The cost of ‘knowledge’ in the Information Age


The synod headquarters office — being a central repository of a great deal of sensitive information — had taken security very seriously, in every possible regard. So, what went wrong?


Church cafés: best practices: purchasing and supplies


Tried-and-true strategies for keeping café costs in check


Step up your streaming game


From newbie to pro, here’s some equipment advice from the experts


Investing with purpose: the rise of responsible investing


More than ever before, individuals are aligning their finances with their personal beliefs. The noted increase in charitable giving in the United States, as shown in recent findings from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, is a great example of this positive shift. But, individuals are not only trying to use their finances for good by helping others; they are investing in companies that align with their values, too. For example, last year, one out of every six dollars invested under professional management — $6.57 trillion or more — was invested in a socially conscious investment strategy, as reported in the 2014 Report on Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends in the United States by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

While the strategies go by various names — environmental, social and governance investing (ESG), socially responsible investing (SRI), biblically responsible investing (BRI), ethical investing, impact investing and many more — the goal of these fund managers is to reflect the beliefs of the investors they serve.


How to avoid cost overruns: tried-and-true strategies


Often, when a church decides it wants to build, the first step is to get a set of plans designed and then bid out with several contractors. Nearly every month, we encounter churches where — after bidding the plans — the project is over budget and cannot be completed.

Other church leaders tell us their buildings were built using this process … and yet they ended up spending a significant amount more than the contractor’s original bid.

You might ask how this could happen. The answer: cost overrun.


Designing worship areas: expansion takes shape


In this installment, we’ll focus on three types of alternative site selection:

#1: Expansion on one site (current or new)
#2: Expansion on multiple sites
#3: Expansion through church planting or new starts


Church transportation: survey the safety landscape


Good bus drivers avoid potholes, speedbumps and potentially dangerous conditions on the road.

Church leaders should be just as vigilant about heeding potentially dangerous conditions — for themselves and their precious cargo.


Church accounting basics: EMPLOYEE — to be or not to be


If your church is anything like mine, you are constantly trying to navigate the requirements of our nation’s employment laws. When researching the topic of “employee versus independent contractor,” what I find is consistently inconsistent. It’s easy to get lost in the lack of interpretation.


Small, but mighty: key elements of effective small group classroom design

Small group classrooms are integral to the spiritual life of the contemporary Church. They’re spaces of discipleship, where members and guests can digest the heart of what Christ is teaching us. They’re also places of prayer and intimate growth.

As such, it’s important that small group classrooms accommodate a great range of activities and group sizes. Yet, they must also be intimate enough that individuals feel comfortable expressing their doubts, questions and struggles surrounding faith.

It’s a delicate balance of familiarity and flexibility.


The St. Andrew’s mission for new video displays


When St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN decided to upgrade its audiovisual system, it included extensive research into new video screens.

Having rented projectors for special services in the past — and because the sanctuary has an abundance of natural ambient light — church leaders knew projectors weren’t the best fit.

“We didn’t really want to take this beautiful space and darken it order to see something,” explains Dale Bakken, Director of Buildings and Grounds.