Contributions From Sue Edison-Swift
A process for choosing a web-based church management system: A case study
Wallis Metts, Jr., Ph.D., professor of communication at Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, Michigan, is also an associate pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, Michigan. Metts' free downloadable paper, presented at the 2014 Annual Conference on Information and Religion at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, draws on his experience leading the team choosing a church management system (ChMS) for Countryside Bible Church. He highlights the inescapable problems facing those seeking a ChMS solution, including a dizzying array of features and the few independent/objective sources of information. Metts acknowledges the "fuzzy" decision-making context of a congregational committee. His recommended process includes designating a project leader, securing buy-in from senior management, detailing the weakness of the current approach, defining business objectives instead of features, and identifying/consulting, decision makers.
Communicating During a Church Building Project
Bottom line: First discern your congregation's unique vision, and the mission motivation for a building project. Then, communicate that vision and mission motivation over and over again, in multiple ways, throughout the five stages of building: "Vision Casting, Capital Campaign, Construction, Grand Opening, and Growth and Assimilation." This is not the resource for communicators looking for detailed ideas or model communication plans. Nor is it the resource to find model liturgies for ground-breaking, cornerstone or dedication services. The overview offered here by authors and experts Alana Nelson, Evan McBroom, and Will Mancini, will be most helpful for Christian leaders beginning to entertain the notion of a building project. Its strength is its focus on communicating vision and mission as the starting and ending point of a building project.
We've Been Embezzled!
If you suspect or know of embezzlement in your congregation, read this. Now. It won't hit you with a "should have done" list. Instead, it will lead you through actions to avoid the aftershocks-legal liabilities and IRS penalties-as you try to recover. An attorney and CPA, Richard R. Hammar, senior editor for the Church Law and Tax Group, wrote these chapters: "Avoiding False Accusations," "Disclosing Confidential Information," "Lie Detector Tests," "If an Embezzler Confesses," and "Informing the Congregation." His voice inspires confidence. While this resource doesn't cover everything-for example, a model crisis communication plan-it is a solid place to start when embezzlement shakes your congregation.
Encyclopedia of Positive Questions: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Bring out the Best in Your Organization
Written for companies, this resource will nonetheless be helpful for congregations as they answer a variety of positive questions designed to evaluate strengths and help plan for the future.
Another Day's Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis
This book outlines forms of political-theological orientation in the Black church. Then the author suggests how to mobilize interfaith coalitions that promote "poverty alleviation, racial reconciliation and religious tolerance."
Data Security: Questions you should ask every church management software provider
When selecting a Church Management System (ChMS) for your congregation, the importance of knowing the right questions to ask vendors becomes readily apparent. This article adds a category of questions not often addressed by others: data security. A caution: don't start here, or you might be tempted to give up the task. Once you've narrowed your vendor options to top contenders, though, it's time to evaluate and compare them in terms of data security. Is the ChMS self-hosting, cloud-like, or SaaS cloud (software as a service)? The article, tied to FellowshipOne ChMS from Active Faith, has a vested interest in recommending SaaS options. Understanding that, the article offers an eye-opening introduction to the various definitions of "cloud-based," data-center security, and credit-card (Payment Card Industry, PCI) compliance.
Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God is at the Center
This resource offers inspiration and wisdom for leaders who minister in under-resourced communities, using the author's experience in Christian community development and biblical case studies to confront injustice.