Good Steward Awards 2013: Finance

FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY / FUNDRAISING

ChristCommunityChurchChrist Community Church (Milpitas, CA)

In the area of Finance, Christ Community Church (CCC) received one of the highest ratings ever recorded on the Transforming Church Index, or TCI — a national survey developed and administered by Fairfax, VA-based TAG Consulting to gauge congregants’ view of how well the church communicates and manages its finances.

According to CCC Business Manager Mark Simmons, Bank of the West and the accounting firms of LMGW and Seeba & Associates have also audited and expounded on the outstanding work of this church.

Additionally, this church has done 11 consecutive capital campaigns, with each driving results between 93 percent and 103 percent of the pledge amounts, regardless of the state of the economy.

“It’s all about creating trust and an accountable culture,” Simmons says. “We get kudos from [Bank of the West and the two accounting firms] on the foresight and commitment we’ve shown to best practices; our follow-through to every recommendation they’ve made (which is documented in the annual reports); and the multiple instances in which we’ve discovered potential deficiencies, and proactively solved them.”

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COST SAVINGS

Hope1Hope Church (Cordova, TN)

In 2009, Scott Milholland was hired by Hope Church to oversee all staff, ministries, operations, business and financial stewardship. Prior to joining the church staff, he spent 25 years in the various vice president and CFO positions across the country.

Since joining the staff, annual giving has increased 27 percent over three years, from $11 million to more than $14 million; debt has been reduced from $21 million to $9 million; and an annual surplus of $2 to $3 million has been generated.

Milholland also recruited, built and led a “faithful, wise, prudent” finance committee led by Accounting Director Dana Shankle, Stewardship Director Art Fogartie, and three elders and three members with financial/stewardship skills.

“It’s an ongoing process of prayer, and shepherding and screening potential candidates during the year,” he explains. “Now that I’ve been here four years, I know a lot of people and have seen them grow in their faith and leadership in the church, and I can see God working in them for a role on our committee now or later down the road.”

FINANCIAL EDUCATION / MINISTRY

AsburyAsbury United Methodist Church (Madison, AL)

In 2009, Asbury launched a church-wide focus on financial repentance that included sermons, story-telling and educational environments. Not only did 970 people (with about 2,000 in weekend attendance at the time) enroll in a 13-week program, Momentum — a Dave Ramsey workshop designed to cultivate a culture of generosity — many of those spiritual adventures continue to this day. Besides healing marriages, lowering stress and strengthening families, Asbury’s church family was paying off debt and creating emergency funds.

“We started in 2008 by putting our entire staff and most of our lay leaders through Financial Peace University,” explains Jon Bridges, executive director at the church. “Then, in October and November that year, we advertised to the whole church our stewardship promotion that would start in January 2009.”

After that, a sermon was delivered to introduce the entire effort, followed by 13 weeks of classes. The children’s ministry developed age-appropriate classes called “Financial Fun” that mirrored the topics the adults were learning each week.

“Every age group was engaged!” Bridges says. “And, since then, we’ve continued to offer FPU and the new Legacy Journey classes
year-round.”

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