Monday, January 28, 2019

VIP First Look for 2019


What’s in store from ECFA in 2019, and what trends and developments do church and ministry leaders need to be aware of? As we kicked off Season 3 of our Excellence in Church Administration series, ECFA set out to answer these questions and more, in our VIP First Look for 2019 podcast.

In the 31 minute podcast, Executive Vice President Vonna Laue, President Dan Busby, and I discuss some important topics for 2019:
  • 2018 State of Giving Report – ECFA member ministries noted a 5.9% increase in giving in 2018, the largest increase in 5 years. Larger ministries experienced the highest increases, while smaller ministries experienced a decrease.
  • Court Challenges – The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to challenge the minister’s housing allowance as well as Form 990 exemptions. ECFA is monitoring the latest developments in both of these cases.
  • Tax Reform – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted for 2018 has implications for churches and ministries due to tax changes for individual donors, as well as in regard to the nonprofit parking tax.
  • Changes in the Accounting Standards – as Vonna says in the podcast, “If your financial statements haven’t changed to reflect the new accounting standards, this is the year it will happen."
  • 2019 is the Year of Excellence in Governance – Most organizations realize the importance of strong and effective board governance, but many lack training for their board members. As ECFA celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019, we’ve designated this as The Year of Excellence in Governance! This emphasis will include several new books and other resources being released, as well as a series of Governance Forums being held around the country in the fall of 2019.
  • New ECFA Resources – Not only is 2019 the Year of Governance, it also seems to be the Year of Abundance in Resources! From survey results and books to podcasts and webinars, ECFA has a wealth of new tools coming your way in 2019. Be sure to bookmark the ECFA Resources page for quick reference.

To hear more about each of these topics, please listen in to the full VIP First Look for 2019 podcast.

Monday, January 21, 2019

15 Trends for Leaders to Expect in 2019

Here at ECFA, 2019 is already into full swing, and ECFA President Dan Busby has offered some key insights for leaders of churches and nonprofits to watch for in the new year.

Here are a few that may surprise you....
  • The digital revolt will ramp up.  It is a seeming contradiction!  According to a recent Adobe Email Survey, over 50% of people want you to communicate with them by email (direct mail is the next popular channel, coming in at only 20%). And 38% would like emails to come even more frequently. But 59% of people do not want to give you their email address. Email is the original social network, but users now expect a consent-based use of their data. The second email they receive without their consent is considered spam.  
  • Hiring new or replacement staff will be done with more care.  “The cost of a bad hire is 15x his or her annual salary, so it’s important to get the recruiting and selection process right,” says Verne Harnish in his book, Scaling Up. When the economy struggles or declines, the importance of hiring quality people is multiplied.
  • More ministries will embrace the importance of excellence in governance.  The partnership between the board and the organization’s top leader, care in choosing board members, even more care in choosing the board chair, and the commitment to prayer and discernment are just a few of the 2019 emphases for ministries. ECFA will be conducting 10 Forums on Excellence in Governance around the country in the fall of 2019 to address this important issue. 

Check out the full list of 15 Trends for Leaders to Expect in 2019 and help keep your church prepared for what lies ahead. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Potholes and Diversions


“As Christ’s messengers, our lives and institutions are like the road between two cities. If that road is full of potholes and diversions, people will too often turn off and choose another destination instead. We must strive to remove those potholes and diversions, leaving nothing to stand between the message of Jesus Christ and a waiting world.

The late Mark Hatfield, long-time Senator from Oregon and someone who was very public about his faith in Christ, offered these insightful remarks on the occasion of ECFA’s 20th anniversary two decades ago. He emphasized our duty as believers and leaders in Christ-centered churches and ministries to clearly pave the way for the Gospel.

Senator Hatfield went on to compare ECFA’s ministry to a road crew, serving alongside our members “to ensure that business and financial matters do not become potholes and diversions.”

Fast forward another 20 years, and ECFA marks its 40th anniversary in 2019—now serving over 2,300 members committed to upholding high standards in governance, financial management, and gift administration. 

Thank you for your continued partnership with ECFA as we work together to remove barriers in reaching a world in desperate need of the Savior’s love. We pray that 2019 will be your most fruitful year of ministry yet.     

Happy New Year!

P.S. Continue to watch the blog and the ECFA.church website for more exciting new resources and announcements as we celebrate ECFA’s 40th anniversary in 2019 as the “Year of Excellence in Governance.”