Monday, February 18, 2019

Relational Evangelism in a Shifting Culture

How can Christians effectively witness in an increasingly shifting culture? In a recent ECFA Excellence in Church Administration podcast, Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, shared a few thoughts on what it means to be individual Christians living missionally:

  • Think beyond the building. The days of inviting your friends to church to hear the Gospel from a pastor are over. Church will always be a place where we should welcome others, but people are more likely to engage in a conversation or grab a cup of coffee than come to church with you. 
  • Classification may vary. The nominal, or by-name-only, Christians and those who classify themselves as “none” in the religion category are merging. As this happens, we have a unique opportunity to make it clear what it means to be true Christians that center and shape their lives around the reality of Christ. 
  • Be on mission. Relational ministry and personal evangelism in work, family, and play has potential for meaningful impact. As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to share our faith in the tangible expression of our lives.

For more discussion on relational evangelism, join Ed Stetzer and ECFA’s Warren Bird for the Cultural Shift & The Church podcast.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Tackle a Church Building Project the Right Way

Whether your church building project is creating multiple sites or simply renovating your children’s wing, the factors that aid success follow a similar pattern. Here are a few takeaways for church leaders heading into an expansion project, from a recent conversation with Glenn Wood of Seacoast Church
  1. Start with prayer. Seek God’s wisdom and direction from the very beginning.
  2. Define the goal before the budget. It may seem counterintuitive, but rather than starting with a budget, define the need and scope of a project first. The budget will inevitably drive the project, but having the scope in mind will prompt discussions on what is most important to the ministry and assist with long-term goal setting. Be open to talking through options and finding what works.
  3. Build the teams necessary for your project. At this point, you will need input from the right people to influence the project. Depending on the needs and scope of your project, your teams may vary, but generally they will include a staff team (those at the decision-making table; detail-oriented leaders of the project), a professional team (these are the people who will be doing the actual work), and a volunteer team ("homegrown" people with specialized knowledge or helpful skill sets).
  4. Count the cost. Having a holistic understanding of the expenses is important and biblical. Consider peripheral expenses associated with your project, right down to the trash cans.
  5. Manage the details. As the project develops, detail-minded individuals will be required to keep the budget and scope on track. Build in time and resources for needs that arise.
For more insights and reflections from Glenn Wood of Seacoast Church, listen to the full Tackling a Church Building Project the Right Way podcast.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Insights on Receiving Non-Traditional Gifts

As giving in various non-traditional ways has become more popular, ministries should have a strategy prepared for receiving these new forms of generosity. We recently sat down with Dr. Jeff Steed of the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation to discuss the issue. Here are a few notes for both givers and ministries to be aware of:

  • Beyond cash gifts, there are many opportunities for giving that can be advantageous to churches and ministries. Gifts of property, vehicles, stocks, businesses, etc., require special handling and consideration but can prove to be invaluable ministry assets.
  • Proper management can greatly enhance non-cash gifts. While not every gift can be received in its current form, many gifts can be significantly multiplied depending on how they are given and subsequently managed by the ministry.
  • Estate gifts and planned giving allow donors to leave a legacy with their final arrangements that honors what they valued in life.

To listen to the full discussion with special guest Jeff Steed, tune in here to the Insights on Receiving Non-Traditional Gifts podcast.