady.[/quote]

Unfortunately, that’s what this church thought as well.  This nice, unassuming couple met at the church, were married at the church and had been keeping the books for year.  Everyone thought it was fine until they had a large bill to be paid and couldn’t.

[quote]But we have checks and balances to keep that from happening.[/quote]