The loan underwriting process is centered on determining the level of risk associated with each ministry. As a part of that risk management process, we inquire about the amount of debt, cash reserves, as well as the limits and type of insurance coverage the ministry maintains.
Data and technology provide church leaders with new ways of thinking about how to overcome financial challenges or fund growing ministry opportunities. Consequently, there are a lot of new concepts and topics being discussed across ministry circles. Before you write off the ideas as “marketplace mumbo-jumbo,” let’s consider a few reasons why they might be applicable to your ministry.
If you haven’t already heard while listening to the evening news, the 15-year historic graphs indicate that while interest rates are still relatively low, they might have bottomed and be on their way up. While many think rates are likely to increase in the future, no one knows how much they will rise or when. Now might prove to be a good time to refinance existing debt and secure a long-term fixed rate if possible.
Today’s growing churches are seven-day-a-week operations. The ability to transport worshippers to services on Sunday is just one need; churches are also hosting children, youth and seniors well beyond Sunday. So, your transportation needs are clear — and immediate.
Preschool and children’s spaces are the most unique of all worship spaces, in my opinion. They must capture these special worshippers and hold their attention while also supporting the worship leaders. Even with younger ages in attendance and shorter “sermons,” these services are no less significant.
Those among us who have it, often prefer to try to cope with it, live with it, or hide it from others. And yet, this so-called invisible disability affects about 20 percent of American adults! This means that potentially, one out of five of congregants are not hearing messages and music that inspire them each week in your house of worship.
Perhaps no other part of church is as important or as complicated as managing volunteers.
Visitors coming to the church are greeted by volunteers — those first few impressionable moments are left to volunteers. The same is true for the nursery, our children’s ministries, guardian angels patrolling the parking lot, and especially the lay leaders that lead out bible studies, Sunday school classes and children’s programs.
These critical roles in the church are bounded by a number of important concerns: Who has volunteered? Are they gifted in that way as a volunteer? (Just because you want to be a teacher, doesn’t make you a great teacher.) Have we checked their background — especially in regards to children’s ministry? Are we using them? How often do they serve? Are they burning out? What are their preferences in serving? Do they like to serve with their families? What rotation works best for them?
As a leader of volunteers, your concerns are more aggregated: How are my volunteers performing, and do they enjoy their roles? (Because if they don’t, they won’t volunteer much longer.) Do they have feedback that can make the position better, more efficient and more fulfilling?
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.
What do we need to do at our churches to avoid this chasm in developing a great guest experience?
Some churches stay in a perpetual cycle of growing and declining. The church peaks, then dips, only to peak again. It’s possible for a church to stay in this cycle for decades.