4 practical ways churches can reduce their cyber risk

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In recent years, discussions about data breaches with my church and nonprofit clients have moved from “what-if’s” to, “This just happened to one of my clients.” Cyber Liability insurance is no longer a coverage that is nice to have; it’s saving organizations money, time and reputations.

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Only 42% of churches accept online donations — new survey results

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Only 42% of churches accept online donations. This stat was one of the eye-opening revelations uncovered by Dunham + Company in their latest church survey. Perhaps more startling though, is that of those churches who do offer a digital option, they only see 11 percent to 13 percent of their total contributions come through that method, on average. To better understand these numbers, and what churches can do to improve upon them, I jumped on a call with Rick Dunham, president and CEO of Dunham + Company.

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Internal controls keep fraud at bay

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“What happens in accounting, stays in accounting.” If your finance team’s motto goes something like this, you might have an internal controls problem. Internal controls are put in place to clearly define proper procedures for finance and accounting team members, to minimize risk, and to alleviate suspicion. Even churches must mitigate risk and ensure that policies and procedures are in place and functioning as intended.

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Planning for retirement: it’s your choice

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“Do I buy a car or lease one?” “Do I work to pay for my education — or my children’s — or do I take out a loan?” “Do I rent an apartment or buy a house?” For each of these questions, making the right decision depends on a number of factors that are unique to you. But one financial question leaves us with very few choices: “Do I save for retirement?”

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THE CE INTERVIEW: JONATHAN STOCKSTILL

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Jonathan Stockstill was 30 years old when his father, the Rev. Larry Stockstill, turned over to him the leadership of Bethany Church. Interestingly, Larry was the same age as Jonathan when he took over for his dad, who founded the church in 1963.

Jonathan has led music at Bethany since he was 17. He says he always felt that he would be in full-time ministry, but it was not until he was in his mid-20s that he began to sense a pastoral call upon his life. At the time, he was leading worship and traveling with a band called Deluge. He wrote songs, recorded projects and did music tours, but he says God was dealing with him about a different kind of ministry. Jonathan also did several evangelistic crusades and went through a season where he felt he might plant a church in his late ‘30s.

“But God had a different plan,” he says.

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Israel: the planning process –10 tips for faith-based travelers

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Whether it’s your first trip to Israel or your tenth, one thing is certain: Planning well — in advance — is essential for a truly transformative experience in the Land of the Bible.

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Appropriate boundaries for a healthy relationship with children

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We frequently ask ourselves questions such as, “What’s an acceptable way to show affection to youth in my care?” or “How should I react if a child runs up for a hug?”
These are important questions, because boundaries promote a lifetime of healthy relationships.

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PASTOR-FRIENDLY VIDEO — Case study: Saddleback Church

Band leading worship, hands raised everywhere in the formerly Fuel crowd.

Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, hosts more than 20,000 people in weekly attendance. Throughout the week, this globally recognized church offers five services and a number of different events, including concerts, workshops and other studies and seminars. The church was looking to upgrade its facility as part of its “Decade of Destiny” campaign — a 10-year vision to help members in the areas of physical, financial, relational, emotional, mental, vocational and spiritual health.

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Religious institution financing truths—regardless of the lending climate

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As the business administrator of a religious institution, you don’t need to be an experienced commercial developer to get a construction loan — you just need an expert ministry bank.

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Church audits: know the 4 V’s

Computing stripes with numbers. Costs, expenses, revenues and pr

Depending on your role at the church, you’ll hear the word “audit” and come to one of two conclusions:

If you’re the finance manager, you understand the need for the substantiation of the integrity of the data — even though an audit can add to your already busy workload.

If you’re the pastor, it comes down to one word: “Why?” The financials are written in what appears to be a foreign language, and they don’t seem to help as you try to make good, mission-critical decisions, anyway.

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