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A library of useful articles on every topic impacting your PraiseBuilding.


Solutions: What About Designated Gifts?

Or a pipe organ? Maybe it is something that does not fit into the building plan without major additional costs because the plans would have to be drastically altered. Or the labor cost for the stained glass installation is prohibitive due to the limited project budget. We could cite many examples. But the primary question is whether an individual donor`s contribution can control what the church is going to do without any consensus of the will of the people. This issue surfaces frequently in the churches. Does an autocratic pastor have the liberty to place something in the building that someone has contributed without consulting the church officers or congregation? Maybe it is a set of drums to place where the organ was located until the pastor decided to give the organ away! If your church practices congregational government, the voting membership of the church should be given the privilege of exercising their right of franchise. The pastor and church are not obligated to do anything underwritten by an individual donor; any donation must be limited to a suggested designation with the ultimate destiny of the donation being controlled by the church for that ...

Funding The Local Church: Borrowing For Building With Bonds

(No church project I have been involved with has failed when the church followed my conservative guidelines.) Now state and federal regulations have added more registry controls that further safeguard the churches and the investors. Why do churches borrow with bonds for building? a. Long-term fixed interest rates are possible with bonds, while most banks offer variable or adjustable rates with balloon balances. The fixed interest rate removes the uncertainty of having to refinance at a higher rate of interest and additional fees when the balloon comes due. b. Bonds provide the opportunity for members to earn a higher return on their investments than banks pay on certificates of deposit. To the extent that bonds are purchased by the membership of the church, the interest is retained by the church members. c. A graduated payment schedule is an option. The loan payment can begin low and increase as church membership and giving increase. But the graduated payment schedule would pay all interest and principal within the specified period for loan maturity without a balloon. d. There is an open-ended deed of trust for future expansion loans. Unlike most conventional loans, if ...

Funding The Local Church: The Debt-Free Debate

The Continuing Debate I recently read the 1996 Moody Press book by Jeff Berg and Jim Burgess, with foreword by Larry Burkett, titled "The Debt-Free Church". The distinction is made in the text between “debt” as unsatisfied commitments and “borrowing” money from individuals or lending institutions. The comment is made that perhaps the book should have been titled “The Borrowing-Free Church,” placing the emphasis on the ills of ever borrowing money. The majority of the quotations in the book are from Larry Burkett`s writings or from retired architect Ray Bowman who wrote "When Not to Build". I disagree with both of these authors on this topic. After nearly 24 years of work as a conservative church development consultant, I do not believe their views on this issue represent an accurate interpretation of Scripture or a wise approach to ministry and facility development. I agree with Berg and Burgess that there have been many problems and failures in churches related to building program debts. But building a case on atypical extremes and abuses is wrong. Many churches have used borrowed funds wisely and have prospered. Borrowing churches are not necessarily ...

Funding The Local Church: Liabilities Of Fund Raising

As I awaited my opportunity to present church development at the church board meeting, the church treasurer presented the financial report. “Since announcing our building fund, we have accumulated $30,000 through designated giving—not nearly enough to launch our building program. However, our giving in the general fund and missions accounts is way down.” I have often heard similar comments in churches that have established a building fund, invited the people to contribute offerings to the fund, or engaged in fund raising for expansion. In many instances, giving has been designated to the building fund which previously had been directed to the general fund or missions. This practice may have minimal risks in a committed congregation of assimilated members who accept ownership of ministry and giving responsibilities. But there are many liabilities that must be considered in most churches characterized as 80/20 churches—80 percent of the giving and serving from 20 percent of the people (a national average in evangelical churches). What are the liabilities of fund raising to be avoided? a. The appeal is primarily to the existing contributors. The self-effort of ...

FINANCE COMMITTEE CHECKLIST

__How much needs to be raised to purchase/renovate the building?  __How much needs to be raised on a weekly basis to cover the mortgage payment?  __How much needs to be raised on a weekly basis to cover other expenses-insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc . __How much needs to be raised to cover normal church expenses, salaries, administrative expenses, and normal purchases?  __How much more can be raised to cover the renovation costs?  __How long will it take to raise the budgeted renovation costs?  __How much can be borrowed?  __Can we get a bank commitment?  __What will the bank fees, interests, rates and terms be?  __Does the bank require any of the members to personally guarantee the loan?  By Stephen Ferrandi, Director, KLNB Regious Properties Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religioius clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.

Teaching Old Church Buildings New Tricks

Over this gentleman`s objection, the congregation went ahead and invited a facilities consultant to help them find ways to make maximum use of their building. A few months later they had a remodeling and utilization plan that would allow them to grow to 750 with no new construction. A church in Warsaw, Indiana, which averages about 450 in two worship services, had spent several years studying options for how to accommodate growth. The best option they had come up with involved two additions totaling $4.2 million plus interest. Feeling stuck, they asked a consultant for help. Instead of requiring millions of dollars for construction, their new facility plan calls for a few hundred thousand dollars of remodeling and some utilizations changes that together provide enough room for attendance to almost double. After that, a $1.1 million multi-purpose addition will provide as much growing room as the proposed $4.2 million construction projects would have. How is it possible to teach "old church buildings new tricks" like this--to make them serve congregations far larger than those for which they were originally designed? It`s possible because ...

Ministry Tip: Demographics Guide Strategies

Most churches are surprised when I disclose through a detailed demographic analysis of the surrounding community that at least 75 percent of the population is adults, perhaps 18 percent are schoolage children, and about 7 percent are preschool children. Furthermore, in most instances, at least the majority of households do not have children at home between ages 0 and 18. Usually about two thirds of the households have 2 or more workers outside the home, greatly impacting weekday ministries. Ministry strategies are most effective when the strategies are balanced to target the age distribution of the community. For example, possibly 75 percent of the potential Sunday school attendance is adults. Therefore, Sunday school space and structure must reflect this statistic. Just as small group structures within department groups are the most effective strategy for children and youth, this arrangement is also the most effective strategy for adult education. Furthermore, the broad span of ages for the adults encourages some form of age-graded adult structure for effective learning in a relational context. You should not be a single-generation church. For more information, ...

How to Get Big Without Building

After Christianity was “legalized,” buildings began to take on an increasing importance. In many cases, cathedrals and monuments were so ornate as to re-initiate the idea that the presence of God, or at least a facsimile of heaven could be housed in an inanimate structure. Down through history there has always been the tension of building design vs. building functionality. Design would lean toward honoring God through aesthetics and function would lean toward gaining as much additional space as possible for added membership. Times, however, are changing. Modern church design is much less about bricks and mortar and much more about innovation and connection. Decisions about colors and textures are giving way to decisions about networks and virtual broadcasting. And this is great news for those who want to grow without entering into a major building campaign. For example it is now possible to…Start another service. Thousands of churches are seeing the benefits of adding a second or third or even sixth service on the weekend. Logistical concerns are much easier to deal with than the burden of a major debt ...

Renovating the Catholic Church: An Architect`s Perspective

Painting all the walls white, replacing the pews with chairs, relocating the tabernacles to one closet and piling all the statues in another, ripping out every conceivable object in the sanctuary…and leaving one square table (the altar) and a potted palm on the back wall. The second kind are the "Salvaging Renovations" where so-called "modern" churches…usually built in the sixties and seventies and easily mistaken for lecture halls or gymnasiums are being transformed into sacred spaces that look more like churches and attempt to implement the liturgical indications following Vatican II. This article will consider the latter and is addressed to those who are considering the renovation of their church. Since this can be a very perplexing adventure, here are a few observations frommy own experience that may prove helpful. 1. The architect and unity of purpose Since you, the client, will be inundated with advice from every conceivable quarter, the best thing to do is get professional help early. The question is: what kind of professional help? Pastors are constantly being approached by commercial purveyors of church goods who are ready ...

Rules of Design for Praise Buildings

Whether one calls it a sanctuary, worship space, celebration room, nave, assembly hall, or great room, the focal point of a structure is the single most important room in the PraiseBuilding. Designing this space, (which for the purpose of this text, we will call the sanctuary) need not be complicated to design or expensive to construct. There are four major components to designing your PraiseBuilding: structural elements, systems, assembly issues and decorative ideas. Structural elements are the brick and mortar components of building. These elements for the most part are governed under local and in some cases, federal building code regulations. How these pieces come together vary quite a bit from locality to locality because of various building codes and even local interpretation of these codes from inspector to inspector. While restoring churches in Homestead, Florida in September 1992, it was puzzling to learn that the building code regulation for installing roofs was changed three times in a single week. The Miami Herald ran an article that the Chief Building Inspector for Dade County had failed inspection on his own ...

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